Saturday, August 1, 2015

Quisisana Update: Hitting our stride

Dear Readers,

As we wish July "farewell," with this week's final concert on Lake Kezar, I realize that I haven't kept you abreast of things Quisisana. There are still 4 more weeks, four more Butterflies... four more suicides... Caro Singnor Puccini, ti ringrazio.

These last few weeks since my previous update have been fairly normal, if things at Quisisana could be considered normal. I was moonlighting as a bus-boy in the dinning room, which lasted about 6 days before I returned to my post at the beach. 

Really, when it comes down to it, I am a beach boy at heart after all! We celebrated a Quisisana tradition called "Quis-mas" on July 25th. We sang "Quis-mas carols," had a "secret santa" gift exchange, and had a dance party in the staff dinning room. Taylor, my beach crew buddy, gifted me several moleskin note books, some funny lewd gifts (which I think is required - and he chose well), and a copy of Othello... maybe it's a premonition. Taylor said "I know that Othello is also an opera, and I am sure it's something that you'll be working on." Last year, my friend - and fellow tenor - Ben Boskoff gifted me a new Ricordi edition of Verdi's Otello.... keep your fingers crossed.

As for Butterfly, I have never given so many performances of a single role. This has been an enlightening, and educational experience. Of course it has been a rich musical experience, but the inner student in me, and the inner perfectionist in me attempts to use every opportunity as a chance to learn and improve. The weekly opportunity to check in, refine, correct, iron out and perfect is invaluable. 

Not only have I now performed Pinkerton seven times, this particular production has been the only opera that I have ever performed with piano and not orchestra. There are certainly unique challenges to performing with a pianist off stage, no pit, and no conductor. 

One thing that has come to my attention this week might be best presented with the following quote "Mario made his professional New Orleans opera debut as Pinkerton in 'Madam Butterfly' with soprano Tomiko Kanazawa." It was in April of 1948 that the 27 year old Lanza made his professional (non-festival) operatic debut, and was months before the release of his first film. In light of this biographical information on my favorite tenor, I took some time to reflect:

I am 28 years old, doctorate in vocal performance, with two degrees in string bass performance, having made my Carnegie debut at 26, and 14 different operatic tenor roles performed (13 with orchestra) - not to mention the countless choral and small ensemble performances at the Verbier Festival, Carnegie Hall, the White House, the United Nations, with the Israeli Philharmonic, James Levine, Robert Bass, Imre Pallo, Manfred Honeck, Valery Abisalovich Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Christian Zacharias, and Charles Dutoit (to name a few). Then there are the double bass, and non-operatic performances... 

ya know what... 

things aren't so bad... 

I am on a good track, following some good foot-steps. 

Cheers to refining, perfecting, and succeeding.

Thank you for reading,