Finally, back to an audioblog for the last posting – see below. Thanks for coming along for the ride!
Transcript of audio post:
This was supposed to be an audioblog, but it didn’t happen. It was somehow too hard to distill and inflect things so they came out the way I wanted. So I ended up writing my way through the summer. And here I am, a week late, trying to summarize. The Cinderella performance was Saturday night – very, very happy with that. Very successful on a lot of different levels – singers inhabiting those roles both musically and dramatically in a way that belied the fact that there was no set behind them.
As far as summarizing the whole summer, it’s very tempting to do it “by the numbers”… We did 19 performances in 9 weeks, there were 16 singers with us, we had more than 50 staff and crew members, and well over 100 local choristers and orchestral musicians – all of which come together to make us a company for three months.
I’m as guilty as the next person at wanting to crunch numbers and represent things tidily, but that’s not really how any of it will be remembered.
This summer will be remember as the season we tackled Sondheim without microphones and lived to tell the tale.
It was the summer that Don Giovanni returned to The Barns after 13 years away, with a lot of personal bests in that production.
It was the Cenerentola performance last Saturday with a standing ovation – kind of like being at a rock concert.
It was a season of adrenaline as we did improv for the children at the Theatre-in-the-Woods.
This was the summer that Steve Blier was so happy with both of his concerts that he’s wondering how he’s going to top them next year. (I’m sure he will.)
This was the season that we took our collaboration with the National Symphony to a new level in lots of different ways, and that bodes well for the future.
We introduced lots of new people to Wolf Trap Opera this summer, through that NSO concert particularly, but also through our annual recital for Wolf Trap donors.
It was a sold-out Barns season, and a terribly hard sell for the large theatre. Lots of good things, but also lots of anger and sadness on my part at having to change the nature of the Cinderella production.
But we’re so very proud of this company of artists. It’s a very youthful place on every level – I’m almost always the oldest person around, and most of our staff are within the first decade of their careers. Our singers are in their mid-late twenties, and there are lots of college-age crew and staff members.
Here at the end of the summer there’s lots of fatigue. I can count on one hand the number of days since mid-May that weren’t consumed in one way or another with the opera. It goes with the territory. It’s a dense season, and it’s a small staff. There’s lots of frustration when our resources don’t meet the goals we’d like to set, but there are saving graces, too. The great thing about music is that it exists in time, and if you’re going to give yourself over to it, that process excludes a lot of negative energy. And that’s when it pays you back. During the performances, no matter how tired you are, you’re re-energized. The music, while it’s happening, makes this lasting impression and overrides everything else. And you do it again. It’s like childbirth. You don’t remember the bad parts, and you jump back in.
Anyway, we’re already in 2006 in a lot of ways. The chamber music series starts in 6 weeks, and we have one of our well-known alumni, Alan Held, coming back to sing on that series in February. The first draft of the 2006 budget is done, we’re working on schedule permutations for next summer, the audition application is up on the website and all of the travel for the audition tour is booked,
I have absolutely no idea if we’re going to blog again. People have been trying to talk me into it, but it’s a challenge. I hope you enjoyed the ride if you were following us. It was actually gratifying to learn how many people were reading.
Go to the opera, take a friend to the opera, and check back with us in late winter to see what will be on the boards for 2006. I hope to see you next summer – ciao!