Preparing to Ring

The last time I wrote an entry into my journal I was in Toronto. We had just opened a great production of “Siegfried” at The Canadian Opera Company (COC). What a wonderful run of performances that was. This was the beginning of a 5 month stint of nothing but Wagner on my plate. It’s a good thing I have a big appetite.

I’m currently in Washington, D.C. where we have been preparing complete Ring Cycles for over 5 weeks. We still have another 3.5 weeks of rehearsal ahead but things are looking very good and I’m excited to open the first cycle on April 30. Three cycles are slated. After all this work, I wouldn’t mind if we sang many more cycles than that.

Of course, presenting Wagner’s Ring is a enormous task for any opera company. I’m thrilled that The Washington Opera, a company with which I have a very long history, decided to present the cycles. The planning and preparation has been in the works for years. In fact, the first installment of this production, “Das Rheingold” was performed in 2006. “Die Walk
üre” came the next season and “Siegfried”, two years later. “Götterdämmerung” was not presented here in D.C. except in concert form. Financial issues appeared which prohibited the completion of the Ring along the Potomac. The San Francisco Opera, however, finished the project and presented this production, complete, in 2011. Now, D.C. is having the chance to see the finished project with a largely different cast with many changes.

With the Ring, the changes can be enormous. In Bayreuth, for example, the Ring is nearly in a “workshop” state as the directors and artists return year after year in order to fine tune, make changes, and truly develop the cycles into a finished project. There is just so much to rehearse and “get right”. I think that the changes we are making will be exciting. I think the audience members, who are already so familiar with this story, are in for a real treat. I know I simply can’t wait.

I did get a two week “break” in February between my time in Toronto and my arrival in Washington. I was able to teach at Wichita State University. I also enjoyed some family time and all the busy activities that comes along with daily life. I was pleased to have four students give recitals (which required extra rehearsals) during those two weeks. We also enjoyed watching a lot of basketball.

College basketball season, however, ends today--I always hate for the season to end. It’s the best time of year!!!

But, most important, over these past several weeks, we have had the observance of Lent and the great celebration of Easter. The joyous liturgy here at The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was spectacular and moving. This great church has always meant a lot to me--especially when I realized that the upper church was completed on the day I was born. Whether you worshipped in a grand Cathedral, a small parish church, or in some other locale, I hope that you will continue to celebrate our Risen Lord throughout the year and every day of your life.