Saturday, May 16, 2009

I have been out without word again for a long time! My apologies. The production of Venus/Dido was a huge success. It was a revival of AOT's first production, but with five years of experience to improve upon what is already a very inventive, moving concept. I couldn't have been more happy with the experience, and it was so nice to close a show and then have the company in town the next day for my marriage! Dan and I were very happy to share that day with artists who have over the years become great friends, it was so special.

Now for two weeks I have been in Canada for the past two weeks. I am co-Artistic Director of the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy in London Ontario. This is the first year of the three week intensive workshop for young singers, that focuses on all the arts that go into making opera. It is a remarkably busy period....everyday dance at 8:30, then musical rehearsals, then masterclasses that range from vocal work, professional studies, stage combat, and finally staging 16 scenes in the evening. There are 27 vocalists, 4 collaborative pianists, two stage managers, and an assistant director. I am very impressed with the level of the students, fantastically high and a diverse group of voices. It is allowing me to stage some big scenes. I am doing 9 of the scenes and they are from Falstaff, Figaro, Rusalka, Calisto, Jephtha, Pelleas, Ariadne auf Naxos, Rosenkavalier, and Don Pasqaule. Just wonderful! And we have an impressive list of guests that include Stephen Blier, the famous coach and founder of the New York Festival of Song, and Chantal Lambert of Opera de Montreal, and Timothy Vernon of Pacific Opera. A great group and a great program that is already funded and in the works for next year.

That is keeping me busy though. We did have a wonderful gala evening on May 1st. Due to a family emergency Sophie Roland could not join us, but baritone Ryan de Ryke rose to the occaision, and he and I performed an hour long program of cabaret music, including his now infamous rendition of the Toreador's song from our Le Cabaret de Carmen. I am so appreciate to our wonderful board of organizers: Alex Ledbetter, Dana Johns, Jesse Hellman, and Stephen Campbell. Thanks for a wonderful kick off to AOT's new season...more to come on that this weekend I hope!

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