"Elektra" rehearsals in full gear

As I very briefly mentioned in my last post, it’s great to be back in Chicago and working on one of my favorite operas, “Elektra”. No, this is not the most difficult operatic role that I sing. It’s good for a singer to have a few roles like Orest in the pocket to help balance out the nights of singing Wotan and The Dutchman. But what a rewarding and beautiful role to sing. I’ve sung this role many times in both staged and concert formats. I’ve sung it in so many different locales. But one thing is always consistent---the opera packs a punch and never fails to thrill an audience.

This will surely be the case at Lyric Opera of Chicago. The rehearsals are going very well and the production looks fantastic. Top this all off with a POWERFUL cast and you can see that this is going to be a major hit. I have worked with some of these singers for a very long time and I’m happy to call them friends as well as colleagues. I’m so happy that all is going well for everyone. Opening night is still 2.5 weeks away---but what an exciting evening I can see it already shaping up to be.

Working with treasured colleagues and friends is always something that makes certain engagements more fun than others. On a rare “double day off” for us, we were able to spend time together out of the theater and had a great time touring the city and taking the well-known Chicago architectural cruise. The buildings here provide a spectacular background for sight seeing. I also had the chance, over the weekend, to spend time with a treasured friend that I haven’t seen for a few years, a Roman Catholic Priest who is one of the finest homilists you’ll ever hear.

Of course, it hasn’t been all play during this first week or so in Chicago. Lots of work has already been accomplished and I’m looking at other repertoire that is for future months as well. The season, however, is getting off to a great start.

Shortest post ever

GREAT to be back in CHICAGO!!!!!!!!! Bring on my crazy sister, Elektra!

Getting ready to get back at it

After nearly two months off, the bags are starting to get packed once again and my mind is moving towards the new season. I have to admit, I get very restless during my “vacations” and it is hard to completely turn off the mind. Music is nearly constantly swirling around my brain and, even though I’m enjoying time with my family, I have a hard time not thinking about logistics, the music that has to be learned, and all of the other various things that a musician takes so seriously. As I write this, the printer is whirling away next to me as I print out some music that needs to be taken with me later this week to Chicago and learned for a concert this coming December.

I am thrilled to be starting my season in Chicago, one of my favorite places on earth (except for the fact that it is the abode of the Chicago Cubs--I’m a lifelong Cardinal fan). The opera, to begin the season, is also a favorite---“Elektra”. The cast is full of friends and it is always great to be back in “The Windy City”. The season is full of challenges. However, I think, in some ways, it is a season that is shaped in such a way that is a bit more sane than the last few have been. And, especially as this is a “Wagner year”, there is plenty of the big stuff thrown in to keep me grounded. I’m really looking forward to this season and to the places that will test my passport (and the domestic performances as well).

In the past few months, I’ve tried my best at just being “Dad”. We’ve done all those things that all home owners do--kept the grass cut, minor odds and ends here and there, and my least two favorite jobs, trimming the bushes and staining the deck---ugh! I took one of my sons to see the Cardinals when they were in Philadelphia (thank goodness the good guys won that night). We went to the beach for a day as well. I was able to coach some wonderful singers in our home as well. But primarily, our summer revolved around preparing our second oldest son to head off to college. The preparations went well and he has had a great first week of classes. It wasn’t so difficult getting our oldest off as he is now in his senior year of college. It’s all sort of “old hat” to him. The dynamics have certainly changed around the homestead--but these are exciting times as well as you see boys become men all the more.

Our youngest son and daughter head back to school this week just as I prepare to head to Chicago. But before that, we’ll enjoy a couple of summer ending gatherings with friends and a few more dips in the pool. After the hot days of July and early August, things have really cooled off but the water on the body still feels good.

In life, we always search for the days that are “normal”---even when “normal” is a concept that is certainly undefinable. With all the travel and with all the strange characters I play, it is indeed wonderful to have these months when we, as a family, attempt to find “normalcy”. Sometimes, we succeed at that more than others. But, for two months, we’ve given it our best shot. Now, however, it’s nearly time to go back to portraying an axe murdering brother of a crazed Greek Princess. Ah, life goes on.