All this, with the curve-ball of losing our Canio (Roy Cornelius Smith, who is a consummate artist and a generous colleague) to a dream job doing the same role at Royal Danish Opera - while only a couple days into rehearsals. We wished Roy farewell, and had the good fortune of Eduardo Villa stepping in for him, and just enough time (9 days) to re-build the incredible bond that the cast had with Roy. Everyone: cast, chorus, crew, really pulled together like a tightly knit tribe. A clear indicator that our "tribe" has a deeper purpose. Seeing this happen around me, and being such an integral part of it was truly awe-inspiring.
Among the rest of the cast was the singular Shana Blake Hill, as Nedda. It was such a joy to hear her sing, to act with her, watch her process, and to bond as cast mates and as dear friends. Side note: I have been so lucky to have such great leading lady counterparts, and have kept in touch and made true friends of all of them! It was really comforting and invigorating to be in the company of colleagues that truly cared for their craft, and gave of themselves so completely to the work. Igor Vieira, our Tonio, was another shining example of that. His character gestures were so completely integrated (even in rehearsal!) that he would need to spend time stretching and doing physical therapy so the contortions wouldn't actually injure him. Then there was Daniel Ebbers, who was so definitive (and imparted great vocal beauty) in his Beppe that I really can't imagine anyone else doing that role.
The audience was another triumph: people from many different ages and backgrounds, and many first time opera goers. This form of expression really does cross all boundaries, and can speak to everyone.
So I, at once humbled and energized, now turn my thoughts to the next phase... Auditions and meetings in NYC, as part of the annual "audition season" AKA: singer's meat market... or slaughter house - depending on who you ask. Many exciting projects are in the works, which I'll let you all know about very soon!
Tre stelle: Eduardo Villa (Canio), Shana Blake Hill (Nedda), Zachary Gordin (Silvio).