I am of course delighted to be home - and grateful that the ten days away were extremely productive. This autumn spin around the east coast is an important fixture in my calendar. It gives me a good perspective as well a valuable information. And New York, being as it is the epicenter of opera activity on this continent, provides so many opportunities to reconnect with old colleagues and bring together new ones.
So Friday reflected much of this. Firstly a delightful hour with Mattthew Epstein at the Fairway Cafe, a unique institution which does American breakfast - and you know what that means. And no one does it more authentically. Then a meeting with a gifted designer whom I will not identify here - but this is someone who will be with us at some point I feel sure. This was followed by an encounter with Neal Goren who runs the Gotham Chamber Opera - a fringe group maybe but one that seems to have made an impact and certainly the ambition is impressive. I have not seen their work but it is extremely well spoken of and respected.
The key audition event of the day was the opportunity to hear some of the Met's Lindemann group. And of course it was high class - but there were standouts as well. You rarely get 100% straight As in opera companies - but here there were two singers clearly destined for major careers as many other Lindemann Alums before them have achieved. Notable amongst these of course are Danielle de Niese, Eric Cutler and Morris Robinson.
And later yesterday afternoon was some stuff related to our opening production of the season - a rare chance to get Jane Glover and Diane Paulus together to deal with some devilish detail. Jane and I then proceeded to La Guardia for a flight to Chicago. We were booked on the 8.20pm flight but actually took the 6.45 which took off at 9pm! They said it was weather - but no one in Chicago noticed any.......
Home in Chicago does not mean stopping anything! Today was the Humanities day at the University of Chicago. As a member of the Visiting Committee of the Music Department I was on parade. And we had the opportunity to see and hear more about the new Center for Creative and Performing Arts which will be under construction "very soon". There was a fine turn out of faculty, including the redoutable Philip Gossett whose new book, Divas and Scholars, is a must read for anyone mildly interested in, let alone devoted to, opera. Get it and devour it - Phil has come up with the goods again of course.