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Sunday, December 26, 2010

End of Year BEST/WORST of 2010 List

So this year's not been the best for my blog. I've feel I've not done a very good job of publishing updates - my apologies. We'll see if 2011 brings a change. My only excuse is that I've been rather busy - at Opera McGill, at Brevard, on outside directing gigs, and being a father and husband. Plus there were all of those letters of recommendation to write...

The following lists stem from my experiences with Opera during the past year, no other criteria was used. I've tried to be funny and honest. Hard to do, eh?!

PJH's BEST Opera Experiences of 2010:
10) "Hänsel und Gretel", Opera McGill: A very simple premise (children's own artwork) caused audience members to weep with joy. Garry and his dopplegänger caused critics to practically pee their pants!
9) The Dance of the Blessed Spirits from "Orpheus", Opera Memphis: Orchestra and Dancers were beautiful, as were the lights cues! Michael Ching and his vision (unique to opera) will be sorely missed down in the land of incredible BBQ.
8) "The Rake's Progress", Opera McGill: Amazing work from Mo Wachner, the chorus and terrific student performances, including Nick Shadow's demise -- Sly at his most sly and riveting.
7) Tinervia's Tarquinias' aria during Opera McGill's "Death by Aria": one of the most musical moments I've been a part of in a long while. Being musical used to be important, now it's a rare event.
6) Otto's Nemorino in "Elixir of Love", Wichita Grand Opera: His American debut in the middle of Kansas was sung impeccably well. He was also a joy to direct -- in my broken German and Italian and his English. I loved working with all of the cast members, young artists, and choristers.
5) Boheme rehearsals during the fall, Opera McGill: Such a joy to work with such amazing casts! The January 2011 performances are not to be missed.
4) Jill Gardner's Tosca, Boston Lyric Opera: Conducted by Bisantz, directed by Lefkowich, cast by Russell -- they kept the faith.
3) "The Pirates of Penzance", Janiec Opera Company at Brevard: Simply hysterical! Go cast, go orchestra, go Gately.
2) Ingrid's amazing, amazing memorized performance of our staged "Pierrot Lunaire" for MusiMars: She's fearless. The Ensemble was also FIERCE!
1) "TnT", Opera McGill: from my crazy idea to do the choreography in retrograde (skillfully done by Jana, Nico, and Garry) to the production design, to both casts' wonderful portrayals, to Mo JdS's abilities at the piano; it was such a joy to walk into rehearsal each day!

PJH's WORST Opera Experiences of 2010
10) Losing 1 of only 4 soldiers in Wichita's "Elixir" after I'd staged the four into the show: It wasn't a soldier's chorus, it was a trio...
9) Sitting through a horrid "Prendi" during Brevard auditions this December: We knew at "PREEEEEEEE-" (sung fortissimo) that she'd be a "no".
8) Renee's "Dark Hope". Aptly named.
7) Some of the tempi I've had to listen to this year: Why ignore the human beings actually doing the singing onstage?! I've found it sometimes helps to actually listen and respond. Just sayin'...
6) Mabel's Dolly Parton wig in "Pirates of Penzance": I simply couldn't see Mary's face to find her lips to see her words because all I could see was hair - EVERYWHERE!
5) My terrible upbeat at the encore of "Modern Major General"; luckily the orchestra remembered what we had rehearsed!
4) Me losing my place in the midst of Armine's Komponist in "Death by Aria"; I had to resort to playing it by ear; memo for 2011 - must get new glasses!
3) Aperghis' "Sextuor" -- the score, not the performance (go McGill ladies!) in MusiMars; total pile of terribleness...
2) Speaking of the remarkable MusiMars 2010: the Stockhausen "Inori" -- the score and the mimes. Mimes and modern music -- such a bad idea. I didn't get it, and don't want to get it, frankly. Emperor's New Clothes if you ask me!
1) Missing "A Quiet Place" at NYCO this fall: I didn't get myself to a performance and really regret missing it. Perhaps City Opera will reprise it next season?!

That's the best/worst I can do. Happy New Year Everyone!