Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ahhh, the life....

Yesterday was wonderful. A perfect spring day in Paris with sun everywhere and daffodils in the gardens. John came back from his trip to NY and Ohio. What a happy reunion. Together with Maylin, we had a lunch of crepe, pita and hummus, and eggdrop soup (aren't I a creative cook?), and then I went to my first rehearsal of the day. I live in the 17th arrondisement, so I had to take the metro to get to the 18th -- 30 min. metro ride away to Northern Paris. I got there way too early because I thought it'd be much longer (with Maylin last week, it took at hour!). I walked around the somewhat drab, rather Arab neighborhood and found a slightly out-of-place bright and shiny chain children's clothing store (come to Paris for the cutest kids' clothes -- and some stores are quite affordable, believe it or not) where I bought Maylin a darling outfit -- short jean skirt, long-sleeved white shirt, and taupe/brown sweater. Very Gap-like.

Upon arriving at the music studio, I had the opportunity to speak a lot of French! I chatted with the other soprano for maybe 10 minutes, as we were the only ones present, rehearsed together for a few moments, and then rehearsed some more when our countertenor arrived. I ended up running the rehearsal, and learned a lot of French words that are critical to directing the rehearsal of a musical piece (a Monteverdi madrigal, for those interested). Turns out that they're the same as in English -- how very convenient! My spelling might be wrong, but "measure" is "mesure," "system" is "systeme," and "note" is -- voila! -- "note," I had to say "encore" ("again") a lot because -- darn it -- one of our singers didn't practice.

After that, I took the metro with the countertenor to the 12th (SW Paris). Our countertenor is a fascinating, lively character who's worked in the airline industry, but presently works for RATP, the metro. We shared our opinions about how polite (or not polite) the French were, discussed the reasons for the recent metro workers strike (which pretty much shut down the city for a day), and agreed on the state of children in France (education is strict, conforming -- kids are pigeon-holed early into one career track, and there's no way out later -- the lives of children and adults are completely separate, unlike in the states). That's a whole blog entry -- life as a child in France. Children are almost completely invisible in the adult-dominated restaurant/cafe scene, day and night. The few times I do see children is in the parks after school and on Wednesday afternoons (their regular time off, which is nice) or on the weekends in the daytime. Maybe they put their kids to bed really early here. We take Maylin out late occasionally (she gets tired around 10:30 pm), and she's the only little cutie in the streets and on the metro.

I hear the garbage truck now. They pick up trash every morning here with their bright and shiny lime-green trucks and matching uniforms and matching city trash bins and matching broomsticks -- hey, everything's got to be color-coordinated. They've got style here in Paris.

Okay, got off track a little bit. Anyways, I got to the 12th arrondisement, went into an "Asian Traiteur" (an Asian deli) and got some VIetnamese eggrolls ("nem"). I chatted a bit with the shopkeeper since I had visited his store the previous week and he was very friendly. I wolfed the eggrolls down on a street bench and went off to sing. I ended up arriving early and was recruited to sing Zerlina's duet wth Don Giovanni, "La ci darem la mano," for someone's voice lesson, as a demonstration to the new singer. The "directrice" of our opera group was in a fun, carefree mood that evening and had us singing lots of Mozart duets that are not on schedule for our June "Magic Flute" concert. I'm glad I'm being exposed to so much Mozart -- my voice is finally at a stage where Mozart is feeling quite comfortable and sounding good in my voice. La directrice asks me to sing Susanna or Zerlina material sometimes just for fun.

Actually, healthwise, my voice is not too great. I had a serious cold which started in mid-December and lasted far into January. My singing voice has just recently made its comeback. It's almost like I have to relearn how to sing because it's been 3 months since I've been able to sing properly.

Goodness, it's 8:16 am and I have to get in the shower and get Maylin ready for school (daycare). Hope you all are well!

With love,
Caroline

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