I'm writing this on a calm Thursday morning from my hotel room in Houston. It's always nice to come here at this time of the year, even with the winter we're not having in Toronto, and it was certainly worth coming for Albina Shagimuratova's astonishing Violetta last night. The cast for Britten's Rape of Lucretia for tonight looks equally impressive with Anthony Dean Griffey, Leah Crocetto, Michelle DeYoung; Canadians Judith Forst and Joshua Hopkins; and, conductor Rory Macdonald, who had his North American debut with us in Carmen (2010). On my way south I stopped in New York on Tuesday to see Götterdämmerung at the Met, the last installment of Robert Lepage's (and Richard Wagner's) Ring Cycle, which brought me an unexpected re-encounter with one the singers that impressed me most when I just started coming to the opera, Katarina Dalayman, who was filling in as Brünnhilde for an indisposed Deborah Voigt. After having seen her perform Götterdämmerung in Aix and Paris before, it was wonderful to hear her again. I remember her early roles in Stuttgart: Mimi, Desdemona, Eva in Meistersinger and an unforgettable Marie in Wozzeck.
Meanwhile at the COC our 2012 winter season is up and running. I think we're very fortunate to have two wonderful casts of Tosca and I'm very happy to see how well L'amour de loin has been received. As most of you know by now, I was working at the Salzburg Festival for the world premiere of the piece back in 2000 and it was a very special treat to have composer Kaija Saariaho with us. In honour of her being in Toronto there was a small series of events and concerts of which I vividly recall a free noon-hour concert at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre with three of our Ensemble Studio members excelling in Saariaho's music and doing the Company very proud.
Looking forward, there is palpable excitement about our 2012/2013 season which we've announced recently while we already plan for 2015/2016 and 2016/17 in our offices on Front Street.
Soon, I will be off to hear the young artists of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and meet with my delightful colleagues Laura Canning, Diane Zola and the new HGO Managing Director Perryn Leech. HGO has been an important partner of the COC in past seasons and I look forward to talking about upcoming and new projects.
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