Click on image to enlarge
singers pictured above are the cast for the conservatorys first
Zarzuela production of La Gran Via and La Dolorosa.
The singers are: (back row from left) Yuri Porras, Roderick Gomez, Martin
Philip, Juan Sanchez-Lozano, Jorge Gomez, Abraham Aviles, Ellen Cowan,
Andrew Moore, Andres Andrade, Sara Rosemond, Benito Galindo; (front row)
Lizette Amado, Sally Mouzon, Marta Johansen, Ramon Perez, Marina Torres,
Angela Cadelago, Suzanne Lustgarten, Virginia Voulgaris, Natalia Llarena,
The Jarvis Conservatory
has a more solid basis than any of the other small opera or theatrical
companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. The other operas perform
in public buildings and are always at the mercy of the building operators;
the Jarvis Conservatory owns its own facilities, a beautiful theater
building with practice rooms plus a serviceable annex for creating
and storing sets and costumes. This, plus a modest endowment, gives
the Conservatory the basis for a good future. Equally important may
be the international reputation the Conservatory has developed. In
our first two years we gained a measure of recognition that would
normally require twenty years to achieve. We have the reputation of
being the prominent producer of Zarzuelas outside of Spain itself.
Our productions are better quality than even most Spanish ones and
the videos of our productions are the best in the world. Our Baroque
Ballet is also quite exceptional and noteworthy.
Weve had suggestions to do Wagners operas but they
require a huge orchestra and cast and furthermore I agree with Verdi
that Wagners music is much better than it sounds.
In August 1997, I attended the 50th Anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival
in Scotland. There were over 250,000 attendees from all over the world.
During the 50 years of its grand festivals, Edinburgh has developed
incomparable facilities for its events; there are fine theaters and
festival chambers all over town, enough to support eight major productions
all at one time with another 25 or so theaters suitable for moderate
sized productions. The people of Edinburgh over the years have become
sophisticated theater goers and know how to attract top talent from
around the world. The many different festivals during the year form
the major economic support of the city.
Along this same vein, I remember when I was a small boy my father,
along with other city fathers of our little Sayre, Oklahoma town (population
3,000), was trying to start a junior college. I thought they were
just wasting their time; but on a recent visit to Sayre to see my
mother I found out differently. The little Junior College which started
with about eight students fifty years ago has become a four-year college
with 1,000 students and is part of the State University system. The
magic of starting something is that it may really turn out to be important.
I believe that the secret of future Conservatory success will be the
quality training of singers and the great performances that can be
achieved in the fine opera tradition. It is easy to be average; the
trick is to be the best.