It has been an interesting few weeks. I'm writing this while in Rennes, but I'll devote more time in future blogs to my week conducting in France. I the past few weeks, I closed up my time in Houston, packed up the apartment, and drove the cats to Milwaukee. The move was a completely nightmare (especially if you were to ask Milton Cat). I wanted to write a blog about my time in Houston, but I think it took a few weeks away to be able to sit down and think about it clearly. In many ways, I've called those seven years my crucible. I think that's a fair assessment, but it was also an amazing time. While in Houston I made some amazing friends. There are so many to name. I'm not sure that without Rene Salazar, Joe Carl White, Anne White, Jerome Istin, Scott Sullivan, Natalie Istin, Rick Pal, Tanya Pal, Jeanne Morrissette... Ok.. you get my point. My life would not have been as vibrant without them. (I'm sure there are many people such as Vernon McDonald, Alex Lawler, and oh so many others who are wondering why I didn't name them, but I think I could fill a number of blogs with names of people who were instrumental in my life in Houston). I don't know what the future holds and how often I'll get to see them, but without the people who were in and out of my life during the past few years, I would not be the person I am now.
I got to Houston and stayed because I started an opera company, and I met someone. By the end of my time there, I had lost both, but I had gained so much in return. Opera Vista did 7 world premieres in the time we ran the company. We performed Powder Her Face and received a review in Opera Magazine that I swear I didn't write myself, but it sure seemed that way. I served on steering committees for Houston Young Professionals for the Arts and Asia Society's Young Professionals. I was invited to be a young leader at the Asia Society summit in Jakarta. I spoke at Indiaspora, which in turn lead to an invite to the White House!
In the end, I cried as we pulled out of Houston with 2 cats in carriers and the MINI Cooper filled to the roof with stuff - not because of the crucible it had been but because of the amazing regeneration of the past few years. As we were leaving, I glanced at my Facebook and message after message from friends talking about how sad they were I was leaving popped up, and as my dad said once, "the way I always knew you were an ok person was that you have incredibly high quality friends." He's 100% right, and so many of them are in Houston. I can't thank you all enough for supporting me and supporting Opera Vista. It was an amazing 7 years of my life, and I'm excited about the new adventures we'll have at the Skylight and in Milwaukee, but Houston is always going to have a soft spot in my heart.
I am a lucky guy - in the past month, I'll have been in 3 of my favorite places in the world: Houston, Milwaukee, and Paris. Who could ask for anything more? (Waiting to see who the first person is who comments with "Toyota.")