Saturday, November 1, 2014

Eric Conway, D.M.A.: Soloman Howard - Morgan Alumnus and choir member makes his debut at the MET singing the role of King in Verdi's Aida

Eric Conway (L), Soloman Howard (R)

Eric Conway, D.M.A.:

Hello everyone,

Last night, my wife and I had the opportunity to hear the bass voice of Soloman Howard make his Metropolitan Opera Debut in the role of King in Verdi's Aida!  

Soloman graduated from Morgan's Music program in 2008.  After graduation, Soloman entered the Manhattan School of Music to graduate in 2010.  He then entered several Young Artist programs including the very prestigious program at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.  After only six short years from his student days at Morgan, he has gone on to perform at the most acclaimed Opera House in the World, the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in mid-town Manhattan.

I must admit, although I have been at many performances at all of the other venues at Lincoln Center: New York City Opera, Avery Fisher Hall, and Alice Tully Hall, I have never attended a performance at the MET. We have a very large hall at Morgan in our Gilliam Concert Hall, boasting the 3rd largest hall in Baltimore with a little over 2,036 seats, however, the MET with 3,800 seats is at least 85% larger than Gilliam.  Having said that, the volume of Gilliam Concert Hall is great training for anyone who hopes to aspire to an operatic career. After the opera, I spoke with Soloman, and he commented on how great he was trained at Morgan for this career he is now enjoying.  Long-time vocal teaching icon Betty Malkus Ridgeway was Soloman's teacher while at Morgan.  He has often given Ms. Ridgeway credit for training him so very well and constantly encouraging him to pursue this incredible career aspiration that he is now achieving.

I had heard about the physical sets at the MET but was not ready for the size of the set. This Aida set had to be at least one hundred feet tall!  The triumphant procession of the two hundred plus member cast in the 2nd act boasted soldiers on horses galloping on stage along with other four-legged creatures. Six-foot five inch Soloman always had an incredible stage presence. When he entered the stage in the role of Egyptian King, it was clear that he had a very commanding presence on this very large stage at the MET.  There was no question upon hearing his voice that he truly belonged on this New York Metropolitan stage.

After the production, my wife and I went back stage to say hello to Soloman. He was so very pleased to see someone from back home share in this great event in this life, i.e. you only have one MET debut!  He introduced us to his agent and to his girlfriend! He was proud to say that we were from Morgan.  We spoke about how the many concerts that he had with the choir all over the world, helped prepare him for the many big debut moments he already has had in his career.

Many of the house ushers already new Soloman's name and voice and mentioned how much they enjoyed his voice after I mentioned that he was a former student.  It appears that Soloman will have many debuts this season including debuts with the Los Angeles Opera and the Glimmerglass Festival in upstate New York.  See attached a few pages from the Met's playbill.  Please note that all the other principals in the Opera were from all over the world including Italy, Montenegro, Russia, Ukraine, except for Soloman Howard, the only principal who heralded from the USA in Washington, DC!

We are so very proud of Soloman! If you know Soloman personally, you know that he is a wonderful young man.  It takes so much persistence to achieve in this incredibly competitive business of opera.  Following in the footsteps of former Morganites to sing on the Metropolitan Stage including Kevin Short and April Haines, I KNOW that Soloman will not be the last Morganite to sing at the MET!  Fair Morgan!


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