In prior years, [Minnesota Orchestra concertmaster] Jorja Fleezanis, Emilie Buchwald of Milkweed Editions, and [former Minnesota Public Radio announcer] Eric Friesen would orchestrate a coaching dinner, but with Jorja on tour and Eric relocated to Toronto, it didn't happen. Eric, however, was the first person to call me up and chew me out about a dumb mistake I made.
It was on the name-the-Brit-singer thing. I listened and listened, and went back and forth on the two choices: Peter Pears and John Vickers. I know John Vickers is Canadian, but when he was born I think Canada was still considered part of the British whatever, so I thought it might be a trick question. And I've seen Pears once, late in his career when he was in sad vocal shape, and this recording was pretty impressive. So I said, "Vickers," and of course it was Pears. And I got a message from Eric saying, "How dare you identify John Vickers as British when everyone knows he's Canadian!"
Will you be back next year?
Hopefully, but you never know. Maybe the only reason I've been on the show is to promote geographic diversity among panelists. Now I'm afraid that since I'm moving to New York City, they'll drop me. You know, the old, "With so many opera queens in Manhattan, why would we want you?" routine.