Laid off chip maker takes up opera

February 9, 2011 7:52:09 PM PST
A San Jose man who was one of the leaders in chip making design has reinvented himself. In 2004 Silas Elash was laid off from Sun Microsystems when they downsized. He decided his passion and hobby could become his profession.

Four years earlier he started taking singing lessons with his daughter, trying to encourage her singing career. But the voice teacher said he had a voice that should be trained and that he could become a professional singer.

Three years ago he joined Opera San Jose, first as a member of the chorus, but the opera directors knew he had something special and he was quickly made a featured performer. He has done 14 operas for the company.

"I practically had to reprogram how my brain works to do this because being an engineer, being so mental, it sort of stops you and when you're an artist you have to be able to flow through things," said Elash.

He says he is using the engineering side of his brain to write a book on voice, what it takes to be a singer. And that seems logical since there is a connection between math and music.

Elash is now appearing in the opera's production of "The Barber Of Seville" which opens Saturday for eight performances and runs through February 27.