How many companies can boast they held full opera orchestra rehearsals in their factory? Well, we can! The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice [phoeniciavoicefest.org] is in its 7th season and going strong. Phoenicia is a rustic town with some cultural flair nestled in the Catskill Mountains not far from our headquarters. The festival was founded by members of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and has attracted world-class performers since the beginning. I have proudly played a part in past seasons and was glad to offer my studio at Woodstock Chimes for several rehearsals this year.
On Saturday, August 6th, the festival presented a fully costumed, concert production of Verdi’s opera Otello with singers from the Metropolitan Opera. The orchestra was led by maestro David Wroe and consisted of professional players, many from the New York City metropolitan area. I played timpani and my colleagues from NEXUS, Bill Cahn and Russell Hartenberger, were in the percussion section. If you’re in the region next August, be sure to check out the festival. Shakespeare and all things English were the themes this year, and besides Otello, it included a Friday evening performance of Kiss Me Kate, which is based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. The festival is not to be missed!