Santa Fe Update, June 2nd

      We recently had the opportunity to talk with Williamsburg native and talented young bass Branch Fields at the reception following the von Stade recital in Hampton and again at Troy Cook's June 24th recital in Williamsburg. Branch was off the following day to Santa Fe for a summer of opera and he agreed to share some of his experiences with our readers. Here's his first letter:

      Hi guys,

      Just had to write you because at the opening party tonight here at the Santa Fe Opera House, the baritone cast as Guglielmo in Cosė fan tutte walked up to me and said, "Hey, didn't I just meet you last week?" It was Troy Cook! I was so surprised to see him, and vice versa. But the music world is a small world. Turns out, he was an apprentice here in '97, and was in the Cosi chorus that year, with a bit role as a waiter! So, he'll be here all summer doing Guglielmo, and the Ferrando is a young tenor you might be familiar with, Charles Castronovo. [The Marilyn Horne Foundation and the Virginia Arts Festival co-presented Troy Cook this year and Charles Castronovo last year. At one time Mr. Cook was a Virginia Opera Spectrum Artist].

      WELL, it has been a fun half week rehearsing La Belle Hélène. The conductor, Kenneth Montgomery, announced the first day that we will be treating Offenbach exactly as if it were Mozart, and applying Baroque phrasing throughout. ??????? Quite a shock! But brilliant, really. The audience will immediately sense that there is something very refined and sophisticated about this humorous opera, which adds a lot to this light music. By the way, you can buy this production on DVD already. It was done last season at the Châtelet, and subsequently put on CD and video. It's the one with Felicity Lott. Gee, I hope potential audience members don't decide to just buy the DVD, and say they've seen it!

      Beautiful sunset tonight to end the party.

      Take care,

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