This is not my most recent photo of New York but it sums it up quite nicely I think. And I have been here these last two days trying to reconcile the tacky with the beautiful. And there has been some success. The last couple of Neue Stimmen auditions, in 2015 and 2013, yielded little. But there were at least three potential finalists here so I am off to a flying start. I have to be careful to curb my enthusiasm!
It always a pleasure to be in Marc Scorca Hall - and a further pleasure to spend some time with Marc himself which I did yesterday evening after the day's work. He was of course General Director of Chicago Opera Theater at one point in his youth - until about ten years before I went there in my dotage in 1999.
In fact I started my day yesterday with breakfast at the Café Luxembourg with Robert Rattray - a veteran (if he will excuse the expression) of the British opera scene who took over Sally Billinghurst's job at the Met a couple of years ago. He seems really happy there and I am sure is bringing his particular brand of British excellence to the Met. We had had a good meeting together the previous evening soon after my arrival with that other Brit, Jonathan Friend, who has been in influential and industrious presence at the Met since the good old days of Joan Ingpen. So these trips are splendid opportunities to indulge in boring reminiscences.........oh dear!!
But the main purpose was of course the Neue Stimmen auditions. And again it was such a pleasure to have Jonathan Kelly as the brilliant friend and partner to all these young singers. What a difference he makes.
I am now on my way to Chicago where I will see The Perfect American at COT tomorrow afternoon and where I have our Neue Stimmen auditions at the Lyric Opera on Monday. Of all that more anon. Meanwhile I am happy to back on an American Airlines flight to Chicago.