Taking off with a tenor was the best decision I ever made – no question about that – but it did mean giving up constant access to the many and varied Sydney performances by my One True Diva. Now my fixes are few and far between, though all the more glorious for their rarity, and I've had to learn to be brave when I simply cannot be where she is, no matter how much I might wish I were. It's a small price to pay, of course, for the life which has opened up before me, but all the same, I miss her.
So you'd be forgiven for wondering if I'd had a word in the ear of whoever does the programming for the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs; and believe me, if I'd known a) who that was and b) how to sway their decisions, I wouldn't have ruled such skulduggery out either. But I did no such thing. It was, I swear, entirely their idea to include in their 2013 an opera gala celebrating the year's three big birthday boys – Wagner, Verdi and Britten – and to engage one Cheryl Barker and one Stuart Skelton as their soloists.
Yes, as I tweeted within seconds of the Phil's own public announcement, all my Christmases are coming at once, and they're coming on the 8th and 9th of June. I'm so pleased, I'm even forgiving them for drastically reducing our turnaround time between Australia, where we will already have been for the previous six years two months for Ring rehearsals, and our next destination. What care I, with such a glorious confluence of Favourite Singers?
The Philharmonia have only announced a few bits of repertoire, and believe it or not, I don't know much more than that. What snippets they have confirmed are enough to feast on for now though: the Act I love duet and the Willow Song from Otello, "Now the Great Bear and Pleiades..." and Ellen's Embroidery Aria from Peter Grimes and the Pilgrims' Chorus from Tannhäuser. The mind boggles at the possibilities for the rest of the concert. My personal vote would be for as much of Act III, scene i of Lohengrin as can sensibly be squeezed in – and maybe for Korngold's birthyear to be moved so that the inclusion of "Glück das mir verblieb" could be justified – but again, I still have no idea who one bribes in these matters.
Honestly, though, whatever they program will make me happy: there's really not a single element of this concert which doesn't fill me with glee. I've known about these concerts for a little while but I still can't quite believe my luck. Let's hope I haven't jinxed them by saying so. I'll start stockpiling the Vitamin C now.