Good morning from cold and foggy San Francisco. No pictures to post from here as the fog doesn't really allow me to take any. It's a great city nevertheless and I just spent two wonderful days of sightseeing with my family. Now, I'm in the middle of my two days with the young singers of the Merola Program following the same format as last year with a Q&A session in the mornings and auditions followed by the panel's comments in the afternoons. I'm here with Sandy Gavinchuck, the COC's Music Administrator and Head of our own young artists program, the Ensemble Studio; a group of colleagues from other US companies; and even John McMurray, the Head of Casting at ENO in London has made the long trip to hear these young and talented singers. As of the first day it seems that Sheri Greenawald, the head of the program, has yet again put together a remarkable group of people. I will let you know our final verdict after the second set of auditions this afternoon.
Coming to San Francisco always is an opportunity for me to catch up with my pre-pre-pre-decessor at the COC, Lotfi Mansouri, and his wife Midge. Lotfi has just published his memoirs of a life in opera in places as different as Teheran, Geneva, Los Angeles, Toronto, and San Francisco. I have yet to read the book, but knowing Lotfi's frankness I am prepared for an interesting time.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (0) / permalink
Today is the beginning of my big summer trip. Over the next three weeks I will report from San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Santa Fe.
For the past two days I 've been running around in London for meetings with artists managers and other colleagues from the business putting a lot of ideas for future casting and projects in my brain. In the evenings I went to ENO for Katie Mitchell's disturbingly interesting design-production of Idomeneo and Catherine Malfitano's inventively traditional production of Tosca with its absolutely breathtaking vertigo-effect for Tosca's suicide at the end. I look forward to Catherine's project with the COC in a few years from now.
Even though I always have to get used to the fact that everything at ENO is sung in English there was some very fine singing from Paul Nilon (Idomeneo), Robert Murray (Idamante), Sarah Tynan (a lovely Ilia), Amanda Echalaz (Tosca) and Julian Gavin (Cavaradossi). Edward Gardner, ENO's music director, conducted both performances. ENO is very lucky to have him. He always gets first rate performances from his orchestra and is a true singers' conductor as well. Right now, he probably is one of my favourite conductors for Puccini.
My luggage is packed and I'll leave for the airport soon. Tonight, I will be back home.
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