I'm not even 100% sure how to describe this day. It was seriously one of those days that can only happen in New York. I woke up this morning late - my alarm didn't go off. Odd how that happens when you put it on silent. It silently rang. I rushed, and I somehow made it to the Manhattan School early. Not sure exactly what time warp allowed that to happen. It was day 1 of the Masur seminar at the Manhattan School. You devoted readers know that I worked with Maestro Masur for a bit over 3 years as an assistant conductor of the Orchestre National de France. In many ways, he gave me my first shot. My actual "legitimacy" in the field. I'll write about that experience another day.
I think in so many ways, Maestro Masur have me permission to be the musician that I am. I think of music very conceptually and emotionally. That is exactly how KM (Kurt Masur) rehearses. He is like a musical father-figure to me. When I was his assistant, it was like a dream come true. (If you don't know KM'a story, you should google him).
I left Paris about 6.5 years ago to start an opera company in Houston. I have felt like I didn't have anything to really show him that is faith in me was justified. I felt like I never lived up to his ideas of where I could be. Now, I'm the Artistic Director of the Skylight. Stephen Wadsworth's and Francesca Zambello's company. (As everyone in New York keeps reminding me). If you've sen pictures of the theater, you will understand this next comment. I finally had a reason to return and see him.
I almost teared up when he recognized me and smiled and asked me where I had been. I started showing him pictures of the Skylight and he smiled more, and we started talking about repertoire. It is amazing when you see a mentor after a long time and get to show off what you accomplished because of their training. It is amazing when you realize how much that one smile means to you. I hope I keep living up to it. I wish I hadn't waited so long to go back.
I left the master class and went to lunch with the talented Chicago-based conductor, Daniel Black. From there it was off to a meeting with Marc Scorca at Opera America. Opera America is doing excellent advocacy work for opera companies across the US, and Marc is the energetic leader of it. I left the meeting inspired.
From there I met with Robert Guilder who asked me to listen to some of his singers for the Skylight. He also offered me tickets to Comte Ory at the Met. Miraculously I was at the Met tonight. Pretty Yende brought the house down! What an incredible feat of singing. She is a beautiful talent. Somehow I ended up in the dressing rooms meeting her and Juan Diego Flores.
From there it was to a friend of Robert Guilder's we went. I met the soon to be opera company founder Edwin Cahill. We were then invited to a performance of the interesting (but perhaps a bit too soon for Milwaukee) group The Skivvies. I encourage you to google The Skivvies NYC if you aren't faint hearted. They were delightfully entertaining. It ended up being that they are Broadway stars. Perhaps you will see some of them at the Skylight? A good portion of the second half of my day was absolutely not planned. NYC is truly great, non?