October 12, 2015

Many years ago when I made a dedicated decision to leave the ‘night-club/showroom/supper-club’ industry, and embark upon a career in opera, I had a goal in mind:
Make a debut at the ‘Big Four’ by the age of 35 (I was 28/29 years old at the time).  The so-called ‘Big Four’ consisted of (in alphabetical order) Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera.

I have learned many things since arbitrarily setting that goal, such as:
1.) Age related goals are basically unrealistic, and a poor benchmark upon which to peg an accomplishment (due to a variety of variables).
2.) A vibrant industry usually undergoes “Expanding Pie Syndrome”.
3.) Professional objectives unfold along their own time frame.

A brief explanation of points 1 and 3:
*Age is a poor arbiter and should really be discarded from our thinking for this reason…”Man plans, and God laughs.”

*Because “Man plans, and God laughs”; I would fully suggest that one allow for ‘time‘ to take care of certain aspects of your development.  This is not to say that one shouldn’t be proactive with regard to their professional trajectory, but often the ‘timing‘ is just not right…(which also is inclusive of ‘luck’, ‘scheduling’, etc etc).

To address point 2. above, I will just say that while the ‘Big Four’ are still out there to be sure, there are many additions to that original list that now include Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Seattle Opera…and others.  Not to even mention all of the international A-level houses outside the domestic North American sphere.

Still, I had always wanted to be contracted with all of the original ‘Big Four’…so just call me an old-school romantic.

My previous post entitled ‘So What Happens Now?, Where Am I Going To?’ addressed the fact that I had completed a bucket-list of singing roles; but looming just ahead of me this summer was the fact that after 25 years in the real world of professional opera, I was going to make my debut with Houston Grand Opera (H.G.O.)

I have had many other unexpected delights in my career…Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, both Paris Opera houses (Garnier/Bastille), high-end recordings in London and Hong Kong, a feature film that premiered at the Venice Film Festival; and having worked with the world’s finest directors (Opera, Film, and Broadway), the absolute greatest conductors on the planet, and I have sung side-by-side with the most supreme array of classical vocal artists I could have ever conceived.

So you can only but imagine how thrilled I will be next week to debut with the wonderful Houston Grand Opera.  I am well past the age of 35, but ‘time‘ took care of this particular (and very naïve) goal of yesteryear.  So when I hit the stage for not one, but two different productions (Tosca and Eugene Onegin ) in the coming weeks for H.G.O., I will be thinking:

H. (honored)
G. (grateful)
O. (optimistic)

With a large thank you to my agent/manager, and the artistic administration/artistic directors of H.G.O. (Houston Grand Opera) for helping me reach another storied benchmark in my professional life!

I am H.G.O. thanks to H.G.O.