It was on a triumphant trip last year to Milan, when I, accompanied by my daughter, Margaret, convinced the great Tito Merelli to join us here at the Cleveland Grand Opera Company in honor of our Tenth Anniversary season. All it took was an impassioned plea, a bottle of barely passable non-vintage Chianti, and a wheel of cheese. He was Italian putty in my hands. I returned to Cleveland like Wagner’s Siegfried to Valhalla with his father’s reforged sword, a hero.
The plan was flawless. I saw to every last detail myself. A coup d'état to ensure Cleveland eclipses even New York City as the preeminent Operatic capital of the Americas, with the Cleveland Grand Opera Company at its center.
Yes, tonight, after the curtain falls and the greatest tenor of our time takes his final bows, the Cleveland Grand Opera Company will be renowned worldwide as America’s answer to Teatro alla Scala, and the name Henry Saunders will be forever etched in its stone. Tonight will be an evening for the ages.
If you’ll excuse me now, I have preparations to oversee and details to which I must attend, as I’m sure you understand. Señor Merelli’s arrival is imminent. While others may dream, Henry Saunders delivers. I’ve left nothing to chance. Tonight will be a splendid exercise in absolute flawless perfection. My diligent attention to detail and superior managerial skills ensure that absolutely nothing can nor will go wrong tonight.
By the way, you wouldn’t happen to know the time… ?
Brian Schnoor plays Henry Saunders in Lend Me A Tenor