Tenor Daniel Montenegro (pictured left working on his backbend) is just finishing up at the Merola Opera Program where he was Nemorino in L'elisir de amore. He will be performing excerpts from Roméo et Juliette this weekend for the Merola Grand Finale. Montenegro had his San Francisco Opera debut singing Roderigo in Otello last November. He sings next at the world premiere of Daniel Catán's Il Postino at Los Angeles Opera. The Opera Tattler listened in on a conversation between Montenegro and our mutual friend the Last Chinese Unicorn, our point of departure for this interview being À bout de souffle.
LCU: If William Faulkner were a gummy bear, which color/flavor would he be?
DM: Honestly, I am not familiar with Faulkner's work, so if I had to choose a flavor, it would be pineapple, because it is colorless.
LCU: Complete this sentence: My elixir of love is...
DM: Campari and tonic.
LCU: Does that work?
DM: [Laughs] No, girls think it tastes like cough syrup and just think I'm weird.
LCU: Which Disney movie/cartoon would make a great opera and which character would you play?
DM: Snow White. I would be one of the dwarfs, probably Bashful.
LCU: If you had to take Lady Gaga out on a date, where would you take her and what would you wear?
DM: To my mom's house, she's probably not used to that. I would wear what I normally wear, I have nothing to prove.
OT: What is your normal attire?
DM: Simple things, no labels. I tend to stick with blacks, greys, whites, and khaki.
LCU: Would you serenade her? With what?
DM: With mariachi. Malageña.
LCU: Who is more gullible - Nemorino or Otello?
DM: Nemorino. He is just innocent. Otello is more complicated, his downfall has to do with his jealousy.
LCU: Have you ever had a crush on your leading lady?
DM: Absolutely not. Unless I happen to.
LCU: What are your thoughts on armadillos?
DM: They have their place.
LCU: Do you accept random friend requests on Facebook?
DM: No, I only friend people if we have more than one friend in common.
LCU: What do you think about those people who believe that Phantom of the Opera is opera?
DM: I think they have a lot to learn.
LCU: How do you pronounce your name in Spanish?
LCU: Who do you want to work with as far as conductors and singers? Which opera house would you like to sing at?
DM: I get this sort of question a lot, but I just like singing, it doesn't matter where it is.
LCU: What is success?
DM: When saying no to things is the norm.
OT: What is your favorite pastry?
DM: Señoritas. They are the Cuban version of Napoleons (mille-feuilles).
OT: Do you have a favorite poem by Pablo Neruda?
DM: "Siempre" from Los versos del capitan: Poemas de amor (1952). I understand it as being about a man's jealousy, or lack thereof. It is something to strive for.