Kashu-do (歌手道): The way of the Singer: I have always been interested in the martial arts, because
of the discipline, dedication and philosophy involved. The martial arts, like singing at its best, is about
lifelong self-development, aspiring to be the best that we can possibly be. Like Karate-Do,
The Way of the Empty Hand or Ju-Do, The Gentle Way, I adopted Kashu-Do to represent a philosophy
based on the most noble principles of the art of singing:
1. Lifelong Self-development:
WE STRIVE FOR PERFECTION KNOWING THAT WE WILL FALL SHORT. IT IS A VERY DIFFERENT THING TO STRIVE FOR LESS BECAUSE WE CANNOT ACHIEVE PERFECTION. THE FORMER IS NOBLE THE LATTER IS COMMON. AN ARTIST UNDERSTANDS THIS DIFFERENCE AND LIVES BY THE FORMER. - Kashu-do Principles
I start by healing my own voice, with my own knowledge and the help of those I trust to guide me. Every singer needs a teacher or a few. If all singers heal their relationship to this art form, we might be strong enough together to heal the whole thing. Conductors and directors and agents and casting directors need to look themselves in the mirror too. But we cannot have an impact on them before we make sense of our own house as a singer community!
My Team: I am surrounded by great pedagogues, successful students, and some wonderful colleagues and friends in the business that have a similar vision of Opera. We combine our efforts to grow an ever expanding network of professionals to provide an alternative to egocentric, self-serving visions of the world. We would like to see the great works old and new performed for centuries and for that to happen, we must stop the bleeding of operatic values that is currently happening. The hemorrhage is dangerous and Opera as a sustainable art form needs emergency help. No one person is going to heal Opera. But serious people who care about this art form can come together and do the job, even if it means challenging the establishment. Most likely it will.
We are not a cult! We challenge the cultish nature of the current opera establishment. We call attention to facts and we respect the hard work it takes to produce an opera. We dare to be Quixotic. We dream big and we envision a world where opera singers can make a living doing what they love, not what others who don't like the art twist it to become.
This afternoon I watched the dress rehearsal of a fascinating, very modern treatment of Rossini's Viaggio a Reims at Härnösands Folkhögskola, a difficult opera sung by young singers in their early 20s. It is a magnificent production and a testament to the fact that modern treatments of operas can be highly artistic, entertaining, totally updated without violating the essence of the piece. The singing is at the center of this genius interpretation on a very low budget. If you don't know the name Märit Bergvall, you should! If it is the last thing I do, I will make sure the world knows this genius regisseur! I have seen four productions by this magnificent woman and it would be a crime if the world does not get to experience her magic. Too many fakes in the opera world desecrating opera because they are unmusical, unimaginative and plainly boring. This woman is another Katharina Thalbach or Christoph Loy or Stefan Herheim! This is to say, the world of opera is not without genius directors and great conductors and great singers. It is simply that some other agenda is obstructing their good work and forcing them down a path that is neither worthy of their talents nor of our art form. This must end and it begins with each one of us who cares. No more whining: "Oh, the opera world is being destroyed and I can't get a job!" Well, if you really care, let's go to war!