Greetings from Madrid

I certainly didn’t intend for it to be so long between postings. However, as I now find myself in sunny Madrid and with a bit more time on my hands, here goes my first entry since February. Much has happened. To go into a lot of details will take a bit too much time. So, I’ll touch on some highlights and then head out for a beautiful walk in this very busy but stunning city.

March brought the completion of the long engagement in Washington, D.C. as we finished up “Carmelites” and I performed “Dutchman”. It was great to be back with a favored company and with a production that I enjoyed so much from 2008. It was also nice to have family visit for the performance.

Upon winding up the Washington time period, I headed home and back to my studio at Wichita State. It was great to reunite with my students--and it was wonderful to be back in the city as the Shockers defeated Kansas on my first day back in town. I sang in a performance of “5 Mystical Songs” with one of our choirs and also participated in a program that features our incredible organ at WSU. Most of all, it was just great to be working again with the students and with my fellow faculty members. And, the Spring Opera of “Cold Sassy Tree” was performed as well. Very nicely done.

But, May has caused me to leave just before the end of the semester and head to Spain for “Fidelio”. This is my most performed opera. I first sang in this opera in 1988 with James McCracken in the lead tenor role. In fact, I sang in his last performance before his sudden passing later that year. I always enjoy being in Spain, having spent a lot of time here in Barcelona, Bilbao, and Seville. This is my first time back in Madrid since 2001 when I sang Amfortas in “Parsifal”. There is an energy here that I really like--and the sun drenched city is also to my liking. I am happy that I will be working with some old friends and with a very fine conductor. The production looks massive and dark, as “Fidelio” should be. We just need to have the light of freedom prominently displayed at the end.

Over the years, I’ve sung three different roles in this opera. In my first meeting with the opera, I sang the very small role of The 2nd Prisoner. I then moved on to Don Fernando and have mostly been singing the evil Pizzaro in the past decade. I’ve done so many productions of this opera. Thankfully, they all have a lot of similarity. I’ve only been in one production of the opera that I thought was just a bit too bizarre for my tastes--but, even that production came off okay. It is an opera about good vs. evil, light vs. dark, love vs. hate, bondage vs. freedom. Even I rejoice at the glorious finale when I am overcome and beauty wins yet again. Oh, if only real life saw more victorious beauty.

We are still in the Easter season, my favorite time of year. Easter is so meaningful (now, somehow, even more than ever). Perhaps the days of the great Easter Triduum reached me deeper. Perhaps it was because we were celebrating in our new Parish in Kansas. But mostly, it was the joy that we were celebrating, yet again, the source of all good, light, love, and freedom---and, indeed, beauty is victorious--now and forever.