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Around the World with Pat Beresford

I am being the true "Opera Mom" this summer -- just returned from a three-and-a-half week trip that included Vienna for 9 days where I saw our great Deborah Voigt do her first Isolde and belive me, Jane Eaglen better look out -- this is the Isolde for the next decade -- she was absolutely glorious.  Went to five other operas at the fantastic Vienna State Opera, stayed in a gorgeous hotel, which was also coping with the Rolling Stones on their world tour!  Believe me, they have not aged well!  At least they no longer tear up the hotel rooms and were quite polite.  Also saw Mel Ulrich several times -- he was "my" Merola and Adler Fellow for four years when he was here several years ago and is doing very well indeed.

Then it was off to Cardiff, Wales, and the Singer of the World Competition.  I have attended the last four competitions so they finally decided to put me to work and I had a ball for ten days -- making up press kits for the singers, taking them out to ease their nerves and just being "opera mom."  For the first time they had a lovely countertenor (from Munich) and some great baritones.  A Finnish baritone won and I am hoping we see him here as I waxed ecstatic about him to Pamela Rosenberg. Remember the name Tommi Hakala.

Saw my old pal, Bryn Terfel, who was in fine spirits -- he was one of the winners of this competition in 1987, together with Dmitri Hvorostovsky .  On to London and a visit with John Copley who was in great form and looks marvelous.  Went to Magic Flute starring Paul Groves and Semele (the same one we did a couple of years ago) with Ruth Ann Swenson and John Relyea.  The latter has quite an enormous career going for him -- another Adler/Merola success story.  Spent a couple of days with him and his wife, Marina, and their two little boys.

One of the highlights of the trip was a private tour backstage at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.  When we started it, we heard singing from the main house.  Our fantastic guide slipped us into the back of the stalls -- it was Domingo rehearsing Pagliacci and he wasn't "marking."  The man is still amazing and the voice just beautiful.  The backstage area is so state-of-the art it boggles the mind: stages (four of them) that drop down at the touch of a switch and glide toward the mainstage where they are raised to the proper level.  In this way they can have four complete sets, counting the one in use, ready to go.  

I'm off to Santa Fe for 5 operas, then Glimmerglass ( Cooperstown, New York ) and 15 hours after arriving home I will be on the way to Australia and Dead Man Walking , in which Teddy Tahu Rhodes will once again sing Joe DeRocher. I am sure by now the ladies are gnashing their teeth -- Teddy made quite a splash here -- but the really good thing is that he is doing some great work now and really moving up the ladder.  I understand there was a poll of "The 10 Sexiest Men in Opera" and he figured right up there at the top of the list.  Hey, this old lady knows a good thing when she sees/hears it!  And he is a baritone!