While I collect my wits, enjoy this guest blog entry by tenor Jason Ferrante!
July 25, 2006
So here I am in the beautiful Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. Being a FileneYoung Artist at Wolf Trap has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I thought a blog entry from the singer’s side of the table could be interesting. I personally think it’s dangerous to ask a singer to talk about himself, but I’ll try to keep it pithy.
Last year, I received two offers for the Summer of 2006. One was my contract at Wolf Trap. The other was from Berkshire Opera, to sing Goro in a new production of Madama Butterfly. My projects at Wolf Trap were slated to end with the final performance of Le Comte Ory on Sunday the 23rd and my rehearsals for Butterfly were scheduled to commence in the AM of Monday the 24th. When it rains, it pours. (Those of you in Fairfax County certainly know this to be true if you were around in late June)
I am sharing my schedule with you, accompanied by my thoughts. It’s like watching a DVD of my life and doing the guest commentary track over the film. It’s no Pirates of the Caribbean, but it will have to do.
–Make recording of arias at Wolf Trap-one of our perks this Summer was that the wonderful Bob Grimes offered to engineer a demo recording for each of us. None of this cost us a cent. The combination of Bob’s friendly demeanor and the staggering talent of my pianist, Jeremy Frank, made for a fun morning.
–Rehearse Romeo at Kennedy Center with NSO– Field Trip! What a great experience it was to sing with the NSO in the Concert Hall at the Kennedy Center. My colleagues are amazing and I think we truly inspire each other to do our best. Sounds corny, but it’s true. (Photo at left with Juliette)
–travel to Baltimore to see tailor for tuxedo for Romeo– I have a friend in Maryland who sells formal wear. He hooked me up. I should have gotten smaller pants though. I have lost a waist size in the past year, and I nearly lost my pants when I died as Tybalt Saturday night. Special thanks to Museop Kim (Capulet) for grieving over my corpse AND making sure I didn’t flash the crowd.
–travel back to Virginia
–refresh/coach Butterfly-I wanted to fit in some review of the score. I have done the role a bunch in the past year but was recently humbled to see the several wrong notes I have so artfully worked into my rendition of this little marriage broker. Thank you Liora Mauer for knowing the score so well and for calling me out on it!
–Staging review/run thru of Romeo-This was to make sure the fight scene was fresh.
–Have dinner with manager – My agent is fun, beautiful, hardworking and a great dinner date.
–Ory #3 –GREAT show and audience. I won’t soon forget Madames Stober and McNeese and Mr. Abreu’s rendition of the Act II trio. Flawless. And three wickedly funny pals!
–AM dress rehearsal/sound check with NSO for Romeo– This was a hard one. You have to get up early and get the voice working so any balance issues can be addressed accurately. Also, it’s just too early in the morning. A well respected colleague likes to say “There’s no art before noon”. Well, Maestro Lord proved that wrong. Great rehearsal.
–Afternoon begin to pack for road trip to Mass
–Romeo performance with NSO, Filene Center Such a beautiful night at Wolf Trap. While the earlier storms kept some folks off of the lawn, the air was cool, and it was very comfortable onstage. This show was one of those personal triumph moments where I got out there and sang some real tunes. Fun!
–Romeo post-show reception (schmooze and booze) Use your imagination…if you’re surfing the web and reading this blog, surely you have a vivid one.
–AM load car for trip
–matinee, Ory #4, closing show Again a great show. At curtain calls, I was a little emotional inside. I was saying farewell to a long run at Wolf Trap. It’s been an artistic home and proving ground for me.
–post show party at my house, hosted by my Wolf Trap patrons Wendell and Karen Vanlare host a party each year (sometimes 2 or 3). The food was amazing. I have stayed with them for five years now, and they are like family. All thanks to Wolf Trap.
–drive to Baltimore, visit my better half and dogs for an hour
–leave for Berkshires at 3am. Hi, I am nuts.
Looking back at this week, I can’t believe we made it all happen and managed to stay healthy and sing well. But, when you think about it, the environment at Wolf Trap is almost spa-like for a young singer. (Aside from Kim: Uh, no, we are not a spa. Just for the record.) The amenities and facilities are outstanding. Our coaches, conductors and directors all brilliant. I love my colleagues. They are my family and they inspire me every time they open their mouths. Our boss is the most ego-free person I know in a position where someone else might be full of it. She empowers us as singers. The result is that the company and its product are empowered. (Photoabove: WTOC 2006 Four Tenors)
The WTOC has offered me such a range of work….I have played an expecting father, a greedy crow, a slimy Beadle, Oprah Winfrey, a drunken nun, a manic son of a “great man” who falls in love with a 6’7” drag queen, and one of literature’s most flawed cousins. A lot of people say that success in this career takes a lot of luck. I don’t know if I am a “success”, but I am damn lucky. Time to go to bed, I have to sell a Japanese girl in the morning.