Growing inch by inch

It’s hard to believe that it is January 31 here in Toronto. It nearly feels balmy with the temperatures in the mid 40s. I could handle winter remaining like this for the next few weeks as we finish up the “Siegfried” run here in Canada. I’m looking forward to a few weeks away from the stage and spending time again in my studio at Wichita State before heading to Washington, D.C. and a long awaited Ring time period.

We sometimes, as singers, expect perfection. I constantly have to remind myself, and my students, that perfection does not belong to this earth. We have to allow ourselves to have singing experiences that aren’t our best. We can’t be afraid to fail. It is the difficult times that teach us the most. It is through struggles that we grow. Maybe that’s why I’m 6’5”.

I’ve had plenty of times, as a singer, when I’ve had to re-evaluate what I’m doing vocally and technically to make sure the growth continues--especially after performances that aren’t up to just what I’d like for them to be.

We had a fine opening night last week. Wednesday’s performance was a GREAT performance--one of my best I’ve had on this role. Last night, well, it just wasn’t my best. It wasn’t a catastrophe by any means. Act 1 and Act 2 went very well. For some reason, Act 3 was just a harder experience--it happens. So, I take time and take stock to evaluate that performance. Was I cutting the vowels off too much? Was I pushing? If so, why? Was I not prepared mentally? Was I singing bel canto? All of these questions will run through my mind over and over until I step onstage again.

I evaluate every performance--the good ones and the ones that aren’t as good. I want to know WHY stuff happens. When nights go well, I want to know what made everything tick. When things are more of a struggle, I want to not leave things to chance--I want to dig in and make things better. We are not machines. Great nights happen---tough nights happen. The trick is to be as even as you possibly can and work for consistency. Some nights are easier than others.

I’ve always said that I will sing until I have nothing left to learn. I may be singing for a very long time.

Talking with Singers

It’s a VERY cold morning here in Toronto--Snow fell over night. Winter is finally taking a firm grip on much of North America. It’s a perfect time for Wagner Opera.

Rehearsals on “Siegfried” are going well. I am greatly looking forward to opening night, Saturday, here in Toronto at the Canadian Opera Company (COC). I think, in the past, I’ve found that Der Wanderer was the role that concerned me the most of the three Wotans. Now, through experience, I’m finding that vocally it fits me better at each outing. Obviously, you can’t really separate these three guys as they make up the complete Wotan (We just need someone to write an opera that shows what Wotan was like as a child/youth---now wouldn’t that be something).

Here’s a link to a video interview that was just put together here in Toronto by Jenna Douglas at “”. I had a blast with her and am pleased with how it turned out. She did a great job editing the interview and caught a lot of the highlights. Sometimes, I get talking so fast and have so much to say that you wonder what actually makes it to the final product. This one turned out well.

Stay warm. Go Shockers!!!