Stephen Costello is a charismatic young tenor who will be making his Metropolitan Opera debut on the 2007/08 season’s opening night in Lucia di Lammermoor, conducted by James Levine.
Last season Stephen had enough professional engagements that I couldn’t even get him for Eugene Onegin. To have a little fun he told me he’ll spin a tale that we are doing The Queen of Spades on the next Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) season.
Since he’s graduating (see photo) there is no “we” next season and from my vantage point, pardon the pun, the opera is not in the cards. To play along I said if he’s back at AVA, we could make it happen. But then, I clarified, he must weigh his options between making a nice living singing at the Met and being back at school singing for free. I am sure he’ll make a good decision.
For the advanced pianists, Pain and Secrets is a must read post by my Curtis colleague Hugh Sung in which he focuses on Erlkönig by Schubert, a four-minute piece of music that can seriously damage a pianist’s right arm.
When I was young and stupid, I did just that. The Pioneer Label came to Curtis to film Erlkönig for educational Laser Disc series. Five pianists rejected the project. I accepted along with baritone Reginald Pindell.
As I anxiously searched for a clever solution in the chapters of Am I too loud? by the legendary Gerald Moore, our beloved Lys Symonette, who coached us, still insisted on not faking the piano part, particularly with camera close-ups.
While we produced a remarkable performance, in retrospect it wasn’t worth it. My right arm was burning up so badly that it hasn’t been the same ever since.