Valentine's Day/Ash Wednesday/The Pope

Valentine’s Day is here. Once again, I’m away from my sweetie---that’s pretty normal for my lovely bride and me since this is routinely a very busy time of year for an opera singer. Fortunately, we were able to send greetings to each other early this morning (1:00 am) and then had a brief chat at mid-day. After nearly 31 years of marriage, I still rejoice at my wife being my beloved and friend. However, we don’t get too excited about Valentine’s Day. One should express their love to their loves every day and at all times. Oh, if that were only the case.

The performing career requires a great deal from a family. There is so much time of separation. But, we have been greatly blessed with, for the most part, patience and understanding. My wife is an incredible woman who handles the tougher part of our relationship so well. I am blessed.

Tonight, I’ll be spending this day of love, once again, with one of opera’s greatest couples. Our run of “Tristan und Isolde” is about half-way through its run. We’ve been off for 6 days and so I’m really ready to get back onstage. The performance time period has been sort of strange (I remember this being the case this past Spring here in Toronto as well). The first few performances are spread out quite a bit but then things pick up towards the end of the run. We will now have 4 performances of this tough opera in the next 9.5 days. It’ll be a challenge--but we’re up for it.

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and once again we find ourselves in the wonderful time of year known as Lent. This period, from yesterday through the Easter season, is my favorite time of year. From receiving the ashes yesterday (a sign of our mortality) to celebrating the magnificence of eternal life on Easter is simply overwhelming. Contemplating all of this in these weeks is a wonderful exercise. Join me in this!!!

And what a Lent this will be. On top of all the other reflection, we are now presented with nearly unprecedented historical significance within the Church. Certainly, in modern times (like the last 600 years) we have seen nothing like the Pope stepping down from office. You can’t really call this a “resignation” as there is nobody to “resign” to. It will be fascinating, in the coming weeks, to see the procedure develop, the Conclave meet, the ideas expressed and exchanged, and the new Pontiff elected to the Seat of Peter. I’m a bit like an excited child when these events occur. What a Lent this will be--and what rejoicing we will have on Easter Sunday!!!