Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Advocate

Yesterday, the Advocate published a profile piece on me in the online edition of their magazine. You can check it out here.

I am really grateful for the opportunity to be profiled in a magazine that I've read since before I came out of the closet. The magazine was one of the first places I saw being gay as a positive and not something that I had to hide or be ashamed of. It was really exciting to read through it yesterday morning, and get to see the final product of the interviews that I gave towards the beginning of the year, when the author was beginning the piece. The only awkward part of all this is that in the time since I gave those interviews, my personal life has changed significantly with the end of my marriage with Jeremy. For those of you who are visiting this blog for the first time because of the article, you can read my brief entry about our break-up here. I just feel that out of respect for Jeremy, it is necessary to direct you there.

While reading the article, I was taken back to last fall when we did get married, and I found it difficult to avoid ruminating over the maze of steps that led to where we are now. One lesson that I have learned is that politics and affairs of the heart do not mix well. Between the pressure of the deadline of Prop 8 and the November election, and my passion for our civil rights it was difficult to discern whether or not I was actually ready to take that step in our relationship. I obviously was not. But, I live, and I – hopefully – continue to learn. I hope that the gay marriage tide keeps moving in the progressive direction it has been since last November's devastating setbacks, and I look forward to a day when it is considered normal for any couple in love to get married.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Deepish Thoughts

Last week, I kept warning the many friends who came to witness my debut concerts with the San Francisco Symphony that I only had "five minutes of glory" in the program, feeling slightly guilty that they were going to sit through the entirety of the concerts just to see me sing. Of course, being a tenor, the thought that they would enjoy the parts of the concert that didn't include me didn't cross my mind until they all expressed their thoughts on the program in my dressing room after.

In actuality, my responsibilities in the Schubert Mass No. 6 in E-flat major amounted to much less than five minutes of glory – it was much closer to about two and half to three minutes of the roughly 51 minute piece. But a glorious few minutes they were. In our second and last rehearsal, Maestro referred to the section in which I sang (the "Et incarnates est" section of the Credo – a trio in A-flat for two tenors and a soprano in this Schubert setting) as follows: "For the audience, there is life before hearing the 'Et incarnatus' and then there is life after hearing the 'Et incarnatus'." After hearing that, a cellist sitting behind me muttered, "Whoa – no pressure…", sending the entire lower strings and myself into fits of laughter. For the rest of the Mass, I sat at the front of the stage in my tails (and in my new suit on Thursday afternoon) listening to Schubert's music and trying to look appropriately engaged and respectable.

The most frequently asked question last week was "what are you thinking while you are sitting up there?" Here are is a sampling, in no particular order, of some of the random thoughts that went through my head during the four concerts:

  • I love this 'Kyrie'
  • There are four people asleep in the center section of the audience
  • Wow, this chorus sounds good.
  • Oh, there's Debbie and Will.
  • Wow, MTT is really committed to everything he does 150%. I could learn a lot from watching this man. It's like he has no fear and his completely and solely focused on the music and how he wants it to be shaped. It's such a calm and yet intensely passionate focus. Amazing.
  • I wonder what the median age of this audience is today?
  • That measure sounded so much like Mahler
  • That passage sounds just like the Verdi Requiem
  • The bass is walking out incredibly slowly today
  • Why is everyone I got tickets for sitting so close?
  • Why is that woman leaving now, of all times?
  • It's so quiet during this pause! No coughing! Who knew it could be possible?
  • I really am looking forward to eating that burger at Zuni tonight
  • I hope I wasn't flat…
  • The ladies of the chorus are always so in tune there – it's so lovely
  • Ahhh…another fugal finish…

Monday, June 01, 2009


There has been a sense of waiting to these first five months of the year. As I have struggled to adjust to all that has changed in my life since the turn of the year, I have been awaiting my chance to run away partly as a longed for escape as well as a chance to physically spur the process of moving on. As we enter the sixth month of 2009 and summer officially approaches, I find myself staring down a very long tunnel as I consider my travel schedule for the rest of the calendar year. In the past, this kind of beginning to a long stint of touring would simply seem depressing to me, as I would find myself dreading the dull ache of missing home for so long. But the paradigm of my life is different now, and I find that while I do still dread the prospect of ache of missing certain people (those people in whom I find my home these days), I find that I now perceive these next months of travel with anticipation and excitement, as well. It's a refreshing feeling, and for the first time I have the sense that I am going to be able to really enjoy and savor the luxuries and benefits this nomadically musical life affords me.

The next six months will see me in San Francisco, Atlanta, Marlboro, Buffalo, Rheingau, Edinburgh, as well as touring through England. Among the musical highlights I'm looking forward to, I'll get to debut with two symphony orchestras and two conductors that I have dreamed of performing with for many years. I'm also excited to continue along my journey of exploring Britten's music by diving into the Canticle V at Marlboro and performing my first Nocturne when I return to the Rheingau festival. And those are just some of the musical highlights. I've got many friends to look forward to spending time with, beautiful places both familiar and unfamiliar to see, a couple of stints of mini-vacation that I've built in to my schedule, and the excitement of finding a new physical home - all in all, a lot of things to look forward to with happy anticipation. Also, there are all of the unexpected surprises that come along throughout an adventure to look forward to, as well.

Today is the first day of travel, as I head off to spend some free days in San Francisco before my debut with the San Francisco Symphony next week. Let the adventure begin…