Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Arrival at Marlboro

After arriving back in the states roughly two weeks ago, I was knocked out by a stomach bug that had me in bed for about a week. That left me with a week to start learning the music I was to begin working on here in Marlboro, to stress out about how to financially deal with moving to New York City sometime this summer, go to a wedding in Fort Collins, visit with Jeremy and some friends at Wolf Trap (where they have begun a highly entertaining run of John Musto’s comedic opera Volpone - all the best to cast for the run of the show - and I had the pleasure of finally meeting ACB, who is truly a lovely and special person and musician), spend some quality time with some very close friends from home who live in DC, and repack my bags for my next stint of travel (six weeks at Marlboro and a week back in Germany). Now, my two weeks off feels like it was a five minute coffee break.

Happily, Jeremy is on a mini-break from Wolf Trap and was able to come up with me here for the first ten days of the festival, allowing us some much needed quality time together.

I arrived in Marlboro Sunday evening, and it was like hitting a brick wall. It is so peaceful, lush and beautiful out here. We are surrounded by so little, and all there is to focus on is music and the nature around us. After traveling through so many fast paced, big cities over the last 2 years performing a staggering amount of new repertoire or auditioning (Houston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Frankfurt, Paris, London, St. Louis, Memphis, Washington, DC), being in this remote, quiet, small place that centers itself around the idea of making music for music’s sake feels like I’ve gone from driving a speedy 80 miles an hour to staggeringly slow 5. While I was shocked by the change in lifestyle and pace, I am finding myself totally reinvigorated and inspired to work in a way that I have not been since being an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan, when everything felt new.

Photo by Jeremy Frank

Friday, June 08, 2007


Rather than do something productive during my layover here in Detroit (like reply to all the emails in my overflowing inbox), I've decided to play with the blog a little. I just recently discovered this whole "new Blogger" business, and the new toys it provides. It's provided the most amusing diversion this last half hour.

Let me know what you think - I'm not really married to this, but I think I kind of like it. But I need objective opinions to be sure. Just be nice - it is a picture of me, after all.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Tonight's Ariodante was an incredible send-off. Everyone was in good voice and really on point tonight, and the audience was the biggest and most responsive we have had yet. It was immense fun!

Of course this means that my experiment of "daily" posts (I was almost successful!) has come to an end. The thing that I've learned is that I really enjoy forcing myself to write, even when I don't want to. In the end, I always feel like it's a rewarding endeavor. So, I will try to keep my posts more frequent from now on...I'm sure I'll lapse at some points as this adventure continues, but everything goes through it's ups and downs. Either way, I am going to make more of an effort to stay regular, so to speak.

In the meantime, if you are interested in reading more about other singer's adventures in Europe, check out my friend Ryan's blog, OperaDaddy. He is posting daily right now as he represents the US at the Cardiff Singer of the World competition these next couple weeks. It's a really exciting experience (I got to represent the States back in 2003), and his insights into it all are quite fun to read.

Off to bed now and then to the states tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Getting ready to go

I successfully avoided packing a single thing today. This means that I will have to pack tomorrow, but it will be a good way to kill time and relax at home before the final Ariodante tomorrow night.

It’s a good sign when I’m reluctant to leave a gig. It generally means that I’ve really enjoyed myself, which is always the hoped-for goal.

I always love my time here in Germany, which shocks so many people when I say that. They always ask me, “Isn’t Frankfurt boring?” or “How can you stand the Germans?” or other equally obnoxious things. I love it here. Life is relaxed, the city of Frankfurt is close to everything and has a lot of charming places to eat and hang out, you can walk everywhere, the cities and the countryside are lush and green, and Germans are truly lovely people. They take care of their land and are very respectful and genuine in nature. I also love singing over here because I really feel like my music-making is appreciated. That always helps a singer feel an affinity for a place.

The other aspect that I am sad about is putting Lurcanio to rest for awhile. I really love singing this music – every time I get a gig to sing Handel, I have the distinct feeling that my dreams are coming true. He is my favorite composer. Plus, I have waited a long time to perform this role – I covered it my first year in the Houston Grand Opera Studio and have been anxiously waiting for the chance to actually perform it ever since. So this run of shows has been doubly exciting for me in that regard. I hope it is not too long before I get to sing his exciting and beautiful music again.

All this said, I am really looking forward to coming back here in a couple months for more Handel – Jonathan in Saul at the Kloster Eberbach as a part of the Rheingau Musik Festival – and to five weeks of what promise to be amazing chamber music making at Marlboro in between now and then.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Blind Flying

I’m honestly not sure why I do this, but I have it set up so that I receive my daily and weekly horoscopes sent to me by email every morning. Perhaps it’s because some part of me believes it’s true, or maybe it’s just that it’s fun to fantasize that the stars and planets will align, and that it will all have something to do with me. Either way, I get a kick out of them normally, and they are fun aspect of my morning emails.

Today, the following was waiting for me in my inbox today:

“Don't get ahead of yourself by trying to figure everything out just now. In both your business and your personal life, you could still be flying a bit blind.”

The phrase, “flying blind”, really appealed to the catastrophic side of my soul, and I thought to myself, what awful thing is going to happen to me now? I immediately gravitated to the danger and the terror of the expression. Then I realized that perhaps it’s not such a bad thing. Sure, “flying blind” is risky and scary because of all the unknown factors, but unknown and unexpected aren’t always bad things. Sometimes good news is unexpected, too.

I hope to be flying with clear vision soon, though.

Missed again

I am totally amused that I am completely incapable of managing to write a post everyday for two weeks. Yesterday just got caught up with social events, and now the day is gone, with no post. I feel like a bad parent. Like I said, time always feels like it folds in on itself and like I never have enough of it as I near the end of a gig...

Off to Cologne today to visit Nadine and use up the last day of my Eurail pass. I'll try to be back with another post later tonight.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

After the break

Ariodante 3 happened today, and it was quite the adventure. Six days had lapsed since the last performance, and trying to remember what came next was scary at times. My brain is running out of my ears now, between standing on stage for practically the entirety of the four hour show (ah...opera in Germany...) and frantically trying to remind myself what to do when. Judging from the audience reaction, it was a good show, nonetheless, and they seemed to enjoy themselves. The show was a great exercise in staying in the moment, to say the least.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


I've basically spent the last couple of days catching up with friends who live in the area. Aaron, my friend who lives in Heidelberg, gave a beautiful performance of Dover Beach Thursday night, and afterwards we went out and celebrated with some of his colleagues at the opera there. Today, my friend Nadine came down from Cologne to hike around Frankfurt with me for the day. We ended up having a lot of fun with my camera, taking lots of pictures. I always seem to take a lot of pictures when I am here in Germany, bringing out some sort of photographer that I never knew existed inside me. As lonely as all of the travel that this profession seems to require can be, I feel really lucky that I am able to see my good friends all over the world with some sort of regularity.

Ariodante number 3 is tomorrow...Our one and only matinee.


My apologies for missing yesterday's post...I actually sat down to write it at one point yesterday, but decided that cleaning up my apartment was a more pressing matter for my psyche. And then, before I knew it, it was today. I'll put up another post later today to try to make up for it. I really am enjoying this little experiment, and I would like to keep it up for the period that I committed to.