Congratulations, Charlie!!!

Tonight, at The Metropolitan Opera, a very special era will come to a close. For the past 57 years, we have celebrated the Charlie Anthony era. Charlie (actually, Charles Anthony Caruso) debuted at The Metropolitan Opera 57 years ago and will sing his last performance at The Met this evening as The Emperor in “Turandot”. All who work at The Met have been greatly blessed by this great tenor and friend. I encourage you to check out this link to a wonderful article about Charlie in the online edition of the NY Times:

There is also a video that you can watch of Charlie from a recent backstage interview that he did following the HD Broadcast of “Turnadot”.

Charlie is one of a kind---a real treasure. The history of The Met is so intertwined with his career. He will be greatly missed--but I hope he won’t be a stranger. I wrote a response to the NY Times item and add it here:

I have been so honored to work with so many of the greats in the opera business–Charlie Anthony is right up there at the top of the list. What a treat it is to spend time with Charlie on stage, in the rehearsal rooms, and backstage in the dressing room area. He just simply warms your heart and makes every performance special (and better).
I remember when he sang Borsa in “Rigoletto” and broke the record for most performances at The Met. I was singing Monterone and I couldn’t get over how lucky I was to be on the same stage as him that night. Every instance with Charlie is like getting a history lesson of singing and life at The Metropolitan Opera. And, despite all his history in this wonderful business, he has remained incredibly approachable and just the sweetest guy anyone would ever want to meet.
Charlie is cherished by each artist, stage hand, wardrobe department member, and every body else who has been graced with his incredible smile and spirit. He is truly a Met treasure.
God bless you Charlie!!! Enjoy your Caterpillar Tractor hat and don’t forget to “stop by for tea”.
Alan Held

That final line (“stop by for tea”) is in reference to a line that Charlie always entertained us with during “Die Meistersinger”. Those who have been part of that opera with Charlie will know what I’m talking about.
As I write this, I’m in Munich, Germany for “Salome”---more on that, later. Today is Charlie’s Day.

Week off

It’s been strange to have a week off but it certainly hasn’t meant that things have slowed down all that much. Now, I’m just trying to get the little things of life accomplished before everything gears up again.

This week I drove my oldest son back to college which is about a 525 mile drive each way. I did the trip back and forth in 36 hours which meant that a lot of time (18 hours) was spent in the car. How nice to have one on one time with our freshman. My back was really hurting upon getting home. I used to enjoy driving long journeys but perhaps that novelty has wore off---not to mention that the sloppy road conditions were slowing things down.

I did go to the movie theater with my wife to see the encore HD presentation of “Hoffmann”. How strange it was to watch myself in the opera that has occupied so much time as of late. There were things that I really liked--and some things that I wish I could do over--but that’s not how it is in live theater. I was glad that friends were in the theater as well---and yes, a few folks recognized the villain in the audience.

I attended my jr. high age son’s winter concert last night. That was fun--there is so much talent floating around and it needs to be encouraged at a young age. Another son is in rehearsal right now for “Romeo and Juliet”. I can’t wait to see his school perform the play next month.

This coming week brings my annual trip to Yale to teach a master class as well as to give private lessons. I always look forward to this time in Connecticut--what great students!!! In addition, I’ll be doing a radio program on WMNR radio at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 12. This can also, I believe, be heard on their website.

Two years ago yesterday (January 8, 2008), my niece’s young fiance was killed in Iraq. May God’s continued healing and support be on his family and my niece and may his protection be over all our men and women serving in the military. God bless them all!!!

Wrapping it up

We all met for the first rehearsal of “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” on October 26 and began over 5 weeks of rehearsal. During those weeks, I also had rehearsals and performances in D.C. (“Gotterdammerung”). I made it through a nasty respiratory illness in November as well. We sang the first performance of 9 on December 3 complete with a radio audience. Since then, we’ve had 4 more radio broadcasts as well as the HD broadcast to the movie theaters on December 19. Finally, we come to the closing performance.

I have enjoyed this production so much and working with my colleagues but I have to say, I’m ready to close-up shop on this show for now. A singer likes different projects and challenges. I often start working on the next show on my agenda just as I begin rehearsing the show currently on the schedule. I have to say, I haven’t spent much time on “Salome” (which comes at the end of the month in Munich since I’ve sung the opera so many times) but I will sing it back into the voice soon.

Things slow down just a bit over the next 7 weeks or so which is a welcome relief. I’ll be able to ease into this year a bit more, pull out some new repertoire, spend loads of time with the family, and do some teaching too. I’ll travel to Yale in the middle of the month for my yearly visit (Public Master Class and private coaching/teaching). Also, ahead is a benefit for my children’s school.

But don’t worry, I’ll be back on stage soon. The Los Angeles “Gotterdammerung” rehearsals are just around the corner. Nothing like a near 6 hour marathon to get your Wagner juices flowing again---yahoo!!!

I hope everyone’s New Year is off to a blessed and great start!!!

Happy New Year

There’s only 7.5 hours left in 2009 as I write this. 2010 is just around the corner. May it be a year of joy, great blessing and peace for all.

2009 Professional High Notes

---Geneva, Swtizerland production of “Salome”
---Washington Opera productions of “Peter Grimes”, “Siegfried”, and concert performances in D.C. of “Gotterdammerung”
---Concerts in the Chicago suburbs of “Francis and Claire” and “Five Mystical Songs” to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the Franciscan Order
---Guest lecuturing at two Showchoir of America Camps
---”Les Contes d’Hoffmann at The Metropolitan Opera in New York
---private teaching and serving as an Artist in Residence at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois