The whirlwind nature of the past few weeks has been unbelievably exciting and I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of jumping-in at the last minute for ailing colleagues.
My time in Zurich was brief but I found myself absolutely enchanted with the city and its people and, thankfully, the audiences appeared to be pleased with me too! On opening night, my Opernhaus Zurich debut, I was greeted with thunderous applause and calls for BIS (an encore of the aria the singer performed – this, literally, stops the show and the aria is then repeated). I was beside myself – completely floored by their enthusiasm and outpouring of appreciation. My brother, sister-in-law, and wife were all present that night and that they were there to witness a career first and an incredibly uncommon event – the coveted encore performance of an aria.
After a brief discussion with Maestra Speranza Scappucci, we decided to give it a shot – completely unrehearsed. She was nervous that not everybody would start in the same spot… I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to sing another 9 high C’s. Well, as luck would have it, everybody was on the same page (literally) and I was able to pull off the 2nd round of high C’s without a hitch. The hardest part of the encore was taking my brain out of the equation and not letting my emotions take over as I was on the verge of crying for the first page or two.
Then it happened again! During our final performance calls for BIS and raucous applause warranted another 9 high C’s. This time I was mentally prepared enough that I kept emotion completely out of the equation and I was able to get through it just fine, albeit this time was a bit more tiring than the previous. I’m still riding that wave of adrenaline and pride as I sit here in the Zurich Airport waiting to board my flight home to Berlin. The entire taxi ride to the airport was bittersweet.
It was an absolute joy to sing this opera with Sabine Devielhe, who was debuting the role of Marie, Pietro Spagnoli, who was also making his Opernhaus Zurich debut and with whom I’ve sung 3 times now, and under the baton of Speranza Scappucci, who I’ve known now for 7 years, also making her Opernhaus Zurich debut. Not enough can be said about Liliana Nikiteanu, Henri Bernard, Huw Montague Rendall, and Birgit Steinegger who were all absolutely wonderful to share the stage with and to get to know. The orchestra and chorus were also absolutely first rate and were so kind to me throughout the entire process! Thank you ALL for helping make my debut so special.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you all!!