In Washington, D.C.

There are few opera companies more associated with my career than the Washington National Opera. In my first season with the company (1987-1988), I performed five different roles. Since then, I’ve performed around 15 others here in D.C. with the company. If you add together other productions I’ve been a part of with Wolf Trap Opera and The Washington Concert Opera, I’ve been involved with over 25 productions here in our nation’s capitol. You can see why I always look forward to performing here and being amongst so many friends that I’ve worked with over the years.

We began rehearsals on “Peter Grimes” last week. It is refreshing to come back to this work after a nine year absence from my schedule. It is an opera that I adore and have performed many times but sadly, not recently, and not since my debut at La Scala in 2000. We have an outstanding cast here in Washington. Following these performances which run through early April, we’ll jump immediately into “Siegfried”. That opera has also been off of my schedule for awhile but, as always, it will be great to be back with Wagner.

The last few weeks have been full of challenges with winding up “Salome” in Geneva and a horrible day of travel that brought me back to the States. We were delayed, due to mechanical problems, getting out of Geneva by 12 hours. This brought us to the east coast right in the middle of a snow storm. That 26 hour day of travel lead to quite a bit of exhaustion and, unfortunately, a cold taking over my respiratory system. I’m fighting it and have every hope of being over it soon and just fine for opening night (March 21).

I enjoyed so much being with my family a few days in the past week. After 8 weeks in Switzerland, it was so wonderful to be with my wife and children and also to see many friends at our church. I will enjoy this time in D.C. but I look forward to a long break which arrives in May.

Washington is always a great city for walking and I’ve already done a great bit of that. My entire family enjoys being here and I’m glad we’ll spend time here together this spring. I especially look forward to Cherry Blossom time which will arrive in a few weeks. Seeing the trees in full bloom is a spectacular sight. This is my third year in a row to spend this part of the year here in Washington. I’ll never get tired of being in one of my favorite cities.

Oh, and this picture was taken outside of the rehearsal space we utilize in Tacoma Park, Maryland (a D.C. suburb). This poster shows a view of the final scene from “Die
Walküre” in our 2007 production. It’s kind of strange seeing yourself surrounded by flames on the side of a building. My mind holds great memories from that production so I guess I don’t mind my likeness hanging around for awhile.