Midwestern minstrel

“A wandering minstrel I…”  could have been my theme song this week. I drove across northern Wisconsin and east-central Minnesota as the leaves began to change right on time. And all along the way: music!

First, in Stevens Point WI, Matthew Markham, Sue Bender, and the wonderful students of UWSP hosted Stanford Olsen and me for a few days of master classes, and a recital. What a joy to perform with Stan, a consummate artist. The students were engaged and open in class, and we enjoyed getting to know them. A great trip!

Then, I jogged quickly on over to Minneapolis for some work with the pianists of the training program there, who are preparing to play rehearsals for Das Rheingold. I never get tired of working on Wagner, and it’s especially fun to introduce people to his language. The two young women at the opera are strong players and able musicians; it was a pleasure to begin work with them! And I know that, the next night, the company had a beautiful opening with Romeo et Juliette, starring Joe Dennis and directed by Matthew Ozawa – bravi to my pals from Arizona Lady!

Back in Ann Arbor, where over the weekend, our singers took part in a huge recital at Hill auditorium featuring all of our vocal ensembles and excerpts from the opera, and our orchestra performed a huge concert of Gershwin and Adams to a huge response. This week is more orchestra and symphonic band. The opera is almost ready to start staging, and we’re getting close to putting our contemporary concert of Saariaho and Little together. I have to nail down some plane tickets to DC and train tickets to Toronto. The season seems to be in full swing, right?

The picture with this post, by the way, is of me and Mark Hanson, who teaches music theater at UWSP. We grew up together in Northfield, MN. Small world, you never cease to amaze me!

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