Oh my God, I just got back from watching Thomas Quasthoff give a master class and he is my new favorite person. I’m going back tomorrow and on Friday as well, so I’ll wait to blog about it until it’s all over. Suffice it to say, he is wonderful and an incredible talent (though I’m highly bummed that I won’t get to hear him in recital because he just retired, like literally a month ago, and I actually had a ticket for his recital for last night…which I then exchanged for Fanny Ardant narrating Stravinsky in April, so I guess that’s good too!), not to mention hilarious. He was talking to the first singer, a wonderful Nigerian soprano, about the characters of different countries and their music, and he said, “The French are all ‘Oh la la, je–pfft.”
…you maybe had to have been there. Anyway, he’s great, and I can’t wait to hear more tomorrow afternoon.
Very small man, very big voice. (And the pianist he brought with him from Germany, Justus Zeyen, has got to be at least 6’2″. The odd couple, indeed!)
Anyway. Moving on, since I’m going to cover Herr Quasthoff in more detail later this week.
On Monday night I took myself to the opera. This was about as close to a split-second decision as I get, which means that I bought the ticket on a whim on Friday or Saturday.
This was my first time to the Palais Garnier in nearly six months of living here, which is a little shocking given that I’m an aspiring opera singer. But things sell out incredibly quickly, and I don’t really like to get there and not have a ticket and have to wait outside or wherever to get rush tickets. This one was an operatic version of The Cherry Orchard (La Cérisaie), sung in Russian by an almost entirely Russian cast. There was some thrilling singing, actually, and I liked the piece very much visually. The female chorus was just entrancing, and in a fascinating switcheroo, the bizarre German governess, Charlotta, was played by a bass (and did magic tricks! All operas could be made more fun with magic!), and the ancient butler, Firs, was a mezzo-soprano.
But really, I didn’t go for the opera. I went for the opera HOUSE.
I mean, honestly.
I’m not sure where I thought I would be sitting, since I only paid 45 euro for the ticket, but I was on the first floor in one of those boxes with a door, with like twelve other people. I literally gasped when I walked in.
Right?! There were also mirrors on the wall back there. For the Phantom. Clearly.
…more likely so that spectators can fix their hair and clothes before being scrutinized by people with opera glasses on the other side of the theater. But that didn’t stop me from looking in the mirror and sort of hoping…
The Palais Garnier is really one of the most glorious buildings in Paris. And it really never gets old. I visited it with my grandparents when I was thirteen, and then again last summer, and then again last night, and it still takes my breath away.
I get a bit of a thrill when I walk into important opera houses, especially when they’re as gorgeous as the Palais Garnier (and okay, the Wiener Staatsoper was beautiful too, and the snacks there were way superior to the Palais Garnier snacks, though I do miss my opera brownies from the Lyric in Chicago…), because I’m 24 years old and who knows? In five years I could be singing somewhere like that. Last summer we toured the Bordeaux opera house, which I loved, and I got this feeling, this certainty that one day, I’d be back and I’d be singing.
Et encore, qui sait?