Friday, 16 March 2012

I was vaguely playing in my mind with starting this post along the lines of "Last week I found myself in Spain..." (I write pretty much everything mentally first, and only when it's polished and shiny do I actually head for the computer.  This can lead to problems when I perfect an email, for example, then forget to actually send it.)  Firstly, though, it sounded a bit disingenuous.  I mean, I admit to travelling with the absolute minimum of planning and organisation - in this case, I don't actually speak Spanish, nor did I know exactly where the airport was, nor the ins and outs of getting from thence to Toledo, but I had actually booked the flights a few weeks beforehand and had a rough idea of where I should be heading, so I can't really claim to have "found" myself there, as it were.  The second thing was, I got to thinking about the phrase "I found myself..." and realised (after a couple of days there) that I had actually rediscovered a part of myself that has somehow got lost here in Germany.  I have no idea what it was - the light? - but the urge to paint was incredibly strong, indeed almost overpowering.  I realised only then that my paints had been gathering dust ever since I came to Germany.  Strange.  I'm not a particularly good painter, I simply like the process, and find it really helps when appreciating great art (shout out to El Greco's hand of Christ, as seen in the eponymous museum in Toledo, top left...).  I have tended to photograph rather than paint whilst I've been over here.  Must have simply been a different energy, a different vibe, as it were;  I returned on fire with artistic inspiration (I also fitted in a visit to the Prado whilst I was in Madrid for the weekend - what marvels!),  but strangely, whilst I have managed to prep a couple of canvases and even do a few preliminary sketches, the urgency, the necessity even, has evaporated.  Hmmm.

At least I have more to concentrate on than simply the audition.  I know singers for whom the audition is the be-all and end-all; I honestly can't do that.  Yes, if concentration is necessary, I concentrate.  But if there's the slightest chance to investigate the marvellous places I find myself when auditioning, I certainly take it.  I adored Toledo (I was there chasing down a Spanish touring company.  Totally normal to be squished between two sopranos in audition, therefore simply wandering onto stage, grinning out into the auditorium to an conductor whom I hadn't actually met, singing for, oh, three, four minutes, then sauntering off . . .  had I not a train to catch in order to paint Madrid red with a friend whom I'd previously only known online, it might well have seemed a long way to come for such a short audition opportunity.)

Should anyone be contemplating a visit to Toledo, I can thoroughly recommend my little hotel, La Posada de Manolo (website here).  Probably not for those who absolutely require trouser presses and international cable channels - I spend a lot of time trying to avoid such things when choosing hotels - but central, charming, quiet, clean, inexpensive.  Let me see if I can insert a video taken from the breakfast room in the morning, looking over the city.  It had been wonderfully quiet until I turned the camera on - cue delivery lorry below and random helicopter above!!  Not to mention, I left my bag there whilst spending the day trotting around the place, returning shortly before my audition to grab my stuff.  The lady on reception grinned whilst handing back my bag and coat, and presented me with an envelope.  I explained (well hopefully, as I said, my Spanish is not wonderful) that I'd already paid, and had simply left my excess stuff.  She said this was a present from the staff, because they loved my singing!  (All I'd done was test the voice out in the shower after breakfast.  I'd been rather ill due to a spot of nasty gastric flu, and hadn't sung for a week...).  They had presented me with a lovely necklace, engraved with a bird, in typical Toledan style.  Now if that isn't a good omen...

1 comment:

  1. Wow.. Talk about random niceness... You did well... I hope you get to sing for the company that was there too!