Meet Jacob Feldman
“I can’t imagine waking up in the morning and having a day where I don’t have to practice or prepare something. I don’t know what else I’d do with my life. If I didn’t go into music I’d deprive myself of being myself.”
Not everyone is born to be a performer. It’s just you centre stage, all eyes staring in anticipation – auditorium lights blinding you, at once keeping audience faces at bay and making your forehead glisten with sweat. You’re ready to pour every last ounce of your passion into this performance. And all this as a 21-year old fulfilling a lifelong dream of being an opera singer?!
Not all of us can say that we’ve experienced this feeling, but Jacob has. Ever since he discovered his unique love for operatic music, Jacob has sought it out.
The path Jacob chose is arduous. There is great pressure to conform to societal norms and look for a stable job with a consistent salary. Jacob recalls when, even his father, a supporter of the arts and of Jacob’s passion, requested that he apply to a degree in actuarial science. “I got in on early acceptance”, he added.
However, Jacob’s devotion to the world of opera runs deep enough that no obstacle is too great to overcome. He holds strong in the face of opposition, knowing that the musician inside of him is worth setting free, and it has already paid off.
“Now, I’ve stuck with it long enough, they see I’m sticking with it. I’m still a normal person, this just happens to be my line of work.”
Jacob’s identity has become inextricably linked to the opera. Acknowledging the necessity of pursuing a career in the field exposed an intrinsic piece of his sense of self. “I can’t imagine waking up in the morning and having a day where I don’t have to practice or prepare something. I don’t know what else I’d do with my life. If I didn’t go into music I’d deprive myself of being myself.”
Despite the pressure to conform, authentic desire propels him to give his all to opera for the foreseeable future. “I’m going to do my best to give this a go for the next 10-15 years. I’m not in it for fame, I’m in it because I really want to do it. It’s an amazing thing to do.”
For Jacob, there is immense meaning attached to this line of work. “I really want to do this. I am very committed to doing what’s necessary to perpetuate my career. The long hours of work and rehearsal… it’s all part of the bigger picture.”
Considering the strong history of Jews in classical music, Jacob is proud to carry on the tradition. “I’d like to see myself as part of that canon, hopefully, and continue the tradition of my forefathers.”
Jacob knows the importance of perspective and is embracing the challenges and successes he experiences. “We all have bad days; we’re all human.” The bad days, Jacob tells, is part of what makes life beautiful. True beauty, Jacob understands, is a composite of all of life’s experiences, and only in remaining true to oneself can one’s inner beauty be revealed.
To those thinking of following their dreams, Jacob says: “Do it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just do it. You have to ask yourself the question: will I be happy doing anything else in life? If yes, then a career in music probably isn’t for you. That being said, it sure as hell is worth a shot.”
Jacob Feldman is 21 years old and grew up in Thornhill. He attended Jewish day school- Netivot Hatorah Day School and TanenbaumCHAT’s Kimel Family Education Centre. He has just completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto and graduated with Honours from the Bachelor of Music in Performance. Along the way, Jacob has performed in numerous shows such as Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Bizet’s Carmen and Offenbach’s Orphée. He also started his own opera company called the Toronto Lyric Opera Centre. Growing up, his family home was filled with classical music, as his maternal grandparents were both passionate about the arts and would do the same in their home.
Having just graduated, Jacob is spending his summer at The Music Academy of The West, where he is one of twenty-two fellows chosen to learn and perform throughout the summer. Next year he will be attending the Royal Academy of Music in London, England for a Master of Arts in Performance.
Follow Jacob’s journey as he begins his master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music in the fall on his Instagram account: @jacobfeldmanbaritone
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Jumans of Toronto is a window into the lives and passion of Jewish young adults making their mark in the world. A 50-part series, Jumans is inspired by Humans of New York. If you’d like to recommend someone awesome to be highlighted, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Adina Samuels