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2005-06-14 A message from James

I have friends in North Carolina, who have been saying "When are you coming to our area??" Now I can tell them! Just like our Winnipeg friend!!


I am being so good and healthy at the moment. Swimming again too....... We have been to Belgium, and it was kinda hell not being able to have pounds and pounds of chocolate. It was a strange be talked about in a column.......perhaps.......or maybe not. The gig was incredible. An outdoor extravaganza with Opera Babes, Bolshoi Opera Stars, a soprano (not very friendly), an Italian counter-tenor, and others.......There were 4 stages, each with their own little orchestra. We each did the same set of pieces every hour on the same stage between 6pm and 11pm, and at 11.30 we all joined together for a HUGE finale with orchestra, and there were fireworks, and a crowd of 7000 people! Yes, it was amazing, but it would have been nicer if it had been better organised. We were handed SIXTY-THREE pages of music on the night before, on our arrival from Ireland, to learn and read in the show! (Lucky we can read music, eh??) Very unfair thing to do. Everyone was in the same boat though, except the soprano, who happened to be married to the Artistic Director...... Hmmmmm, that is why she had a leather couch in her dressing room, and an aria of her choice in the finale .......The songs we sang in our set were "Love of my Life", "I will wait for you" (never done it live before), "You are my heart's delight" and "Remember Me". In the Finale we had to sight-read an extremely fast finale from Rossini's "Barber", choruses from "Carmen" and "Carmina Burana", and we insisted on singing something we knew too..."Santa Lucia". It was an amazing experience, but quite honestly some of the worst organisation we have ever had.......starting with ELEVEN hour rehearsal on the first day, and no food (must have known I was on health regime again). Also, sorry to any Belgian members, but all in all people were not very friendly to us (organisers etc. Reaction was great), and we were put up in an airport hotel (all the artists). If I do a column........Hmmmmm......... Matthew and I went into the centre of Brussels on the Sunday, and it is beautiful, truly, but sadly first impressions do last....... Wow, long email, eh? Impressed? Just enough time to say that we were in the recording studio yesterday for the last time, for the moment. The Irish release has been confirmed for the end of August. We felt that the album just was a little short, so we have recorded TWO new songs to go on. One of which some of you will have heard before.......especially those of you who came to our recent 'dining-room-style' gig outside New York .......after show.......? The other, is a new song, written by Jimmy Mc Carthy which will have great meaning to many of you, in particular to those of you who have lost someone dear to you! I think it is a truly beautiful song, very simple, but very special....... Enough? Ok. Take care of yourselves. Love to you all, James.