On the Record - Ted Soluri


Principal Bassoon Ted Soluri (Irene H. Wadel & Robert I. Atha, Jr. Chair) details how his love of opera came to be and how vocalists have affected his musicianship.  We also talk about musicals, Madonna, and how working at Disneyworld was one of the best jobs he ever had. 

Listen to the interview and explore the music below



MOZART: Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492 

Act 2:  "Signori di fuori son già i suonatori" 

“This was the first opera I saw live.  To me, opera prior to that was listening to opera broadcasts that my grandmother would listen to and to me it just sounded like a lot of screaming.  When I first saw Figaro, and realized that it was so funny, I couldn’t believe that I was laughing at an opera.  It just seemed so incongruous to me at the time.  Now with age, it’s funny.  But I was completely blown away by the piece and it left a lasting impression.“

Regarding 2:20 into the selected track: “It’s incredible writing.  The counterpoint, the harmonies… every time I play it I smile, I want to cry a little… it’s just so amazingly written.”

Maria Callas: La Divina 

Saint-Saëns: Samson et Dalila  "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix" 

“Callas was a very polarizing figure in the classical music world, especially for sopranos, because she was someone who was much more concerned about the art as a whole, and the role and the acting, and everything that goes into it, whereas there had already been a long history of being more about the voice and the singing. The voice meant everything.  When you listen to [Callas], sometimes the voice isn’t amazing, but the artistry is impeccable in every note, every phrase, with everything she does… 

It took me a while, because being from a place where you’re used to all of the beautiful voices and then going to her, I thought ‘I don’t know if I can do this’.  But the more I listened, the more it affected me, and the more it affected my playing.  My ability to sustain the ends of phrases and control the bassoon more than it controlled me.  I learned all that from listening to her.”

“In My Life” and “A Heart Full Of Love” from Les Misérables  (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

“This is an interworking of these three characters that all know each other but are experiencing things very differently.  How they wrote those interwoven lines is really beautiful.  The singer, Frances Ruffelle, who sings Éponine, that’s who I really want people to listen to in the track. Listen to how she uses her voice and how she expresses her anguish.  It’s so powerful in her presentation of it. I think a lot of it has to do with the quality of her voice.”

Madonna: I’m Breathless

“There’s something really provocative about [Madonna] in general, I mean, it’s what she made her career on…

[Vogue] is very freeing.  When you actually watch dancers Vogueing, it’s amazing.  It’s amazing they can do that with their bodies, but you can also see the empowerment in their faces about how amazing they feel doing it, and I think that’s the whole point of the song.  The whole point is be yourself, strike a pose, show off, be you.  So much of her music is like that.”


Listen to our other episodes of "On the Record"

Lydia Umlauf

Steve Ahearn

Diane Kitzman

George Nickson


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