From the Desk of Artistic Director Jonathan Pell – NYC 3

by Jonathan Pell

Other than the blustery arctic winds, today was a perfect day in New York.

Today’s auditions resulted in my discovering two really fine singers, and a few others that might prove interesting.

The second singer of the morning (I usually start at 10:00 a.m.) was a gifted young baritone still at Juilliard named Tobias Greenhalgh, who recently sang the role of “Malatesta” in their production of Donizetti’s DON PASQUALE. He started with “Bella siccome un angelo” from that opera, but what really impressed me was his extraordinary performance of Pierrot’s tanzlied from Korngold’s DIE TOTE STADT. He sang with remarkable artistry for someone so young and relatively inexperienced, and he is certainly a singer on whom to keep an eye (and ear.)

I then met Terrence McNally for an early dinner before the theatre. He and a friend were off to see Arin Arbus’s new Off-Broadway production of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and I was going to ONCE, the musical that swept last year’s Tony Awards.

Terrence is currently working on the libretto for a new opera, GREAT SCOTT, to be composed by Jake Heggie which The Dallas Opera has commissioned and which will open the 2015-2016 season.

Terrence, his friend Tom and I compared notes on the new opera productions at the Met we had recently attended, discussed the current Broadway season, and talked a lot about the new opera for Dallas.

We then rushed off to our respective theatres, and I was even more excited about seeing ONCE when Terrence admitted having seen it four times! I don’t know why it has taken me this long to see it! It is an enchanting evening of musical theatre, based on the 2006 film, completely fresh and original and unlike any other musical I have ever seen. Beautifully simple and simply beautiful.

Brilliantly staged by director John Tiffany, the sets and costumes were designed by Bob Crowley, with whom we are in discussion to design a new production for Dallas Opera. Tiffany won a Tony for best direction of a musical and Crowley won his 6th Tony Award for designing this production. What at first appears to just be an Irish pub in Dublin morphs into multiple locations with nothing more than a few props and a new light cue. Simply amazing!

Mr. Crowley also designed the Metropolitan Opera production of DON CARLO that I am seeing Friday night.

Tomorrow is another full day of auditions, and so I had better get to bed…

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