Elektra rehearsals in Montréal

I have not sung with the opera company in Montréal since 1995 (“Don Giovanni”). I have been here for a few engagements with the Symphony Orchestra (under the batons of Charles Dutoit and Kent Nagano) but a fully staged production hasn’t come my way in this wonderful city for over two decades. I am thrilled to be back for Richard Strauss’ masterpiece, “Elektra”.

About 18 months ago, I performed “Salome”, Strauss’ first successful opera, with The Philadelphia Orchestra at Verizon Hall in Philadelphia. Yannick N
ézet-Séguin lead those incredible performances. It was the second time I had worked with him, having sung under his leadership in Rusalka at the Royal Opera House-Covent Garden in London a few years before. The experience in Philadelphia was one of those “career highlights” that come our way now and then. When I heard that Yannick was conducting these performances of “Elektra” (Strauss’ second successful opera) here in Montréal, I jumped at the chance to work with him once again.

The opera company has assembled an outstanding cast of fine singing actors. Lise Lindstrom, is a colleague whom I worked with in “Salome” (why does she always get the title roles) in Vienna just over a year ago--wow, did she knock the socks off John the Baptist on those nights. She is outstanding as my sister here in Montr
éal. And, it’s nice to have a tall soprano to sing with during our wonderful scene.

Nicola Beller Carbone was my Salome in Geneva back in 2009. She is such a wonderful singing actress and sings Chrysothemis here in Quebec.

Agnes Zwierko plays our “Mom” as Klytemnestra. She was in the production of “Rusalka” in London as well playing a hilarious Je
ΕΎibaba. Here, her incredible instrument shakes the walls of the rehearsal room. She plays her wretched character so well.

And, my old friend and colleague, John Mac Master, plays our stepdad, Aegisth. We first performed this opera together in San Francisco 18 years ago. How great it is to work together again. I almost hate to be the one, in the opera, who has to kill him.

The production is monumental and is going to be an experience the audiences will not forget--nor stop talking about for a long time to come. If you are near Montr
éal in the coming weeks, I strongly suggest you try to get a ticket.

It has been strange to go from the long hours of sunlight in Kansas to a much shorter day here in Montr
éal. And, even though you know it is the going to be so, I always take awhile to adjust to the French nature of this Province. Things appear so American--but then the language of Montréal throws you a curve ball. The food is great here and it is so admirable to see how they support culture. It is a very impressive city.

Many days are planned in Canada over the next three months with this engagement and the upcoming “Siegfried” at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. I have spent so much time there over the last few years--I’m so happy to be returning. Another excellent cast awaits. How wonderful to be spending so much time with our neighbors to the North.

But, even with these engagements at hand (and in the offing), my mind is turning towards the Spring in Washington, D.C. where a major project awaits. Bring it on...