Well, the summer is finally over and I am back home getting ready for audition season by perfecting my audition arias and preparing all of my press materials and recordings. As many of you may know by now this last summer turned out to be something far grander than I had envisioned at the start of this process.
Otello was a huge success and was just the start of the summer. If you read my last update you will know that Carol Castel asked me to stay on for the next show Kiss Me Kate a classic broadway musical written by Cole Porter. During this production I ended up wearing three different hats, assistant director, choreographer, and performer. I tend to thrive under these conditions and Kiss Me Kate was no exception to that rule. I had an amazing time during this show and learned so much about directing and being a choreographer. When Carol asked me to do Choreography I sort of did a double take. As far as opera singers go, I do have a pretty strong background in movement, but I have never been given the task to teach choreography to others. Now I have a new tool in my toolbox (one that I hope to get to utilize again very soon).
Opera and Musical's may seem on the surface to be very similar in Nature, but at a deeper look they are completely different beasts. In Opera much more of what we do on stage is dictated by the written music. In a musical we have much more freedom with stage actions, cuts to the music, changes to the dialogue, but we also have much more demand to drive the show forward from one plot point to the next. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to help bring this piece to life this summer along with such an amazing cast and crew.
At the end of Kiss Me Kate Carol asked me to stay yet again for the final show of the season to perform as Sir John Falstaff in Otto Nicolai's The Merry Wives of Windsor. There are two operas in the standard operatic repertoire that deal with Shakespeare's "Merry Wives" tale, this one and Verdi's Falstaff. Honing a character like Falstaff for the operatic stage is something that takes a very long time and so I jumped at the opportunity to get a first dig into this character.
As a young singer I am always looking for ways to stretch my artistic "chops" as it were, and here was another chance. Learning a new role is something that I always take very seriously and diligently. When I prepare a new role I usually plan on having at least a month, and more is always a benefit. With Merry Wives, I had to learn the role in essentially three days of music rehearsals before staging rehearsals started. I was literally sight reading the music at the first rehearsal (literally the stuff nightmares are made of :). This (along with the other two shows) was my true "artistic stretch" for the summer. I am happy to say that I was able to put the character, music, and notes into my voice and body in a record amount of time. Being able to bring a character to life in short order is a tool that is invaluable to a young singer, and now I own that tool.
Upon leaving New York, I was home (in Vancouver) for all of two days before I headed back out to Calgary for two weeks where I performed as Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen. Then it was back to Vancouver where I am now involved in two different productions of the world's greatest love story La Bohème (and preparing for a third in January in North Carolina). Along with producing my own companies production of Die Fledermaus for performances in January. Life is busy!
Remaining Incentives: Spending the summer with Carol Castel and Nico Castel (Metropolitan Opera legend) has truly been the highlight of my operatic career thus far and your contribution to making it happen is not lost on me. I still have some postcards left to mail (yes they are sitting on my night stand :) And video's are being edited very shortly. I have had a little difficultly with file formatting from one video camera to the next, but I believe that the issue is solved and I will have video's heading out in a very short time. I hope that you get a true kick out of them, as watching them myself brings back so many vivid and amazing memories.
#1) Otello (John Kaneklides is Cassio, Dan Buccheri is Roderigo, Ed Moran is Iago).
#2) Kiss Me Kate (Julian Whitley is Fred, Ed Moran is Stage Manager/Signor Baptista).
#3) Merry Wives of Windsor (Ed Moran is the adorable Sir John Falstaff)