As we speak (write? read? whatever. At this moment in time, at any rate), I’m currently back in München after a whirlwind of Hungary, family visiting, and general starting-to-get-prepared for this next semester. But all in good time. I thought perhaps I should go in chronological order, so here’s Semesterferien Adventures Part I: Orff, Elgar, and a Surreal Return to the English-Speaking World.
I know I’ve gushed about UniChor before, so prepare yourselves: it’s going to get worse. And by that I mean more fantastic for me, because at the beginning of this enormous break we had an incredible two concerts. We’d been working all semester on Orff’s Carmina Burana and Elgar’s Songs from the Bavarian Highlands and let me tell you, there are few feelings more amazing than singing in a choir of two hundred with a full orchestra at absolute full blast. I was unfortunately pretty sick at the time, but what with consuming my weight in tea every day and trying not to talk at all before rehearsal, I managed to save my voice enough to be proud of how I (and we, of course) did!
Our first concert was at the Gasteig (which also gets referred to as the Philharmonie), the biggest concert hall in München. It was intimidating, to say the least:
The second concert was in the Große Aula, an auditorium in the main building of my university here. Though a much smaller venue, it was an audience full of our friends and family, which was really awesome:
The next week I was off to London to visit my best friend as well as pretty much all of the theatre juniors and a good chunk of the music juniors from LC. These are people I normally see all the time at school, and seeing them again was so lovely, even if it also reminded me how much I miss our theatre department and the irreplaceable atmosphere that comes with a group of engaged people out to experience and process the world through their own creativity.
I’m a pretty hardcore Anglophile as well (or should I say “avid consumer of British entertainment from the 18th century until contemporary times”), and so I was kind of jumping out of my skin, I was so excited to be in London for the first time. And London was amazing, but it was also hard for me to get a grasp on the city. Just like my reconciling of preconception and reality when I went to Paris, it took me time to adjust, but unlike Paris, I could read all of the street signs. I could ask anyone in the street for directions. Before this, my perception of the “foreignness” of a foreign country was inextricably tied to my unfamiliarity with the language spoken there (sorry, Canada, but you’re just so close!), but London was at once completely foreign and also linguistically completely decipherable to me. It was a strange feeling.
Of course, the one day the sun shone my camera was out of battery (who forgot that Great Britain doesn’t have continental sockets? this one!), but I still had a great time tromping all over the place, having such adventures as listening to Evensong at Westminster Abbey, delighting in the funniest art history lecture I’ve ever had the pleasure to attend at the Tate Modern, ginger beer and sushi (at separate times, I promise) with good friends and good conversation, breakfast with a cousin I get to see very rarely but always love talking with, ogling Stradivarius violins (Stradivariuses? Stradivarii?) and letters from Franz Liszt/Liszt Ferenc, picking through books at the Southbank Book Market and turning up with a Gilbert and Sullivan libretto with a copyright from 1911, trying to understand the clearly misguided artistic direction of Rusalka at the Royal Opera House and giving up in favor of just listening to the music, celebrating a dear friend’s 21st birthday, and enjoying the challenge of figuring such an important, sprawling, interesting city out.
Tune in next time for Semesterferien Part II: Lángos and the Danube’s Pearl! Bis dann!