I realize I was remiss in my blog updates in London, and that people want to know how it was, because you all keep asking. Well, I’ll tell you: it was AMAZING.
I didn’t wind up taking almost any photos at all, because I was just too busy actually being there and soaking it up, and anyway the blog software was not functioning. I hardly know where to begin describing the experience, or how to describe it in non-gushing terms; every day I felt like I was floating to rehearsals and performances on little clouds.
Yes, it was like that. I was the dork who was way overexcited to be there. How could I not? The music, the musicians, the amazing amazing amazing dancers (they were ALL incredible, but I just have to mention my absolute favorite, Clémentine Deluy, who made me cry every single time she danced) and the spellbinding choreography… Every evening was sold out, and we had great reviews from major papers all over the world. I even got my own little bravos.
I learned a lot just by keeping my mouth shut and ears and eyes open, too. Everyone else was much more seasoned and knew the piece much longer (in some cases decades!) so I tried to learn as much as I could by watching everyone else rehearse, too. Our conductor, Jan-Michael Horstmann, was incredibly supportive (musically and personally) and kind, and it was kind of fascinating to observe him easily steer this huge crazy ship of dancers, singers, chorus, musicians and theater staff, pulling off this performance of incredible beauty, keeping everyone taken care of and making every single person feel respected and important. As the low man on the totem pole, I definitely appreciated that.
The city! It was my first time in London and I can really imagine living there, it was so comfortable. My favorite aspects of New York, and maybe Boston, in Europe. And it has real autumn! Its something I definitely miss in Berlin. The city is smaller than expected, but after the first few days I gave in and bought an Oyster Card and rode the tube to make my sightseeing more efficient.
My favorite or at least most memorable stops were the Borough Market, Liberty, National Gallery, British Museum (stuffed with antiquities that have clearly been plundered over the centuries), Tower of London (except the crown jewels, which were a bit of a let down), and a few little shops and boutiques here and there. I got a great deal on an entire new set of Joan Sutherland anthologies, and actually squealed when I saw the (excellent) price. Things I can’t believe I spent money to see definitely included the Sherlock Holmes museum. Oy vey.
All in all, it was an outrageously positive, wonderful experience. I loved being there, I loved the work, the people, the city, the entire everything. I even loved the hotel room and I’m not sure the hotel room exactly deserved my love. I was high on happiness.