What a month!

I just realized that it’s been a hair over a month since my last post---oops!! To put it mildly, it’s been a hectic and crazy time but all is well. We are nearing the end of our rehearsal period at The Metropolitan Opera for the new production of “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” conducted by James Levine (as always, an incredible maestro) and directed by Bartlett Sher (fine director--winner of the Tony Award for best musical---”South Pacific”). It has a been a great experience to this point and I have no doubt that we will head into opening night with great energy and a very fine show.

Two days after rehearsals began on October 26, I came down with a nasty respiratory bug. This caused me to pull out of two days of rehearsal (I don’t think I’ve ever cancelled a day of rehearsal in my entire career). It took nearly 4 weeks to completely get over it (and at times, I still wonder if I’ve fully recovered) but I am so thankful that I was able to get through it relatively unscathed.

Just a week or so after the NY rehearsals began, I also had rehearsals start in Washington, D.C. for concerts of “Gotterdammerung” with The Washington National Opera at The Kennedy Center. Some may remember that I was scheduled to perform Wotan in their ongoing “Ring” project--I have been taking part in this for years and 2009 was to bring complete cycles. Last fall, the Ring was put on hold due to financial considerations. This, meant, however, that only concerts of “Gotterdammerung” would survive for this fall and they just happened to fall right when things were rolling at The Met.

So, for two weeks, I commuted between NYC, Bucks County, PA and Washington (on top of not feeling my best). I wondered at times if I’d get through it all but everything has come out okay. The concerts went very well, I was able to get over the bug, and the rehearsals have been productive in New York. As I said, I’m thankful that all is well.

So what can I say about the production in New York? I know that many would love to have advance details---you won’t get them from me. I don’t think it’s right to pass on that kind of information. I can say that this cast is wonderful to work with. It is, for the most part, very youthful--I feel like the old man of the show (even though I’m not the oldest). I can remember a time when I always seemed to be the young whipper-snapper. We’ve all got along just great and it is a very supportive group. This is not always the case in the opera world. There are some major stars in the show as well and some younger folks who will be major stars too. I truly hope this production helps propel them towards those astronomical heights.

As always, when doing this opera, I’m singing the roles that compile the four villains (Lindorf, Coppelius, Dr. Miracle, and Dapertutto). I will say this--I wear a lot of black. Hey, I play the villains--what did you expect?

The show opens on December third and the HD broadcast to the movie theaters/radio broadcast is on December 19.

On a personal note, tomorrow is an exciting day for us. Our oldest son will come home from college for the first time. We can’t wait to see him as it has been over three months since we’ve seen his face and given him hugs. Fly safe, Andy.

On a very grim (and also personal) note, I turned 50 this past Friday. I still can’t believe it as it was only two weeks ago when I turned 27. Wow, has time flown. But I am grateful for the previous 50 years and excited about the next half century. Life is awesome and I pray I’ll never lose the sense of wonderment that greets me most days of my life. Oh, and I heard of a study the other day that said “men with attractive wives live longer”. Well, if that’s the case, I’m going to be around for a long time!

May you all have a blessed and truly gracious Thanksgiving!!!