Saturday, 12 September 2009

Ups and downs

In the middle of today's morning practice, I was interrupted by a knock on the door. Luckily I was vaguely decent, so I answered it. There stood the Hausmeister's wife; straight off, she asked me how much German I understood, because she wanted to talk about my singing. My knees started to knock, I pasted a pleasant smile on my face, and tasted my apologetic, carefully-prepared German phrases turn to ashes in my mouth.

Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather (cunning tie-in, there, to the pigeon photo...) - it turns out she wanted to pass on compliments from a couple further down the building (or, erm, it could have been further up, who knows?) who thought my voice was gorgeous, and wanted to know where they could hear me sing in public!! And now that she mentioned it, she loved my singing too (thank goodess; they live right on top of me), and if I needed to practise during the Mittagspause (sacrosanct German quiet lunch period), no worries... Anyway this is not what one expects of people knocking on the door to talk about one's singing - especially if one has been bashing violent bits of Strauss to death (mind you, I have been tempering that with Brahms' Vier ernste Gesänge), so it was a real boost!

As to the downs in the title, well I spent the evening at the première of an opera in which I was not involved - the one whose final rehearsals I'd so assiduously attended over the last week or so. I was in the top of the theatre - by the time I requested a ticket, there weren't any left downstairs (and it was quite a performance in itself getting the ticket; first fill in a slip in the artists' management office in the theatre, trying to pretend that you know what the very nice lady is actually talking about; then go back the next day to collect the signed slip, only to (eventually) understand that it's now at the Kasse (ticket office); then to traipse to the Kasse and have what appeared to be a pleasant and understandable conversation, until it transpired that the lady had assumed from my looks that I was actually singing Carmen in this production, and the computer had seized up because its information sources clashed...). Now of course the thing about being at the top of the theatre is, you don't get to mingle with the great and good of the theatre staff, who naturally have excellent seats. So, there was no-one I knew around me before the opera and in the interval. Premières are something which by choice one would not attend alone, so pretty much everyone else was talking to their friends, leaving me trying to look cool and unconcerned (yes, and probably failing!).

I think I can safely say it was not my finest hour, socially speaking. My sole interaction was with a gentleman who asked me something in which I understood the words "have" and "tempo". I replied with a cheerful opinion about the tempi being nicely energetic - at which point an extremely puzzled expression crossed his face. Turns out he was asking for tissues for his nose...
bugger! Have made a mental note that the leading brand over here is Tempo, not Kleenex...

On the bright side, I noted that it was not only possible, but actually desirable, in terms of damage to one's feet, to cycle to and from the première in four-inch heels.

And, my baby pigeons have just about flown. The picture is of the smaller one a couple of days ago; the (crumbs - I have no idea what you call the yellow, pre-feather plumage still visible; if anyone knows, please tell me), whilst still extant in the photo, no longer exists - and the babies are, sadly, becoming untrusting adults. Still, I'm happy they have grown to maturity on my balcony... and I shall very soon be able to reclaim their nest/plant pot and stick something beautiful in there which will satisfy the Hausmeister's desire for fewer pigeons, whilst not actually murdering any!

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