Getting back in the game

January 2022, singing with the professional Evensong choir at Epiphany Parish in Seattle. (Perhaps the best group I have ever worked with in a church setting.) I am on the right with the orange-ish mask.

Reflections on personal concerns, and a wider view of our social predicament. (Ca. 1200 words, est. 4 min. read time)

The pandemic has been, well, stressful. Performing artists in all disciplines are gradually emerging from a period of unease, frustration, and disappointment. For singers especially, we needed first to understand–and then to accept–that SARS COV-2 was a respiratory virus transmitted through the air by aerosols. Among others, we can thank the National Association of Teachers of Singing for research that informed general guidelines for singers and singing teachers. It was this research that convinced me that public singing (indoors, at least) would need to be set aside, at least for a time. This began a hiatus that lasted more than a year and a half. (During this period, I worked on the Dog Days Poetry Gallery, which will be the topic of a future post.)

I regretfully gave up working with different two ensembles. It was not that these groups ceased to meet. Rather, it was that the groups’ leaders downplayed risks. It is difficult to say whether this was a misunderstanding of the situation, benign negligence, or sheer denial. Perhaps some combination of all of these was in play. And to be fair, continuing business as usual may not have been their call. In churches, music directors answer to Bishops, Rectors, and governing boards. Of course, deflection around risk happened across the economy. Though generalizations are slippery, the more invested an organization was in maintaining business “as usual,” the squishier it was in protecting worker safety. Moreover, guidance from municipal authorities was often confusing or contradictory. And certainly, there was a perfect storm of libertarian impulses and misinformation in the echo chambers of social media, podcasts, and talk radio. Living in “red” Georgia during 2020 and 2021, I experienced resistance and cognitive dissonance to masking, distancing, and vaccines in every public space I found myself in.

As the pandemic dragged on, some singers and ensembles pivoted into online spaces to continue producing work. I know a few of these folks, and I followed their endeavors with interest. View counters on YouTube and Vimeo pages certainly don’t tell the whole story. But the trade-offs between time invested and audience interest often seemed discouraging. For a few of these intrepid producers of digital content, paying viewers and listeners followed. For many others, they did not. Singers and players who depended on teaching income had some luck so long as they were able to equip themselves for teaching in online spaces. Others (including me) had neither the space nor the resources to do so. Many of us encountered the same economic disruptions of the pandemic that challenged restauranteurs, salons, or any other business directly serving customers at close quarters.

Some commentators are now proclaiming that the worst is over, even as Omicron infections are still cresting in many parts of the country. Many places in the USA are still resisting or dropping masking, to say nothing of continued resistance to vaccination. Only today, I received an email notice from a (former) director stating that planned choir services were canceled–too many members were out sick (presumably with Omicron). Currently, I am in Seattle, where compliance with public health guidelines is generally high. Yet the volunteer Cathedral choir is–again–on hiatus as members test positive.

Certainly, the continuation of the pandemic is in part a consequence of failed leadership and mistaken ideas about freedom. Both in the political sphere and many “essential” workplaces, expediency has often overruled prudence and safety. But politics and economics are not the only factors at work. We should not discount our natural, human impulses to steer a course back to some sort of “normal.” And sometimes, even our best intentions and practices don’t shield us from bad luck. Human beings who love to sing want to be together and make music. It is difficult to balance risk and reward not only in group singing, but in life.

As we move into 2022, many in-person singing ensembles are again meeting and presenting work. Though still a questionable call for some, most of us deriving part of our income from this work are back in the game. But enjoyment is elusive. For myself, I have internalized a sense of vigilance and unease that needs to be acknowledged and worked with as we all move forward. I find myself wondering about decisions around spacing, room ventilation, and the (understandable) tendency to drop social distancing if everyone is masked. And try singing for an hour while standing in front of an open window with a strong draft, wearing a cap and gloves, and a KN95. Perhaps we are channeling our ancestors who sang in winter in unheated churches!

On a practical level, many singers need to get back not only their mojo, but also their technical chops. Like any athlete who has been out of the game for a long period, gradual re-training on a sensible technical foundation is necessary. As we rehabilitate our vocal techniques, we are also working with the constraints of masking–and those constraints are not insignificant for breathing, resonance, and a sense of ease. They are, however, required if we are to balance risk and reward. And with masking, ensemble directors are needing to sharpen their ears even more, as the visual cues they seek from the faces of singers and players are absent with masking.

In my own practice, I did not fully understand what needed attention until I was back to singing in rehearsals and services. Though I didn’t necessarily embarrass myself, it certainly was not my “A” game. My voice teacher brain can guide me through this rehabilitation process, but it may be a while before high-level singing feels free and easy.

I started the pandemic with training in contact tracing, and have continued to serve as a volunteer on a community committee looking at data around Covid safety. Mask efficacy, airflow studies, cases numbers, and trends all occupy a lot of real estate in my brain. As the Omicron variant subsides, we will find ourselves in an endemic scenario, rather than a pandemic. However, the probability of future variants down the road is high. Those of us who weathered the storm may be breathing a sigh of relief, but heavy rains will continue.

By the time Omicron is behind us, and assuming another variant does not extend the game of virus whack a mole, the USA will have lost upwards of a million or more people to Covid. Many more lives will continue to collide with challenges in the aftermath. This has been a wrenching, generational calamity that has exposed both our weaknesses and our resilience. In the big picture, Americans and other Western countries have been fortunate to have access to medical care, vaccines, and the Web for remote work and distance learning. But we should forget that these affordances are lacking for many in other countries. That so many Americans would forego vaccines and simple masking, even as people fell ill and died in the thousands and then hundreds of thousands, remains baffling and points to disturbing truths about our society and culture. Textbooks and case studies in psychology, sociology, and public health will be grappling with this disconnect for years to come.

In the realm of the professional performing arts, perhaps we have learned to be more empathetic and forgiving to ourselves and of our colleagues. The professional musician game is familiar, and high standards are (usually) the norm. But those standards can at times be needlessly stringent and unforgiving. If we are now able to sing or play music together, perhaps we can do so with gratitude and hearts that have grown.



Favorite Photos from 2021

Early in 2021, I finally replaced my older Canon camera that was stolen in 2020. My pandemic era budget was limited, and it took some thinking! Eventually, I chose a Lumix DMC-ZS60, which ended up being a very good value for the money.  I have taken hundreds of photos over the year in a dizzying array of places and situations. Here are (some) of the best ones posted on my Facebook feed. (Click on any photo to switch to a Gallery view.)



West Side Story (2021)–exhilarating, provocative, and worth seeing more than once

AT THE MOVIES: Many films just come and go for me, but this one stirred up some strong feelings. My enthusiasm led to an argument with a friend who chastised me for alleged nostalgia. A recommendation elicited yawns from a colleague. After reading other reviews, I felt restless and dissatisfied, so I wrote my own.

The new film version of “West Side Story” is a masterpiece, albeit with occasional plot jumps and tonal inconsistencies. But every musical has those. The 1957 original’s creative team was Arthur Laurents (book and screenplay), Stephen Sondheim (lyrics), Leonard Bernstein (music), and Jerome Robbins (choreography). Often, “West Side Story” is simply presented as a re-telling of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” in contemporary terms. And the source material certainly shaped the story. But focusing solely on teenage desire and angst would be missing the point. There are deeper, fundamental questions that don’t lead to easy or comfortable answers. What does it mean to be an “American?” How does it feel to aspire to the “American Dream,” and how does it feel when it has passed you by?

First, to acknowledge an elephant in the room. Some recent commentators have asserted that “West Side Story” should disappear as a relic of a colonialist and white supremacist mindset. And the conversation also revolves around appropriation and who can “authentically” speak about the lived experiences of people different than ourselves. Granted, representation in the Broadway show’s and 1961 film’s casting was a problem. And certainly, the work trafficked in stereotypes of Puerto Ricans. Of course, Puerto Rico is unusual in its status as a US territory (since 1898). While remaining largely self-governing, the island often has an uneasy relationship with the mainland. (See the Trump administration as a recent example.) Movements for island statehood have ebbed and flowed without ever really cresting. Is Puerto Rico truly part of the USA, or not? In the 1950s world of the film, the answer is either a defiant no or an optimistic yes. The no is from the white citizens (themselves often from immigrant backgrounds), while the yes is from those hoping to have a better life in their new country. Ostensibly, the conflict between the rival gangs of the Jets and the Sharks is over territory, but it’s really about this question of who is an “American,” who is an outsider, and who is where in the social hierarchy. It may seem that American society has advanced beyond the crude binaries presented by the Jets and Sharks in the 1950s. But if we are honest, “West Side Story” remains a parable for America in the 21st century.

As for representation, this new production actively recruited and cast Puerto Rican actors in many of the roles, embraced some (untranslated) Spanish dialogue, and called upon cultural historians to help shape the film’s depictions of time, place, and daily life. Many of the characters seem to aspire to assimilation into society on the mainland, but there are also explicit nods to a dream of the islands’ independence. For some commentators and critics, these attempts at representation, authenticity, and nuance are not sufficient. For a few, they are futile gestures. Yet for (many) others, the new film rehabilitates an iconic work of American theater for modern audiences. And finally, viewers with no experience of the original show or film will see and hear the work through fresh eyes and ears.

Tony Kushner give us a nuanced portray of the rival gangs– the rival Jets and Sharks. The screenplay adds dimension and complexity to the original’s source material. Their female companions are also drawn with a finer brush. Kushner’s expansion and reimagining of the story also point to the artificiality of singing — the same problem faced by any musical aspiring to be compelling drama. There must be an agreement between authors and audience to accept both spoken dialogue and singing as part of the same storytelling experience. Once agreed to, (many) narrative contradictions largely resolve themselves in a willing suspension of disbelief. As with “1776,” “Hamilton,” “La La Land,” or indeed any work in the American musical genre, the stories are told partially, largely, or completely in song. It is ultimately on the viewer to either engage with the work, or not.

Rachel Zegler’s portrayal of Maria is Juliet in another time and place, and her singing satisfies. Ansel Elgort’s Tony has come in for occasional critical knocks, but he does justice to the material, and then some. And he sings well, with a flexible timbre and vulnerability. Mike Faist’s layered Riff startles in the seeming contradiction of his love for Tony and the Jets, and the free rein he gives to his darker impulses. (His last moments with Tony are arresting in their finality.) David Alvarez’s suave and pugilistic Bernardo is so much more than the caricature of the 1961 film. As Chino says, Bernardo is a fool, but a fool with the charisma needed to balance the magnetism and strength of Ariana DeBose’s Anita. Debose has big shoes to fill, for the original Anita (Rita Moreno) is also here, cast in the newly imagined role of Doc’s widow Valentina. And Moreno is the pole star of the entire enterprise. Tony delivering “Something’s Coming” not to himself as an inner monologue, but rather to Valentina as a statement of joyful possibility, is a masterstroke by Kushner. The number builds a bridge of respect and affection between two generations of performers. And “Somewhere,” which Moreno delivers as a weary and vulnerable monologue about love and loss, may bring tears to your eyes.

Beyond the performances of the principals, the ensembles shine. The singing and dancing of “Jet Song” and “America” are spellbinding examples. Taking the company onto the streets created a huge canvas to choreograph upon, and drew the people (extras) all around into the story. The “minor” players all have individual moments to shine in their ensembles. The satirical “Officer Krupke” illustrates the timing and characterization chops of the Jet players, and adds depth and intelligence to their characters. “I Feel Pretty” becomes a joyful fantasy in the halls of Gimbels department store, where Maria, Anita, and their co-workers have nighttime jobs as cleaners. In this setting, the appealing naivté of the number makes sense, musically and dramatically. Anyone who has spent hours at a tedious or repetitive job and daydreamed of something different will relate.

The cinematography captures broad swatches of time, place, and color in breathtaking detail. As with many American cities in the mid 20th century, Manhattan’s west side is slowly disappearing in a wave of demolitions to make way for “progress,” which would come to be embodied in such iconic locations as the Lincoln Center theater complex. The overall ambiance is gritty, the lighting and art direction often dark. The Jets and the Sharks are disillusioned young people searching for a sense of belonging in a concrete jungle. Their world is literally decaying around them. As with their Shakespearean ancestors, we know they are destined for tragedy, and those outcomes are painful to witness.

Sixty-plus years on, Leonard Bernstein’s music remains fresh and captivating, focusing the aspirations, joys, frustrations, and sorrows of the characters like a laser beam. Steven Spielberg (now 76) could have stopped making movies years ago. That he chose this work as his career capstone(?) demonstrates that big-budget musicals on screen are not only still possible, but necessary. With a Rotten Tomatoes critics score of 92 and an audience score of 94 (!), one can only look to Covid reluctance and yet another Spiderman franchise installment as contributing factors to the lagging box office of “West Side Story.” And with this film, we bid farewell to Stephen Sondheim, the last of the original’s creative team, who passed just as the movie was entering theaters. This only adds to the poignancy and timeliness of this reimagined and refreshed American classic.

If you are curious or still unsure if this movie is for you, here is the “official” trailer.

Welcoming 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic was over, except when it wasn’t. And it isn’t. Many independent performing artists and teachers are attempting to resume “normal” activities under abnormal conditions and circumstances. As I re-start singing in public, I am also feeling constrained and concerned about the future. Yet it is time to imagine new projects and content under new conditions. There is a lot of work in the pipeline. We’ll see how this all develops.

This website was the former home of the Spacious Vision Song Project, and content from that five-year period remains archived here. If you are looking for my digital E-Portfolio with professional work history, reviews, and teaching philosophy, please visit

(The cover photo is an accidental abstract of the Seattle Space Needle.)

Summer 2020–Spacious Vision Song Project’s closing chapter

Gerald Seminatore and Taro Wayama, 2017


Hello! Thanks for stopping by. This is a valedictory post, shared with some regret.

The Spacious Vision Song Project began in 2013 with a gala concert at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. The occasion was the centenary of the birth of composer Benjamin Britten. That program subsequently evolved and landed in Los Angeles. Soon thereafter, Spacious Vision became a musical collective bringing together artists on both coasts.  From 2014 through 2018, some twenty different singers and instrumentalists collaborated with me on fifteen different programs. Our repertoire included Elizabethan ayres, German Lieder, French cabaret chanson, American song, 20th-century musical theater, concert repertoire for World AIDS Day, unknown repertoire for the Christmas season, Japanese concert song settings, and even Creole and Haitian folk song.

In 2019, we went on an extended hiatus, as our core group members transitioned into new adventures. These included artist residencies, job re-locations, and the arrival of new family members.

Our hope was to resume collaborations during the summer of 2020 and beyond. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has closed our network of presentation venues on both coasts, and made travel logistics for regional and cross-country collaborations unworkable. It appears these obstacles will persist until a vaccine is widely available. Many small performing arts groups are striving to re-invent themselves and bring their work to online presentation platforms. I have chosen not to attempt this. Regrettably, the five-year endeavor that was the Spacious Vision Song Project has come to an end.

These shared artistic explorations were some of the most satisfying experiences of my creative life. I will always treasure the memories of those performances, and the colleagues and friends who were part of them.

This website will now serve as an archive of our work. Information about Spacious Vision artists and past programs may be accessed via the drop-down menu. Perhaps something here will inspire you in your own efforts at artistic collaboration.

Whatever our circumstances in the coming months and years–may we continue to create opportunities for imagining and enacting a “spacious vision” of our chosen art form, musical or otherwise.

Gerald Seminatore, DMA




FROM BERLIN TO BROADWAY Oct. 17 at the University of Southern California

German pianist MICHAEL SCHÜTZE will be joined by soprano ARIEL PISTURINO and tenor GERALD SEMINATORE for the program “From Berlin to Broadway,” with vocal selections by Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann, Franz Lehár, Richard Strauss, Kurt Weill, Hugo Wolf, and others.

Weds. Oct. 17, 2018

7:oo pm 
Talk with Prof. Schütze “From the DDR to Los Angeles–An Improbable Journey”

7:30 – 8:45 (approx.)
“From Berlin to Broadway” Concert program

University of Southern California
Max Kade Institute for Austrian-Swiss-German Studies
2714 S. Hoover St.
Los Angeles, CA  90007

This is a free concert; no tickets needed.
However, an RSVP is requested; e-mail

Click here to visit the website of USC’s Max Kade Institute.




German pianist MICHAEL SCHÜTZE serves as Professor for Vocal Collaboration and role preparation at the Karl Maria von Weber Conservatory in Dresden. He is often engaged for international vocal competitions such as the Robert Schumann Competition and “La Voce” for Bavarian Radio. As a prize-winning solo pianist, Michael learned much about collaborating with singers during master classes with the late Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and with his professors at the Dresden Conservatory. Today, Michael is regularly invited to serve as an accompanist for master courses and concerts by acclaimed singers such as Olaf Bär, Andreas Scholl, Peter Bruns, Andreas Schmidt, and Henriette Göde. Michael has played concerts with singers from the Dresden Semperoper and other theaters, toured to several European capitals, and made a number of commercial recordings. He also works as a pianist and organist with regional choirs such as the Dresden Chamber Choir.

In the United States, Michael was a Boston Symphony Orchestra Tanglewood Fellow for two seasons. He has been invited for artist residencies and recitals at several schools in the USA, including Brigham Young University, the University of Delaware, the University of New Mexico, and the California State University.

The Los Angeles Times hailed American soprano ARIEL PISTURINO as “an impressive young discovery” following her debut performance as Nancy T’ang in Long Beach Opera’s production of Nixon in China. An advocate of contemporary works and collaborations with composers, Ariel performed the role of the Lover in The Industry’s nationally acclaimed production of HOPSCOTCH, and created the role of Laurie in Mark Abel’s opera Home is a Harbor, released on Delos Records. She also collaborated with Abel on his song cycle Five Rilke Songs for the album Terrain of the Heart, also on Delos. Recently, Ariel created the role of Rosina Brandram in a newly written Gilbert and Sullivan review Hail Poetry with Opera a la Carte. She also premiered a new song cycle, Dewdrops, by Alex Miller. Ariel co-curates the unSung! concert seriesin Los Angeles.



American tenor GERALD SEMINATORE began his professional musical career with ensembles including the Handel and Haydn Society, the Boston Early Music Festival, and Emmanuel Music. After completing his formal training at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he went on to operatic engagements with the Chautauqua, Dayton, Glimmerglass, Santa Fe, and West Bay opera companies. Gerald made his European debut at England’s Aldeburgh Festival, and went on to become a member of the solo ensemble at the Dortmund Opera in Germany. He was also a frequent guest artist at the Frankfurt am Main Opera, the Rheinland Pfalz Theater, and the Bremen Opera. Concert performances have included appearances with orchestras and chamber groups in both the USA and Europe. His performances have been critically praised in publications such as The London Times, Opera News, and San Francisco Classical Voice. With pianist Michael Schütze, Gerald has appeared in recitals in Dresden, Paris, and other European venues.

New program for June 29 “The Strangeness You Feel”

After a long hiatus, this is a re-union for Ron, Ariel, Bernardo, and Gerald! They will team up for an offbeat program of songs, duets, and ensembles. You might hear an operetta duet, a musical theater standard, an Italian popular song, or an unexpected surprise. It is more or less guaranteed you won’t be bored.

For more information about the program, click here to view our event listing on Performing Arts Live.




Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

At this time, Spacious Vision is on hiatus; our members have a lot of other work and projects going on. Our aspiration is to announce some new programs early in 2017; please continue to follow/subscribe to this page for updates.

For our visitors, here are two songs from past holiday concerts. Barbara Kilduff sings Donald Hope’s”Lullay thou little tiny child,” a rarely heard setting of the traditional Coventry Carol. Gerald Seminatore sings “The Oxen” by Ralph Vaughn Williams (poem by Thomas Hardy).

You should not need the SoundCloud app to hear these (though you may see a prompt suggesting this).

We are certainly grateful for all of the interest and support of our audience and page visitors over the past year, and sincerely wish our visitors a joyful and musical holiday season.


Brian Asawa–An Appreciation

(UPDATE: A commemoration and celebration of Brian’s life and artistry will he held at the Los Angeles Opera on Sunday May 22 at 4:00 p.m.)


It’s taken me several days to process the news of Brian Asawa’s death at the age of 49. Yesterday, the New York Times published an obituary. There have already been many tributes online; here is one more to add to a chorus of sadness and regret.

75I knew Brian for more than 20 years, was in a few shows with him, and saw him in several others. I recall his work in The Coronation of Poppea at Glimmerglass and Los Angeles, Xerxes in Santa Fe and Cologne, Giulio Cesare in San Diego, and Death in Venice at the Metropolitan Opera. Perhaps my most vivid memory is his portrayal of Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Houston Grand Opera. I remember the distinguished, coiffed lady with a soft drawl who greeted me kindly when I took my seat. Her husband was a talkative man sporting cowboy boots and a bolo tie. When Brian came onstage and began to sing, I was in a reverie of sorts until the gentleman suddenly exclaimed “what the hell? It sounds like he’s been gelded!” The countertenor revolution had arrived in Texas! During the intermission, we had a pleasant conversation about the countertenor voice. I imagine there were similar conversations everywhere that Brian sang.

More recently, Brian collaborated in recitals and recordings with mezzo-soprano Diana Tash. In 2011, I heard them perform a beautiful concert together in Los Angeles with pianist Armen Guzelimian. I also heard Brian in recital programs with Victoria Kirsch, another fine pianist and collaborator. Brian once confessed to me that recitals made him a little nervous. As with many performers, he may have felt more liberated when he was in costume, and in character. I had hoped this work might point to a new career phase as a recitalist in art song and vocal chamber music. It would have been a way to extend the time he had to share his artistry with us.


(With the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, photo uncredited.)

Brian and I were very different temperamentally, and we never really were close friends. For one thing, he loved house music, while I could barely tolerate it. He also pointed out to me that he was a Libra, and I was a Capricorn, which apparently meant that our personality traits were mismatched. However, I enjoyed his companionship and his hospitality on many occasions in the USA and Europe. He was always upbeat, energetic, and stimulating company. Over the years, Brian had many great successes, and also some challenges and disappointments. I learned a lot from him about the imperatives of first-rate artistry, and about the pressures of the opera world at the highest levels. He also offered me some constructive critiques of my singing, and encouragement when things got difficult in my own career. An example: I had secured a fest contract in Germany, but things were a bit rocky starting out. After singing for Brian during an impromptu consultation in Cologne, his verdict was “you are a fine Spieltenor, but for God’s sake, let me hear your real voice!” The price for this advice was a glass of Kölsch at a nearby pub. It was one of the clearest voice lessons I ever had, and the most thirst-quenching.

I am also grateful for the conversations we had over the years about vocal technique and artistry. Brian was very forthcoming with advice for teaching the countertenor and male soprano voice. My own teaching of a handful of countertenor and male soprano students was better because of that advice.


I last saw Brian in 2013, in a Long Beach recital with my colleague Mark Salters at the piano. By then, it was clear that a transition was in progress. Brian had optimistic goals for developing a new artistic agency, for continuing to grow as a teacher, and for aging gracefully in his singing. He encouraged my aspirations for Spacious Vision, which was then just getting off the ground. We discussed collaborating on a program, but as he had many other projects underway, that was something for the future. Soon afterward, we both got caught up in the vicissitudes of our lives, and fell out of touch. Phone calls that were put off for a few weeks were eventually put off for a few years, and now he has left us.

Brian was always warm and generous to me, and occasionally he shared some of his personal challenges. Though the spotlight of an international career is glamorous, it also can be merciless. The countertenor voice had been viewed as an effeminate or pale imitation of truly “operatic” voices, and Brian was a pioneer in asserting its full-blooded legitimacy on the opera stage. He was bi-cultural, with an identity that was part American and part Japanese. As a singer of Asian heritage, his ascent in the opera world was another rarity. Brian was also openly and proudly gay, and had no reservations about sharing his sensibilities with those around him. This may not seem all that remarkable in 2016 America. In the 1990s, however, the gay community was still haunted by the spectre of HIV/AIDS, and many acclaimed artists were still in the closet. (As I write this, I also recall seeing Brian in the operatic version of Angels in America by Peter Eötvös, in Los Angeles.) Brian could be strong and fierce, but he was also sensitive and deeply vulnerable. This was especially true during the gradual dissolution of his marriage to Keith Fisher. Through it all, Brian lived a passionate life as a celebrity artist, maverick, and bon vivant. He had many friends who cared for him, and many colleagues who respected him. Alas, he was not destined for a ripe old age.


As some readers may appreciate it, I have included a link here to a tribute essay at San Francisco Classical Voice. And a colleague of Brian’s has made a short YouTube video tribute, which is a fine introduction to his singing and artistry. (This photo by Ken Howard is from the San Diego Opera’s Giulio Cesare in 2006.)

More than once, Brian told me to keep singing for as long as I could, and never to apologize for doing so. Sometimes, we do not truly appreciate the simple gifts we receive until the givers are no longer with us. Mille grazie, domo arigato, thank you Brian!