Thursday, November 30, 2006


I drove most of the way back from the airport in silence Monday night before I even thought to turn on the CD player in the car. I was almost numb, and even though my mind rambled, I don’t remember much of what I was thinking. I worried about Jeremy’s flight arriving safely back in Houston, mostly – totally irrational, since I had a greater chance of crashing my car on the highway on the way home. I think it was just my mind’s way of distracting itself from that sadness of saying goodbye.

Our weekend together was wonderful. Thanksgiving involved a lot of good food and was split between friends (some old and some new) and my brother, who spent the holiday with his girlfriend and her very sweet family. Friday night, we had a romantic dinner at home, complete with candles, a fire in the fireplace, and a tasty new recipe in the oven. Saturday was the opening of Poppea – a success, I think. Sunday and Monday were spent together, roaming around Los Angeles, a short walk on the beach at night, a moment waiting for the appointed time to leave for the airport, and then capped with a sad drive to LAX.

When we are together, it is all so easy. We laugh, we fight, we make-up, we cook, we go to nice meals, we watch movies, we have mini adventures together, we play Trivial Pursuit. Time flies. When we are apart, we both complain at times of being lonely and bored. I realize I am oversimplifying this here, but the amount of time we spend apart is tough. I watch some singer-couples deal with it and manage to stay happy together, and I watch other singer-couples make the choice to part ways, because it is simply too much to bear. There seems to be no formula, although at times I wish there was one. Other days, I am grateful that we are forced to live our lives in the moment, and enjoy the process of life day by day.

I am so glad that we ended up having the weekend together – we were unsure of how much time we would have together while I was away on this gig, so I am grateful that we had as much as we did.

In the meantime, I’ve only got about two and a half weeks to go here, and all I have to do in that time is make beautiful music with great colleagues and enjoy this incredible city of angels.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The First Poppea

At the end of the final dress rehearsal on Wednesday night, the cast assembled for the curtain call in a rush of quick-changes and a frantic effort to get into the proper order in the dark. The lights came back up on stage, and we traipsed out in order, joined hands, and took a company bow. As I looked down the line of colleagues on either side of me, I smiled and felt my heart rush for just an instant as I realized that I was taking a bow with so many of the musicians I have looked up to all of these years and who have been heroes to me in so many ways.

This experience in Los Angeles has been one that I have been looking forward to for almost a year now – mostly because it is my first opportunity to sing this music that I love so much (this is my first foray into the realm of Monteverdi), but also because of the cast and team that are involved. I have looked up to these people for years. I own these people’s CDs and have listened to them countless times. I have seen these people perform and marveled at their ability to tell stories and share the essence of what it is to be human with their voice. I have marveled at their ability to bare their soul and create stunning moments of beauty. Now, I am here, creating right along with them.

As I prepare for the opening performance tonight, I am reflecting on how humbling and inspiring these past few weeks have been for me, and how honored I am to share the stage with these colleagues tonight and through the rest of the run.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The day of the turkey

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Being a day of thanks and all, my mind is drifting back to my musings on gratitude again... I have so much to be grateful for: incredible friends, a wonderful family, my sweet Jeremy, beautiful music to make, great colleagues, my health, among so many other things. I am in awe of it all, actually.

I wish you all peace, happiness, health, and good food today.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


The long wait is almost over – Jeremy arrives tonight.

I should have spent the day cleaning our place to make it spotless for his arrival, but the truth is that Levi and I have been mostly at the theater as of late, so the house is in pretty good shape. Instead, I spent the morning looking at listings on Craig’s list of apartments in the cities we are thinking about moving to after Houston, fantasizing about out future together.

Later, I went to see The Fountain, a movie about a man's journey to save the woman he loves from death. During one of the scenes in which Rachel Weisz’ character is in a hospital bed and desperately trying to say goodbye and reassure her husband that she isn’t afraid to die, I found myself thinking that I hope that Jeremy is there with me as I make that transition one day (hopefully far in the future). Morbid, I know, but an interesting mini-realization nonetheless. It made me question all the time we spend away from each other – our time on Earth is so short, and our time together is even shorter. How do we balance our need to make music like we do and our passion to be together? How can we make it so that both needs are met all at the same time - so that one does not preclude the other?

I trust a solution will make itself clear sometime soon. In the meantime, I cannot wait for my brother to drop Jeremy off at the theater tonight, so I can hold him in my arms.

Article on the Gays

Check out this article by Oliver "Buzz" Thomas, printed in USA Today recently.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Front Porch

I haven't had a front porch since my sophomore year in college. I'm enjoying having one again while I'm here in Los Angeles. This is the view.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Some Business Items

I’ve made some changes to the blog, as you might have noticed as of late. Remember all that unstructured time I had on my hands here in the city of angels? Well, I actually am attempting to put it to good use.

One of the projects I have had going is trying to put together a professional website, which my designer and I hope to have finished quite soon. A preview of what is to come is located at the link “My ‘Official’ Website”.

Another addition to the general links section is Laura Claycomb’s Young Artist Corner page. This is part of Laura’s professional website devoted to advising young singers. There is a lot of valuable advice here, and it is worth checking it out.

I’ve also added some links to some more people’s blogs. As before, there are links to my little brother’s blog and OperaDaddy, a singer friend of mine with hilarious insights on fatherhood and being an opera singer. The new additions are a link to the concert (another singer’s blog about her adventures in this business/artform - I greatly admire her honesty and courage to be genuine), a link to AJAR (a good friend’s blog about his thoughts and musings as he settles in San Francisco), and a link to Kim Witman’s blog at Wolf Trap Opera.

Also, after going to my high school “cluster” reunion last weekend and reconnecting with some teachers who were so important to my development as a thinking human being and artist, I have been reminded how important it is to acknowledge those people and institutions that shape and form so much of who we are and what we do. Two of my musical mentors have passed away within the last three years, so I’ve been thinking for some time now about how those that educate us are blessings not to be taken for granted. So, as homage to the educational/training opportunities I’ve had, I’ve posted a set of links to the various institutions where I have trained. Perhaps they will be helpful to someone on their path.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

True Confessions

I have a confession.

I did not vote on Tuesday.

I am ashamed to admit this.

I understand that this makes me a hypocrite – I preach to people all the time about the importance of making your voice heard and our civic duty to uphold democracy. Jeremy and I have gotten into heated debates about the importance of voting. He contends that his vote is wasted in Texas. I contend that it is of the utmost importance to the survival of democracy to have that single vote cast, regardless of where. I think he is being defeatist. Regardless of what I think, at least he voted on Tuesday.

The reason (excuse) I did not vote on Tuesday is this – according to the state of Texas, my voter registration application was postmarked one day too late (October 11). I discovered this when I called to get an absentee ballot. I distinctly remember dropping the application in a blue mailbox in Houston around 1:00pm on October 10, on my way to catch a plane to New York City – so much for the reliability of the US Postal Service. In their defense, there were bad storms that day.

I was relieved to watch the results of the election come in Tuesday night with my roommate and was overjoyed to hear of Rumsfeld’s resignation as I walked out the door to rehearsal yesterday morning. My inbox was flooded with rejoicing emails from friends, ecstatic about the news. People were in great moods in rehearsal. But this morning, as I tried to sleep in after a night out with my roommate, I was dragged from my dreams into reality by the angry voice of conservative radio talk show host, Dennis Prager, emanating from my neighbor’s radio, located not far from my window. He was raging on about the liberal agenda and asserting that they had conducted a smear campaign against conservative candidates. I wish that I had awoken to NPR instead, but it dispelled the illusion that our nation is of one mind about the political situation now. While this is a huge step in the right direction, much remains to be done. It is just the first step. A change in power has occurred, but I sincerely hope that this is more than just a change in color on a chart.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Arriving and getting settled in a new city is always a daunting task, but my normal “adjustment-funk” is just a bit harder to shake this time than on past trips. Again, part of the reason is that I was expecting Jeremy to join me shortly after I arrived here for a two to three week period, and those plans have been disrupted. The other part of the reason is that we staged most of my scenes in the first three days of the rehearsal period, and now I have been free of a schedule for the past five days. Unstructured time scares me.

I am grateful that I have a roommate here in LA (and therefore have someone to come home to) – my friend Levi, who is one of my colleagues in the production. I am also grateful that my brother and his girlfriend have also recently moved down here. It’s especially nice, because my brother and I seem to growing out of our childhood sibling rivalries as we grow into our adulthood, and it is a nice opportunity to get closer to him and his girlfriend (whom I like very much). Randomly, I am also grateful for the fact that my high school had a reunion in Huntington Beach the other night – it was a small affair, but it was a nice excuse to go for a drive and catch up with some teachers and classmates that I have not seen in a while (and, no, I did not grow up in the LA area, my school just does these "cluster" things from time to time since so many people move away – many people have asked me that when I tell them about the reunion).

While at the reunion, my high school director, Jim, informed me with his usual bluntness that I “need to update (my) blog more often”. So here I am, rambling away and trying to catch you all up on my life. I’ll admit, I have felt quite blocked lately, and I’m not sure why. I’m avoiding projects and practice like a madman and occupying my time feeling lonely and sorry for myself. They say that the best cure for a block is to simply (as Julia Cameron puts it) “show up at the page”. I figure if I list some things to be grateful for and just write something down, it will help me get out of my little funk and step back into the creative flow. We’ll see. In the meantime, I apologize for the lack of profundity and focus in this post, and I thank you, Jim, for giving me the kick in the ass that I need.

(the photo above is of me from my debut in Frankfurt - the photo is by Monika Rittershaus)

Saturday, November 04, 2006


It is late. I am tired, but I am not ready to sleep. My schedule has been fucked up for the past two days, because I have not managed to get myself out of bed before noon lately. They have not rehearesed my scenes for the past couple of days, so I've had a couple of free days in a row. Life is so easy with a schedule – I feel so aimless without one. Odd, since so much of my life is unscheduled.

I think that part of the problem is that I was planning on having Jeremy with me here in LA for a large chunk of my time here – plans have changed very unexpectedly, much to my disappointment, anger, and frustration. So much of our lives are spent apart – I was looking forward to a reprieve from that pattern here. Oh well, we will be ok. We will hopefully see each other soon enough for a few days, but I miss him terribly anyway.