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by Catherine Zachary

There aren’t many opera stars who can credit their big break to a karaoke performance, but Lucas Meachem can do just that! As the Wall Street Journal recounted in 2015,

Karaoke led to his big break in 2006, soon after he finished a residency for young artists at the San Francisco Opera and began hunting for work.

“I had nothing but opportunity ahead of me—but no opportunities,” he said.

He picked up a gig in Stuttgart, Germany, but when performances were cut back due to a strike, the tenor Paul Groves invited him to spend his extra free time in Paris.

“I knew he was a future superstar,” said Mr. Groves, who had met the younger singer in San Francisco.

On his first night in Paris, Mr. Meachem said he met up with Mr. Groves and a group of opera singers, including the acclaimed mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, who all went out on the town.

“He was so young, he was like this big Labrador Retriever puppy who had bounded into our world,” said Ms. Graham.

After many glasses of wine, the party was mobile.

“We go to this restaurant that is also a karaoke bar. I don’t know French. I don’t know Paris,” Mr. Meachem said. “This is only the second time I’ve been in Europe.” So he stuck to what he knew and belted out his version of R. Kelly’s ballad, “I Believe I Can Fly.”

“He blew everyone away,” said Ms. Graham. (Read the full WSJ story, here.)

There’s a saying that opportunity is preparation plus luck. Well, Meachem had years of preparation, and now he had found the luck. That evening of karaoke turned into a huge break for Meachem a few months later when a replacement was needed for famed baritone Simon Keenlyside on a project in which Graham was involved at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Having only heard him sing karaoke, Graham still trusted that Meachem was just the man for the job. After successfully stepping in at the Lyric, one gig led to another and another and another for Meachem.

Preparation plus luck equals opportunity.

From 'the sticks' to opera top bill, thanks to karaoke

Lucas Meachem is one of opera's rising stars, recently completing a stint as a male lead in "La Boheme" at New York's Metropolitan Opera — and karaoke was key to his success.

Posted by AFP News Agency on Sunday, March 18, 2018


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