This video below is making the rounds within the WTO family, and it has already resonated strongly with our opera network across the country.
Bless him, our young friend Iain manages to capture so many things that we opera lovers wish we could communicate more clearly to the “outside” world. Things about the essence and strength of opera that have gotten incrementally pushed aside as we desperately seek to make our art form attractive within the noise of popular culture. Things that we welcome from the mouth of a child but that the ironic bent of modern American life suppresses in adults.
OK, I could go really around the bend with this. But I won’t.
I do want to say that our concert Aida featuring 4 alumni of the WTO training program was a highlight of my career so far. This doesn’t in any way diminish the value or integrity of our regular WTO productions, which occupy a bigger and brighter place in my psyche, and about which I am endlessly proud. This thing we did Friday night doesn’t compete with them; it stands beside them, almost as an additional testament to the work that programs like ours do to shepherd young singers so that they can eventually grow, flourish and thrive in the way that Marjorie, Carl, Michelle and Scott are. And seeing 4 of our young artists (representing both tiers of our program) hold their own so brilliantly on stage with these seasoned professionals was a thing of beauty.
To close this loop, I must say that one of the reason’s that Iain’s video report on Aida touched me is that I too felt that vibration. I sat in the rear orchestra for almost the whole show, and I was as captivated as the rest of the audience. (Who gave a standing ovation at intermission(!) and at the end.) I haven’t been involved with an Aida since the beginning of my pianist career (Verdi isn’t a staple of young artist programs:)), and to return to this score in this fashion after 27 years away was a true gift.
Special thanks go to our 4 alumni singers for their excellence and goodwill, to the NSO for peerless playing, to Maestro Callegari for an uncommon blend of artistry and flexibility, to my colleague Bob for volunteering to light the concert on the fly, and to the whole WTO team for embracing this additional project on top of exhausting-business-as-usual. Grazie tutti.