"FRIDAYS with FRIENDS"

Mischa Bouvier
Mischa Bouvier came to ABS through the inaugural Academy in 2010. He sang the role of Lucifer in Handel’s La Resurezione . His beautiful singing was something that we couldn’t live without, so he was engaged as a member of ABS the following season as soloist in the West Coast premiere of Antonio Lotti’s Mass for Three Choirs in 2011. He has appeared in eight subsequent seasons in performances including the title role of Handel’s Apollo and Dafne , Handel’s Messiah and Acis and Galatea , and Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion .

Mischa is widely regarded as a singer of keen musicality and unique beauty of tone. Praised by Opera News for a “soothing, cavernous baritone that can soar to heights of lyric beauty,” and by San Francisco Classical Voice for an “immensely sympathetic, soulful voice” and “rare vocal and interpretive gifts,” Mischa continues to garner critical acclaim for a diverse performing career that includes concerts, recitals, staged works and recordings. The New York Times summed up a recent performance: “Mischa Bouvier was superb.”

Mischa shares with us his recent experiences, interests, and a gift of his performance of music by Charles Ives.

Get started by clicking on the video:
Would you tell us something about your pre-ABS life that most of us don’t know? 

When I was a senior in high school, I thought it’d be a great idea to get my girlfriend a pet. We’d been dating for a few weeks. I bought a pot-bellied piglet and put him in a cardboard box. She named him Bacon and kept him in a small crate in her bedroom. It wasn’t long before her parents said Bacon needed a new home, so we found a nice farmer who was willing to take him, and my girlfriend’s mother was nice enough to move Bacon there for us. We went to visit him a few months later, and told the farmer that we were the previous owners of the pot-bellied pig. She asked if we wanted to see him, then yelled, “Mis-cha, Mis-cha!” Bacon came running. I wonder often about what happened to Mischa. I hope he’s well, rooting around in the Alabama clay.  

How have you coped with sheltering-in-place? 

I rented a 125 pound, 1-horsepower random-orbital square buff floor sander. Some of my hardwood floors have seen better days, so I sanded them down, cleaned them up, then “slapped” some poly on them (PRO TIP: you don’t actually slap polyurethane, you brush it on with a lambswool applicator, and it takes, like, 400 coats). I’ve also been growing avocado seeds. I learned in elementary school that all you need to grow an avocado tree is 3 toothpicks, a cup, and some water. Yeah, that and months and months of mind-melting patience. I hope to have my avocado farm up and running in a decade or so. 
These days, lots of people are sharing lists of the favorite books, movies, etc. that might be enjoyed by others. Do you have any recommendations? 

I have several musicians to recommend: ​Billy Strings ​is a young guitarist and bluegrass musician. I heard him for the first time at Tipitina’s, then at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival. As an introduction, I’d recommend watching the set he played with Don Julin on mandolin and Kevin Gills on bass for the Logging Road at Pickathon Series. It’s a masterclass in quick picking and ensemble playing. Another suggestion is pianist and singer Jon Batiste​. Check out “I Need You,” the last song in his recent Tiny Desk Concert. I’ll never get tired of it. Also, Indian actor and singer ​Kishore Kumar​ singing “Aise Na Mujhay Tum Dekho.” There’s so much going on in this song, but it still manages to grove effortlessly. Lastly, there’s ​John Prine​, who died earlier this year. To me, he’s the best singer-songwriter of his generation, and each and every song he wrote is pure genius. 
So many musical performances have been canceled recently, but have you been able to take on any new musical projects? Have you delved into repertory that you hadn’t had time to work on before?  

I’ve been exploring unfamiliar Bach cantatas by randomly choosing BWV numbers from a list of cantatas I haven’t already sung. I’ve discovered some remarkable moments, including the opening of the chorus “Leite mich in deiner Wahrheit ” from Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich , Cantata 150, and the tenor and bass “storm” arias (3rd and 5th mvts.) from  Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen? , Cantata 81.  

Are there other ways that you have found to make good use of this time? Cooking? Reading?  

I offered up my “help” to one of my sisters. She runs an allergen-friendly baking company in Florida. I’ve been learning all about nutritional labeling, water loss percentages, recipe costing, retail shrinkage… all that behind-the-scenes food stuff. It’s fascinating. 

Our audiences love you and your performances. And we’re so happy that you love to be with us at ABS. Are there any standout reasons why you look forward to your future projects with ABS? 

There are remarkably talented musicians all over the world, but I always feel like I’m on stage with the best-of-the-best when I’m onstage with members of ABS. They make me better, and, in turn, they make my art better. And that is the most fulfilling feeling in the world.
Mischa Bouvier, baritone & Margaret Kampmeier, piano  
perform an excerpt from "Memories"
Music and words by Charles Ives (1874–1954) • Composed in 1897 
Read more about Mischa at
Links to Mischa's recommendations:
Photo credits: Mischa Bouvier and Jennifer Taylor
Be well and stay well!
from all of us at ABS
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