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"Master Class"

Yes, in quotations. Because it’s not, really, strictly speaking, a “Master Class”. The training of most young singers includes a few run-ins with something called a Master Class, in which a famous singer humiliates students in front of a paying audience while pretending to impart the musical wisdom of the ages. Sorry, that was a

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Designer run-through

Finally. Straight through Giovanni. Again blessed with a remarkable cast. We always feel fairly secure about the vocal chops of our young artists – there’s a range of ability to be sure, but in general, they wouldn’t have gotten this far in the business if they didn’t have solid instruments and techniques. The sheer depth

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Back to my roots

Blogging falling into serious neglect these days. Because “Instant Opera” is a brand-new project, one that we are developing as we go along, I’ve put myself in the cast. Have enjoyed it thoroughly, but it’s made this week an endurance test. I am astonished daily by the enthusiasm with which our artists have thrown themselves

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The Magic of Murder & Mayhem

It’s not a sane thing to keep trying to exceed expectations (ours and the audience’s), but I think we may have done it once more. An exhausting but rewarding night at the Filene Center with 10 of our singers, the Washington Chorus and the National Symphony Orchestra. Didn’t hurt that the weather was stunning –

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Instant Opera Kick-off!

Nothing like doing something you’ve never done before to ramp up the energy and anxiety. Today was our first session for our new program for kids – “Instant Opera!”. Based on an interactive model developed at Cincinnati Conservatory and then used at San Francisco Opera Center, this new venture of ours will take the stage

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Kennedy Center "field trip"

We multi-task furiously in the middle of our season, and I feel very out of touch with Giovanni these days. We’re into our second week of stagings, but the looming NSO concert on Saturday night has consumed most of our administrative attentions. I say a little prayer of thanks that the Giovanni team is such

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Murder… Mayhem… Juicy chunks of great opera!

Finally got to see a run-through of the July 9 NSO concert. Great stuff – Carmen, Rigoletto, Lucia… Because young voices aren’t a good fit with full-length grand opera roles, we don’t often get to indulge in Verdi and Puccini. But in these concerts we include choice chunks of the meaty stuff. Conductor Emil de

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If you don’t like the weather…

… wait a few minutes? Is that the adage? With a minor adjustment, it probably applies to any small arts organization. There are two full-time and one part-time employees administering the Wolf Trap Opera Company year-round, and that means that every day brings a new challenge. The “off” season is a whirlwind of non-production related

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Opera at the improv

It’s July, and time to start working on “Instant Opera!”, our first appearances at Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods (http://www.wolftrap.org/performances/woods.html) since the late 1980’s. The old format (in which I participated as a pianist) involved taking staged one-act operas to the “TITW”. The average attendee is probably about 7 years old, and the one-acts, while a

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Cinderella lives!

We’ve been anxiously awaiting this day, for it marks a turning point. The last 2 weeks have been full of the difficult work of changing our upcoming Cenerentola production into a concert staging. Ticket exchanges and refunds, donor notifications, disheartening calls to artists and staff. Today we began to rebuild. Director Garnett Bruce returned from

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