I've been invited back to one of my "hometown" cities. Opera Memphis has invited me back to what was once my home.
I lived in Memphis for quite a few years while globe-trotting as a singer and opening a successful yoga studio, and it's amazing to go through the town while seeing my old haunts and connecting with friends that have been, until this month, geographically unavailable. The experience of being back is reminiscent to rereading a favorite book that has been on the shelf for years.
When Michael Ching was running Opera Memphis, he was commissioned by the University of Missouri (MU) to write Corps of Discovery, a beautiful Opera/Theatre piece based on the journey of Lewis and Clark that traveled to the Kennedy Center, Monticello, Constitution Hall and Carnegie Hall's Weil Recital Hall. Through this, Michael and I created a friendship that continues to this day. Through that relationship, my first professional La Bohème was created in the beautiful Clark Opera Memphis Center here in Memphis, Tennessee . The years after included Memphis performances of Corps of Discovery, The Merry Widow and John Hoomes beautiful Rigoletto which we remounted at Nashville Opera in 2010.
So here I am, back in a town in which I've owned a home, cultivated a circle of friends, built a business from nothing and turned a page on my life. I've only been in town for a few days, but I find myself walking through the local Whole Foods, or driving down the street expecting to see an old friend or past yoga client. This city holds some fine old ghosts in my mind, and I can't wait to see them all again.Our Fledermaus group is top notch. Caroline Worra (Rosalinda) and I have known each other for many years. We were both students at MU years ago and lost touch until reunited by San Francisco Opera's Merola Program and their Western Opera Theatre North American tour. What show did we perform? Die Fledermaus. To make the reunion even more cathartic... our Memphis conductor is the amazing Steven Osgood who was our musical leader through the entire North American San Francisco Opera tour.
While I'm just getting to know the rest of the cast, I assure you that Ned Canty, Opera Memphis' new General Director, has assembled a fantastic cast and chorus that sound fantastic.
I'll keep you posted, but being kinda home is weird, wonderful and comforting. I can't wait to see what we create and I'll keep you posted on the BBQ adventures as I come back home.