It has been a good day, ending with a few hours of excellent music making at the RAM. I do not think that anyone would claim that Haydn's La vera costanza is a masterpiece. Or indeed that it should be revived at any of the specialist places that do these rareties - Buxton, Wexford etc. But I suppose that it is good to add to one's collection......
But what IS good about it is that its an excellent vehicle for your singers, an exercise maybe akin to the violinist tossing off Paganini Caprices. And it certainly provided splendid opportunities from the consistently classy young singers in the opera program at the RAM.
The Royal Academy is a place that I have been going to on talent searches since the 1960s. It was great then and continues to produce a stream of super young people. As is usual on these occasions I will name a couple of the cast whom I felt to be stand outs. Which is not to say that the unnamed are necessarily less interesting. But I have to stick my neck out as usual!
So the honours go firstly to an imposing tenor of robust voice of beautiful quality, with an instinct for text and its nuances, and wonderful musicianship. This was Stuart Jackson, of whom we must hear much more. Mark my words! This was a pleasure for me.......
And secondly a delightful Portuguese soprano Sónia Grané, as completely accomplished a young artist as one could expect to find in a plus or minus 25 year old.
Now for something really weird - it transpires that both these young people studied biology at University - Stuart at Oxford and Sónia in Lisbon. Can anyone explain that?
And I almost forgot - the conductor was Trevor Pinnock and director Jamie Hayes. Trevor is a well known figure in Chicago - and Jamie I will see later this week for another event. I may elaborate then.
I had a lovely lunch earlier with Northwestern's Bruce Hall, his daughter Kirby and his son in law, the oboist Fraser Kelman. Kirby is a gifted young soprano who sang Flora in Turn of the Screw in Castleton in 2009. Her father sang the Sprecher in the recent Flute at COT, and her mother is soprano Sunny Joy Langton, now a Northwestern faculty member but whom I invited to Glyndebourne in 1978 to sing Queen of the Night with Glyndebourne Touring Opera. So small a world it is! That was a nice Chicago moment.