Bold. Brave. Brilliant.

A Bold Step Forward Down Memory Lane

Ryan Taylor – April 28, 2015

This coming weekend, I’m tackling a project that used to be pretty common for me: performance. If I’m being honest, I’m just this side of absolutely terrified. I sing once a year on Christmas morning in my hometown church so that the choir can spend the morning with their families. Other than that, I haven’t sung anything of substance in public for four years.

Every so often, friends and family ask if I miss performing – no. Since arriving in Arizona a little over three years ago, I’ve had folks from our Board or out in the community ask if I’d sing at a number of events. I’ve always politely declined, but this feels like the year I should rise to the occasion: I’ve just celebrated my second anniversary as General Director of Arizona Opera. Sometimes it feels like two months, other times like two decades. We’ve had a couple of terrific years, and there’s still so much to look forward to; I’m excited to take a moment to celebrate not only my time here, but the people in our state who are directly responsible for the new, exciting direction and momentum of our company.

The artists we put on stage each season train their whole lives, day in and day outin order to hone their craft - they are vocal Olympians. I respect them too much to take on this concert without a great deal of preparation and trepidation. In undertaking this performance, I am motivated by my desire to see everyone have an incredible night, have a chance to get to know me a little better, and express my appreciation for all the support we’ve received these last two years.

Songs From Every Age: Opera, Musical Theater, Jazz, Vaudeville

To that end, I’ve chosen songs from every stage of my performing life. Songs from my childhood, school years, advanced training, and professional performance are represented. Some were tunes that I personally performed, others were tunes I heard that impacted me as a performing artist. Opera, musical theater, jazz, and vaudeville (even a few blue tunes) will be presented, coupled with memories and recollections about why they’ve come to mean something special to me. I’m joined by my good friend and frequent collaborator, Joseph Li, who is an absolutely spectacular pianist. He’s the sort of fellow that sight-reads, plays by ear, improvises, and composes in the moment to wrap thoughts and emotions into a brilliant collaborative performance. I’m more excited to introduce his playing to those who haven’t heard him before than I am to actually sing this coming weekend!

I’ve also got a wonderful surprise guest joining me for both performances. I know that those who can join us and who are familiar with our work over the last two seasons will be thrilled.

Musical Memories in Tucson and Phoenix

I understand tickets are a bit on the pricey side, but the entire ticket price is tax deductible and goes to benefit our beloved opera company. These will be intimate performances – a unique opportunity to share a beverage, a small bite to eat, and craft new musical memories together in Tucson and Phoenix. Though I’m battling my nerves, I think that deep down it will be incredibly special. I hope you can join us and invite friends to gather this weekend for what I know will be a wonderful evening!

Looking forward to seeing and singing for you all,