Monday, November 10, 2008

Life On The Road

It is time again for our occasional series on our San Diego Opera Ensemble, our group of young professional singers that tour local schools and community centers and also appear in our mainstage productions.

Up next is baritone Will Earl Spanheimer (yep, that's him up above). As a creature of comfort who likes to be surrounded by my things, I'm always in awe of opera singers and the fact they often live out of suitcases for months on end in cities and countries entirely unfamiliar. Our Ensemble members have it a bit "easier" as they are paired up with host families. I've asked Will Earl what it is like to live away from home for so long and how he's adjusting to his host family.

Here's what he had to say:

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There are many great things about being a member of the SDO Ensemble, besides working with talented, dedicated, and fun colleagues. Besides the honor of working with the brilliant and phenomenal Nick Reveles and Cynthia Stokes, and being given such care, compassion, and kindness from Angela and Brian in our tour management. Besides all of those things, really one of the best things about being at SDO is the opportunity we get to meet and develop friendships with our host homes.

I have the tremendous honor of dwelling under the roof of Ms. Ruth Lederman. An extraordinary woman of great knowledge, humor and wisdom. Ruth is a long time supporter and patron of SDO. She is not only a docent, but she has been a super-on stage, a member of the puppet theatre, and a generous donor, and this is only a fraction of the many projects and productions that she has been involved in her MANY years of being a San Diego resident. Now you must realize that I am likely her 10th or 11th baritone that she has housed for SDO. I am reminded of the long history of ensemble deep voiced men whose pictures watch me in silent vigil as I exit my bathroom each morning. I am but the latest in a long line of barihunks that have come before me, and I am proud to occupy the bedroom of such illustrious colleagues!

Ruth is a great host, she never nags me, she never gets on me about staying up too late. She is always there to give support, help with advice, assist with a problem, or lend a sympathetic ear to listen to a difficulty. Being a student of the stage herself, she can relate with many of the challenges and trials that we face on a daily basis. She always sees to my comfort and safety. She gives me the best parts of the morning paper (the sports section, duh!) and she clips coupons for me to take grocery shopping, she never buys junk food to tempt me with, and she is always ready to watch a good football game! She is my nightly news junkie and my date for dinners at Souplantation. She is a great lady!

I sometimes marvel at her. In what is her 70+ years of life she has seen amazing changes and experienced such wonders. She came to this country from Germany and after years in Israel and war-torn Europe she made her way to a new land where new things awaited her. She has met every challenge placed in front of her and beat it back with hope and positive thinking. She is a marvel. She travels extensively and has tales and pictures of exotic locales and people, her cruises and adventures are exciting to listen to. But it is her generous spirit and compassionate heart that I see the most. She never tires in doing good, and seeing that everyday is lived to the hilt! She is some lady!

I know I would speak for all of the ensemble members were I to say THANK YOU to every one of our hosts. Thank you for your generosity, yes, but thank you for making us feel like we have a home, and a supportive friend, when we are so far from our own homes. Thank you for your great gifts and keep those coupons coming!


- Will Earl Spanheimer

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Sounds nice. On a related note, we here at Aria Serious will be back after we're done moving into Ruth's house.

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