Cast Spotlight - Darius Gillard

Welcome back to our Opera for the 22nd Century blog for our FINAL feature from the cast of Changing Fortunes - A Zoom Opera by David Wolfson. We hope you plan to attend a performance this weekend! In case you haven't heard, TICKETS ARE ON SALE and can be purchased through our website. This time around, we're thrilled to partner with Broadway on Demand's Show Share. Broadway on Demand is on the cutting edge for streaming live performances of plays, musicals and operas. Today we're pleased to feature another talented cast member, tenor Darius A. Gillard who played the role of Alex in Part I of the Fortune's Children series. We hope you enjoy learning about Darius, what he's been up to since Fortune's Children: Part I, and what being a part of this production means to him.


Tenor Darius A. Gillard is steadily gaining momentum on regional operatic circuits. Praised for his warm legato and charismatic presence, he excels in the lyric repertoire. To date, he has appeared in supporting and comprimario roles with companies that include the Connecticut Lyric Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Cincinnati Opera, Greenville Light Opera, Capitol Opera Raleigh, The Comic Opera Guild of Ann Arbor, and Hartford Opera Theater. Equally at home on the concert stage, he has also made appearances with the Florence Civic Orchestra, Charleston Chamber Orchestra, Flint Symphony Orchestra, and the Detroit Festival Camerata as a featured soloist in various oratorio works that include Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore, and Händel’s Messiah. In regards to recital work, Dr. Gillard regularly presents and appears in guest artist and lecture recitals.

Dr. Gillard hold degrees from Claflin University (B.A. 2012), Michigan State University (M.M. 2014), and the University of Michigan (D.M.A. 2020). Presently he serves as Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera at Claflin University.


We recently interviewed Darius about performing in Changing Fortunes. Here's what he had to say:


HOTOpera: We're thrilled to have you back to sing the role of Alex in Changing Fortunes - the sequel to Fortune's Children: A Zoom Opera. What have you been up to since FC Part I?


Darius: Since part one, I've mostly just been working. I teach full time at Claflin University (Go Panthers!). I also had the opportunity to teach a master class at the Hartt School Community Division in November and I just finished a suite of three spirituals I've been working on since last summer!


HOTOpera: In Changing Fortunes, we find circumstances have changed the most for your character. How are circumstances different for Alex in Part II?


Darius: Alex's circumstances have completely changed. In episode one he was gainfully employed and financially supporting his family and his mother. In part two, he's lost his job, his wife, and his kids and is struggling to figure out who he is without these things that used to define him.

HOTOpera: How have the brothers evolved since we last saw them? How has the appearance of your Mother (Sharon) changed things for the brothers?

Darius: Since the last time we saw the character's they've each changed in a few ways. Alex, who for so long was defined by his professional success and ability to provide has now been brought to a very low point. He no longer has the ability to throw money at his problems, something that forces him to develop a new level of empathy for his brothers and his mother.


HOTOpera: What virtual projects (opera, theater or otherwise) have inspired you since the beginning of COVID? Have your ideas changed about how to create art in extenuating circumstances?


Darius: My ideas about virtual performances have definitely evolved. Right now, they serve the critical function of keeping our artform alive while we all struggle to navigate this new landscape.


HOTOpera: What do you have to say to singers that are hesitant to participate in or organize an opera created for an online platform?


Darius: Just do it! We need your ideas, your art, and your voice now more than ever!

Thank you for visiting our Opera for the 22nd Century blog! We hoped you enjoyed learning about Darius. We hope to see you on Friday or Saturday at 7pm for the world premiere of Changing Fortunes. Visit our website to purchase your tickets today and learn more about this two part chamber opera created for Zoom.

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