Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Waves and Rehearsals

Last night's performance of 'Breaking The Waves' at Opera Philadelphia was fantastic.  The piece packs a powerful punch and is full of beautiful music, and I was moved to see some very beloved colleagues and friends give such riveting, rich and real performances.  My dear friend Kiera Duffy is phenomenal as Bess, the main character of this tragic tale.  It was hard to hold back the tears when congratulating her last night - I'm so unbelievably happy and proud to know her.  It's always such a joy to be so inspired by one's colleagues and watch them soar.

Silly #selfie with this #genius who was visiting in rehearsal today. 

She is magnificent in 'Breaking the Waves' at @operaphila - 

so proud to know this amazing woman and artist. 

#TouringLife#friends #belovedColleagues#PuttingItTogether

Speaking of inspiration - today's rehearsals of Mozart's 'Great' Mass in c minor with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin were also inspirational.  So many details, colors and nuances were explored in today's rehearsal - it was great fun to be able and be encouraged to explore the many intricate corners of this stunningly beautiful piece.  I've been looking forward to this week of concerts here in Philly for a very long time, because I've been suspecting that this would be a very special set of forces with whom to perform this piece, which has so much chamber music-like writing for the soloists and the orchestra.  Getting to work on it with such sensitive and musically-playful soloist colleagues (all of whom I have enjoyed the privilege of performing with in various places before), such an attentive and present maestro,  and this legendary orchestra has turned out to be even more of a treat than I had anticipated.

Fingers crossed I manage to sleep a bit more tonight than the few hours I managed last night - the Japanese jet lag is still kicking me in the would be nice to not have to drink quite so many cups of coffee to get through the day tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

From the City of Brotherly Love

I've had this nagging itch to write more regularly here the past couple of months.  I've ignored it as best I can, but I'm slowly realizing that I need to pay attention to that insistent, prodding voice/feeling.  So, I think I am going to try to post daily for the next little while.  I can't promise anything profound, but it's about time for me to start writing more again.  Plus, I have a lot of ideas and news that I hope to share on here over the next few months, so why not get into the practice of it all again?

It's been a rather densely packed time lately, and (thankfully) it shows no signs of letting up for another couple of weeks.  In the last 6 weeks, I've toured Bach cantatas and masses through many of the Bach cities in Germany, revisited some Scarlatti with my dear Philharmonia Baroque colleagues at Tanglewood, mounted our fifth Collaborative Works Festival in Chicago, and made my Asian debut performing and recording more Bach cantatas in Japan.  Just yesterday, I found myself getting off a plane here in Philadelphia, where I am excited to be for a week of Mozart with the Philly Orchestra.

Good evening, Philadelphia #TouringLife #HotelViews #Mozart

It felt fitting to land just in time for last night's presidential debate here in this city in which our great nation, for all intents and purposes, was born.  Watching Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spar with each other while sipping my anxious feelings in the hotel bar, I had the distinct feeling that we are, as a nation, on the precipice of an important turning point in American history.  I really do believe that this great experiment in democracy has the potential to change dramatically (and perhaps collapse in on itself) depending on the outcome of this upcoming election.  For me, last night's debate only highlighted just how great the threat our democracy (and the world) faces in November truly is.

Here we go... #debates

I find myself with an unexpected free day here in Philly, which is fantastic.  It allows me some extra study time to continue preparing for next week's Stravinsky adventures back home in the Bay, as well as an opportunity to catch the much raved-about 'Breaking the Waves' at Opera Philadelphia tonight.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Simple Songs

Tonight is a special milestone, as the 5th annual Collaborative Works Festival opens tonight in Chicago.  The annual vocal chamber music festival is presented each year by Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, an organization devoted to the preservation and promotion of art song and vocal chamber music that I co-founded with two amazing colleagues, Nicholas Hutchinson and Shannon McGinnis, back in 2010.

Having been a part of launching and growing this Festival for the past five years has been an incredible privilege that has affected me deeply, most notably focusing and honing my artistry - enhancing my passion for this art form with a deep sense of mission.  As we go into tonight's opening concert, I am deeply grateful to my phenomenal co-founders Shannon and Nick for all that they do to make this organization grow year after year, working with the army of world-class artists, incredibly generous donors, amazing board members and advisors, and devoted volunteers that we have been lucky enough to call the CAIC family.  It's been an beautiful and exciting journey so far, with the past five years seeing inspiring performances from my colleagues, magical educational moments, and exponential audience growth all combining with the overwhelming generosity of our supporters to build a much-needed platform for this exquisite, intimate art form.

It seems only fitting to celebrate this 5th anniversary with a song - with one that was a featured part of last year's Festival, but also which encapsulates all that we have been trying to do over the past five years at CAIC - to sing simple songs.

Here's to reaching 5 years, and to looking forward to the many more to come.

Leonard Bernstein
Simple Song from 'Mass'

TEXT (Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Schwartz):

Sing God a simple song:
Lauda, Laudē
Make it up as you go along:
Lauda, Laudē
Sing like you like to sing.
God loves all simple things,
For God is the simplest of all,
For God is the simplest of all.
I will sing the Lord a new song
To praise Him, to bless Him, to bless the Lord.
I will sing His praises while I live
All of my days.
Blesed is the man who loves the Lord,
Blessed is the man who praises Him.
Lauda, Lauda, Laudē
And walks in His ways.
I will lift up my eyes
To the hills from whence comes my help.
I will lift up my voice to the Lord
Singing Lauda, Laudē.
For the Lord is my shade,
Is the shade upon my right hand,
And the sun shall not smite me by day
Nor the moon by night.
Blessed is the man who loves the Lord,
Lauda, Lauda, Laudē,
And walks in His ways.
Lauda, Lauda, Laudē,
Lauda, Lauda di da di day.
All of my days.

Nicholas Phan, tenor
Robert Mollicone, piano
recorded LIVE at San Francisco Performances, January 28, 2016 (Salons at the Hotel Rex)

Executive Producers: Nicholas Phan, Philip Wilder

Producer / Recording Engineer: Lolly Lewis
Recording assistant: Emma Logan
Mastering / Mixing: Piper Payne, Coast Mastering

Cinematography: Catharine Axley, Kristine Stolakis
Editor: Catharine Axley