September 6, 2016
Many years ago I recall reading an article about the legendary Baritone Sherrill Milnes when he noted that his time with Boris Goldovsky’s Opera Theater was when things really started happening…but he had by then already been thoroughly participating in the operatic art form. As I think back, I can also pinpoint a time when things “really started to happen”.
Although I had been gainfully employed as a music theater artist, night-club entertainer, and budding operatic artist for at least 15 years already; it was my entrance into the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists (now Ryan Opera Center) at the Lyric Opera of Chicago when things “really started to happen”. Major domestic bookings were coming my way from Opera companies and Symphony Orchestras, recording projects materialized, television and film opportunities shocked me, and international travel soon followed.
That was 20 years ago when things “really started to happen”…and I am so very grateful for all the organizations who ever took a chance on me…but make no mistake, some of those companies had their doubts! I have returned to most, while never being rehired by some. Nonetheless I am grateful to ALL of them…with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in particular having provided me with 20 consecutive seasons. Over the past 20 years I have seen family members and close friends pass-away, while also rekindling friendships from the past, and even marrying once again–something I was not sure I would ever do. I have seen companies close, others open, while others still have completely changed their inner parts. One thing has remained somewhat of a constant…I am still singing…still plugging away at it.
As I chart out the next decade (hopefully), I simply shake my head now and say…
“Twenty years? Really??”