Let the Work Begin!
Trip Start Jul 02, 2011
35Trip End Aug 29, 2011
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I've now completed two full days here in Vianden, one of which was the first full day of the festival. Yesterday was a holiday for Luxembourg and arrival day for everyone participating in the music festival. I got up and took a morning jog through the incredibly empty streets of Vianden. Down the street from my hotel, across the bridge of the Our River, and up the steep road of closed shops and restaurants to the castle. I had always wanted to take a "normal morning run" to a gorgeous hilltop European castle. *Romantic sigh.*
The hotel here offers a fabulous buffet breakfast. Seriously, chocolate croissants and chocolate milk on top of all of the other pastries, yogurts, and fruit? I can get used to this. Then I had to get back to reality and head to the school to get some good solid focused practicing in. I had a nice big Steinway to myself all day so I didn’t mind. I worked my way through the festival music plus the stack of musical theater stuff, of which I figured a good 2 or 3 run throughs would be decent enough for the next day. I even got a mini coaching of some Strauss from my genius teacher…bonus! We are using a pre-school and elementary school for our facilities so they have moved pianos into a number of rooms. I’m pretty sure I have never practiced on a Steinway grand in such a colorful and toy-filled practice room. Not to mention the various animal noises that come from the wall clock on the hour. Nothing like playing the passionate notes of Franck only to have them interrupted by the oinking of a pig announcing the arrival of one o’clock.
Today kicked off the work of the festival. I was able to grab a nice grand to practice on this morning before the mob of student pianists take them all over for the next couple of weeks. Then it was time for the run throughs. With all of the voice students, voice faculty, vocal coaches, and stage directors present, we ran through all of the opera scenes and musical theater pieces to see where everyone was at. It took a good hour and a half to get through them all. We got the good and the bad. Some singers were very prepared and had everything completely memorized. That makes my job easy…then I don’t have to skip measures and jump around trying to find them when I’m sight-reading the piece in the first place. Others struggled quite a bit, but in the end, it should all come together come concert time.
Lunch: first-rate. At the Saarburg festival, we had eaten in a hospital cafeteria due to the closing of the restaurant that we had planned on using, and the hospital was the only option available at the last minute. The lunch food there was bearable most days. But now in Vianden we get served lunch at our hotel restaurant. So excited.
I spent the rest of the afternoon in the staging room as our stage director, Nick, talked to all the singers about acting and their goals for the next two weeks. Then it was on to the actual rehearsals and staging. We were able to get through some Massenet and Weber…going over diction, meaning of the text, tempo, and musical ideas. When 6:15pm hit, and we finished up the last coaching, I was beat. All these singers really wear you out! Time to get some good rest before the series of long staging rehearsals really hits tomorrow!