As this is my last show as Artistic Director for Opera Lyra, I have
decided to talk about myself. In March, 1994, some big kid from
Calgary, Alberta (The Stampede City) mosied on in to Ottawa to
conduct Tosca. No one is more astonished than I to still be here 20
years later. I truly would have considered conducting that one opera
at the National Arts Centre an accomplishment of a lifetime.
Albert Einstein said: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your
balance, you must keep moving.” It seems like great advice to me.
A while back I was asked to explain my definition of “excellence in
opera”. I believe the question can best be answered by Rossini: he
stated that the three most essential ingredients of Italian opera are
Voce, Voce and Voce. While there are many ingredients required to
produce an opera, I have always considered it my duty to ensure the
spotlight remains where it belongs, on the singer.
There are many other fabulous quotes about opera such as:
Richard Wagner’s music is “better than it sounds”?
– or Puccini’s quote: “Art is a kind of illness.”
perhaps the prize goes to Maria Callas who said: “When my enemies stop
hissing, I shall know I’m slipping.”
However, for me perhaps the most apt quote is from the opera “Little
Women”. It is a simple yet profound statement: “Things change, Jo”
But not quite yet, and I would like to one last time ensure the
spotlight shines where it indeed belongs, on this amazing cast of