Saturday night in San Antonio

There are times, when for no other reason, I just want to sit down and write. I don’t have anything “earth shattering” to share tonight. Perhaps I’m just in a reflective mood. Tomorrow we close our short run of “Salome” here in San Antonio. What a spectacular little show we have. It has been so thrilling to be a part of this production as several singers, including our star, are singing their roles for the first time in a staged performance of the opera. There are some real veterans involved and some incredibly fresh, young voices as well. This is a NEW opera company as well--you don’t see all that many of them these days. And, the standard has been set so high for future productions. Opera San Antonio, under the leadership of Tobias Picker has really made a huge splash onto the culture scene. How great to be a part of this exciting time in a great city. Folks have flown in from opera companies all over the country to witness just what San Antonio has produced. Awesome! I was here last January for “Rusalka” in a semi-staged performance--sort of an introductory exercise to what was to follow this month. It’s all very impressive and moving. Art can do that, you know?

The weather, for San Antonio, is very chilly and damp. Of course, much of the country has been suffering through these first weeks of winter. But, believe it or not, I can already feel that the days are starting to be longer again. Spring and summer are coming. Bring ‘em on.

I’ll have a few weeks at home in Wichita before heading to Washington, D.C. Over the years, perhaps no opera company has been more identified with my career than the Washington National Opera. I have performed in around 30 different production in D.C. since 1987. It will be great to be back for “Dialogues of the Carmelites” and “The Flying Dutchman”.

During my time back in Wichita, I’ll be back teaching at Wichita State. I am really looking forward to seeing my students after their long break. I’ve missed them. And, I’ll get to see the Shockers play this week as well when they have a home game at Koch Arena. I can’t wait.

It will be a bit strange heading for home after the matinée tomorrow. I came to San Antonio on December 26, the day after Christmas. My mind was so full of the season. Hitting the road during the holidays is always a tough task--and, it’s something I’ve done often over the past few decades. The decorations, however, have pretty much all come down here in Texas. I hope it won’t be too startling to see them still up in our home when I walk through the door. In Bavaria, the tradition is to leave the trees up until February 2. Maybe we should push for that tradition in Wichita as well. I plan on savoring a few days of lingering Christmas joy and then begin the task of putting the decorations away until next year.

And, speaking of putting things away, tomorrow will see me putting away Jochanaan for awhile. I’ve sung the role in “Salome” in four different productions in the past 9 months. Even I’m a little stunned to think of that. I have become identified with this role. I cherish that identity. I think it was one of greatest roles that Strauss wrote. I’m honored each and every time I get to sing the incredible Prophet’s lines. Alas, at this time, I don’t have “Salome” on my schedule (wow, does that seem weird). But, you never know when I’ll be having to haul out one of my heads to be chopped off yet again. And, I look forward to it.