So I’m standing on the stage at the Hatch Shell in Boston in early August, rehearsing Beethoven’s 9th for an open-air performance for 6,000, and realizing that I will have sung it on two continents (London being part of Europe, Brexit notwithstanding) in five months.
That’s when the idea hit me.
In tennis and golf, they talk about a Slam, where you win all four major tournaments in a year.
What if I sang Beethoven’s 9th on three continents within a year?
Would that be my own Ode To Joy Slam?
I went home that night and started looking for venues in Asia and South America.
In Japan and Korea, performances of Beethoven’s 9th are rampant during the run up to New Years.
In Tokyo, I found more than a half a dozen, and in Seoul, two more.
But could I get there? And could I get in?
I reached out to conductor friends here in the Boston area, and they mentioned that they had wide connections throughout Latin and South America.
Could I find a Beethoven’s 9th in Peru?
And how would I fund this, and how would I justify the expense and the days away from my work and family?
Then I realized that one of the Beethoven’s 9th performances I had listed on a spreadsheet—I get obsessive—would take place in Jerusalem on October 18.
My daughter is on her gap-year in…wait for it…Jerusalem.
It took a little more time to locate the chorus that would be performing the 9th in Jerusalem.
I found the director of that chorus and sent her an email, explaining that I’m a classically trained singer with the dream (or obsession?) of doing Beethoven’s 9th on three continents.
“Here’s my resume as a singer. May I join you?”
I sent the email, and I thought, well, what are the chances?
Eight minutes later, I had an answer.
The answer was yes.
I had goosebumps.
But it’s great—it just gives me one more entrée into the beauty of the music.
I’ll fly Monday, land in Israel around 5:00am, grab some sleep, and then head to the concert hall to sing my third 9th on three continents in seven months.
The first was when I flew to London for the weekend in March to sing in an historic performance at Royal Festival Hall with the Royal Philharmonia Orchestra and Royal Philharmonia Chorus.
Then came August on the Hatch Shell in Boston.
And now Jerusalem.
I have a new client in Singapore, and we are arranging a trip for me to see him there in December.
Singapore isn’t all that far from Tokyo and Seoul.
That would be four 9ths in 10 months.
Why would I do this?
Why wouldn’t I!