Donnie Ray Albert in Dallas by way of Klagenfurt Austria
In Matthew 13:57 as Jesus spoke to a great crowd by the lake, he taught, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor." I don't know if Dallas baritone Donnie Ray Albert considers himself a prophet, but he's been known to play one on stage from time to time.
Many of us who know Mr. Albert are guilty of having greatness in our midst without properly acknowledging our appreciating it. We see Donnie Ray Albert husband and father, or church member who will serve in any capacity that he can while he's in town. So many people would never believe that the usher at the door may have just played to a sold out opera house in Europe the night before?
The Louisiana native's talents have been on display all across the world. From London to Houston, Chicago to Hamburg, Mr. Albert has played in many of the world's finest venues. I caught up with Donnie Ray who performed two shows in Dallas between engagements at Austria's Klagenfurt Opera. He is there playing the role of Porgy in Porgy and Bess.
Dallas South Blog: Who was the biggest influence in your early years that helped lead to your work on stage?
Donnie Ray Albert: My high school music teacher, Mallalieu Caldwell Turner, recognized that I had a gift and she encouraged me to pursue music as a career.
DSB: When did you know that you would be able to actually make that step of a career in music?
DRA: Before getting my Masters Degree from SMU, I did apprenticeships at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. The opportunity to perform was presented and I stepped in.
DSB: How would you describe you style of on stage and the music that you most enjoy performing?
DRA: As an actor/singer in the classical music scene, one must perform and study a composer's work to make it believable. The role must have become your own. Sometimes that means overcoming preconceived notions. I do enjoy the Verdi and Wagner baritone roles.
DSB: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in the field of music thus far?
DRA: As an African American male in the field of operatic music, just surviving and maintaining a passion for the art form for 32 years is a major accomplishment.
DSB: What did you perform during your Dallas appearances this past Saturday and Sunday?
DRA: I performed Felix Mendelson's Elijah. This prophet is one of my and perhaps others' favorite.
DSB: Where will your travels take you through the spring and summer months?
DRA: My schedule for the spring and summer of 2007 has been very busy. I have been splitting time between appearances in Dallas churches and organizations as well as operas and concerts in Klagenfurt, Austria; Prague, Czech Republic; Madison, Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio; ending in Austin and Victoria, Texas. More information can be found on my website www.donnierayalbert.com