I continue to come across images of opera star Paulo Szot. (All right, so I don't so much "come across" them as actively seek them out. What's your point?) Szot makes his Broadway debut this season with the current Lincoln Center Theater revival of South Pacific.
Those interested in previewing Szot's vocal style can check out a few clips of his singing on YouTube. Here's one of him singing something by Ravel. His lower register seems a bit thin, but his upper range appears quite strong. (Then, of course, there's the hair. Oh, my God, the hair. It's Billy Ray Cyrus in a fancy tux.)
Another YouTube clip features Szot performing in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. I can't quite focus on his performance here because he just looks so friggin' hot. The hair is much better, and that costume is incredibly flattering. (But what's up with the shark-skin pants?) Forcing myself to see beyond the veneer, it appears that Szot has a very rich voice overall. The scene, however, seems rather static, so I'll be interested to see whether Szot is going to be one of those stand-and-sing opera-to-musical-theater dilettantes.
There was a time -- and, oh, what a time it was -- in the mid '80s when opera folk descended upon musical theater on studio cast recordings. The chief perpetrators here were Kiri Te Kanawa (My Fair Lady, West Side Story, South Pacific, et al), Jose Carreras (South Pacific, West Side Story), and Placido Domingo (West Side Story, Man of La Mancha). These recordings were almost universally dreadful, especially West Side Story. (Oh, the horror. I get PTSD just thinking about it.)
Let's hope Szot transcends that not-so-grand tradition and singlehandedly acquits past operatic transgressions. No, pressure, Paulo.