Further to my posting yesterday – I had a fairly frantic 28 hours in Boston, but it was a pleasure and a success. My day yesterday started with a long fruitful meeting with the director of one of our 2012 productions about which more will be announced in March. I think that we may have a winner here, a creative team of freshness in their ideas and youth on their side. And above all talent. I think that we have the prospect of a classic COT cast of young singing actors – I enjoy this part of my work most of all so I had a happy 90 minutes.
I was staying in the Colonnade Hotel and there is a Brasserie Jo in the building. We know this excellent place well since there was a version of it in Chicago - alas no more. The Met New England Chairman, Pauline Ho Bynum, hosted us three jurors, Greg Henkel, Heidi Grant Murphy and me, to a super brunch. She is a bundle of energy and enthusiasm, and immensely knowledgeable about opera as well as full of stories arising from her many years involvement with the Boston opera scene.
Other committee members, John and Barbara VanScoyoc as well as Ellen Golde, buzzed around once we got to the wonderful Jordan Hall (left) and made our task easy and comfortable. There was a full house, sold out completely. This event is clearly very popular with the relatively opera-starved Boston musical public.
We actually had a tough time making our decisions after the three hours that the concert took. We adjourned at 4:15 and took some 30 minutes to sort it all out. But the decisions we reached (see below) were unanimous, which is not to say that we did not have differing shades of opinion. I take a rather simple approach and try not to over analyze. Would I hire this singer, and if so why? What are those strengths that I admire and value? Can I accommodate some weaknesses in what in the end has to be a successful “package”? This approach clarifies the thinking very easily. It works for me anyway!
Back in Chicago this week? There are some excitements – not a lot. But there seems to be a huge storm on the way! That may be enough......