For a moment today the world fell away and all was pure light and ecstasy... oh this has to be the best job in the world!
I was called for a Sitzprobe (rehearsal with orchestra) of Eugene Onegin - very early on in the process but the conductor wanted to get a couple of tricky scenes worked through. There was at this point just me and the soprano, and for some reason instead of sitting on the tiered seating behind the orchestra as normal, we were bang in the middle of the players.
I will admit that I'd spent the earlier part of the morning absorbed in Walt Whitman's poetry, and was probably therefore rather more inclined towards wonder than usual - but this was really the most amazing experience. We'd already gone through a previous scene a couple of times, and then moved on to the bit just after the famous Letter Scene.
It starts with a sunrise. Tchaikovsky's writing here is superb - a pianissimo start with a minor chord murmured darkly by the bassoons, rising slowly and inexorably, creeping tone by semitone upwards, in a marvellously long crescendo, to a triumphant and massive C major chord... and I was so flooded with the music, with its beauty and the actual resonance of the instruments all around and through me, that with that final held chord, it felt like the sun had not just come out in my head, but that I had actually disappeared into the light.
This is the scene in question, in case anyone's interested. I can assure you it sounds even better if you're lurking amongst the instrumentalists - and afterwards I reflected on just how lucky I was to experience such a thing.
If I had any doubts that music was my religion, they would have been put to rest today.
(Mmm, I know the firework pic isn't quite right - but for all the spectacular sunsets I've leaped to photograph here, I don't have a single one of sunrise, which tends to creep in quietly in shades of grey...).