I am very early for my flight from Vienna to Zurich, and the airport has free wireless, so I figured I’d kill some time by writing about the end of my program. My battery is going to die soon, though, so I don’t know how much I will get done before I have to stop.
These past few days have been very busy. On Wednesday morning, I had my last lied class with Joelle Bouffa. I worked on Von Ewiger Liebe by Brahms. I was so excited to sing it because it’s a beautiful song and it went really well in my lesson the day before. I warmed up when I got there that morning, but then I didn’t sing until last, so I sat for two hours before opening my mouth. I wound up being very disappointed, because I just felt like I couldn’t control any sound that was coming out of my mouth. Everything was off- my breathing, my registration, my resonance- I was not happy. But Joelle gave me a lot to work with and I tried to just brush it off. It wasn’t horrible, but I wanted to sing the song well. It was also SO HOT on Wednesday- another day of 90 degrees. After lied class we went to our last diction class. Walter Moore had every read their own pieces to practice resonant diction. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to get to everyone so I did not read, but it was good to listen to everyone else. After that we had our usual German class, and then we all ran over to the Staatsoper to see Lucia di Lamermoor! Standing room tickets are only 3 or 4 euro, and you can see and hear very well. We had all been looking forward to this performance, because it was supposed to be Diana Damrau, and it was opening night. Unfortunately, she cancelled her appearance because she’s having a baby or something, but the girl who sang Lucia wound up being an American making her Viennese debut! So that was exciting. She was very good and sounded much younger than Damrau, so it actually made the portrayal of Lucia’s madness much more disturbing (I think). The tenor singing Edgardo was fantastic. For me, he was definitely the best one in the opera. Afterwards, a few of us went over to the famous Sacher hotel for a late dinner. The food was very good, but the waiter seemed annoyed with us. We also ate outside even though it was raining, because it was so nice to feel the temperature break a little bit from 90 degrees. We had the hotel’s famous Sachertorte, and it was yummy, but nothing extraordinary. The Imperialtorte, which we had the previous week, was much better. We took a taxi home for once because it was really pouring out.
On Thursday morning, I had my last coaching with Sholto. We worked on Botschaft, because we were going to be performing it on Friday, but I also worked more on Von Ewiger Liebe and Rastlose Liebe. I felt much better about this coaching than the previous one. He really seemed to like what I was doing with Rastlose Liebe, and gave me some good suggestions. After my coaching, I took off by myself to find the Natural History Museum. I knew it was by Stephansplatz, but for some reason I couldn’t remember how to get there from the city center. I wandered around for a long time, getting frustrated (it was another very hot day), until finally I saw horse carriages and followed the road that they were coming from (I knew the museum was by the riding school). I found where I needed to be, and I was very proud of my cleverness. The museum itself was beautiful, although the one in New York is a lot better. There were some things in the Vienna museum that I’m glad I saw, including a tiny prehistoric sculpture of a woman that was discovered in a town we passed by during our lunch on the Danube on Saturday. It was cool to have heard a story and then see the actual artifact. After the museum I trekked back over to German class for our last grammar class with Verena. She was really our favorite, as she was very sweet and animated with us. As soon as class was over, I went shoe shopping with my roommates. I almost bought a pair of rhinestone flipflops. I really wanted them, but I just don’t have any money, so they had to stay there :(. Then I went back over to the Museum Quartier to see the Art History Museum. It sits directly across from the Natural History Museum- they are partner buildings. The first thing I did in this museum was to go to the top floor and look at the walls that had been painted by Gustav Klimt. He is Vienna’s most treasured artist, and I hadn’t seen any of his work yet. After that I just kind of walked around and quickly looked at everything, stopping if I saw anything interesting. Since it is an art history museum, there weren’t that many painters that I recognized, with the exception of Albrecht Durer’s Adam and Eve paintings (which I of course recognized from the opening of Desperate Housewives :P). Before leaving, I bought a poster to bring back with me (my only souvenir), and then I returned home and collapsed.
Yesterday, Friday, was my last day in the program. We had our last conversational German class in the morning, because we had dress rehearsal in the afternoon. After class everyone went to our favorite Biergarten for lunch, and then headed over to the Schubert Geburthaus (the house in which he was born) for rehearsal. We ran through our pieces once with our pianists, and then headed home to get ready. The concert itself went really, really well. I felt that everyone sang the best they had in the entire time of our program. I sang Botschaft and got really into my performance, and everything felt great with my voice. Mr. Eley told me I did a personal best. And we actually had a crowd! We were afraid no one would be there, but a lot of our friends from ActiLingua, and I think a few people that were passing by the Geburthaus came in to hear us. It was a great experience. Afterwards we went to an area cafe (and passed by the house in which Schubert wrote Erlkonig on the way) for a final party. The waiter was the nicest we had had in Vienna. He was very bright and cheery. Finally, most of us made our way back to the Residenz with the intention of drinking all the alcohol that was left in our fridge, but by the time we got there we were so tired that we pretty much just sat around talking for a bit before going to bed. I had to say goodbye to most people then, as they were all leaving super early in the morning.
And, today, I woke up and packed. It was a little strange because the hotel moved some boys into the other bedroom of our apartment before Alexandria and I were out, but I’m pretty chill so it didn’t matter. I checked out, waited for a taxi that my friend and I had ordered that didn’t wind up coming, ordered another taxi, made my way through the airport check-in and security, and now here I am. I have one stop in Zurich before getting to Newark, and I should be home around 9 pm (which will feel like 3 am)! See you in the States!