Jonathan Pell, Summer of Opera, Part 8

by christian.anderson

I finally arrived at my hotel around 11:00 p.m. last night.  The flight from Lyon was fine but it took almost an hour to clear passport control.  The Heathrow Express train into Central London was great, but there was another 45 minute wait for a taxi from Paddington Station.

It is extremely hot in London (not “Dallas   hot” but very warm nonetheless) and of course the pleasant but modest hotel, which was recommended to me by people at the Royal Opera House, isn’t air-conditioned.

Ah, the joys of traveling !

After four days of auditions in Lyon, and hearing almost 100 singers, I found only 3 singers that were truly outstanding, and maybe another 5 or 6 who might be useful for specific repertory.  As strange as that might seem, this is an unusually high average, and I am very pleased.  I don’t have anything specifically in mind for any of them, but the names are now filed away in my memory bank, and when something appropriate comes up, perhaps they will be able to sing in Dallas.

Two of my colleagues who were with me in Lyon for these auditions, Lenore Rosenberg from the Metropolitan Opera, and Nicholas Russell from Boston Lyric Opera, are arriving in London today and we will all be at the performance tonight of Nico Muhly’s new opera, TWO BOYS.

Both Lenore and Nick have served on the panel of judges for the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition in past years, so some of you may have met them when they were in Dallas.

TWO BOYS had its world premiere a few days ago at the English National Opera.  It is a co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, and is scheduled at the Met next year.  All that I have heard about it sounds very intriguing, but I’ll let you know what I think after I hear the piece.

I am having dinner before the opera with John Allison, editor of OPERA Magazine, which I believe has more subscribers than any other English language opera journal, and who hasn’t been to Dallas since the world premiere of THERESE RAQUIN in 2001.   Let’s see if I can get him to come see something in the Winspear !

Tomorrow I have lunch with composer Iain Bell, who is writing a new opera for Diana Damrau for Vienna, and then auditions all afternoon at the Royal Opera House, followed by a new production of SIMON BOCCANEGRA at the English National Opera.

A busy day, but I promise a full report soon.

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