Well, no, THIS isn’t. Or rather, it may turn out to be, but then it would have to beat yesterday, which was pretty stellar. It’s been such a colossally BLAH stretch for me that those days when I’m tickled pink to live and study in Paris are few and far between.
But let me start at the beginning (a very good place to start, don’t you think?). Jake had reserved a room at his conservatory from 9 to 11 in the morning, and after I warmed up a bit, I headed over to St. Lazare…which is a stupidly inconvenient and long train ride. Well done, Paris.
But no! This entry is about how GOOD yesterday was. No complaining about the train.
“Other women enjoy complaining. Not Yente. Not every woman can be a Yente!”
So by the time I arrived, Heather and Jake had already been rudely kicked out of the room they had reserved (all of these rooms, by the way, have harpsichords in them, because this is the early music department of the conservatory) and moved to a different one. A few minutes after I got settled and put my music on a music stand, a couple of students came in and said that their professor had had that room reserved since the beginning of the year; the professor, a delightfully chic Frenchwoman, apologized and sent us to a different room, where thankfully we weren’t disturbed and managed to rehearse in peace.
There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of a productive rehearsal with great musicians and friends. Not only did we make some beautiful music together, we also had fun–and that’s exactly as it should be. For me, as soon as it starts feeling like drudgery, I lose interest. Hard work I relish, but if it’s not fun, forget it.
“Quick, Heather, play something so I can take a picture of something that looks like a rehearsal!”
(Which she did so quickly that the picture was blurry! Also, feel free to post silly pictures of me on your blog someday, guys. I’ll try to give you some material soon.)
Then Heather and Jake had to head back to Versailles, so I, hungry despite its being not even 11 AM, wandered off in search of food. I’ll admit, I’m a little weary of the same old same old. I think it’s all very well to prefer to eat French food as long as one’s time in France is limited, but at a certain point it really gets old, because you start to realize that most of the sandwiches/pastries at the various Parisian bakeries are just…not that good. I mentioned that on another online forum once, and somebody commented that they ate NO BAD FOOD in France. I’d like to know where they ate, because you have to go to pretty great lengths to avoid, if not BAD food, then boring food.
Anyway, I decided that I wanted some kind of Asian food, but the thought of going into a restaurant, even if it was open on a work holiday (ohhhhh, those French!), and trying to order lunch at 11 AM was just too much. I was lucky enough to stumble across a walk-up Vietnamese sandwich joint called Saigon Baguette, where I bought a beef sandwich and a bottle of water, then chatted in English for a bit with the proprietors, one of whom was from Australia, and both of whom were very nice. I don’t normally take fidelity cards from businesses, but I liked them so much and the sun was shining.
Then I took my sandwich over to the Palais Garnier, where I sat and listened to a brass band playing “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics.
And then they played Hava Nagila. This seems to be a thing in Paris, and I’m pretty sure I was the only person watching who had any idea what the tune was. I always feel like somebody should start up a hora when that happens, but I’m reluctant to be that somebody. For obvious reasons.
Here’s my sandwich:
I came home after that, worked on Figaro recitative (I have conquered Act I! Evviva!), took a nap and then another highly inconvenient train journey to Belleville for a rehearsal with my pianist friend Raul. I wished I hadn’t already taken a nap, because after a half hour of “No word from Tom” and a half hour of “Ruhe sanft” from Mozart’s Zaide, I thought I was going to plotz. But I did feel like kind of a singing superhero. W00t.
And now I’m listening to a recording of The Yeomen of the Guard that features about half of the cast of my favorite recording of Pirates of Penzance. Let’s make today as great as yesterday!
Any time you want to come out, sun, that would be great. Thanks.