Happy New Year to you all! What a year it’s been on so many levels. The year began with a run of Louise Moaty’s wonderful production of Handel’s Rinaldo in Prague, so a nice return to work with familiar colleagues in such a wonderful city. I’ve had a number of ‘firsts’ this year. There was my first performance in the Leipzig Gewandhaus in September, my first performance in Canada (Ottawa) in December, the first performance, at last, of my Feminine Charms programme, which was fantastically received and will be recorded in 2013, and seen again at Buxton Festival this July. Then there was my first Das Lied von der Erde in October – hopefully the first of many, and my first performances of some of the Ruckert lieder.
I’ve been thrilled to have been involved in the Kathleen Ferrier Centenary celebrations in 2012, with many performances of my programme, but topped off with being asked to perform Kathleen Ferrier Society’s Centenary Weekend. When I think back to my earliest experiences of singing and of hearing Ferrier’s voice, I could never have imagined being in that position. That, combined with finally learning and performing Das Lied, has made 2012 really a year to remember and cherish.
December was an exciting month and I travelled firstly to Ottawa to perform at the National Arts Centre – I’ll never forget this visit! I was spoilt rotten! Fantastic audiences, wonderfully responsive orchestra and lovely colleagues and people alike. I enjoyed every minute of it! Then, I flew to Philadelphia to sing with the Philadelphia Orchestra. What a great city it is. Again, I was spoilt absolutely rotten by Ben Spalter et al and had a wonderful time. The Verizon Hall has to rank as one of the absolute best I’ve ever sung in – I felt so comfortable on that stage. I do hope I get to return there. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit with soprano Karina Gauvin to the Barnes Foundation. I had no idea before I visited Philadelphia that this existed but I spent one of the nicest afternoons ever looking at the amazing collection of Renoirs, Matisses, Cézannes, Van Goghs, Picassos, etc etc etc – all from as close as a metre away! One of my absolute favourites was a huge canvas by Seurat called The Models - just to see it in the flesh and see the detail of the brushstrokes took my breath away.
So, now on with 2013. There are lots of exciting things on the horizon so I hope you’ll join me along the way and I’ll keep you posted as much as I can!