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Ryan McKinny
Human Beings Are Artists

The purpose of this project is to provide a collection of transcriptions from the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. This project seeks to give a platform to all parts of the vocal performing arts to better understand the lived experiences and mentality of those professionals. In collecting stories from the COVID-19 pandemic Ryan McKinny, bass-baritone and film entrepreneur, talked with me about his desire for this to be a period of creative reimagining. He has become noted for his work behind the camera in the pandemic as he attempts to create opportunity for so many of his colleagues that are out of work. I find his attention to the big picture of the music industry to be very interesting and I applaud his work to #keepthemusicgoing.

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Ryan McKinny, bass-baritone
Interviewed June 19, 2020

 

TB: I always like to start off these interviews on a good note. So what is the best thing that has happened to you in the last week?

RM: Today is June 19th and it’s also known as Juneteenth, which is historically the day that African Americans in Galveston [Texas] learned that they were no longer under slavery. So one of the cool things I’ve been working on this week is this humongous project with Nicole Heaston. She put together this Roland Carter version of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” She sent me 65 videos of singers (one singer per video), a conductor, and one video of a pianist a few weeks ago. I put a lot of work into putting that together and editing it for her. It turned out really amazing. We put it out today and just seeing that many black artists on one screen was pretty amazing. And there’s been a huge response to it. I think it has over 100,000 views and it just came out a few hours ago. So that’s been pretty cool.

TB: I woke up to that this morning. It was just beautiful. Thank you for doing that.

RM: Yeah, it was an interesting process because I wasn’t involved in it as a musician at all, just as an editor (which of course was the right thing). As the only white person on the project, it was important that I stay in the background and try to help Nicole’s vision come to life. But I think it’s an example of a way to use where we are right now to make something unique to this time that’s not just sort of a place holder for something we can’t do. It’s a piece of art on its own.

TB: Would you mind just giving a brief background and maybe a couple of things that you’re looking forward to singing, hopefully, in the future?

RM: Sure, both my parents were classical guitarists when I was a kid. So I got interested in classical music and decided in college to become a singer. I ended up going to Juilliard and went to the Houston Grand Opera Studio. I’ve sung in Bayreuth, the Met, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.
      Things that I’m really excited for coming up: in the winter—if we are having performances by then—I’m supposed to do Parsifal at Houston Grand Opera singing Amfortas. In the spring of next year [2021], I’m supposed to sing Wotan in Das Rheingold at Atlanta Opera. There are things before that that I wish were happening that I think are probably not happening, but I’m not for sure yet. But that’s my story.

TB: So can you describe where you were and how you realized that you were going to be directly affected by this pandemic?

RM: Yeah, I was singing the title role in Don Giovanni at the Kennedy Center. We had some colleagues who were in the other show, Samson and Delilah, one of which was Italian. But I was aware of the situation in Italy early on specifically. Even when we were just about to open, which was probably a week and a half or two weeks before everything officially shut down, I started really wondering how long we were going to be able to continue performing. If you were paying close attention to science, it became clear that that was where we were headed. 
      We were supposed to have maybe eight performances and I think we had four of them. Then the Mayor of DC said that they recommended no gatherings larger than 1000 people. We then had one more performance because it was unclear what that meant at that point. Then I think it was March 13th that almost every company came down with a cancellation for the rest of the season.
      So I drove home to Houston, [though] we’ve actually moved since then. But I drove home instead of flying and on the way home I got the news that my next job, which was going to be Salome at Houston, was cancelled. Since then there’s been a steady flow of cancellations.

TB: So let me ask a couple of follow-up questions about the Kennedy Center. When was the last performance of Don Giovanni? Do you remember?

RM: I think it was the 11th, then the 12th that we heard that the rest of the run was cancelled. Then I think I was driving home on the 13th. If I remember correctly.

TB: So what about the logistics coming out of this? You said that you drove rather than flying. So was that a personal decision or was that a booking issue?

RM: It was mostly a personal decision. I just knew that the airports were insane. And I didn’t really want to catch the virus. It was also going to be pretty expensive to change my flight. So, I decided to rent a car and drive back. I had to cancel an Airbnb and there’s stuff like that, just trying to clean up everything.

TB: So were you refunded for the Airbnb?

RM: Well... (Ryan’s wife: It wasn’t refunded) and my wife’s reminding me it wasn’t refunded. At that time Airbnb was not yet, [though] now they’re reimbursing people. But at that time they weren’t yet. I only had it for another few days because I was going to switch places. But WNO [Washington National Opera] paid for the travel changes right away, which in my case was the car rental. But I do think that we ended up losing a few thousand dollars or something on the Airbnb.

TB: That’s one of the things that I have heard a lot. Obviously, you are paid per performance and out of that performance fee comes an agent’s fee, housing, and sometimes travel. So this has a huge financial toll on singers in the industry. So could you talk to me a little bit about your experience and that financial toll?

RM: I’ve been far luckier than many singers. A lot of it is just luck of the draw with which companies I was working for. I mentioned that job that was coming right after the Don Giovanni was at Houston Grand Opera. They made the choice to pay everyone 50% of their fees, which is a really big deal for us.
      Basically when this happened my wife and I sat down and asked, how many months can we sustain? We have some savings because we have two children and I’m the only income earner in our family. We knew that just as a singer, there’s a chance you may end up having to go some amount of time without getting paid. You might get sick or whatever. Our business is the way it is. You don’t get paid if you don’t perform. So we had a little savings. We were lucky to have HGO [Houston Grand Opera] money and then it turned out later after negotiations with AGMA [American Guild of Musical Artists] that WNO paid 25% of the outstanding fees from that. But then I’ve had other things that have been no money at all. So it’s varied from job to job. It’s a scary thing because there is no end in sight. 
      I’ve really pivoted (along with my wife) to start trying to make digital content for companies—which originally was just something to do, trying to raise money for organizations that are helping artists—but has turned into now being commissioned by opera companies, which is helpful. So, that seems like a potential way forward, not just for me but for other artists as well. I’m hopeful that will continue as long as this goes on.

TB: And that is one of the ways that you appeared on my radar for this project, with your video with J’Nai Bridges for Artist Relief Tree. So do you want to talk to me about what this has meant, not only for your vitality as a human being, but also as a creative artist?

RM: Yeah, it’s been really, really interesting because I was on my way back [to Houston] and—this seems obvious now, but at the time it wasn’t obvious—I had this idea that well, we should just do lots of virtual performances. We should do video stuff. I’ll reintroduce my YouTube channel, because I’m in a situation where I can pay the bills for the next few months. But I know that there are all these colleagues of mine who can’t, so we’ll try to start a situation where we can make content that’s good for us as artists. Then we can raise money for other artists who are in tougher situations.  
      I had written a little thing about how we need to keep the music going, and so then that turned into this ’keep the music going’ as a hashtag, which is now used all over the place. We started keepthemusicgoing.com and because we wanted people to give money directly to those organizations, we don’t really know how much we’ve earned. But I know from just individual donors that I’ve talked to that it’s in the tens of thousands of dollars. I think my first video was just a little explanation of the idea and I sang a lullaby or something. Then it was, “Well, what if I had a pianist play a track and then I listened to the track and sing? Then I could edit it together some how.” This was something we didn’t know about at the time. [Ryan’s first #keepthemusicgoing video]  
      So I did a few of those things just in iMovie, then I wondered if maybe we could add another singer. [Laughter] So first was me doing a duet with myself. I think I did this Don Giovanni duet, where I had a split screen. Then my friend Nicholas Brownlee asked if I wanted to do this I Puritani duet with him. It was really fun and people really loved it, because we were doing things that weren’t just trying to replace what we weren’t doing, but were interesting in their own right and still used classical music and opera.
      Then I did this thing with Jamie Barton, which was so ridiculous, it was very funny. This Rheingold scene with Fricka and Wotan and they’re on a FaceTime call having this strained relationship. He’s sending her Zillow listings of Valhalla and getting text messages from Freyja and Froh. We were just having a laugh with it. Everybody loved it and Alex Ross wrote an article about it in The New Yorker, which I thought was pretty funny.
      I’ve learned a lot over these last few months. I have a little bit of a background in film and editing—so I’ve done some of that before—but a lot of it is just new to me. So we actually moved to North Carolina and were thinking about what we could do if opera doesn’t bounce back right away. My brother and my step mom have a small film production company and they were willing to lend us some equipment. So we’ve been doing higher-level film stuff lately. None of which can really be released, because some of it’s for opera companies that will be released as part of their season, sometimes involving other singers. 
      My hope is that we can start a trend—which I think could go beyond this pandemic—of just using different mediums to our benefit. I think opera companies normally tend to think of digital content as marketing, which is reasonable in the situation we were in before. But now the stuff we’re putting on the screen in front of people is the actual art. And we have to start thinking of it that way. Something like the “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was a self-contained thing that has its own purpose. It wasn’t something that could have existed in “real life.” You could never have gotten all of those people in a room together, it just wouldn’t happen. Almost all of them are very famous opera singers who are all very busy normally.  
      I think stuff like that, it speaks to our current moment and it isn’t trying to replace something. It is its own thing. I think that’s what has interested me and keeps me going forward and finding new ways to see what we can do. I’m trying to think of it more like an opportunity than a limitation.

 TB: Looking back on this, we’ve all learned some pretty hard lessons through this situation. What would you say is the hardest lesson that you’ve learned so far in this situation?

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RM: I guess the simple philosophical fact that just because you think something is a certain way doesn’t mean it is. Just because you plan on your future in a certain way doesn’t mean it’s going to be that way. Most people in life don’t get the certainty of the future that opera singers tend to have. We plan things years in advance and opera companies plan things years in advance. I think it’s easy to get used to that as your normal.
      But for most people they don’t know what their life’s going to be like in a few months, and so they end up living in that space of ‘we don’t know what’s going to happen’. I also think there’s just very little safety net for artists and that’s always been true. It’s been true individually in a way that people haven’t noticed. But now it’s true for everyone. It should show you how, as a society at this current moment, we don’t value the arts very highly. It’s definitely on the back burner right now and that I understand. But it’s also something I think we have to look at and see what really matters to us. If it does matter to us, we need to help these artists.
      I’ve said to a lot of general directors who I’ve talked to about this kind of thing, “If we don’t help singers stay singers, they’re going to do something else.” And when it comes time for opera to slowly crawl back—which it’s not going to do all at once—if they have something else to do, they may not come back. You may see in a year from now a real loss in terms of the artists that are part of the opera community. Because it is a hard life anyway. It’s really difficult and taxing. Flying all over the world is exhausting. The pressure is very high. Financially, it can be great, but it can also be really insecure. So if opera companies don’t figure out how to sustain them through this… A lot of people are going to just say, “I could just do a normal thing.” I think that the fragility of the system has been the hardest lesson.

TB: One of the things that I have admired about you is the advocacy, which comes through with the Artist Relief Tree and then also AGMA’s Soloist Coalition. So as we are discussing advocacy, do you want to talk a bit about the coalition and why you believe it is important?

RM: Yeah, I think that it’s been historically difficult for soloists to feel [like] a part of AGMA, because the majority of AGMA’s members are ensemble members out of the practicality of how an opera company functions. So it’s been really good to have the Soloist Coalition be able to just dig into issues that affect soloists. I think there are a lot of soloists that still feel like we’re not quite where we need to be, but I do think—very candidly— that the soloist coalition is a great idea.
      We tend to get a little bit lost in the weeds in terms of talking about things that, from my perspective, are things to be talked about when times are normal and they’re not normal right now. I hope that we can continue to figure out how to innovate in a way that helps. It’s tricky because I think unions are incredibly good organizations. I think they’re necessary. They also often set up this adversarial relationship with companies that you’re working for.
      This is a case where we really need to collaborate with organizations that produce. So I think finding the line where we’re saying we want to fight for ourselves and have you do x, y, and z for us, but also we want to help [those organizations] figure out how to stay alive. Because we need you to stay alive over the next year or so.
      So that’s been an interesting challenge with some growing pains. I wish I were more involved with them. I’m not as involved as I’d like to be. The advocacy thing is interesting because it comes from a personal place, both with something like Artist Relief Tree and AGMA Relief, and then also stuff like “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” But it becomes work to keep up social media stuff and then can be for a lot of people (myself included) a whole other job. And it can take away from the other interesting things we could be doing. So I’m always on the fence about that. I think social media is a great tool and I want to use it. And I want to be an advocate for things I care about. But I also think you can get lost a little bit in the world of social media. And that in some ways, it can take away from where we need to be thinking at this moment, about what to be making, how to survive, and all that.

TB: So tell me, minus a pandemic, where would you be? What would you be doing on June 19th?

RM: Now, I would be in Santa Fe. And I would be rehearsing Tristan und Isolde, which of all the things that have been cancelled so far, that one is the one that probably stings the most. Because I love that opera. I love that role. And I love Santa Fe. I really fought to get that casting and had been looking forward to it for several years. That’s been a hard one.

TB: So give me a timeline of when your next gigs are.

RM: Well, we would be opening Tristan und Isolde at the beginning of July and then I had a Beethoven’s Ninth with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Then there are a couple of things that we still don’t quite know. There are a couple of concerts. And I have a recital in Kansas City that they’re tell me they think will still happen. I’m a little skeptical, but we’ll see.

TB: How do you feel about going to Kansas City, because you’re in the Carolinas now?

RM: I mean, I’d probably drive there. I think I would still do it if it’s happening. For awhile it seemed like everyone was like, “Oh, this is getting better.” But now just this last week, we’ve seen a lot of spikes in cases in places like Kansas City, Texas, and North Carolina. So I’m pretty skeptical about it. But I’m just going to keep an open mind and we’ll see what happens. It’s becoming an interesting problem though, because I am so busy with these other projects that in some ways I don’t want to give too much time and thought to a theoretical live performance—that may get cancelled at the last minute—when I have energies I can put into things that I can really be doing that I know can happen.

TB: So did you say earlier that you’re going upstate soon to do a project?  

RM: I am actually here right now. At Lake Otsego—Glimmerglass Lake—we’re over here for the week filming what I think will turn out to be pretty cool. We’re calling it the Glimmerglass Lieder. It is six Schubert songs [that are] tied together by locations around Glimmerglass. I think it’s turning out really nicely, which is good because it is an actual job. This is a thing that by the time we post this will be fine to use, but it’s not announced yet. I’m going to film Jamie Barton doing Bon Appétit! [Hoiby] for Houston Grand Opera. [https://www.houstongrandopera.org/events-tickets/hgo-digital/bon-appetit/]

TB: That’s awesome.

RM: She’ll be great. There are a couple other things like that for other singers because of a couple of conversations I have had with donors. Like I have had this conversation—a kind of virtual town hall with Washington National Opera—where a lot of people asked, “Well what do artists who don’t have your technical ability or who aren’t as good online [do]?” My response is, we need to figure out how to help them be part of our projects. So I’m trying to do more than me just me singing all the time, because the internet doesn’t always need that many versions of Ryan McKinny singing. But doing projects with other singers that now—with what I’ve learned about how to combine film and classical music—we can make some cool stuff, starring other people too. Which also helps me have a job, hopefully.

TB: This bridges into my next question, as you are at Glimmerglass, which is one of the world famous young artist programs. What would your advice be to younger artists?

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RM: I think something that has been talked a lot about over the last several weeks anyway—but I think is more important than ever—is thinking of yourself as an entrepreneur. I don’t love that framing all the time, because I think ‘artist’ is more helpful than ‘entrepreneur’. But you can’t expect the normal channels of promotion to be in effect right now. When I was coming up and even up until this last year, the normal thing was like, you go to a good conservatory, a good young artist program, you get a manager, you start getting small jobs, and then you get bigger jobs. At the moment everybody’s in a hiring freeze and we don’t know how long this is going to last. Everyone seems to be talking—heads of companies etc.—are talking about everything as if things will go back to normal. It’s just a matter of when. And I’m not totally convinced that that’s the case.
      I think that there’s going to be a huge change over the next few years in what opera and classical music really is, in general. And the companies that are innovative are the ones that are going to survive. And the singers that are innovative are the ones that are going to succeed. So if you are a person who is not good at film, for example, seek out somebody who is and try to collaborate on something. I just think creative thinking—outside the box thinking—is what is really needed.
      We’ve been stifling singers creativity a lot anyway in our business. You’re generally not allowed to be a creative person as a singer. You get to make pretty sounds and stand where you’re told. I think we’re not necessarily thought of as artists in that way. I think this is a good time to remember that human beings are artists. We make stuff. That’s what we’ve always done. So be creative. Think outside the box. And ask for help where you need it.

TB: And video editing is a really handy skill to have.

RM: And put it all on YouTube these days. I’m sure there are amazing film schools, but in terms of what we’re doing right now, those skills are really available to anybody.

TB: So as one of the people who’s leading us into a new musical landscape, how do you think that this is going to change our musical landscape down the road.

RM: I think there will always be a space for live, in-person performance. There’s a lot of hand wringing that goes on about live performance [dying]. I just think it is human nature to gather together and make music. I don’t think that’s going anywhere. I do think that classical music in genera, and opera specifically, has been dragged along by the ear for what progress has been made over the last decade. I that there’s so much room for crossing over genres of artistic mediums and styles of music that we’re just in our infancy about.
      Particularly, I think film music feels like a world that we’re not close to really tapping as a community, which I don’t think means that it has to be just digital. But with some of the projects I’m working on, we’re trying to do a version that can be released as a film digitally, but also has a version that is performed with live music. For example, they have these Harry Potter and Star Wars events where an orchestra will play live with the film. I think that doesn’t have to just be a popularized thing. Some directors are already starting to do this with certain types of projects, but I think that even living in the world of film, making films that then also we screen with live music... It seems like a no brainer to me with what’s going on now.
      In general, breaking down some of the barriers of tradition, everybody’s freaked out that we won’t do Beethoven or Puccini anymore. But look, people are making really neat stuff all the time. And the fact that only 2% of the operas we put on have been written in the last 50 years, that’s stupid. It has never been that way except for this last century. They weren’t running around dong a bunch of Handel operas when Mozart was writing opera. So, I don’t know why that’s our standard.
      There’s always room for those things. Everybody wants to go see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre once in awhile. But that doesn’t mean that we need to have every art gallery have only pieces that are 200 years old. One of the things that is happening right now, actually, [is there are] a lot more contemporary operas being programmed digitally. Because it’s a lot more realistic to do than something with a 120-piece orchestra in a thousand seat hall or whatever. So I think there’s going to be a renaissance of new pieces that have different mixes of sound. I think using digital and live acoustic sounds at the same time and certainly the mixing of lots of different media formats for sure.

TB: The idea of mixing mediums between live music and projection is just thrilling. I can’t wait to see it. So last question, what is your Netflix or video binge recommendation for the pandemic?

RM: Ah, two really good ones that we just keep rewatching. One is The Good Place. I think we’ve watched the whole series five or six times now. I just love it. I think it’s hilarious, but also super smart and moving. Then the other one is Schitt’s Creek, which I think we’ve also watched two or three times now. But to be honest, my experience has not been the normal pandemic quarantine experience, because most people have been bored and just waiting around. But I’ve been busier than I’ve ever been in my life, which is very strange.

TB: I feel that. Thank you so much for chatting with me today.

“No One is Alone” from Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim
In order of appearance: Doug Peck, Pianist
Britney Coleman
Melody Moore
Ryan McKinny
Sean Allan Krill
Sara Wilford
Paul Chuey
Ann Christensen
Laura McKinny
Sara Widzer
Kathleen Kelly
Gloria Portela
Leah Moore
Natalya Gennadi Matyusheva
Timothy Passetto
Kaitlyn Stavinoha
Ian McEuen
Christa Robbins
Casey Okabayashi
David Weigel
J'Nai Bridges
Holly Sedillos
Sofia Dugas
Abby Powell
John Boulanger
Sarah Parnicky
Matthew Worth
Michelle Haché

About Ryan McKinny

This season Ryan McKinny makes his role and house debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Joseph de Rocher in Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Dead Man Walking, featuring a new production by Leonard Foglia. He then makes a series of returns, first to the Washington National Opera as the title role in Don Giovanni, then as Jochanaan in Salome with the Houston Grand Opera, and finally to the Santa Fe Opera for Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde, which he will have just sung in concert with the Atlanta Symphony. Further orchestral engagements this season include two appearances with the San Francisco Symphony: their opening night performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and a double bill of Michael Tilson Thomas’ Rilke Songs and Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn. With Houston’s Da Camera, Mr. McKinny performs Poulenc’s Le Bal Masqué, and he will appear in joint recital in “Beyond the Aria” at Chicago’s Harris Theater.
      

In the 2018-2019 season, Ryan McKinny made two important role debuts: the title role in Don Giovanni at Houston Grand Opera and Wotan in Das Rheingold at Opéra de Montréal. He returned to the Dutch National Opera for the European premiere of John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West in a production by Peter Sellars, the same role in which he made his San Francisco Opera debut the previous season. Mr. McKinny also sang Leonard Bernstein’s SongFest with Marin Alsop and the Juilliard Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, the title role in Der fliegende Holländer with Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He returned to the Bayreuth Festival in the summer of 2019 to reprise his acclaimed performances of Amfortas in Parsifal.

Mr. McKinny has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera (Biterolf in Tannhäuser, Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, Kothner in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Lieutenant Ratcliffe in Billy Budd for his debut); Bayreuth Festival (Amfortas in Parsifal); Dutch National Opera (debut in Pierre Audi’s production of Parsifal); Los Angeles Opera (Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Stanley Kowalski to Renée Fleming’s Blanche DuBois in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Leone in Handel’s Tamerlano with Plácido Domingo and Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia); Santa Fe Opera (Oppenheimer in Doctor Atomic and Jochanaan in Salome); Washington National Opera (Donner and Gunther in Der Ring des Nibelungen, and Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro); Staatstheater Wiesbaden (Mandryka in a new production of Arabella); English National Opera (Tiridate in David Alden’s production of Radamisto); Semperoper Dresden (Escamillo in Carmen); Hamburg State Opera (Carmen and Der fliegende Holländer); Deutsche Oper Berlin (Tristan und Isolde with Donald Runnicles, Peter in Hänsel und Gretel, Carmen, Un Frate in a new production of Don Carlo, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and as bass soloist in a staged version of Verdi’s Messa da requiem); Deutsche Oper am Rhein (role debut as Amfortas in Parsifal); Teatro Colòn in Buenos Aires (Parsifal); Hawaii Opera Theater (Der fliegende Holländer and his role debut in Eugene Onegin); Oper Leipzig (Hercules in Peter Konwitschny’s new production of Alceste); Theater Basel (Nathanael in the world premiere Andrea Lorenzo Scartazzini’s Der Sandmann in a production by Christof Loy); Canadian Opera Company (Melot in Peter Sellars’s production of Tristan und Isolde under Johannes Debus); and the Glimmerglass Festival (his role debut in Der fliegende Holländer and Billy Bigelow in Carousel). An alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Mr. McKinny has performed a number of roles on the mainstage, including Gunther in Götterdämmerung, Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde, the title role in Rigoletto, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, as well as roles in Aida, Hänsel und Gretel, Don Giovanni, Carmen, Béatrice et Bénédict, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lohengrin, Un ballo in maschera, Billy Budd, and Simon Boccanegra.
    

On the concert stage, Mr. McKinny sang the world premiere of Shostakovich’s uncompleted opera Orango under Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic with stage direction by Peter Sellars, which he reprised in London with the London Philharmonia (available on Deutsche Grammophon). He also performed as Richard Nixon in John Adams’ Nixon in China with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by the composer. With Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, he performed Arias and Barcarolles with Isabel Leonard, as well as Mass with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, both to celebrate the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein. He has been heard with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons at Tanglewood as Donner in Das Rheingold; Cleveland Orchestra and National Symphony in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9; Rossini’s Stabat Mater at the Grant Park Music Festival; Britten’s War Requiem with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop; Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 (“Symphony of a Thousand”) and Wotan’s Abschied from Act 3 of Die Walküre at the Aspen Music Festival with Robert Spano. He has performed the bass-baritone roles in Oedipus Rex for his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen in his final concerts as music director with staging by Peter Sellars. Mr. McKinny was heard in a special recital of Schubert’s Die Winterreise during the Sydney Festival, which was broadcast on ABC, Australia’s public radio and has been heard at the Aspen Music Festival for a recital recreated on a program initially performed by Jerome Hines in June 1949.

 

 

Intermezzo