Back in Bavaria

Once again, I’ve returned to Munich. In fact, this is but my first trip here this year as I’ll return just after Christmas for another engagement in one of my favorite cities. This city offers so many vistas for picture taking and enjoyable walking. Unfortunately, Munich has so much construction going on at the same time. It’s a bit disheartening to see some of your favorite buildings wrapped in scaffolding. Even one of the domed “onion” towers you see on the “Dom” (Cathedral) in the background of this photo is currently “missing” as it is under construction. I took this picture on an earlier visit--I like to remember it as it was and will be again rather than how it is at this point. But oh, there is much to see and so much atmosphere to absorb (as long as you can dodge the summer tourists which are bountiful here in July).

I’ve returned to the Bavarian Staatsoper for performances of “Rusalka”. These have been scheduled for some time and I’m very excited to return to this opera that I first sang three years ago in Salzburg. There is so much gorgeous music in the score. The production, when it opened last fall, was controversial, to say the least, but generally well received. I’m anxious to have a crack at it myself.

I found out last week that I’ll be staying on in Munich longer than expected as I’m jumping into performances of “Tristan und Isolde”. I haven’t sung the opera since 2004 but it has come back quickly to my brain. The cast, as it appears on paper, is incredible. This will be a treat.

I arrived home from Baden-Baden just over 3 weeks ago. We had a very hectic few weeks before I flew back to Germany last night. In those 3 weeks “off”, we headed to Illinois to celebrate a very important birthday in the life of my Mom. It was just great to spend time with so many in our family--many who we don’t get to see nearly enough. We also stopped by The University of Notre Dame to do a little touring (and to give a little inspiration to the students in our family) and then visited family in Northern New Jersey on July 3rd. We travelled down to Washington, D.C. on the 4th of July for the annual Independence Day celebration. They only have a 15 minute firework show--but they blow up more in those 15 minutes than the mind can comprehend---AWESOME!!! On July 5, we made the short trip from D.C. to Gettysburg to tour the battlefields. This was a very moving day and one I’m sure we won’t soon forget.

We also got to spend some time with friends during my short break (no break is ever long enough) and, of course, much swimming was had by all. Summer is perhaps my favorite time of year and, since we got to spend so much time with family and friends, I’m already looking forward to getting home in a few weeks to spend time with them again!!!

This trip to Munich will wind up a very long and successful season. It’s been a season primarily spent on the road but with my heart maintaining it’s strong yearning for home. I’ll get to be home quite a bit this fall but the winter and spring brings another hectic travel schedule (and some wonderful performance opportunities). It’s been quite a year (and I expect more of the same next season). But for now, it’s wonderful to be back in the heart of Bavaria with two very special operas.