currents

Opera star goes country

By LINDA DROLLINGER
Posted 6/17/20

COCHECTON CENTER, NY — How does a person top a life spent sharing the stages of the world’s great opera houses with the likes of Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo? Metropolitan Opera …

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currents

Opera star goes country

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COCHECTON CENTER, NY — How does a person top a life spent sharing the stages of the world’s great opera houses with the likes of Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo? Metropolitan Opera chorister and soloist Glenn Alpert has chosen to spend his post-operatic career in Cochecton Center, helping people the world over realize their wildest dreams.

How did he hear about Cochecton Center, let alone find it?

“Twenty-some years ago, my good friend [former Tusten councilman] Tony Ritter told me he’d found a beautiful spot upstate and that I should definitely see it. My late wife, violist and outdoor enthusiast Roslyn Young, fell in love with the area at first sight. We started house hunting. When she saw the house on Tyler Hill Road, she pointed to it and said, ‘That’s it!’ I’ve been here ever since.”

Although Young died in 2004, Alpert, his 19-year-old twins and his girlfriend find in that house a haven from the distractions of life in New York City. Alpert’s NYC residence on fashionable Riverside Drive is a short hop north of his workplace, the Metropolitan Opera House (the Met) at Lincoln Center.

On furlough from the Met since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown began, Alpert decided to pursue his own lifelong dream of helping others find their truest selves and, from there, to discover their hidden talents and make their secret dreams come true. That was the career for which Alpert had trained and prepared before fate intervened, landing him a job in the Met’s chorus after an audition open to the general public. Open auditions are a million-to-one opportunity for success. Alpert grasped it, putting his original dream on the back burner for 33 years.

“As of June 1, the Met is scheduled to reopen on December 31; that gives me seven months to prove myself as a life coach,” says Alpert. If his new career takes off, he may opt to retire from the old one. For now, it’s too soon to say. But one thing is certain: Alpert wants to get the new career off the ground. And he wants to do it, at least part-time, in Cochecton Center. Why here? “The scenic beauty of the area, the tranquility of the place, and the healing force of nature are conducive to the kind of reflection instrumental to personal growth,” says Alpert.

What qualifies him to help others live their best lives? Alpert earned his undergraduate degree at Wagner College on Staten Island, where he served as freshman class president, and his Master of Social Work at Southern Connecticut State University. But beyond his formal education, he was mentored by several noted teachers and counselors, each of whom he credits with his ultimate success. He wants now to do for others what they did for him.

He cites two mentors in particular: Arnold Running, choir director at Wagner College, and renowned therapist James Collins. Between them, they challenged him to develop the discipline required for operatic training and the determination to pursue it. The results speak for themselves.

How do you answer skeptics who say that your naturally beautiful voice was the secret to your success? “Joe Volpe.” Huh? “Joe Volpe was general manager of the Metropolitan Opera from 1990 to 2006.” Born into an NYC working-class Italian family, Volpe was first an auto mechanic and later a carpenter on Broadway. He joined the Met in 1964 as an apprentice carpenter, was promoted to Master Carpenter in 1966 and became Technical Director of the Met in 1978. In 1981, he was appointed Assistant Manager of the Met and retained that position for nine years before assuming the general manager spot. He was the first general manager to rise from within the ranks of the Met’s technical crew.

Says Alpert, “Everyone has talents, some more obvious than others. Success is determined by how they are revealed, nurtured, tested and employed. My job is to help people do that.”

Alpert himself has done almost everything legal to earn a living. At one point after college, he was selling T-shirts on the streets of New England. He’s been a voice coach, a tennis coach, a substitute teacher and a paid performer in MTA’s Music Under New York subway system music series.

How do you start a world-class life coaching business in the middle of nowhere? “With single-session introductory workshops entitled ‘A Place To Be Heard.’ Anyone interested can join this two-hour interactive group for a judgment-free approach to personal discovery and self-expression. The goal is to transform self-doubt and negative thought patterns into positive action. I invite participants to bring something personally significant to share with the group. This can be a photograph, poem, memory, or dilemma. In return, participants will receive a gift bag of assorted multi-sensory items and a writing journal to complement workshop activities.”

Alpert’s mantra is summed up in four lines: Speak your mind and you shall grow. Share your struggle and you shall grow. Speak your heart and you shall grow. Share yourself and you shall grow.

How much does world class life coaching cost? “I’m not in this to make money. I’ll probably use a sliding scale fee structure, but I’m open to innovative payment options, like barter or goods exchange. I’ll take milk, eggs, or whatever my clients produce or presently do for a living. No one should assume they can’t afford my services; we’ll work something out.”

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