By ANTHONY SPAULDING
Director of Communications
Pope John XXIII Regional High School
Editor's Note: Throughout the year, Pope John XXIII Regional High School will feature alumni who have excelled in life since graduating and have represented our school with tremendous pride. In this new series, called "Lion Pride," we take a look at 1999 graduate Jonathan Scott.
Twenty years ago, Jonathan Scott was just showing his great love for singing and performing in front of small audiences for Pope John XXIII Regional High School
Now, the 1999 Pope John graduate gets to sing and perform in front of thousands of people every night as a full-time chorister for The Metropolitan Opera in New York.
“It’s an absolute dream come true,” Scott said of being a full-time member of The Metropolitan Opera. “I used to be a part-time singer and saw what it was like for those to be in the full-time chorus. I’ve wanted to do that really bad. I’ve always enjoyed performing, but to be able to call that place my full-time job is surreal.”
Before earning his dream job, the 38-year-old Scott first developed his love for singing at Pope John. While attending the school from 1995-99, he was a member of Pope John’s select chorus and the Pope John Players.
“Being in select chorus certainly started me on the path,” Scott said. “I got more and more into singing each year.”
After graduation, Scott attended Westminster Choir College and earned a degree in music education in 2004. Since graduating from Westminster, Scott has put together an illustrious career as a soloist.
He has performed the roles of Figaro in Rossini's Barber of Seville, the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Giorgio Germont in Verdi's La Traviata, Marcello in Puccini's La bohème. In July 2017, Scott played the legendary Italian character Gianni Schicchi in the self-titled one-act opera at the 2017 Narnia Festival in Italy.
Scott has also sung in many of New York’s most famous concert venues, including Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall) and the Riverside Church.
During his career, Scott earned his part-time position with The Metropolitan Opera in 2012. In his first year with the Met Opera, Scott and the entire cast of its Der Ring des Nibelungen, which translates from German as the Ring of the Nibelung, received a Grammy Award at the 55th annual award show for Best Opera Recording. Scott played one of several medieval vassals in the opera's fourth cycle called Gotterdammerung.
But, Scott still had his sights set on becoming a full-time member of the Met Opera’s chorus — something that is not easy to earn because of the limited spots the Met’s chorus has and how great of a job it is when it comes to the realm of performing arts.
“It’s probably one of the most desired singing positions in the world,” Scott said. “Because you get to sing there every day and make a great income, nobody leaves if they don’t have to. You kind of have to wait and hope that someone in your voice part retires or leaves.”
Luckily for Scott, two full-time members of the Met Opera left over the last two years. Then in August, Scott auditioned to be a part of the chorus for another season and he performed well enough to be granted full-time status.
Since being a full-time chorister, Scott has performed in operas such as the Samson et Dalila, Aida, Carmen and Mefistofele. Scott, who is currently performing in Carmen and Mefistofele, said there is a ton of preparation and work that goes into performing each of these shows at a high level.
“I’ve had to learn so many shows within the last few weeks that most of my colleagues know like the back of their hand,” Scott said. “It’s insane.”
No matter how tough it is, though, Scott believes it is all worth it when he gets to be on the world’s biggest stage for opera.
“I’ve been asking and praying for this for the last six years,” Scott said. “I’m finally here and I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity. I’m taking advantage of it.”