Weston Hurt is an amazing opera singer. And he shows the world that missing your right hand doesn’t change anything about your talents!
I think Weston is an amazing rolemodel for people with disabilities. Being on stage is not something that’s normal for people with visible disabilities, so for him to just do it, I think that’s great! Still, it shouldn’t be such a big deal… Because missing a right hand doesn’t change the fact that this guy can sing, boy can he sing!
Tell me something about yourself…
I’m a father, a husband, and an opera singer. I sang my first role on stage when I was 18 and I was hooked. Luckily, I am able to live my career in a world of play, exploration, and education.
What are you most proud of?
My daughter, Amelia. She surprises me everyday.
What questions do you get asked the most?
What happened to your arm? Does it hurt?
Which challenges did you face in life?
I was born without my right hand. As a congenital birth defect, I never had to deal with a transition from an amputation. I just learned how to ride my bike or swim or to play video games with the limbs that I have. So, for me the challenge was seeing how others did it and then figuring out for myself how I was going to accomplish the task.
What is your disability?
I was born without my right hand.
What do you want people to know about living with your disability?
That I don’t see it as a disability.
What’s the reason you wear your prosthesis in some productions and in others you don’t?
I wear my prosthesis in most productions simply to portray that character as a man with two arms. When it makes sense for the character to have lost his hand in battle, I choose to not wear a prosthesis. As Nabucco, the King of Babylon, it would make sense that he would have lost his hand in some epic battle. Recently I sang the role of Scarpia in TOSCA at Houston Grand Opera and the director asked me to wear the prosthesis during act 1, but then when I was in my private warehouse in act 2 with Tosca, I removed it ON STAGE! It was pretty awesome and added a level of danger to the character.
What’s the biggest misunderstanding about you?
That I would ever want to be treated differently or helped because of the fact that I’m missing my right hand. I guess that’s primarily a misunderstanding from someone who doesn’t know me but who has assumptions. I think that the biggest thing that people who know me misunderstand or don’t realize about me is that I absolutely experience thoughts of insecurity, feelings of inadequacy, and have questions of ‘why me?’ in regards to my disability on a daily basis.
What do you wish to accomplish in life?
I wish to continue having a successful and busy schedule as a professional singer and to eventually find a faculty position at a University to teach voice and vocal pedagogy. All the while sharing my story and showing that regardless of your disability with hard work and discipline anything can be accomplished.
And finally, what’s the funniest story involving your disability?
I’ve always got a great halloween costume! Just add some fake blood and a tourniquet and voila…
Coverphoto: Elise Bakketun