Pinocchio and the Met: Say hello to mezzo-soprano Taylor-Alexis Dupont

Taylor-Alexis Dupont remembers the first piece of music that really, truly moved her. It was Franz Schubert’s lied Gretchen am Spinnrade, the mournful musings of a girl at her spinning wheel, lamenting that she and her lover will never be reunited.
“It’s so beautiful,” says the Orlando mezzo-soprano with the rich, dramatic voice, “and I loved the story; you could feel the drama in the music, without any staging or anything else. And that’s when I thought ‘OK, this is kind of cool.’ I had always loved performing, and drama … and you can have that masTaylor-Alexis Dupont remembers the first piece of music that really, truly moved her. It was Franz Schubert’s lied Gretchen am Spinnrade, the mournful musings of a girl at her spinning wheel, lamenting that she and her lover will never be reunited.
“It’s so beautiful,” says the Orlando mezzo-soprano with the rich, dramatic voice, “and I loved the story; you could feel the drama in the music, without any staging or anything else. And that’s when I thought ‘OK, this is kind of cool.’ I had always loved performing, and drama … and you can have that mastery with just a piano and a person?”
 
This event was momentous because Dupont, who’s returning to St. Pete Opera for the third year as the title character in our Family Series show Pinocchio, had avoided opera, and art songs and anything classical, until she began her freshman year at Florida State University.
 
“I was performing a lot in musical theater in high school,” Dupont reports, “and taking voice lessons at the same time. My teacher said ‘Your voice is kind of operatic; have you ever thought about that?'”
Her answer? “No way, because whenever I saw opera I thought it was boring, stiff, dull. I had these expectations of Bugs Bunny singing Wagner. Or, you know, Pavarotti and the Three Tenors. Kind of unattainable and unapproachable.”
Fast forward to 2019. Dupont, with a Masters in Voice from the Peabody Conservatory, has appeared all over the world – and she’s performing Pinocchio during a break from a stint in Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The acclaimed revival, starring Eric Owens and Angel Blue, was onstage in September and October, and will resume come January.
Dupont is a member of the estimable Porgy chorus – that’s not an easy gig to come by. Serious singing chops are required.
And yes, her head is still spinning. “I’ve been to plenty of shows at the Met before, but actually singing on the stage where countless artists that you’ve admired over the years sang, and walked the halls … just the history of it makes it so much grander.”

Understandably, her take on opera, and the spells it can cast, has significantly changed. “It’s a very hard art, but it’s very much worth it,” she says. “And I do think it’s quite approachable, which is why I’m glad I’m doing Pinocchio. I love doing outreaches like this, and I love doing shows that either have good social messages or shows that approach people. Because I think opera is a very transformative art.”

Help us welcome back Taylor-Alexis Dupont to her hometown.
That’s right, although she’s lived in Orlando since her toddler days, our marvelous mezzo was born right here in St. Pete. “I’m like a local with an asterisk,” she laughs. “They’re both my home cities.”

 

Pinocchio is a 55-minute show, in English, with live accompaniment. Public performances are at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16; 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22; and 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Opera Central.

tery with just a piano and a person?”

 
This event was momentous because Dupont, who’s returning to St. Pete Opera for the third year as the title character in our Family Series show Pinocchio, had avoided opera, and art songs and anything classical, until she began her freshman year at Florida State University.
 
“I was performing a lot in musical theater in high school,” Dupont reports, “and taking voice lessons at the same time. My teacher said ‘Your voice is kind of operatic; have you ever thought about that?'”
Her answer? “No way, because whenever I saw opera I thought it was boring, stiff, dull. I had these expectations of Bugs Bunny singing Wagner. Or, you know, Pavarotti and the Three Tenors. Kind of unattainable and unapproachable.”
Fast forward to 2019. Dupont, with a Masters in Voice from the Peabody Conservatory, has appeared all over the world – and she’s performing Pinocchio during a break from a stint in Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The acclaimed revival, starring Eric Owens and Angel Blue, was onstage in September and October, and will resume come January.
Dupont is a member of the estimable Porgy chorus – that’s not an easy gig to come by. Serious singing chops are required.
And yes, her head is still spinning. “I’ve been to plenty of shows at the Met before, but actually singing on the stage where countless artists that you’ve admired over the years sang, and walked the halls … just the history of it makes it so much grander.”
 

Understandably, her take on opera, and the spells it can cast, has significantly changed. “It’s a very hard art, but it’s very much worth it,” she says. “And I do think it’s quite approachable, which is why I’m glad I’m doing Pinocchio. I love doing outreaches like this, and I love doing shows that either have good social messages or shows that approach people. Because I think opera is a very transformative art.”

Help us welcome back Taylor-Alexis Dupont to her hometown.
That’s right, although she’s lived in Orlando since her toddler days, our marvelous mezzo was born right here in St. Pete. “I’m like a local with an asterisk,” she laughs. “They’re both my home cities.”

 

Pinocchio is a 55-minute show, in English, with live accompaniment. Public performances are at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16; 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22; and 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Opera Central.