Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Final TEMPEST in Québec City

Getting ready to leave lovely Québec City.  This is a gorgeous city, and the second year of the Québec City Opera Festival has been a resounding success.  Our fourth and final performance of Thomas Adès' The Tempest is tonight.  It's a spectacular and beautiful production by Robert Lepage (who's from here). The public has been extremely enthusiastic. (but there is a strange absence of Québec too remote for critics? There is an easy nonstop flight from NYC...)  Adès is conducting, and in addition to being a brilliant composer, he's a damned good conductor!  My colleagues have all been wonderful: all great singers, but more importantly, really good people.  In my experience, the era of misbehaving opera divas is largely a thing of the past. Maybe I'm just lucky. My wife Tina (definitely NOT a diva) was with me for the final dress and the first two performances, and it was wonderful.  Since she left I feel rudderless, like a dog who suddenly lost his companion. Kind of pathetic, really.  The role of Prospero is the most challenging role I've ever done. Don't get me wrong: it's a great role, but I'm onstage almost the entire opera, and the first act is constant singing for 53 pages! Plus, it's filled with high A's, G-sharps and G's; as well as low G's, G-flats and a low F; written in every conceivable dynamic from "ppp" to "fff" in every part of the range.  I enjoy using my voice to it's full capabilities, but any guy singing this role will tell you it stretches the limits!  This production will go to the MET in the Fall, where I will be covering Simon Keenleyside - who created the role in London in 2004.  First time I'll be covering a role since 1988, I think.  But I want to get back to the MET after an 8-year absence, so I'm hoping some opportunity might arise??
I can't wait to get home!  But my time there will be short, as I'll be going to the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State.  I will be premiering a beautiful new song cycle for baritone and piano trio called This is My Beloved by my friend Jake Heggie (who will play) as well as other Heggie compositions, some Schubert, and a concert that includes Broadway selections. Should be a wonderful two weeks!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

Cosi Fan Tutte with the New York City Opera was a great experience and we got stellar reviews. Gorgeous weather in So Cal. Enjoying mountain biking in our local hills with my brother-in-law Mark. My students at USC have been very busy with recitals and performances in various operas, and the Spring semester is almost over. I'm boning up on my Sweeney Todd for Saint Louis Opera Theater, and working "Prospero" back into my voice for Thomas Adès' The Tempest in Quebec this Summer. He will be conducting it, so I'm looking forward to that because I saw him conduct in NYC and he's really good!