I first came to New York in 2003, invited by the New York International Opera Auditions (NYIOP), then a new company that organized auditions for casting directors from Europe. David Blackburn, the founder and CEO of NYIOP (he is now also the Director of Artistic Operations at Palm Beach Opera) and I have been friends ever since, but I hadn't attended one of his audition sessions in years. Since I was also interested in seeing the new production of Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea at the Juilliard School, I travelled to New York yesterday to spend the day with David and a few of my European colleagues at Merkin Hall on 67th Street, probably the best audition space in New York at the moment. Hearing more than 30 singers in one day is a bit of a challenge, but there were a few that I hadn't heard before and a few others that I hadn't heard in a while, so my time was well spent.
In the evening I met with Matthew Epstein, another good New York friend, now officially retired from Columbia Artists but otherwise as active as ever, for the Juilliard Poppea. Monteverdi's operas are long and we had contemplated leaving at intermission but conductor Harry Bicket (at the COC for Idomeneo last season and coming for Orfeo ed Euridice in the spring) did such an exceptional job with Juilliard's new period orchestra Juilliard415 and a cast of Juilliard opera students that we were captivated until the end of the evening. It was a delight to see Monteverdi's masterpiece so stylishly and lovingly performed.
Between the audition and the performance I was lucky enough to make it to Chelsea through rush hour traffic to see the Anselm Kiefer exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery. Kiefer is one of my favourite living artists and apart from the great installation at the AGO a few months ago we don't get to see a lot of his work in Toronto, so I was happy to catch up on his latest creations. If you happen to be in New York before December 18 the show is well worth seeing. My dream would be to get him to design sets and costumes for a COC production. Maybe one day.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (0) / permalink
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