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Looking back on 2009 I can list many outstanding performances that enthralled, moved and inspired me, but today I will speak of just one. For me, the Vancouver Opera production of Salome was the most intensley memorable. I was playing in the orchestrra for this production, I remember the first rehearsal, it was daunting, coming into CBC studio 40, I walked into a virtual sea of musicians, all with scores so technically difficult, rhythmically complex and harmonically challenging it made my your head spin. At the helm, ever so calmly and gracefully Maestro Jonathan Darlington gently began pulling out  threads of music, first from the violas, then the oboe, the flute, the horns and so on... in this way he led us without fear and with complete passion, to a performance that compelled, twisted your mind, seduced with beauty, tore a your emotions and left you all at once disturbed and exhilarated.

And our cast! Even with the fiendishly almost sadistically  difficult scores, night after night, the musicians in the orchestra listened with rapt amazement to our gorgeous cast, Mlada Khudoley as Salome, Greer Grimsley as John the Baptist, Judith Forst as Herodius and John McMaster as Herod. Audiences and musicians alike were dazzled and moved by this performance; the pasion, the force, the immense raw power of the work and the momentum building  then coming to the final shocking moment, was palpable in the air! THIS I WILL NEVER FORGET!

And the story does not end here, the crowning glory on this pinnacle of achievemnet goes to Don harder, who recorded this production for CBC. The recording is brilliant, all of the voicings which move at lightning speed from the bassoon, to flute to celli to one of the four violin sectios, wre clarion, all the while keeping the balance so finely tuned the voices could soar. The day CBC broadcast this recording, I was riveted to my seat, right in front of the speakers!

KUDOS to Jim Wright for his vision and passion, and to everyone at Vancouver Opera for  bringing world-class Opera to Vancouver