Alan's Blog...It's all Gesamtkunstwerk to me!

Thoughts from nearly 40 years on the professional stage

Back in the land where Wolves are Trapped

What an honor it is for me to be back at Wolf Trap and to be the Artist in Residence for the 2016 Wolf Trap Opera Company. I have had a LONG affiliation with Wolf Trap (dating back to 1987) and always enjoy my return trips to the beautiful Wolf Trap Park for the Performing Arts in Northern Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.

This year, the unbelievably dedicated and gifted Senior Director of the program, Kim Witman (who has been affiliated with the company even longer) has assembled a remarkable group of Filene Young Artists and outstanding studio artists as well. This month, I have had the pleasure of teaching/coaching these young singers, watch them rehearse, and even perform with them a bit. A few weeks ago, the young artists gave outstanding performances of Britten’s “The Rape of Lucretia”. The studio artists have been giving concerts as well as performing various opera scenes.

Remaining to be performed is a wonderful treat for the audiences---Florian Leopold Gassman’s “
L’Opera Seria” (you won’t see this one at your local opera company very often) and Puccini’s masterpiece “La Boheme”. There is also a concert this coming Friday night with these great singers, the National Symphony Orchestra, and yours truly. It will be a concert of American compositions and patriotic music in the Filene Center. Don’t miss out on these performances.

I have always found the Wolf Trap Opera Program to be one of the finest, if not THE finest, young artist training programs in the country. The singers are given real performance opportunities and have the chance to work with outstanding conductors and directors. They are nourished and nurtured and deliver so much to the audiences at such a critical point in their careers. I am grateful for this company, for Mrs. Katherine Shouse (who founded Wolf Trap so long ago) and all who support this great organization. The company gave me my start and will always hold a very special place in my heart.

Today, the young artists presented an “Aria Jukebox” concert where audience members voted on which aria, out of a choice of 4 or 5, that they wished to hear each singer perform. The results were outstanding. With short notice as to which aria they would sing, each young artist sang superbly and with great communication, artistic style, and well developed voice. These are the voices of the future of opera. These are the voices that will continue to foster our 400+ year old art form. We are in good hands. Don’t miss them and also your chance to be able to say, a few years down the road, that you remember hearing this or that singer when they were just starting out. You’ll be glad that you did.