Germany ~ Opera

20 July 2022

Curtain call featuring phenomenal James Kee (in a pick raincoat and underwear) after singing the lead in a radical new version of Tannhäuser at the Heidenheim Opera Festival.
After Orcas Island, I raced back to Europe to see James Kee sing the lead in a new version of Tannhäuser at the Heidenheim Opera Festival.

James is the son of long-time friends. I have known him since he was a boy. So this was an amazing experience to get to see him dominate the stage in this breakout role that is transforming his career — and to visit with his wonderful parents.
"Opera Under the Stars"
The outdoor stage at the 15th century castle is the setting for the summer festival that attracts opera lovers from around Germany and Europe.
Singing the lead as a heidentenor, James was astonishing. After the first performance, one reviewer wrote:
"James Kee portrays Tannhäuser as a badass and revolutionary.... [He] plays the enfant terrible brilliantly, and as a singer he not only perseveres (which is quite an achievement given the lengthy narration in the last act) but even improves."
James singing a lengthy aria in a later indoor performance of Tannhäuser.
After another incredible performance, my former colleague wrote me that the audience enthusiasm "made me feel like the father of a rock star"!

He thinks this "role is the takeoff point" for James. Indeed, since then, James has been invited to reprise his mastery of Tannhäuser in other venues, and other roles in Florence and elsewhere are opening up as well. Very exciting!

Before the big show, Jed and I toured a couple of "perfectly preserved medieval gems" north of Heidenheim: Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl.