Back up to Caramoor last night for a performance of 'Maria di Rohan' by Donizetti. Really nice work again by conductor Will Crutchfield and the excellent Orchestra of St Luke's.
And there was an unexpected bonus - the chance to witness an emotional performance by a last-minute stand-in lead. Jennifer Rowley took over the role and despite having just one full rehearsal handled the occasion with confidence and grace.
It wasn't the easiest of circumstances to be thrown such an opportunity. It was just unbelievably hot and humid, while the cicadas - or whatever knee-rubbing insects they are - were at their noisiest.
But Rowley's fellow performers, the orchestra and, especially, the crowd responded to her; and at the end of an extended ovation after the opening aria, I'm sure I noticed her wink at the conductor before continuing. She was more than entitled to do so. She was tremendous.
The AP thought so too.
The other principal singers were also excellent - particularly Scott Bearden and Luciano Bothelho as the love rivals. Needless to say, the story doesn't end well, but you kind of already knew that. Nice touch to finish when Crutchfield held up the score during the applause.
Stepdaughter was again in the chorus, and also had a chance earlier in the evening to take part in one of the young artists' pre-performance contextual concerts, held in the lovely little courtyard.
She's had a terrific time at Caramoor this year, and her poise and confidence as a singer has clearly improved as a result of being around other talented and committed performers. What a great way to spend a summer.
I rode up to Westchester on the 'Caramoor Caravan,' the - thankfully - air-conditioned coach that runs there and back from Grand Central.
On the way back, the orchestra's bus broke down so they had to ride with us in the seats available on the three other buses. Some of them sat behind me and it was great fun listening to their banter about the show and other gigs they've played.
I miss hanging out with musicians. There's no substitute for passion. It's times like this that I really miss being in a band and feeling that beer and adrenaline-driven high that comes inevitably at the end of any performance.
Yeah, I really miss being in a band. Maybe I should do something about that...