On the Road with Nicholas Brownlee

The Atlanta Opera: How do you balance getting into character in each production while making yourself comfortable in a new city? 

Nicholas Brownlee: I actually think this could be the hardest part of the career: Getting settled in a new city. I always find the closet Target, subway and pharmacy immediately, that always helps me feel acquainted with the area I am in and…it’s TARGET.

What do you think of Atlanta? Any particular place, meal, or adventure stick out so far?

This trip to Atlanta has been different than most gigs for me as I was born and raised in Mobile, AL and frequented Atlanta often. However, I have discovered some wonderful different places this trip. There was the best brunch of my life at Rise and Dine (across the street from emory). If you don’t go there and get the quinoa grits (I know, I know I had the same reaction but trust me!) you’re missing out! In addition to the great eats, I am fairly confident I could happily live in the Lenox mall.

One would imagine that constant travel could strain your voice, as well as your mental and physical fortitude. Any thoughts on keeping in good health on the road?

As my colleagues like to often remind me, I am still quite young so it physically doesn’t really hit me that hard, however, mentally it can be tough. Being away from loved ones and your own bed takes its toll. To get through that, my motto is “sprout where you are planted.” I always try to get out into the city I am in and really take in the culture – it helps tremendously in feeling like you’re not in a new place every six weeks and doesn’t allow you to lament the people and places you miss.

What’s the first thing you do when you go home?

Crash into my bed like its a pool in August.

What is your craziest travel story?

Oh boy, what a question. There have been many but the wildest was when I traveled to China, which was first trip out of the country…ever. I landed and wasn’t able to speak English to anyone for two days, somehow managed it and ended up having a great time there! 

What are the 5 things you must have when you travel?

I don’t think I have any “must haves”. I HATE packing and I always tell myself: “I’ll just buy it there if I forget something.”

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