Top Five Actors who Crossed Over to Classical Music

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

We were a bit shocked when we heard that 1980s teen heartthrob Valerie Bertinelli was conducting a recording of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and for good reason. It was an April Fools joke. If it were true, however, the "Hot in Cleveland" star wouldn’t have been the first celeb to leap from the screen to concert hall or vice versa. Here are our five favorite examples of the multitalented people who’ve made that jump between the world of acting and that of classical music.

1. Anthony Hopkins

The venerable actor Anthony Hopkins was age five when his mother bought him a piano, with the hope that he would be come a famous musician. Hopkins had a greater love for composing than playing, but ultimately, acting won his primary attentions. He never stopped composing, though, and in 2011, when Hopkins was 73, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra recorded his debut album of his works.


2. Dudley Moore

The late Dudley Moore is best known in the U.S. for playing the developmentally arrested title character in the 1980s classic, "Arthur." Before he was one of Britain’s most famous comedians, Moore was an accomplished pianist, a skill he occasionally flaunted to both farcical and exquisite effects. In fact, Moore was regarded as primarily a jazz pianist before he earned fame as part of the comedy revue, “Beyond the Fringe.”


3. Damon Gupton

Damon Gupton has starred on television (the short-lived "Prime Suspect") and Broadway ("Clybourne Park"), but before he packed his bags to come to New York as an actor, Gupton was an assistant conductor at the Kansas City Symphony, where he held the back up baton to Christoph von Dohnányi.


4. Lucia Micarelli

Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music–trained Lucia Micarelli had no acting experience when she was approached to audition for a role on David Simon’s television show, "Treme." And she had no intention of trying out until a horrific injury to her hand caused her to rethink the offer. The violinist is now better known for her turn as Annie Tee on the series than for her musical collaborations with Jethro Tull and Josh Groban.


5. Emmy Rossum

New York native Emmy Rossum embarked on her classical music career at seven as a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s children’s chorus. But she became a household name with roles in movies such as "Mystic River" and "The Phantom of the Opera," for which she combined her vocal and acting skills. Since then, Rossum has continued to straddle the music and acting realms by releasing albums while starring in Showtime’s "Shameless."


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Comments [4]

irene newman

Rosa Ponselle went from vaudeville the Met in the matter of, what, a YEAR?

Apr. 12 2013 03:44 PM
Glenn Thomas from San Diego

Hoping to get this to Anthony Hopkins for music-ed funding for at risk kids

Apr. 12 2013 01:42 AM
Betty G.

Alan Corduner--Studied as a classical pianist. As Sir Arthur Sullivan in "Topsy-Turvy" he conducts and accompanies the actors during rehearsals.

Apr. 11 2013 09:06 AM
Holliday from Purchase, NY

David Ogden Stiers -- Major Winchester on M*A*S*H. I believe he conducts now.
Alec Baldwin -- Voice of the New York Phil on the radio

Apr. 10 2013 06:03 PM

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