Hitting a High Note on and Off the Opera Stage
Jordan Leigh Rutter and Vincent Joseph Covatto both say a certain magnetism drew each to the other at Heartbeat Opera’s annual Halloween drag gala in October 2016.
“There was just something about the energy I was getting from this person that was mesmerizing,” Mr. Covatto said of Mx. Rutter, who uses a gender neutral courtesy title.
Added Mx. Rutter, who broke the ice with Mr. Covatto by complimenting him on his astronaut costume, “You meet people and you just know right away that they’re going to be a big part of your life.”
Though the pair had drinks with a group after the event and followed one another on social media, both Mx. Rutter and Mr. Covatto were seeing other people at the time. But as members of New York City’s opera scene, their paths often crossed at the National Opera Center in Manhattan.
Mx. Rutter, a soloist, would come to the building for rehearsals, vocal coaching and auditions, and Mr. Covatto was working in it at the office of OPERA America, an industry service organization. To ensure they saw each other with “regularity,” as Mr. Covatto put it, he would also go to Mx. Rutter’s performances after seeing them advertised on Mx. Rutter’s Instagram.
Mx. Rutter, 31, who was born and raised in Jacksonville, Fla., has a bachelor’s degree in music and performance from the University of North Florida and a master’s degree in voice from the Manhattan School of Music. A self-employed soloist, Mx. Rutter regularly contracts with the American Opera Project and the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Mr. Covatto, 33, is from Grand Island, N.Y., and holds a bachelor’s degree in music in music business from the State University of New York at Potsdam. He is currently the director of leadership services at OPERA America.
By early 2017, both were single. That February, Mx. Rutter asked Mr. Covatto out on a date to watch Mx. Rutter perform in the oratorio “La Giuditta” at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan, then attend a friend’s party in Brooklyn.
“I just remember talking the whole time,” Mr. Covatto said of their time together that evening. “There was just this great chemistry and back and forth.”
Within a month of that date, they had become an official couple and fallen in love.
“Intellectually, I don’t believe in love at first sight,” Mx. Rutter said. “But I think that’s what happened. I just knew that this was going to work.”
[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]
Later that year, in August 2017, they moved into an apartment together in Harlem. After spending that Thanksgiving and Christmas with one another’s families, Mx. Rutter and Mr. Covatto began to discuss marriage.
“The topic just naturally came up because of the time that we were spending with each other’s parents,” Mx. Rutter said.
But it was not until the pandemic slowed their hectic professional lives that they started to plan a wedding in earnest. The couple began discussing ideas and timelines in early 2021 and described their engagement, which took place that August while they were visiting Provincetown, Mass., as more a formality than anything else.
“We had been talking nonstop the whole trip about what we’re going to do for our wedding,” Mr. Covatto said. “So I turned to Jordan and was like, ‘You know, the way most people start telling folks that they should start getting ready for this is that they state that they’re engaged. So can we be engaged now?’”
On Aug. 27, they were married at the HERE Arts Center in Lower Manhattan before 95 guests. Dona D. Vaughn, a Universal Life minister and one of Mx. Rutter’s graduate school professors, officiated at the ceremony, to which Mr. Covatto wore a bespoke suit, and Mx. Rutter, who is of Vietnamese descent, a traditional áo dài dress.
As a nod to their Catholic upbringings, Mx. Rutter and Mr. Covatto structured their ceremony as a Mass, in which David Skeist, the producing director of the theater ensemble Caborca, served as the lector and Annie Rosen, a mezzo-soprano, sang.
Afterward, the newlyweds hosted a family-style lunch at the Italian restaurant Rafele in Manhattan’s West Village. Later, they and their guests reconvened for cocktails at Julius’, one of New York’s oldest gay bars, in the West Village. The couple, both members of the city’s gay leather scene, changed into what Mx. Rutter called their leather “formals” for the evening festivities.
Days after the wedding, they left for a 10-day honeymoon in Provincetown.
“This is going to be the longest break either of us have taken in a while,” Mr. Covatto said. “It’s just going to be nice to have a lot of time with my favorite person.”