Brian Jagde is an Operatic Tenor working in theaters all over the world including The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Bayerische Staatsoper, and many others. Brian has been one of Zoku’s most cheerful long stay residents, having stayed at Zoku for a month now.
What path has your career taken?
I’ve been incredibly fortunate so far to have growing success in a very difficult field. Growing up I never imagined I’d be an opera singer. I always loved to sing but never had any formal vocal training as a child. When I was 20 I decided to apply for a college that taught classical voice and to my amazement I really enjoyed singing opera! After many years of auditioning I found a teacher who helped me understand my voice and gave me a technique that truly works. From there, I found agents and the work started flowing. I believe everything happens for a reason and I’m so grateful to have a job that I love.
What brought you/brings you to Amsterdam?
I’m currently here singing the role of Turiddu in the Dutch National Opera’s new production of Cavalleria Rusticana.
How long have you stayed at Zoku, and what were your thoughts?
I’ve been staying here at Zoku for over a month now while rehearsing at the opera and I have another month left. I’ve really enjoyed my stay. The staff is incredibly kind and helpful, and I’ve become friends with every sidekick I’ve met. I’ve also found new friends through the community dinners and events on the amazing 6th floor Terrace! What a wonderful space for fun and even a little work.
What’s a life-changing song, film, event or book you’d like to recommend to others?
There are so many, it’s hard to narrow the list down to one. If I have to choose I’ll stick with music. One life-changing song would have to be the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. I chose this not only because many people have heard it without actually realizing what it was, but also because it’s a positive uplifting piece and in these difficult times it’s important that we all have music to bring positivity into our lives, and to make us better for everyone around us. An “Ode to Joy” indeed.
Which book/product have you gifted the most, and why?
The kind of books I like to give as gifts are cook books. Perhaps because my mom was a chef when I was a kid, so I grew up knowing the kitchen table is the heart of the household. I believe there is no better way to bring people together than with a nice meal.
Has your time at Zoku helped you in business or in life? If so, how?
Being on the road as much as I am, it’s difficult to find comfortable, accommodating, affordable housing everywhere I stay. Zoku has made my life easier outside the opera house while I’ve been here. I’ve made new friends and I actually feel like a member of the Zoku family. It’s made it a better experience to do my job singing in front of 1700 people each night at the Dutch National Opera.
If you could pick one project to work on for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I think I have chosen it. My work is never done as an opera singer. It’s like any craft or sport. You can only get better with practice and hard work. I’ll be learning how to do this for the rest of my life. Competing only with myself, and always striving to be the most emotive, colorful, and powerful performer I can be so that the people I sing for will leave the theater effectively changed as much as I am each night.
What does home mean to you?
Home is where family is. Not just those who you are related to but the family you’ve created through finding friends and loved ones on your journey in life. Home also means sleeping in my own bed, which doesn’t happen often but I’m glad when it does! And lastly home is where I feel the most relaxed. Being on the road much of the year makes being home that much more important.