By TERRY MATHEWS
Arts Editor of The Winnsboro News
Although he says singing is a mixture of “exhilaration and terror,” bass Jared Schwartz, 33, knows the moment when his voice is in full flight and knows when he can go really low.
“Any time you go to the extremes of your voice, you say a prayer, ‘Oh, dear Lord,’” he confessed during a telephone interview from his studio in Dallas. “If I’m healthy, the lower I go, the more I feel like I’m going down to take a nap. It’s very comfortable down there and I can hold [the note] forever.”
Which is exactly what he did with the final E-flat in the encore of “La Niege” by Ange Flégier during his CD launch at the Puccini Society of Dallas Saturday, Oct. 10.
That afternoon, he thought, “Let’s just hold this a long time because it feels really good today.”
The note was perfectly delivered. You could have heard a pin drop in the room. I don’t speak French, but I know quality music, performed well. I believed every note Schwartz sang during that program.
Schwartz grew up in the small town of Berne, Indiana. He began studying piano at age 3, violin at 7 and the French horn at 10.
He entered Bethel College as a pre-med and music major. After realizing he didn’t want to be a doctor and experiencing a wrist injury, he began voice lessons. He graduated from Bethel College, and then earned a graduate degree in voice from the Eastman School of Music in New York.
Schwartz’s CD, “Gabriel FAURÉ, Songs for Bass Voice and Piano,” debuted at #7 on the Billboard Traditional Classic chart last fall.
It was recorded at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Dallas, with the famous Scottish musicologist Roy Howat at the piano and was released under the Toccata Classics label.
Internationally renown vocal coach and recital accompanist Mary Dibbern served as artistic director for the record, collaborating with Schwartz and Howat.
“Mary has so much experience, wisdom and knowledge,” Schwartz said. “We worked together, from learning the music, making sure all the language was correct, to writing poetry translations.”
Dibbern, who lived in France for 30 years, has recently translated, “Massenet and His Letters,” by Anne Massenet, from French to English. The book was published by Pendragon Press.
In addition to her coaching and recital work, Dibbern is the Music Director of Education for The Dallas Opera.
Although he doesn’t speak French, Schwartz worked hard on that portion of the record.
“My biggest fear was that I would sound like a moron to anyone who spoke French,” Schwartz confessed. “To have native French speakers wonder if I’m French was a huge affirmation.”
The CD has been warmly received by critics and the listening public alike, and Schwartz’ 2016 schedule is filling up quickly.
He continues to study voice with David Jones of New York.
Schwartz and Dibbern plan to join forces again this year to record “Ange Flégier: Songs for Bass Voice and Piano,” also produced by Toccata.
“Most people don’t know this guy,” he stated. “It’ll be a world premiere and there are some low bass notes. It’ll be a nice preview of what my voice can do that we didn’t necessarily get to do in the Fauré.”
Schwartz has been cast in the role of Erode (King Herrod) in Stradella’s “San Giovanni Baptista” with the Haymaker Opera in Chicago in March.
“Jory Vinikour, a harpsichordist I worked with a couple of years ago, told them to call me,” he joked. “When I saw how insanely challenging the role was, I wondered what he said to them because I wouldn’t give this [role] to just somebody unless I knew they could do it because it’s so crazy. The runs go on for pages and pages and have no pattern at all to them. It’s so insanely virtuosic with coloratura and a massive range with insane low notes.”
Playing King Herrod will be a treat for the normally easy-going, ever-smiling Schwartz.
“I get to be mean,” he said with a laugh. “It’s going to be amazing.”
Not only does Schwartz perform and record, he is a nationally recognized vocal coach. He was honored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing as one of the outstanding young American voice teachers.
“My teacher in New York sends me students,” he said. “He tells them, ‘He’s really young, but don’t worry, he’s really good.’”
Schwartz has sung at First United Methodist Church in Sulphur Springs on three occasions, twice for memorials and once as a part of the church’s Fine Arts Series. Hopefully, he will return to East Texas in the near future.
With talent like his, Jared Schwartz should be guiding voices and gracing concert stages the world over for a long time to come.
“I’m just 33,” he said in conclusion. “That’s young for a bass singer.”
For more information, visit www.jaredschwartz.com, www.marydibbern.com, www.royhowat.com or www.toccataclassics.com
Follow Jared Schwartz on Facebook and on Twitter @jaredsings