The Metropolitan opera is offering free outdoor concerts in all five boroughs featuring bass-baritone and former football player Keith Miller. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
NY1 - July 2009
By Stephanie Simon
Football Player Tackles The Art Of Opera
Opera singer Keith Miller believes to belt it out, you have to be strong -- really strong.
So whether he's training at the New York Sports Club or with his vocal coach, the former football player tackles opera and physical fitness with the same passion and dedication. Miller was a hard nose playing football for the University of Colorado when he discovered he had a soft spot for opera.
"I took a girlfriend, to see The Phantom of the Opera. I fell in love with it, with the theatrics, the passion of the show," said Miller.
Miller went out and bought lots of CDs and tried to sing along. He also received a little friendly flak from his fellow athletes.
"Well you can imagine, I was a huge sissy pants, and my last couple years of college, I'd listen to "Queen of the Night" before football games, for some reason it just, focused me," said Miller.
After playing arena football professionally for a few years after college, Miller decided to pursue opera singing full time. Today, he's getting ready for a series of outdoor concerts across the five boroughs with the Metropolitan Opera. He believes, as in pro football, you have to be in prime shape to really perform at the highest levels.
"You should be very strong because operatic singing is very hard physical work, people don't know that, it's not singing with a microphone, it's self-amplifying and pumping air enough to make that sound travel to places of 4,000 people or more," said Bill Schuman, Miller's voice teacher.
While staying in shape may seem like a no-brainer for any performer, Miller says he had to convince people that he could work out and sing opera.
"They told me that if I continued to lift, that I would have all this tension in my throat, that I would have, I would be muscle bound basically, I'd lose my flexibility," said Miller.
Instead of listening to those Monday morning quarterbacks, the former fullback is finding his own style of victory on the operatic stage. Miller is singing at several of the Met's free summer concert series which kicks off July 13th.