Well, I didn’t want to give you the blow-by-blow on every day, just the first few. But I’ll try to sort of catch you up with where things have been!
The fifth day I had a coaching! A friend who lives here put me in touch with a coach at the Komische Oper, and I arranged a coaching with him. While my responsible side would have been happy to conduct the coaching in German, practically speaking it was good that he was fluent in English (trained and worked in the US and speaks English at home), not only because my German is shaky but because he talked so fast, there was no way I could have kept up, even in French!
So we talked about auditions, Fach, etc, and we worked on Durch Zärtlichkeit, which is an aria I do not enjoy performing, at least in an audition situation. I’ve never done the role, and that would probably change things considerably for me, but I always feel so dumb singing it. It’s just awkward without staging. If you were doing the whole show, staged, you’d have a lot to do in this aria, a lot of interaction with the other character, and some silly things to do. So naturally in an audition you have to make all that stuff up in your head, some things you do, some things you just think. But in reality it just feels stupid. Not in every aria, but this one especially. I feel dumb making a big show of “Oh, he’s not listening, so I’m gonna have to say the whole thing again in a different way!!” like you know you’re SUPPOSED to do. And it’s just like, “Look, I can be cute and also sing a high note!” I’m sure once I eventually do the role (which really does have to happen eventually, probably sooner rather than later) I’ll be more confident at excerpting the aria, but for now it just irritates me. At least it feels good to sing!
OK that’s my rant about it. So I told the coach how I felt, and he pretty much said what I was already telling myself, which was, well you pretty much need this aria so you better find a way to like it. But anyways we sang it and he helped me with a few pronunciation points- interestingly, without having known that I studied in Paris, he said my ü sounded French!! I had never known there was a difference between a french u and a German ü, I always thought they were identical twins. But I guess the German one is a little less tight and high than the French. Anyways there were some other things and I found it really helpful, and spent much time the next day reciting my text carefully.
He also heard my Chacun le sait at the very end and gave me his blessing to use that as my French aria instead of the Doll Song, which I do not love as much (for auditions) but was trying to err on the lightest possible side of coloratura as I could, and that’s the one for French. But I’m glad he advised me to do Marie, as I do feel really really good about it.
The other thing I did that day was go to the Kunsthaus Tacheles, an artist squat that has a couple bars in it a long with a lot of galleries and a performance space or two. It was awesome! There were definitely a lot of tourists there, but it still felt pretty badass. Basically you could sit outside in the courtyard which was kinda like a beer garden and drink a beer and look at the art. And it was a gorgeous day!!
Friday rained and was a bummer, but Saturday I went to the apartment of the girl I’m subletting from, I met her and her husband and their baby and we had tofu. The husband is a professional DJ who was playing a gig at 9 the next morning. Yeah, when they say Berliners know how to party, they are not kidding!! But he was kinda like me with my church job, except instead of getting up mad early Sunday morning to go to church, he was going to play in a nightclub. “Night”-club. He was also playing an outdoor party at 8 that evening, and invited me to come to that.
So I did of course! Oh but before that I went to the Hamburger Bahnhof, which is not a train station (anymore?) but a museum, with them and another friend of theirs. There was an exhibit on Walton Ford, and they were all artists and into that stuff, and I didn’t know who that was but I’m like OK cool I got nothing else to do. Anyways they were all animals and most of them were accompanied by literature like stuff out of old-timey adventurer/scientists’ journals about animals, which made it a lot more interesting for me, as I guess I’m more into literature than art, although I’m really just into music.
That’s from the museum’s website.
The party that night was wayyyy out in the East, by the S-Bahn stop Ostkreuz, because all the hipster stuff goes on in East Berlin. (Charlottenburg, where I am living, is not very “cool.”) The club was called K-Pax, and there was pretty much just an empty lot with a bar and a DJ stage, except there was also a little kids’ playhouse off to one side for the high drunks to sit in, which they were. Everything else was pretty much just a big space. But my friend is apparently a great DJ because the crowd (yeah there was a crowd, yeah it was 8pm on Sunday) was just eating it up. I don’t really know anything about House music so it’s kinda all the same to me but he definitely had the room… I mean the courtyard going.
Obviously a good percentage of the people were on drugs, though I don’t know much about drugs (day of things I don’t know much about: art, house music, drugs…) so I wouldn’t be the best to estimate what percentage were and were not, and how many were doing coke or ecstasy or just pot, but I guess the idea was for them to have been still going from the night before, so there ya go. It kinda sucks to go to that kind of place by yourself, even though I knew the DJ but obviously he was BUSY and I didn’t want to bother him, but I still managed to meet a few people, all both annoying and interesting in their own ways. And for the second time in my Berlin experience so far, the bar ran out of beer. If this keeps happening I’m afraid it’ll trigger the French Revolution.
Today was great because I fully practiced and fully exercised, and it feels really good to do both of those things in one day. In fact, that’s usually my goal back home in the US, is to find time in any day to do a thorough job of both, but it’s harder than it sounds, when you have other stuff going on (like having to make money).
More adventures to come, but wanted to send out this update before I head out the door!!