Sunday, July 24, 2016

Dritten aus Graz

Liebe Readers,

Thanks for staying connected to my blog. We're starting week four here at AIMS. Last week I sang the tenor solos on the Mozart Requiem with three fantastic young singers: Daniel Noyola, Esther Tones, and Urska Ariana. We sang with the fantastic AIMS orchestra lead by Maestro Markus Landerer.

Today we gave the Grazers an Italian brunch concert at the Graz museum. I sang "Addio Fiorito Asil" from Madame Butterfly and I sang in the quartet from Act III from La Boheme. The concert was sold out, and a very sweet old Austrian woman told me that I touched her heart and it was a fabulous concert. It's those moments when someone stops you on the street a mile from the venue to express their appreciation that really make this profession with while.

This week I'll be singing with the orchestra again. I'll be singing on the Mostly Shakespeare concert. I will have the great fortune to sing at the Stefaniesaal again. I actually saw a brilliant Beethoven's Nineth symphony last night by the radio orchestra of Steiermark. The tickets were astronomical but there was a free love stream into the Landhaushof, which I eagerly attended. They played on period instruments!

Now for the photos you've been waiting for.

Gates to Schloss Eggenberg 
They let us in!

The Schloss Eggenberg

On our way down the path to the Schloss


PS. It's far too difficult to add captions on this tablet that I am using. The basilica of Mariatrost and the hall is the Stefaniesaal.

Thank you for reading

Monday, July 18, 2016

Zweiten Post

Grüß Gott aus Graz,

Here we are in week 3 of the American Institute of Musical Study in Graz, Austria. Last week I had the great Fortune to sing Don Josè's "La Fleur que the m'avais details" a.k.a. "The Flower Song" from Carmen with the AIMS orchestra in one of the most glorious music halls I have ever seen. Here in the city of Graz they have a brilliant Concert Hall called the Stefaniesaal. The Acoustics and the Aesthetics of the Hall create the ideal atmosphere for classical music. In my next post I will share with you photos from these last two weeks and of course I will include photos of the Stefaniesaal.

I would be remiss if I did not specifically mention how wonderfully the Orchestra played. The orchestra is made up of players from 21 different countries and absolutely rivals in ability some of the famous orchestras that I have heard in the United States. Yes of course they are young and a little green but tackled demanding repertoire and a variety of styles with ease and accuracy. They are certainly a musical bunch and respond well to their conductor.

This week I will be performing the tenor solo in the quartet for the "Tuba mirum" from Mozart's Requiem with the AIMS orchestra.

I have been having a great time learning and exercising my developing German language skills. I spend the majority of my days rehearsing, practicing, studying German, and creating my own funny sentences to understand and use the complex but interesting and useful Teutonic grammar. I also have to admit a guilty pleasure: if I find myself, late at night, unable to sleep I will attempt to watch the movie " the third man." I guess really just to get my Austrian thoughts in order.

We had 3 days off this past weekend and I had planned to make a trip to Vienna, but instead I chose to remain in Graz to decompress and enjoy the city. There's a lot of very cool aspects of this city, I encourage you - in your spare time - read a little bit about the history of this city. It is not only famous for Arnold Schwarzenegger but such important forward looking and innovative astrophysicists as Johannes Kepler have contributed to make this city a special place.

It is of course with great pleasure - both in writing to you and in the experience - that I am again working with Kathy Wright; whom, for those of you who don't know, was the coach with whom I worked for the majority of my tenure at the University of Georgia.

You will have to forgive my sentences because I'm stuck somewhere between all of the German that I'm learning and somehow easily influenced by James Agee's "let us now praise famous men." I've noticed that he really speaks my language. I've also noticed that his observations about education in rural Alabama in the 1930s could easily be applied to American Education in the 21st century without losing a Beat. I did not see the immediate benefit of reading his book while I was singing in Aaron Copland's opera "The Tender land." However, since, I have discovered that the book is brilliantly insightful, fascinating, artistic, eloquent, fun, sad, distributing, and challenging. I absolutely recommend it especially given the current atmosphere of the United States.

Thank you so much for reading.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Der erste post Österreich

Dear Readers,

I am happy to report that I am in Austria and eager for the AIMS 2016 summer in Graz program to commence.

We start on earnest on Monday the 11 th.

Much more to come. It's such a pleasure to be in Europe again, and to - for the first time - be singing in a German speaking country.

In other news, if you haven't already heard, I accepted Michigan Opera Theatre's offer to renew my contract for a second and final year. I am eager to get back to Detroit this fall! Great repertoire and fantastic colleagues.

Till next time.

All the best