Friday, September 7, 2007

a great and generous man...

I received an email from a colleague JC, the conductor of a local boys' choir, late last night. I thought that this story was the most touching tribute I had read all day.

Pavarotti was a great advocate of music education, and often invited a youth arts organization to open for him at his performances. In 1985, he was in Seattle, performing at Key Arena, and the boychoir was given this honor. JC had heard that Pavarotti's favorite song was Vittoria, mio core!, and though it wasn't part of the boys' performance set, he wrote a 3-part arrangement and had the boys learn it, in case they had an opportunity to sing it at the sound check for him. They didn't. Backstage after the concert, they met one of his assistants, who said that Mr. Pavarotti was sorry only to have heard their last song. On a whim, they gathered outside his dressing room and sang the arrangement of Vittoria. At some point, JC noticed that the boys had stopped watching him, and he knew that Mr. Pavarotti had come out of his dressing room. Pavarotti had everyone backstage be quiet for the rest of the song while he stood and listened, and at the end he praised them and thanked them several times before returning to his dressing room.

A moment later, his assistant came out and said that Mr. Pavarotti would like to meet the boys. Over the next hour, he had them come in to his dressing room in small groups, with their parents, spoke with each of them, and posed for pictures with them. JC said it right at the end of his email: "This was the act of a great and generous man!" Indeed.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


The opera world has suffered so many losses of great artists this year that when I read the news this morning, my initial reaction was to close my laptop. It couldn't possibly be true. There are some people in the world that I assume to be immortal, and Pavarotti was certainly one of them. His Nessun Dorma is my earliest opera memory, I think. Even as a small child, I remember thinking, "How can that sound come out of a person? How is this possible?" The whole world is mourning today for this man with the golden voice that touched so many.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

summer's over!

How did that happen? Suddenly, it's autumn. It's my favorite season. Every year at this time, I'm grateful that I have a job that is somewhat dependent on the school year. It ensures that every September, I get to have that "new beginnings" feeling. In the two weeks since I've been home from Banff (which continued to be an amazing experience -- more posts on that to come), I've been organizing my schedule of performances and students for the upcoming season. Many returning students, a few new ones, including three boys!

It's funny, I'd been working all summer under the assumption that this year was fairly light for me, performance wise, but as I was updating my website last week, I realized that I'm actually extremely busy! A nice realization to come to. Not a lot of opera this year, but the role I'm scheduled for is one that I'm really excited about -- Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. I had been nervous about it, since it's traditionally sung by sopranos, but I had the good fortune to study this summer with fabulous mezzo Judith Forst, who has sung the role many times, and convinced me that we high mezzos can do it! I've been working on it, and so far, so good! I'm hoping to be able to coach with Judith on it a few times before rehearsals begin in the spring. It's the perfect setting to try the role out -- with the puppet opera! I can't imagine a more fun, joyful, supportive environment.

Most of my season this year is concerts and recitals, which is just fine by me. Next week, I'm headed to Victoria, BC to do a recital at my alma mater, with my piano professor at the keyboard! I was invited to come up as a guest artist, and it feels like I'm coming full circle in a way. I'm singing some of my favorite pieces -- Mahler's Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen, Debussy's Chansons de Bilitis, and Britten's A Charm of Lullabies. Then, my first Elijah in October, more recitals (Mahler and Brahms) in late October, and two different Messiahs in December. One is with a chamber orchestra and chorus, which should be particularly fun.

In the middle of all this are some pops concerts with the Seattle Symphony, previews of Seattle Opera's upcoming Iphigenia in Tauris (I'm singing Iphigenia), some film score work (listen for the Hallelujia chorus parody in the Shrek Christmas special this winter!), and two shows in the Seattle Opera chorus (Pagliacci and Tosca). I've never done any opera chorus work before, so I'm giving it a try.

So, I'm a busy girl! It seems like a great variety -- all of it fun!