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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This was a great day, indeed.
Hearing the young singers of the Music Academy of the West excel in a wide range of art songs ranging from Franz Schubert (1797-1828) to Gabriel Kahane (born in 1981) was fascinating and, as always, Marilyn Horne had chosen an excellent group of young singers many of whom we will here more of soon I am sure. But I was even happier to see a very strong contingent of seven Canadians in the group, two pianist and five singers. Even better, U of T graduate Jessica Strong came in as runner-up to the first prize winner and our Ensemble Studio member-to-be Cameron McPhail received an honourable mention. Well done.
I really don't know how to start this new paragraph other than by just saying how pleased and happy I am to renew my contract with the COC until 2021. The news were made public through an article in the Globe and Mail this morning and I am really grateful for the many words of support and congratulations that I've received all day. Four years ago, the COC gave me the great opportunity to become their General Director. I am proud of what we have accomplished and humbled by the confidence that will entrust me with this wonderful company for many years to come. We will have some celebrating to do when I'm back in Toronto next week!
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