A look back and a glance ahead

I had planned on writing this year-end summary a few days ago but had the unexpected pleasure of getting to buzz home for a few days and celebrated New Year’s with my family. The rehearsal schedule here in Toronto lightened up a bit which allowed the quick round trip--and I’m grateful for that. But now, I’m back in Canada and enjoying working with a fine cast, director, and conductor. Although we still have most of the month to rehearse, I’m looking forward to the performances of “Tristan und Isolde” with the Canadian Opera Company.

It was nice to have dinner tonight with one of the young artists, a former student at Yale. It has been such a pleasure seeing so many of these young singers go on to outstanding careers. I have very few doubts that the young man I dined with tonight will have a very impressive career. Go get ‘em!!!

I mentioned in my last post that I like to look back on the year and recall my favorite performances from the previous 12 months. 2012 was a very challenging year. There were some very tough engagements. Of course, some performances became much tougher with the broken foot that I suffered last February in London during the opening night performance of “Rusalka”. The second performance of that run ranks up there as one of my favorites of the year---such great teamwork and a joy of performing radiated across the footlights that night and I’m very grateful to a cast that hung with me and helped me through it.

I also recall fondly the performances in Munich of “The Flying Dutchman” and “Siegfried”. The run of “A Florentine Tragedy” and “Gianni Schicchi” in Toronto was also greatly cherished---what a HARD assignment that was. I also greatly enjoyed being in Seville for “Siegfried”--such a lovely city.

BUT--I have to say that the run of “Elektra” in Chicago was the highlight, vocally and dramatically, for the year. Wow, what a show!!! All of the performances were excellent but #3 in that run stands out in my mind. Everything clicked and the audience response was unlike any other I’ve heard in my years in the business. I also enjoyed, during the Chicago time period, traveling to my alma mater, Millikin University, to teach for a few days. When I have the chance to connect singing and teaching, I’m a pretty happy baritone.

OH--and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my 2nd favorite performance of the year. The performance at Carnegie Hall, on December 18 of Berlioz’ “L’enfance du Christ” with the New York Choral Society, is a night I’ll never forget. What made it even more special is that my wife was able to come in to the city with me for a few days. I sang that concert just about 2 days after arriving home from Spain. I’m not sure how I was able to sing through the jet lag--but oh, what a night!

Now, however, it’s on to a New Year with new engagements and challenges. Singing my first Hans Sachs (Meistersinger) in Tokyo will be the biggest task. This is a mountaintop role if there ever was one. I look forward to the time here in Toronto (3 engagements here this year) and to being in Cincinnati for the May Festival as well. It’ll be interesting to see which performance I write about as my favorite when I’m journaling here next January.

May they all be great performances--engaging and entertaining for all of us on both sides of the stage lights.