The Bryans are performing together in the Arizona Opera’s production of “The Sound of Music,” which will be showing at The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall in Tucson on March 11 and 12.
Jonathan Bryan was a sophomore at Louisiana State University when he met his future wife Cadie in 2011.
“This really pretty girl transferred into my studio and it got really embarrassing to not be any good at singing because we had to perform in front of each other,” Jonathan, 31, said. “So I started practicing really hard so I wouldn’t embarrass myself in front of her.”
Speaking to The Copper Courier at the Arizona Opera, Cadie, 29, was quick to reassure him: “You were always good at singing.”
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The pair did not have a longstanding desire to pursue opera—soprano Cadie was accepted to business school before auditioning for the school’s music program “on a whim” and getting in. Jonathan, a baritone, saw himself pursuing singing-songwriting or working in the record industry.
But the couple became enamored with opera, pursued master’s degrees at Indiana University together, and began performing professionally. Cadie made her mainstage debut in the 2018-2019 season with the Arizona Opera, where she spent two years as a Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist.
Now the Bryans are performing together as Maria and Captain Von Trapp in the Arizona Opera’s production of “The Sound of Music,” which will be showing at The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall in Tucson on March 11 and 12.
“[Jonathan and I] are separate a lot of the times,” Cadie said. “This is the first professional gig we’ve done together ever, so of course we’re trying to capitalize on it and see if we can get the ball rolling and do it more often because it’s just been a treat and a luxury.”
The show, which the Arizona Opera performed in Phoenix earlier this month, follows the story of Maria, a young Austrian woman who goes to work as a governess for the widowed Captain Georg Von Trapp’s seven children. At first, Maria’s free spirit and love of music irks the disciplined captain, but they eventually fall in love.
The Bryans said they enjoy playing a couple on stage but have to be aware of how they interact before they fall in love in the show.
“That’s definitely the hardest part for me is going out there and getting stony-faced and trying to look like I have no emotional attachment to this person,” Jonathan said. “I have to really work on my body language and stay tall and rigid.”
A Long Time Coming
By 2018, Jonathan had known for a long time he wanted to marry Cadie—but what he was missing was money.
Then he struck gold. He won the Georgia District of the Metropolitan Opera Competition, got a check for around $1,200, and bought a ring.
While he was with Cadie’s family in Louisiana for Christmas, he waited until Cadie was out of the house to “do the right Southern gentleman thing” and ask her dad for his permission to marry her. He said he planned to propose while visiting Cadie when she was performing “Le Nozze di Figaro” with the Arizona Opera.
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But Cadie’s mom had other plans.
“Her mom said, ‘I can’t wait that long. Let’s do it today.’ And so we just looked up where there was some good Christmas lights nearby and slapped together this thing,” Jonathan said.
The couple encountered another surprise when they set their wedding in May 2020. It was supposed to be a big wedding with a brass band in the French Quarter in New Orleans, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed their plans. They ended up having a backyard wedding a week after the original date at Cadie’s sister’s house.
“My sister and everyone in the family came together and put together something really, really nice for us,” Cadie said.
The Bryans have spent a lot of time apart while performing in shows in separate states, and they said they were excited when they got the opportunity to work in the same place.
“We were just over the moon when Arizona gave us this shot on this one where not only do we get to be in the same show, but we get to be in love in the show and tell our own story a little bit and the story of the characters,” Jonathan said.
Luckily, they already have another gig lined up together. They will be performing in “The Anonymous Lover” at the Atlanta Opera from March 31 to April 2, although their characters aren’t romantically involved this time.
“We’re feeling like our cup is running over at the moment,” Jonathan said.