Mixing It Up With the Locals
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
I recently was invited to perform two Beethoven’s Wig concerts at music festivals in the Rocky Mountains, and was offered the opportunity to work with local singers and musicians. The festival organizers chose the additional singers, so for me it was like a blind date. Each concert had an hour’s worth of material – that’s over a hundred pages of music and lyrics! We sent everyone the music in advance, but with only one rehearsal, it required a lot of preparation on their part, and faith on mine.
(Crested Butte Festival: Steven Aguilo-Arbues, Elizabeth Fischborn, Richard Perlmutter, Geoffrey Penar)
At the Crested Butte Music Festival I performed with participants from their Young Artists Program. The program offers emerging professional opera singers six weeks of intensive training with world-renowned talent including Marcello Giordani and Samuel Ramey, and directors, conductors and performers from The Metropolitan Opera (New York City) and Royal Opera of Covent Garden (London). This year the program auditioned 500 singers from around the world for 16 spots. Our accompanist was a pianist from the Denver Opera. Needless to say, they were the cream of the crop! These young, promising artists were professional, easy to work with, and at rehearsal we breezed through the material. On stage the next day they were brilliant! The sold-out crowd really enjoyed the show, and the energy was incredible.
(Strings Festival: Cheryl Hardy Moore, Richard Perlmutter, Kathleen Allen, Brian Harrington)
The Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs doesn’t have an opera program, so they drew from their talented community. My singers were a local doctor and a physicist/piano technician. Our pianist was a lawyer. All of them had previous experience on stage, but music was not their full time career. At our first meeting they admitted to being nervous and agreed that some of the music was difficult. But what they lacked in professional experience, they more than compensated for with enthusiasm, positive attitudes, and a true love of music. During rehearsal we worked hard, bonded together, and even added some bits to our staging, which turned out to be great. The result was an inspired show. We had a great time and so did the audience! Afterwards, we mingled with the crowd, signed autographs and then had lunch. It was another amazing concert experience!
I hope I have more opportunities to “mix it up with the locals” at other venues. It’s a real privilege to become part of the musical community where I am performing, even if, as in Crested Butte, my co-stars were only in town for the summer.
Bravo to the performers in Crested Butte and Steamboat Springs. The audience loved you and I did too!