I’ve neglected this blog for quite a number of months, and there’s no excuse like the turn of the calendar year to recommit. So, welcome to 2018, everyone! Where are you as this year begins? I’d love to hear from you and know what’s up. Here’s what’s up with me.

I am in El Paso, Texas to lead a production of Hansel and Gretel. The city is quite new to me but there’s so much about it that feels like home. I went to college in Tempe, Arizona, and the mountainous desert landscape here still feels like “mine.” It’s one of the gifts of an itinerant life, that so many places can feel like they belong to you, or you to them.

And this production will use my reduction of Humperdinck’s score, which I haven’t conducted since we did it at HGO in 2006-7. THAT brings back memories of so many dear people in another place I call home, at a company that has faced such challenges this year in the post-hurricane flooding. Resilience Theater, indeed. I’m thinking this morning of Patrick, Perryn, Diane, Brad, Richard, and everyone at that house, and of the dear singers and players of that 2006 production. Alicia, I just read about your album release – Masha and Albina, Jen and Ryan, I’ve seen on social media where you’re singing – Liam, I’m so excited for your new life chapter and how you’re rocking it – Fiona and Rebecca, we’re not in touch but I miss you and cherish these memories!

Like so many moments in this traveling minstrel’s life, it’s a homecoming and a totally new beginning all at once. As I take stock of a thrilling and devastating year – too many loved ones lost on one hand, so many vital artistic and personal friendships on the other – I’m filled with gratitude for some things in particular:

  • rich collaborations: with Peggy Dye and Crystal Manich at Opera Columbus, with a young dream cast and an artistic team that dazzled – with UM students and William Bolcom on his newest opera, Dinner at Eight – with dear friend and brilliant heart artist Jamie Barton on a couple of recital stages, with more to come.
  • the bravery of the women of #metoo, which is all of us, and especially the courage of those in our industry and others who are starting to break our silences, to come out of the silos forged by those silences, and to band together to call for and effect real and lasting change.
  • the undimmed courage and commitment of artists in my country as they continue to fight for voice and agency, and to be catalysts for expression and change as they lift up every kind of human story.
  • the example set by so many people around me, who have allowed me to collaborate in their commitment to social change through artistic work. Thank you to UM’s Prison Creative Arts Project and its incredible director (and now cherished friend) Ashley Lucas, and to the Detroit Women’s Chorus and ITS incredible director and cherished friend Arianne Abela. You have changed my life in this last six months.
  • My family, all sides of it, blood and not blood. My husband, my partner in all crimes. Love is love is love is love is love (repeat endlessly, never stop).

I’m off now to head into the forest with two kids, who will look for something, forget to take care of it, find something that looks shiny, get into trouble, and rely on each other to banish the sickly sweet illusion. There might be a metaphor there, America, who knows.

Happy New Year, y’all. Let’s go make some things.


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