"Siegfried" coming together

This is my second go around in the last 5 months with Der Wanderer in Wagner’s “Siegfried”. This production in Seville (the other being in Munich) is very interesting as it uses a great amount of video and other special theatrical tricks to tell the story in ways that haven’t been seen so often in The Ring. The production was first seen and heard in Valencia about 4-5 years ago. I’m glad that Seville has decided to remount it and that I am having this opportunity to be a part of it. Rehearsals this week have been difficult as we are spending most of our time with the orchestra. These are always rehearsals that are looked forward to. However, with the repertoire, the difficult singing, the full orchestra, and the length of the opera itself, it makes for more exhausting hours on stage than when rehearsing “Don Giovanni”, “La Boheme”, or many of my other favorite operas. We will, in a week’s time, have nearly 28 hours of orchestra rehearsal. That’s a lot of time with the band.

Other than that, things are going well in Seville. The sun has been shining spectacularly this week even though things have cooled off to some degree. However, it beats having snow (like they had yesterday back home).

Barber in the House?

Well, as most of you know, I wouldn’t need a barber for my own beautification (I’ve been “doing” my own hair for the most part since 2001--of course, there isn’t much hair to “do”). But, as I’m in Seville, Spain, I thought it necessary to somehow include “Barber” in one of my posts. After all, I am an opera singer and the “Barber of Seville” is one of the first operas in which I performed. But it occurs to me how many other operas take place in this wonderful region of Spain. And what a gorgeous setting this city is for opera, literature, and art in general. Even in the darker days of mid-November, we feel sunlight on our faces. The gorgeous buildings see shadows dance even more dazzling on their facades and the cobbled streets have leaves brushing their surface with even more colors. The orange trees, which are EVERYWHERE, are full of fruit although it will be awhile yet before it is ripe enough to eat. Ah yes, Seville!!! I love this city.

I was first here in 2007 for “Fidelio” and enjoyed that experience with my colleagues so much. I remember attending the bull fights at the famous arena just blocks from my apartment. And, of course, that coliseum is a setting for the final act of “Carmen”. What tradition and history this city has!!! And my landlady has a son, of the tender age of 16, who is studying to be a matador. I have to tell you---if one of my sons wanted to do this, I’d lock him up until I was in the grave. Wow--it’s scary.

I arrived on Monday to begin rehearsals for an interesting production of “Siegfried”, my second crack at this opera this year. I had one performance as the Wanderer in Munich in July. The rehearsals have gone very well so far and I look forward to seeing how it all looks when we get it together. I have a few old colleagues in this production as well and so it’s nice to work with them again.

And I love the Catholic culture that permeates this wonderful city as well. The Cathedral and other churches are just stunning. The art work contained inside is moving and inspirational. There are so many wonderful places to stop in, during my daily walks, for prayer and meditation. I could get used to Andalusian life pretty easily. It’s great to be back.

What a week

Well, it’s been quite a week. We wound up an extraordinary run of “Elektra” in Chicago this past Tuesday night and then a long trek towards the east coast began. Our incredible Diva, Christine Goerke, travelled with me which was a great joy (and loads of fun). We made it as far as Toledo before continuing our trek into Hurricane Sandy. The actual storm had died down a great extent but we did travel through wind, rain, and snow.

Upon getting home, we were about 48 hours into a power outage that lasted another two days. I am so grateful that things have returned to normal in our household but feel so bad for those who are still struggling. In fact, Christine, who lives in New Jersey, is still without power in her household. I do hope that all those who are without electricity will get it back very quickly. And my prayers are with all those who have lost so much in this horrible storm. Reach out and help others as you can. Recovery is going to take awhile. We are also grateful for those who reached out to us and to our friends who allowed us to shower and get cleaned up a bit when we were getting to the point of not even being able to stand being around ourselves.

This week, I’ll just be “Dad”. After having so much time on the road the past few months, it’s nice to devote my time to the home front. I’ll be headed to Seville, Spain in about a week and am looking forward to being back in that beautiful city. “Siegfried” awaits once again in a spectacular production that I’m sure I’ll enjoy writing about in the weeks ahead.

Stay warm and stay dry!