The blog is back and I owe an explanation!
Way back at the end of last year I took on a project with my friend and colleague Sarah Playfair - we became joint heads of casting at the English National Opera for three months while they recruited a new person for this vital position. Between us we had about 100 years of experience in the opera business…..not necessarily an overwhelming advantage but nevertheless we learnt a great deal along the way, both of us with periods at Glyndebourne, Sarah extensively and tirelessly elsewhere in the UK, and I with spells in Canada, the US, France and Germany. We had a great time at ENO through to the end off February when the wonderful Michelle Williams moved from Scottish Opera to ENO’s great theatre in St Martin’s Lane.
Having done this blog pretty well daily since April 2005 I was faced with a dilemma. Whilst it was all very well for me as General Director of COT to chronicle my daily activities (it was originally all the idea of a Board member who was a PR professional), I felt constrained by my responsibilities to my colleagues at ENO not to spill the beans about goings on there even if they were overwhelmingly positive. So I stopped!!
Then in January something else happened - I was diagnosed with a heart condition that needed immediate treatment and at the beginning February I underwent a quadruple bypass operation. The was an amazing though alarming experience - this was now 12 weeks ago and I am up and running again. And today I embark on the long Neue Stimmen process for the 2017 competition as I fly to New York for auditions tomorrow and Saturday, then on to Chicago and Los Angeles next week.
Between now and the time I return from Cape Town in early August I will have heard a good thousand singers (if not a thousand good ones!) from which I and my colleagues have to choose 44 for the final stages in Germany in October. I will be covering 17 cities, sharing some of them with Evamaria Wieser and Dominique Meyer. Evamaria is taking on the burden separately of Moscow, Kiev, Riga, Vilnius and Warsaw - but we will be meeting up in Munich and Berlin to compare notes, and Dominique and I will preside in Vienna!
So it is a considerable task - and you will be able to follow its progress here, as you have been able to since 2005!
I am now in flight and it seems that we have the wind behind us - odd when flying west. So we may be 30 minutes early………I will see Manhattan (above in a photo taken from the air two years ago) in another few hours. This evening I have the pleasure of dinner at Gabriel's with my old friend Matthew Epstein, then early to bed to prepare for the stressful days to come.