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Fetid Swamp Hellhole

That's what Washington is in the summer. It takes a week away in a different summer climate, the dry desert of northern New Mexico (posts on Santa Fe Opera and productions of Peter Grimes, Barber of Seville, and Lucio Silla, in case you missed them), to remind me that this city is just not meant for human habitation in the summer. The only solution, as it has been ever since the city was built, is to leave for the worst weeks of the season. When you step out on your porch at midnight, and the humidity and temperature are still somewhere near 100, something is terribly wrong.

On my last day in Santa Fe, I met soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird for coffee and got to hear about her experiences of the apprentice program there and her future projects, all of it quite exciting. Anne-Carolyn was part of the incredible ensemble behind the truly excellent production of Peter Grimes I heard on its opening night. She is also performing in the Santa Fe Turandot (which I missed) and the upcoming revision of Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar, which will open this Saturday and promises to be a major media event. Anne-Carolyn is as intelligent and talented a person as you might expect from reading her blog, The Concert. If you are not reading yet, you should be.

Thanks to Anne-Carolyn, I was able to sit in on a full rehearsal of the work, on Monday evening. It's not good form to write about a rehearsal, but I can say that I was very impressed by this opera, and I look forward to reading what the big press critics have to write about it. I will share some thoughts about it after it opens. The apprentices will also present their opera scenes on August 14 and 21. We hope they will all break legs.

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