OMRT's audiences will remember Lloyd Arriola as the amazing pianist who lead our production of La Boheme and Julius Cesar last season. He's not only an opera conductor, but an accomplished pianist as well. We asked him to sit down for an interview and this is what he had to say.
OMRT: Tell us about your Carnegie Hall debut.
LA: My Carnegie Hall debut. It's the little hall, of course, but no matter. I do hope you can come. Right now, there are 124 people coming. Come on, only 129 to go to sell out the house!
Oh, yes, and I am playing some Liszt, for his 200th birthday. He don't look a day over 193. Also music by Ervin Nyiregyhazi (try saying that five times fast) and Harrison Gross, a very talented young composer.
LA: San Franciso
OMRT: How did you first become interested in playing piano?
LA: All four of my siblings played when I was very small.
OMRT: Where/with whom did you study?
LA: First with a work friend of my mom's, then with a former child prodigy who was a great teacher but a drunk.
OMRT: What is your favorite opera and why?
LA: ELEKTRA-- so thrilling, and so very twisted, and yet noble in a bizarre way.
OMRT: What is your dream gig?
LA: Playing and conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in music of Brahms and Reger.
OMRT: If you could have dinner with any composer, who would you choose and why?
LA: I would eat with Stravinsky. What a HOOT that would be.
OMRT: Do you have any pre-performance rituals or superstitions?
OMRT: What has been your most unusual performance to date and why?
LA: Playing a gig with a cabaret singer from Albania where the act before us was a deaf guy singing "This is the Moment" from Jeckyll and Hyde.
OMRT: If you were tone-deaf, what would your dream job be?
LA: CHARACTER ACTOR
OMRT: What is playing on your iPod (or record player) right now?
LA: Mack and Mabel by Jerry Herman. Lovely show.
OMRT: NYC is the cultural center of the music industry, where is your favorite musical or non-musical place to be?
OMRT: How do you measure your success?
LA: Joy in making music the way I'd live my life if I could do it without making money. To me, that is a life well-lived.
OMRT: If returning to OMRT, what was your favorite previous experience?
LA: La Boheme. What a privilege to work with such singers!
OMRT: How did you become a part of OMRT?
LA: Sheer luck. I got a call to play for audtions.
OMRT: What did you do on your summer "vacation"?
LA: Conducted Dido and Aeneas in San Francisco.
OMRT: When and how did you decide to move to NYC?
LA: 1994, to start a Masters Degree in Piano at Julliard
OMRT: What do you like about living in NYC?
LA: The crazed people and the pace.
OMRT: What is the last theatrical performance you attended?
LA: Paul at Tarsus, at Gospel Town Theater in Post, TX. What an experience.
OMRT: What's you best backstage story or the craziest thing that has happened to you while performing?
LA: Playing a production of Jesus Christ Superstar with the Jesus missing DURING the overture. Then the singer popped onstage the second he got called to the stage.
OMRT: How do you approach preparing to perform? And how is it different to prepare a new work vs. a more traditional piece?
LA: All I do is plug away and uncover secrets as fast as I can after a quick first look at the score....or, procrastination!
OMRT: How do you convince friends and family who have never seen a classical performance to give it a try?
LA: See me play or ELSE!
OMRT: Do you sing in the shower?
LA: No bloody way.
OMRT: How many jobs do you have? Or how many hours do you work in a week?
LA: Schoolteacher and conductor.
OMRT: How many hours are you in rehearsal on top of that?
OMRT: How much do you rehearse each day?
OMRT: What is something you can do that others can't?
LA: Flip my eyelids for a full minute to scare my niece!
OMRT: What is the first opera you ever saw?
LA: Madama Butterfly on TV; Faust in San Francisco
OMRT: What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?
LA: South Park
OMRT: Words of wisdom for aspiring artists?
LA: Gird your loins!
OMRT: What is your super power?
OMRT: Why do you love music?
LA: The way it can let you inside a person's mind without speech -- through music. That is why I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!! Like Nietszche-- for me life without music would be a mistake.
Lloyd's concert in honor of Franz Liszt's 200th birthday is tomorrow, Sunday November 20th at 7:30pm.
Weill Recital Hall
at Carnegie Hall
57th Street east of 7th Avenue
New York, NY
Tickets available here.