Local singer finds success in opera

A 2006 Sandy High School graduate is moving farther from his roots as he moves up in the world. by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Spencer Lang performs in Rinaldo, by G.F. Handel, with the Curtis Opera Theater.

In August, Spencer Lang will move to Zurich, Switzerland, for his first full-time employment position in the International Opera Studio with Opernhaus Zurich. Lang, 26, will travel a nine-hour time difference away from his parents in Sandy, Gary and Meri Lang.

“So far as I know, my parents are both tremendously excited and also terrified for my move to Switzerland,” Lang said. “I feel pretty much the same way. It’s going to be hard for all of us for me to be so far away, but I think my mother would actually murder me if I turned this gig down just so I could stay closer to home.”

After graduating from high school, Lang decided to go Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., where he originally declared a major in piano performance.

“After a few months, I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life — spending nine hours a day in a practice room isn’t exactly my idea of a great time — and I decided to switch to vocal performance,” Lang CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: CHRIS CARLISLE  - Lang

He also considered a degree in English or anthropology, but he might not be traveling to Zurich if he did.

Lang graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 2010; he then went to New York to get his master’s in music and vocal performance.

Lang is now studying at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He will receive professional certificate in opera performance in May.

He has been hard at work rehearsing for “La Cenerentoia,” an opera by Rossini, which will be performed May 1-4 at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia. Lang said it is one of the most challenging vocal roles he has ever sung. “It’s very high, and demands great technical skill.”

Before heading to Switzerland, Lang will tour Europe with the Curtis Institute, visiting Paris, Valencia and Berlin. After that he will return home for a short time before singing in the Marlboro Chamber Music Festival in Vermont in July and the first part of August. Then his journey will take him to Zurich.

Lang’s mother said he showed an interest in singing when he about 5 years old. “He came home from kindergarten and said ‘Mommy, I want singing lessons,’” she recalled.

But Lang said he never really thought of it as a career. “I sang in choirs and musicals all through high school, and even participated in some solo competitions, but considered singing to be more of my ‘fun’ music than my ‘work’ music. Now, it’s completely the opposite,” he said.

Meri Lang said she is happy her son found his way into opera. “This is absolutely what he should be doing.”

Right now, Lang doesn’t know what his long-term future will be. But he hopes eventually to establish a good enough relationship with a few opera companies and be able to settle down somewhere to start a family. “Or maybe I’ll raise a traveling gypsy family and we’ll tour the world and live out of suitcases!” he said.

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