Arizona’s for me: Danke, boys.

On this flight back to DTW, I’m still buzzing from the audience reaction to Arizona Lady. This piece has been another profound example of the power in audience connection and engagement. I’ve never experienced anything like the energy of a few thousand Arizonans listening and responding to us as we sang about the beauty and personality of their state. It was patriotism and romanticism, but it was something more – identification, ownership, and just plain delight.

There are so many people to thank – our marvelous cast, headed by Angela Fout and Joshua Dennis with some real golden-age singing – my creative, daring, and loving collaborator, director Matthew Ozawa – the chorus and orchestra with they skill and goodwill, the board and supporters of Arizona Opera. But I’d like to focus on three gentlemen today.

An undertaking like this is a labor of love, and it’s not going to happen unless some folks are willing to go above and beyond – work too hard, for too many hours, just to get things done. Without the support, energy, skill, and generous overwork of Allen Perriello and Paul Chuey, we never should have arrived at opening night. These two men assisted me every step of the way with the adaptation of the libretto and score, and somehow managed to make it enjoyable at every moment. I owe them more than I can say, and I’m so grateful!

And none of this could happen without the vision, fearlessness, and personality of Ryan Taylor. Even the best team – artists, administrators, and stakeholders – will not be willing to take a chance unless the leader, the holder of the vision, has carefully built relationship and trust throughout the organization. What we did onstage is bound up in every way with Ryan’s construction of these bonds over the course of his life as an artist and artistic leader. Thank you, my friend!

Home now to Spain by way of Ravel and Florence by way of Puccini!

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