I have been in Leeds for the dress rehearsal last night of their new productuion of La clemenza di Tito which opens on Thursday evening. I hesitate to comment on a dress rehearsal - but this looks promising. And I was particularly struck by the charismaric Kathryn Rudge's performance of Annio. This represents a considerable leap forward for this young singer who is making considerable waves. She is already much watched here - I think that she should go far. Were I still in Chicago I would certainly have wished to introduce her to American audiences - but I am not!
I am delighted to see that Kathryn did a concert tour in the UK with our dear friend Noah Stewart - his two seasons at COT were inportant steps for him. I think that Kathryn's Annio for Opera North will prove an important step for her. She is a full hearted Liverpool girl - 1000% commitment. She also has an excellent website which gives some insights into her energetic personality.
Opera North have an excellent cast - Paul Nilon will be a formidable Tito. Henry Waddington actually made something of the tiresome Publio, and the Estonian Helen Lepalaan is a convincing Sesto. The fiery headed Vitellia was Annemarie Kremer who had a huge success in Opera North's Norma last season. And the delightful Fflur Wyn is an ideal Servilia.
I will see Tito again on Sunday in Toronto - the opening there of the 2009 COT production by Christopher Alden.
I return to London this afternoon.