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I’m continuing my backwards time travel as I look at the end of the month of April which found me in Ft. Worth, Texas. I went there to see the world premiere of the David T. Little/Royce Vavrek new opera, JFK. It starred my wonderful daughter-in-law, Daniela Mack as Jackie Kennedy. Beyond bias, I can report that she was magnificent! Hers is the leading role and she sang it with incredible vocal beauty and an emotional magnetism on stage that left very few dry eyes in the theater. I thoroughly enjoyed the opera. It was my second world premiere this year having previously attended Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain at Santa Fe Opera. These are two terrific contemporary operas that I believe will take their place in the standard operatic repertoire.
While in the Ft. Worth Opera lobby, I couldn’t help but borrow JFK’s presidential podium! What do you think?
My former student, Dr. Lisa Morales, is the Music Program Coordinator at Lone Star College in Tomball, Texas. She had arranged to take students on a field trip to Fort Worth to see JFK. When she found out that I was also going to be there, she asked me to do a clinic/workshop with her singers. We had a great time, meeting at The First United Methodist Church. I did a choral clinic using my piece Trust in Me. They sang it very well and I was delighted to jump back into that conductor/clinician role. I also did a vocal masterclass with four young singers for Lone Star. Wonderful art song performances in Italian, German, and French. We followed it all up with a rousing Q&A and then I went with the group for dinner in downtown Ft. Worth.
The next day we met at the performance. After the show, Daniela graciously agreed to meet with them at the stage door and answered more questions. They were smitten with her and I’m sure she is now their favorite opera star! My students have always been part of my extended family and I’m thrilled to provide and facilitate activities such as this. Lisa Morales holds a special place in my heart and my career and the time I spent with her and her LSC students was incredible!