With the summer arrives growth, warmth, beaches, barbecues, and festivals. Those of us who enjoy the summer heat look forward to our with great anticipation. At the Castleton Festival in Vermont yesterday, sad news once more cooled the musical landscape as Maestro Lorin Maazel passed, less than a month after we lost Julius Rudel. I had the enormous pleasure of singing under both their batons in college, as party of the Westminster Choir, and I remember fondly their passion and commitment to the arts.
As Maestro Rudel precariously leaped over the pit to save time in rehearsals in Spoleto and Maestro Maazel silenced a coughing audience with his glare as he began a beautiful composition again from the beginning, I fell in love with opera and symphonic music and never looked back. So very fortunate have I been to work with the greats we have recently lost: Richard Hickox, Wolfgang Sawallisch, the gentlemanly Claudio Abbado, Gian Carlo Menotti, Julius Rudel, and now Lorin Maazel. I have yet to fully understand their impact on my life and career, though I know their wake was powerful and compelling.
This summer, I have the good fortune of singing again at Bard Summerscape with Leon Botstein under the stage direction of Kevin Newbury in Euryanthe. Being at Bard doubles as a peaceful summer home and a place to work, inspired and infused with always unusual and interesting music. 2014 is no exception. Maestro Botstein has uncovered another rare work, this time the opera by Carl Maria von Weber, and Kevin Newbury has imbued it with purpose, meaning, and a striking commentary on the judgments of society.
As an actor and singer, I often don't know in what I will perform next. Most people would fear the potential insecurity and inconsistent nature of the entertainment business, and I admit that my constant pursuit of new work has aided in the development of any bravery I may have. But truly...
How could I miss this ride? How could I miss staging The Saint of Bleecker Street with Menotti and singing to him in his courtyard on Italy on his 90th birthday? Or hearing Sir Richard Hickox tell us, "that was fantasic, now bugger off!" after a great recording session? My memory of singing Debussy in Carnegie Hall under Claudio Abbado, interspersed between members of the Berlin Philharmonic sometimes, as it does now, still brings me to tears. Thank you to the greats, past, present, and future. You make me a better actor, musician, and person. I applaud you today, Maestro Maazel, along with the countless affected by your music and your legacy. Bravo.