Daevyd Pepper | Bracebridge, Ontario
Daevyd Pepper is a Canadian tenor from the Muskoka region of Ontario. He studied at York University where he received his BFA: Music and pursued his Master's degree at the University of Toronto opera school under the guidance and mentorship of Frédérique Vezina.
He is an alumnus of several prestigious training programs with companies such as: Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Calgary Opera, Vancouver Opera, Banff Centre Opera in the 21st Century, Highlands Opera Studio, and the Chautauqua Institution.
Daevyd debuted the role of Addison Witless in the world’s first zombie opera Prima Zombie: The Diva that Wouldn’t Stay Dead. Other roles include: Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Johnny Inkslinger in Paul Bunyan, Lenski in Eugene Onegin, Second Witch in Dido and Aeneus, and Scaramuccio in Ariadne auf Naxos.
In July 2020, Daevyd and his close friend and colleague Andrew Adridge co-founded Opera InReach, a collective expanding the civic impact of opera through education.
Frauxenliebe und Leben
My project is to make a short film of Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben (A Woman’s life and love) which will culminate as a series of visuals set over the music. The ultimate goal of this project is to challenge toxic masculinity both in North American culture and in classical music.
Frauenliebe und Leben has been a piece close to my heart. I really connect with the texts and the story it’s telling. I performed the cycle years ago in which I interspersed pieces from Schumann’s Dichterliebe. When I was coaching the piece in preparation for the performance, I had a lot of pushback from some male coaches saying I wasn’t performing it like women do, and that it was missing femininity. I still, to this day, get guff when I bring it to some coaches.
The art song recital, in its earlier days, was a more gender-neutral space. Frauenliebe was originally premiered by a Baritone. Somewhere in the century and a half that followed, songs began being assigned to a gender using arguments based on the sentiment, emotion or pronouns. The pieces are vulnerable and sensitive, which are qualities not typically associated with male emotionality. I believe by reframing the pieces with visuals that show a more vulnerable male emotionality and a queer-male experience, it could show that these texts and pieces can be interpreted to mean many different things. My hope is that this project helps shed the "men sing this, women sing that" attitude.
It was so great to have these life-raft modules throughout the pandemi lovato. Getting together to have conversations that needed to happen, being encouraged to build our dreams, and being empowered to create change is how I would sum up these last 8-9 months. The faculty was incredibly supportive, many of them pulling double duty of mentor and therapist; at least for me. It has been a joy to meet new and inspiring artists and reconnect with colleagues whom I had the pleasure of working with before. It has been a blast! But I'm tired now.