Humbled to say: "I told you so!!" (Boris Godunov, Dallas Opera)

As I attended a performance of Rigoletto on April 2, 2011 (one day after opening night of Boris Godunov) with my girlfriend Tracy, I must admit that I was thrilled to have been approached by several audience members who had already seen Boris at either our final dress rehearsal, or our actual opening night performance of this Mussorgksy masterwork.  Additionally, I was even more gratified to meet the same, and others, who were regular readers of my commentaries on, who actually asked me to do this follow-up!!

I will be the first to admit that, yes, I do indeed still appreciate the many compliments that I so graciously receive from the public; but also must reveal that over the past few decades, the coins of braggadocio that I once carried so abundantly in my pockets have now given way to mostly self-deprecating editorializing about myself.  I am not sure what the reason for this is(?!).  Perhaps I have just grown up, or just grown old!  Maybe I have gotten jaded, or become “tired“, or even considerably weary during these very difficult times for the arts.  I don’t really know; but in reality, it’s probably a bit of all the aforementioned.  This will not, however, stop me from (humbly) congratulating myself for nailing the prediction I made in my March 14th blog posting.(

You see, we not only opened Boris Godunov this past weekend at the Dallas Opera; we triumphed with it!  It is no secret that I am singing the role of Shuisky for the first time (serving gratefully as a late replacement to the original cast), and am intimately and intricately involved in the production….so suffice it to say that I have clearly made the disclosure, and may well be biased toward this production and my colleagues….fine, let’s just say that, in fact!  But there is no need for you to just believe me….

I heartily invite you internet, search-engine-savvy, practitioners to peruse the world-wide-web for various reviews of the Dallas Opera’s final production of the season.  Whether reading from media-credentialed critics, laptop lovin’ internet opera aficionados, or avid operaphiles of the common-man variety , the findings are overwhelmingly praiseworthy:  This production and its entire cast, headed by Mikhail Kazakov has, in a way, made history.  With a solid mix of Russian and American singers, legends and legends-to-be, as well as solid, respected, and seasoned veterans (I like to consider myself as part of the latter most category), this cast was virtually unbeatable.

Why historic, you may ask?  The answer lies in two parts, (IMHO).

First the Macro-reasoning:
I have been inundated with commentary from individuals who either attended ‘live’, or saw the new Metropolitan Opera HD Theatercast production very recently.  Now, in no way that will attempt to denigrate the Met’s presentation, I must say that every one of the folks who referenced it, told me that they preferred the Dallas Opera production and cast, overall.  That really does say/mean something when a firm, substantial, and internationally recognized regional opera company (and its base audience) can compete toe-to-toe with the most acclaimed and celebrated opera company in the world! (BTW, this is a GOOD thing for all opera; not necessarily a pro-Dallas or anti-Met stance, as I truly believe in the saying “A rising tide raises all ships.”!)

Now the Micro-reasoning:
As I had intimated in my March 14th blog-posting:

“From the moment Mr. Kazakov opened his mouth, I knew I was in the presence of greatness–with respect to his vocal gifts, of course.  I have (almost) never been so totally overwhelmed by a voice of such rich quality, sensitivity of expression, seemingly limitless volume, and equally impressive ‘pianissimi‘ in this particular vocal ‘fach’.  This a major, MAJOR instrument…  It is also a rarefied experience to become totally transfixed by fine singing AND fine acting…  With respect to this latter attribute, Mr. Kazakov also does not disappoint.  His character is clearly (and believably) conflicted and anguished, tormented and tortured, and as haunted as Hamlet in the ‘ghost story’ elements of that Shakespearean masterpiece.

….ultimately it will be Mr. Kazakov’s performance that will carry the evening.”

Well, almost ALL of the critics agree with everything I had said weeks before this opera even premiered here in Dallas!  To fully impart, Mr. Kazakov has performed this role to great acclaim with the Bolshoi, so it’s not as though he is absolutely new on the scene.  But even my most opera-informed professionals, with whom I regularly consult, had not yet heard of him.  But DALLAS OPERA got him here first, and THAT is what is historic–as this man could surely become legend, even for this role alone.

Therefore, even though I am a part of this production, and even though I made my “unapologetic predictions” back on March 14th, and even though I do not brag on myself to any great degree anymore, I must admit (albeit with a wry smile) that:

“I am humbled to say: “I told you so!”