NORFOLK, Virginia – Opera singer and Norfolk native Frederick Ballentine celebrated a major achievement in his professional career as an opera singer: winning a Grammy.
âThere is something very raw about opera that I don’t think people who aren’t opera singers understand,â Ballentine said. “The voice is so tied to your emotions.”
Ballentine has said he has been singing opera since he was a teenager. He attended Lake Taylor High School and the Governor’s School for the Arts, where he honed his skills.
âWhen that happens, it’s like – first of all, you feel like you’re tearing your vocal cords,â Ballentine said, reciting different musical notes. âBut you also feel that you are tearing your soul apart. It’s so wild. “
His career has taken him to opera theaters in Los Angeles, Washington and New York. Ballentine currently lives in Germany, where he performs professionally and received his first Grammy.
In one video, Ballentine can be seen unwrapping and displaying her Grammy trophy.
âIt was for ‘Best Opera Recording,â Ballentine explained. âIt was for my participation as one of the main, as one of the five main roles in Porgy and Bess, which we did at the Metropolitan Opera. “
Ballentine said her success had not been easy. Ballentine said he was bullied as a child because he loved opera. At the same time, he said he considered it a badge of honor.
âI think they also had a little respect for that,â Ballentine said. “You had to have guts to walk around Lake Taylor High School, like a black kid singing opera, you had to have guts to be that person.”
He first said he wanted a career in law and wouldn’t have thought he would have ventured into opera singing professionally. Ballentine would do mock trials with her family for fun.
Ballentine has said he would like to perform with groups such as the Virginia Opera. For now, he has said he will continue to tour in Germany and Europe.
“I’ll be back in New York to do Porgy and Bess again with the Metropolitan Opera, âsaid Ballentine. “From October to November.”