Final week of "Hoffmann"

Finally, we’ve come to the last week of “Hoffmann”. It has been over two months since we began rehearsals on the show and now we’re down to the remaining performances of this coming Wednesday and Saturday. It has been an incredible run in so many ways and I’ve greatly enjoyed my time once again with Mr. Offenbach. The entire cast and crew have been awesome colleagues once again at The Met and I will miss them when this show ends.

The past two shows have brought some unexpected cast changes due to illness. This is the time of year when we all have to be so careful with our health. With artists working so close together onstage and behind the scenes, it is little wonder that sometimes colds and flus run rampant in the opera house. Last Wednesday saw three covers having to go on. We were down to one replacement this past Saturday. Sometimes, a singer has to sing while ill and that has been the case as well. Let’s hope everyone gets healthy and that we have a strong final two performances of this long run.

We had a wonderful Christmas celebration at Heldhaus. Family visited and we were able to visit friends on Christmas Eve as well. Church services were also enjoyed in so many ways. Yesterday was the Feast of the Holy Family and how wonderful to hear the readings which emphasize the structure and importance of the family. We are greatly blessed in our household. May the blessings of this season continue to reign in all of our hearts.

Let it Snow---in HD

I came to the city tonight in order to be ahead of the storm. With the HD Broadcast to movie theaters around the world tomorrow afternoon, I didn’t want to have to worry about driving in during a blizzard. It will be more interesting getting home after the show. Who knows where I’ll possibly decide enough is enough and pitch a tent for the evening.

It’s disappointing that the weather will keep the crowd down in some venues. It’s hard to believe that D.C. may get 1-2 FEET of snow. That’s probably a lot more than much of that city can handle as it is really a “southern” city. NYC won’t get nearly as much but we will perhaps get between 8-12” in Bucks County. Personally, I don’t think we’ll get that much but that’s what the weathermen are saying.

No matter how much snow we get, we’ll sing the same anyway. It’ll be nice and cozy in our little theater called the Met and hopefully the 4,000 in attendance will be thrilled with what they see--as well as the millions watching around the world. Oh, and there is that little thing called a radio broadcast which will draw in many more. It’s going to be a fun day.

"Hoffmann" continues

It is nice to get into the run of performances (a few performances after opening night). Last night’s performance of “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” at the Met was a wonderful performance to be a part of. Things are really starting to gel and the production is more cohesive each night. We are all having better nights musically as well. I find this is often the case when premiering a new production, especially one as tricky as this one. As I’ve said before, “Hoffmann” is always a difficult piece--it’s basically 4 operas in one. Last night, you could feel that the characterizations, singing, and atmosphere have all jumped up a level. This is truly exciting.

I have greatly enjoyed getting to meet so many people backstage after these performances. Some folks are long time friends. Others are newer friends that I’ve only known a short time or met online via Facebook or other sources. It’s just great to be able to have the short minutes backstage that we share. Being in the opera world has broadened my horizons in so many ways, taken me to places I never would have dreamed, and put me into friendships that obviously were meant to be--just never imagined.
I’m thankful for this.

As I write this, my youngest son is playing “Joy to the World” on the piano. How nice to see the house in full Advent and Christmas mode. Our oldest son is currently on the Pennsylvania Turnpike as he comes home for the holidays with friends from college. We are so glad he’ll be with us for the next 3 weeks.

Tonight brings a great evening. We have the chance to hear an always fun Christmas concert at a local church. Friends will be performing and I know we will truly enjoy the evening. What’s best for me is that I don’t have to sing this evening but can still have my heart filled with song. Yahoo!!!


The rehearsals have finally ended for the new production of “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” at the Met and I’m ready to get rolling--I know my fellow cast members feel the same. It’s a BIG production with lots going on at all times--a feast for the eyes. Let’s hope we can pull together all the loose ends and put on a great show. The run is nearly sold out (if it isn’t already)--we’re very excited. I sang in the wonderful old Met production of this opera--the new production is so different that there is no comparison between the two. It’s great to see the different takes on this incredible piece.

This is my 10th production of the opera. I didn’t even realize I had been in so many different stagings of “Hoffmann” until just the other day. I truly love the score (in all of its manifestations). I’ve done two productions of the piece at the Met and in Hamburg, as well as one production each in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Spoleto, Washington, and Winnipeg. And there have been repeat appearances in some of these productions which is always nice--the rehearsal time period is shorter and one is more familiar with what to expect when you walk on stage.

The cast has been truly great to work with as has all the music and production staff. I’ve always said that I will sing as long as I feel I’m continuing to learn something. I’ve learned a great deal during these last 5 weeks and so I guess there is more singing ahead for me. I’m thankful for that.

We so enjoyed having our oldest son home for Thanksgiving this past week. He’s now back at college preparing for the dreaded final exams for this semester--his first crack at this ritual. We’ll get him home again soon and we’re greatly looking forward to that.