It's been a bit of a wild ride over the last few days, as last week's GRAMMY news eclipsed much of business as usual. We are working overtime to choose and cast next summer's operas, and I haven't forgotten my promise to post the list of most-offered arias during November's audition tour. [UPDATE: These are up now - visit these links for Filene Young Artists and Studio Artists.]
However, there's been much to absorb in these last few days. Before you read on, take 1 min. 33 seconds to watch and listen to this.
Even if you don't think you like opera (or, for crying out loud, new opera...), do it.
Two adjectives I've heard recently:
Scrappy: our small opera company and tiny record label
Outrageous: the fact that we were nominated for a freakin' GRAMMY...
It's not as if I'm not proud of the WTOC. I have given it my blood, sweat and tears for the last 25 years. And I will hold us up against any arts organization in artistic integrity, work ethic, financial responsibility and innovative spirit. But our budget is small, our artists are at the beginnings of their careers, and we produce in a 375-seat theatre. We are in the presence of some amazing talent in our award category, and the whole thing seems a bit surreal.
Once the shock wore off (yes, John Musto called me on my cell phone at 10:45 pm Wednesday evening, and I thought he was punking me), a few things bubbled to the surface:
John is the only American composer nominated for this award. In the company of amazing composers, to be sure, but of British, French, Chinese and Russian heritage.
Volpone is the only 21st-century opera nominated. Others range from 1928 (The Nose) to 1996 (Marco Polo).
Wolf Trap is the only U.S. arts organization in this field, and Wolf Trap Recordings is the only American record label.
Oh, and Volpone is a truly awesome opera.