A visit to Santa Fe has become an essential part of my summer travels. The magic of the venue and the quality of the performances is unrivalled in North America and General Director Charles MacKay and his team have become good friends.
I was proud to arrive here on Saturday for the last opening of the season, Richard Strauss' Arabella, a co-production of Santa Fe Opera, Minnesota Opera and the COC. Santa Fe Opera has a long tradition of performing Strauss's operas. Between Tim Albery's elegant production, Andrew Davis' conducting, Erin Wall and Mark Delavan debuting as Arabella and Mandryka this was a great evening for Strauss' neglected masterpiece. Arabella is often described as a somehow weaker sequel to Der Rosenkavalier, but I wouldn't want to have to choose between the two and look forward to having this production on our stage in a few seasons.
Over the next few days I will see the remaining four operas of the Santa Fe season, Puccini's Tosca, Bizet's Pearl Fishers, Rossini's Maometto II and Szymanowski's King Roger, all presented in new productions - and I will get a chance to hear the apprentice singers, after Santa Barbara and San Francisco the third group of young artists that I will hear this summer. All together, I will have heard about 70 of the most talented young singers in North America, about 10 of them Canadians. A lot of new material for future casting.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (0) / permalink
For the fourth time, these two days with the Merolini in San Francisco have been a true highlight of my travel year. I have come to expect that Sheri Greenwald, the Director of the program, brings together a group of extraordinarily gifted young singers. There were plenty of them and, as in Santa Barbara, a very high score of Canadians with four singers from Sasketchwan, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Quebec.
There are two things that I love about these auditions. First of all, there are those moments when a young singer, completely unknown to you, walks into the room and transforms it with his or her artistry and all of a sudden the future of opera looks really bright. There was a lot of great singing happening here over the past few days and it is great to feel when the whole audition panel gets excited about a young artist's performance. The panel is my second reason for coming here every season. A group of wonderful, knowledgable colleagues with a shared passion for singers and opera. It is a fun group to be with and each year I learn so much from them.
Now, I'm just closing my suitcase. I will be back in Toronto this evening.
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