After five days on the road I am in the subway to Chicago's O'Hare Airport. It was a good trip with a lot of interesting meetings and great performances, full of inspiration and new references for my work at the COC. Yesterday's Ballo in maschera at Chicago Lyric Opera with Sondra Radvanovsky, Stephanie Blythe, Frank Lopardo and Mark Delevan was a memorable evening of great Verdi singing. The Met's powerful and theatrical new production of Don Carlo by Nicholas Hytner, with Ferruccio Furlanetto's towering King Phillip and Yannick Nézet-Séguin's elegant conducting, will continue to resonate with me. Between meetings and performances I even made it to the MOMA in New York and - just this morning - to the Museum for Contemporary Art and the Arts Institute in Chicago. Now I'm quite exhausted and look forward to a few days at home. My next trip isn't before December 17.
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I just arrived in New York a few hours ago on the red-eye flight from Los Angeles. Luckily, my hotel room was ready early and I could get a bit of rest before starting my meetings here.
It was good to be in Los Angeles. I had never seen a performance there and - as different as they were - enjoyed Rigoletto and Lohengrin, both operas with singers that were either new to me or that I hadn't heard in a long time. Especially the cast of Lohengrin, with veterans like Soile Isokoski, Dolora Zajick (debuting as Ortrud), Kristinn Sigmundsson, Eike Wilm Schulte (at 71! As Heerrufer in top form, he's the Domingo of German baritones) and our own Ben Heppner, was very impressive indeed. Both operas were conducted by Music Director James Conlon and it was good to spend time with him and my colleagues there.
I also spent some time with the young artists of the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program, a small group of mostly very young singers with great potential. One of the most beautiful young Paminas I have heard in a while and an outstanding Ann Trulove are just two examples.
Today, I will see the Met's new production of Don Carlo conducted by Yannick Nezet-Séguin. You will find the report here tomorrow.
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Winnipeg was the first stop on my winter opera trip of Canada and the U.S. I try to see the work of the other Canadian opera companies and since I had never attended a performance at Manitoba Opera I made Winnipeg part of the trip, attracted by an all-Canadian Tosca with Wendy Nielsen (Tosca), Richard Margison (Mario Cavaradossi) and Gaétan Laperrière (Scarpia), conducted by Tyrone Paterson and directed by Valerie Kuinka. Filling a huge auditorium when the outside temperature is -15 degrees Celsius and tons of snow on the ground is probably the ultimate proof that the survival of opera is assured even under the toughest conditions.
I was lucky to have the great Canadian film-maker Guy Maddin as my company for the performance. As you may know he is a native and resident of Winnipeg and his movie My Winnipeg is a great declaration of his love to the city. We got to know each other right after my family and I came to Canada two years ago and have been in touch ever since. It was great to catch up with him.
Over the past few hours I jumped about 30 degrees up on the temperature scale. Really looking forward to spending two days in warm and sunny Los Angeles.
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