Alan's Blog...It's all Gesamtkunstwerk to me!

Thoughts from nearly 40 years on the professional stage

January 2008

Happy #125 Birthday, Dear Metropolitan Opera!

Today is the 125th anniversary of the first performance at the original Metropolitan Opera House (Faust). A very big Happy Birthday to one of my favorite opera companies. In my 20 years of being associated with the company, there has never been a day where I haven’t felt honored just walking through the stage door. I remember seeing my first opera at The Met (Manon Lescaut in 1981) with my girlfriend (later my wife) and her parents. This was of course at the new house which opened in Lincoln Center in 1966. I was mesmerized by the theater, the chandeliers, the production, the musicians, and the entire experience. I remember thinking that night that it would be an incredible dream to one day be able just sing on that stage once. Now, after nearly 200 performances of my own on that stage, I am still in awe of the place.

I remember the 100th anniversary very well. I had just finished my master’s degree and was performing in my first production of “Don Giovanni” at my alma mater. I watched the afternoon gala from The Met on PBS before my show and then the end of the evening gala after my performance. It was an amazing day of opera from New York and a pretty incredible day of opera in Wichita, Kansas as well. That production of “Don Giovanni” remains one of the finest theatrical productions of the opera I’ve ever been involved with and it was the first run of an opera that I’ve gone on to sing just about more than any other. It was also that production which really lit my fire and caused me to really pursue singing much more seriously. I had of course already been doing quite a bit of singing, but this show solidified my desire to be a professional opera singer. To think that this happened 25 years ago astounds me. And to think it has now been 25 years to the day since the Met celebrated 100 years, well, I just can’t believe how time flies. I am grateful for music in my life and I’m grateful for The Met. And it is not only the incredible experience of The Met that I’m grateful for---it’s also my many wonderful friends and colleagues who I’ve worked with for years that I cherish---singers, orchestra and chorus members, wardrobe and make-up staff, stagehands, administrators, secretaries--you name it. They are all part of my music family and I wish us all Happy 125th Birthday. One more thing--thank you to all the many incredible singers who graced the stage before my time on the boards. You helped make this company what it is today.