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Looking for Adventure

“Singing is most powerful to me when it’s deeply connected to our whole lives,” says Ryan McKinny. These are telling words from a singer who has forged his career not as a series of stops on the opera circuit but as a process of exploration—and whose reputation stands as much on his thoughtful approach to his work as on the intrinsic appeal of his mellow bass-baritone. “I have a nice voice, but it’s not the driving thing in my career,” he says. “As a bass-baritone, I don’t have a high C. I’ll never be someone like Michael Fabiano or Jamie Barton, where they open their mouth and everyone loses their mind. And I’m okay with that.”

The dominant motif of McKinny’s career is its experimental bent, encompassing assignments as diverse as the world premiere of Shostakovich’s unfinished Orango and Billy Bigelow in Carousel. “I’m a curious person,” he says. “I enjoy doing a lot of different types of things. When I’m looking at a new project, the question isn’t ‘Is this a role I’ll be able to do a lot?’ but ‘Are these people I can work with to do something really cool?’”

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