Houghton College student Julian Cook ’13 performed in the professional Cedar Rapids Opera production of “The Merry Widow” this past January in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The show, based on an operetta by Franz Lehar, presented two performances on January 13th and 15th and was broadcast live on Iowa Public Radio. Cook played the role of Kromov, a military councilor from the fictitious land of Pontevedro.
As a music major with a vocal emphasis, Cook was thrilled to have the opportunity to perform with and learn from the opera’s many professional and talented singers, including the show’s stars, Austin Kness (of the San Francisco Opera) and Laura Pederson.
“It was one of the most exhilarating artistic experiences I’ve ever had,” said Cook. “It was a total experience – educational while being intensely motivational.”
Cook auditioned for and was accepted into the Cedar Rapids Opera Young Artists Program while he was home in Chicago, Ill. last October. It was through that program that he was chosen to play the role of Kromov. Rehearsals for the opera began on December 27, 2011 and continued until the show’s closing.
His performance in “The Merry Widow” was a first step for Julian in his plan to make a career in opera music. He is thankful for his time at Houghton College and for the faculty of Greatbatch School of Music “for preparing me for such a role and such an experience.”