This site is a special place for my students, friends and colleagues. I will share thoughts, and I will also share musical examples on this site.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Finally decided to do it.  After 20 years, I am retiring from performing professionally.  No more.

Kinda freeing.  Actually, amazingly freeing.  I can still sing whenever I want, and just WHAT I want.

Looking forward to the future and concentrating on teaching and making a real living for a change!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What do we do to our own Art form?

“Stop apologising, stop trying to sell our music by dumbing it down. Sell opera on the basis that it is like nothing else on the planet, not on the basis that it’s superficially cool and hip – that is so phoney.”  Joyce DiDonato

She has a great point.  We spend so much time trying to make our art for "viable" for an audience, that we continue to make them dumber.  

Opera isn't really about sitting around and cooing about voices, its meant to be in your face, take a real, honest look at society.  But American directors, intendants, and even singers don't get that.  Do something silly, show off some pecs, do "Opera Acting" rather than finding a real, honest connection to the character, or find a Dramatic Soprano who looks like a young Cindy Crawford to draw in the audience.  Look superficially at the text, get pissy that somebody has an origional idea, or that the piece isn't "period." Or, Heaven forbid, that we do the work in English so that the audience is getting the message at the same time it's being delivered.

To "make them love us" is really NOT what this art form is about.  If you want that, go into Musical Theatre, because it's all about dumbing down the audience, or maybe "catering to" is a better term.  I don't care if my audience "loves me" or not.  I do care that they have been moved, that they have been involved, sometimes to the point of hissing me when I walk onto stage (If I were playing Enrico again).  
It's my job to move you.  Sometimes to offend you.  Sometimes to make you love me, other times, hate me. At least you'll be engaged and not fall asleep. And it will really make you think.

If you want entertainment, go to a Michael Buble concert.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Finally home

a twelve and a half hour drive home while memorizing "Allmächt'ger Vater" from Rienzi and "Come un bel di di maggio" from Andrea Chenier.  A lot of words.  A LOT.

I am preparing for my lesson on the 6th and, ultimately singing for two agents next month.  This also comes into the though of do I just want to give this up and find a job that actually pays me for the work I do? Ah, there's the rub.

The problem for me is that singing and acting are gifts/calling from God to me.  I cannot get past that, no matter how hard I try. For Pete's sake, I am fro bloody podunk Alabama.  Why am I where I am?  I guess I should just be white trash living in a trailer park or some Baptist minister.  But no.  I was given this charge....

And it means the world to me.  I can be myself, learn more about myself, yada yada.  It's like God, If I could quit Him, I would.  But I just can't.

One review called my tenor "Resplendent."  Well, if it is, it's due to Him...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Walküre #4

You know when you own something. I mean, it's yours and it's at a very high level.  That is my Siegmund now.

Hakan Hagegard told me that you will know when a role is yours.  He said it usually takes 25 performances, but you will know by it "being there" for you.  Very little warm up. He was spot on.  That's how Siegmund is to me now.  Money.

Who gives a fig what some schmuck critic might say?  They not have the balls nor the talent to stand up and do it.

Plus, after twenty years, I know when it's dang good.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

nice five day break

Needed that more than I thought.

I really wasn't in a good place on Saturday night.  Got into street clothes right after bows, headed to Cicero' s, had some Italian and two Woodchuck Granny Smith's.

One thing I have learned of American audiences:  they are dumber than cow dung.  If it doesn't sound like something off a CD, they don't know what to do. And if the acting isn't Disney-esque, its' too far above them.  If an artist actually performs the role the way it's meant, and doesn't sound manufactured or "like a tenor", they are at a loss. They have no clue, and don't know what to do.

Heaven forbid that the tenor sing a difficult HELDEN role easily and musically, look good and move well,  and use the language very well.  Heaven forbid that you be convincing and moving. 99% of Americans have zip of a clue.

Makes me thankful for the fella that wished I were singing for a German audience because "They would truly appreciate just what you have accomplished tonight."

My confidence is back, and I will sing and perform this character really well again tomorrow night and Saturday.

A lion doesn't lose sleep over the opinion of sheep

Saturday, August 17, 2013

opening night

I have been pretty nervous about opening night for a week and a half.  Never before have I had problems with G Nat,  but it has been bothersome since I git here.  Could sing it until I got to the theatre. Weird. The A Nat has not been a problem at all. AT ALL.  Maybe it's due to singing the role ten days in a row, then compounding it by singing it thru twice a day before each run...

But last night, I nailed it!!  Prayer works. I was calm, and just happy to be there, and I had fun!    I am finally willing to trust and even make an ugly sound. Pretty dang freeing.

Siegmund is an incredibly, deceptively hard role to sing.  Yes, it's the lowest of Wagner's Helden roles, but that's what makes it so difficult. When the role moves from lyric to dramatic in the "Siegmund heiss ich", , it pounds at the E Nat thru F# corridor.  Pavarotti was correct that the chords must stay fresh in this area, but he never sang this rep.  The intensity makes you work overtime to stay calm and and lyric through the passaggio.  If you don't, you are incredibly screwed.

Don't think because this role is low that it's easy...that will show what an uninformed, uneducated idiot you really are.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dress 1

I sang thru the role three times today. One just happened to be the dress rehearsal, even after I said I would mark....go figure.

I have come to love this role for many reasons, but foremost it allows me to be just who I am as an artist. I look the role, I sound the role, I have no problem cutting/carrying, but now I have gotten to the point that I am not afraid to make an ugly sound and I act the scrap out of the text and character.

If I never perform this role again, at least I will have the above