Back again in Barcelona

I can’t believe it has been so long since I’ve made an entry into this journal. In many years, during the summer and early Fall, I have had a long break in order to catch up on life and my career. It seems, in many ways, that I’ve been chasing too many things all at the same time over the past six months. And now, here we are in the early throes of December and the end of the year is quickly approaching. It’s time to look back, at least a bit, at what all has been going on.

As I write this, I’m in Barcelona, Spain once again. I haven’t been here in over three years--it doesn’t seem that it has been that long ago. I’ve spent a lot of time here over the course of my’s one of my favorite cities. The weather has been warm and mostly beautiful (a nice change from the cold and snow that is hitting the midwest). I’m here for performances of “Elektra”. It is an outstanding production by the late Patrice Ch
éreau (his last production before he passed away in 2013). What a strong and wonderful cast!!!! Excellent singing and acting all around. And what a treat to get to perform once again with Franz Mazura who is now 92 years old. Franz was in my Metropolitan Opera debut way back in 1989. I’ve always enjoyed working with him on various projects. He still commands the can’t take your eyes off of him.

This run of performances goes through December 23rd. I’m looking forward to getting home for the celebration of the great Feast of Christmas. This will be our third Christmas in Wichita, a place that truly has become home for us. With all of the traveling and busy nature of the lat 6 months, each landing back in Kansas has been most welcome. I had several trips to Wolf Trap this summer and did a little performing there amongst all my activities as the Artist in Residence at Wolf Trap Opera. I also had a trip to Miami to teach and perform (along with Christine Goerke) as part of the Wagner Institute at the Miami Music Festival (Boy, was it hot). I’ll be returning to Miami in the summer of 2017 to help lead the program.

I also made my annual trip to Yale in October to work with the singers of Yale Opera. I think the current group of singers in the program are some of the most solid singers I’ve heard there. Excellent! Such amazing talent.

I also had a trip to Portland, Maine to sing “Bluebeard’s Castle” alongside Michelle DeYoung with Robert Moody leading the Portland Symphony Orchestra. What a great night that was! It’s always nice to be back in beautiful Maine.

The Fall semester at Wichita State University has been exhausting in some respects but so rewarding in others. We quickly kicked off the year with auditions for our Fall opera, “B
éatrice et Bénédict”. I have been teaching a bit of an overloaded studio as well. And, this Fall, WSU hosted the Regional National Association of Teachers of Singing convention and auditions. I helped serve as a Co-Registrar which required a lot of time and energy. I was pleased that my students did so well in the auditions. Multiple other auditions, performances, and recitals have filled the calendar in Wichita...and on it goes.

Things will get even more hectic at WSU in the future. Beginning in the Fall of 2017, I will be heading up the Opera program. I’ve got a lot of ideas and hopes for the program. It will be a challenge (but lots of fun) to see all of that unfold.

Challenges and busy days are all fine...but they don’t mean much if you don’t have a purpose for it all. So what is my purpose? I ask myself this kind of question often. I will always try to do the best that I can with the talents I’ve been given to enrich others. Only with that goal can I find that I’m fulfilled as an artist, teacher, and man. OH, I will never say that music is the most important thing in my life. Faith and Family come far before a career as a musician. For me, it has happily always been this way. One must always keep what is important at the forefront and then everything else will find its order in the sorting of life. When the activities become too numerous, the stress of a singing engagement a bit heavy, the fatigue from travel a bit overbearing, and the doubts as to what the importance of it all become troubling, I have to remember that I have been blessed with certain talents and abilities that allow me to “just do it” and the perseverance (and stubbornness) to not give up. I’m thankful for that. Without this, I wouldn’t be fulfilled. Success would not have occurred in any area of my life. One must not give in to the things that keep us from being our best...from best serving others...from best serving ourselves...and, most important, from serving our Great God. Sometimes, it just takes awhile, and the right attitude, to get it all done...but with perseverance, much can be attained. Just look at the Chicago took 108 years...but, obviously, as was shown once again...perseverance, patience, and determination were rewarded---abundantly!