New and Old Roles

The past few weeks have been beyond hectic. Just over two weeks ago, I was thrilled to return to the Washington Concert Opera for the first time since 1989. Although my face is seen regularly in Washington, D.C., it has been way too long since I’ve performed with this organization. The performance was of Beethoven’s “Leonore”. Now, I’ve sung the opera “Fidelio” over 100 times. However, this was the first time I performed in the predecessor to Beethoven’s great opera. It was extremely interesting to see how the opera evolved from the original version to the opera we’ve come to know so well. One had to be careful not to get the versions backwards in your mind when trying to sing the music that was familiar but not all together the same. I so enjoyed this event and being back in Foggy Bottom.

I came home to Wichita and immediately dove into continued music rehearsals for our Spring Opera, Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito” at Wichita State University. This was the first time I have been so heavily involved on the production side of a creation. Rehearsals began in January and the students worked VERY hard these past two months. The results were astounding. We wrapped up the run yesterday. I have to admit, it was strange for me to see my name listed in the program but not on the cast page. And, as of this Fall, that will be the case more and more as I am taking over as the Director of Opera at Wichita State. I look forward to programming interesting productions and challenging the students. I look forward to both staged and non-staged productions...all with the intent of helping to educate our young singers, train them both musically and dramatically, and entertain the audiences of Wichita and beyond.

We at WSU owe so much gratitude to Marie King, our current Director of Opera who has held the position since 1997. Before her, my mentor, Dr. George Gibson, held the position for nearly 30 years. Taking on the position, that has only been held by two extraordinary directors over the past half century, is a daunting task. Our program has turned out some outstanding singing actors including Sam Ramey, Joyce DiDonato, and so many others (and I’ve been known to perform a bit as well). The challenge is huge...but I’m very excited about all that lies ahead.

Tonight, I updated the “Calendar” section on my website. I am thrilled to share the information regarding the performances this Fall with The Cleveland Orchestra. As part of their 100th Anniversary Season, they have decided to bring back some of their favorite programs of the past century. I am so happy that they have decided to revive our “Cunning Little Vixen” production from 2014. What a GREAT spectacle it is!!! And, to top it off, we will take the production to Vienna and Luxembourg.

I’ve added a few other items to the schedule as well...I’m so happy and blessed to be able to continue in these various roles. Educator, Director, and Singer....and full time Shocker fan!!!