I’m writing in a state of exhilaration after our first orchestra reading for Nozze at Wolf Trap. What a joy to be back with the musicians of the Washington, DC area. It’s such a rich scene! There’s so much going on here – symphony, opera, oratorio, chamber music. Players are skilled and savvy. Combine that with a perfect piece, and you have three hours that don’t even feel like work.

I’m also writing in a state of sadness, having bid goodbye to too many people in just a few short days. Two colleagues from Metropolitan Opera days, Nico Castel and Margaret Juntwait, passed away this week. They each in their own way shared their gifts and their love of music with so many people. Margaret’s voice was the gateway to the Met for the radio broadcast audience, and Nico touched so many of us as an educator after his significant performing career. I will never forget their passion and kindness.

I’m also writing in a state of gratitude for some colleagues who are making transitions. The great coaches Dennis Giauque, Joan Dornemann, and Jane Klaviter at the Met, and David Aronson at the Wiener Staatsoper, are all winding up their careers at those opera houses. I can’t begin to count the number of artists they have assisted and inspired, nor can I adequately express my admiration for them.

We make each other better. Part of what gets us musicians to our goal is practice, but we don’t get to be great by ourselves. We need the ears of other people, their ideas, their sounds, their energy, their passion, their challenge, their voices. We need the amount of activity that keeps us all busy working and coming together with each other. Here in Vienna VA, I look forward to Saturday, when our orchestra will make our singers better, and when our singers will make our orchestra better. That’s happening now, all over the world. Let’s keep it going.

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