Sunday, 24 June 2007

Bernard's Adieu

Last night, the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie put on a concert in thanks to the outgoing director, Bernard Foccroulle. My uncle.
A friend of mine, Rudi (who wished to be named) and I were fortunate enough to get last minute tickets. And while I wasn't that up for going initially, I am really glad I went.

I'm not an opera fan, it has to be said (though I don't tend to voice this opinion during family dinners). While I do generally like parts of a performance, I will invariably come across that point (usually during a Soprano solo) when I'm too hot and uncomfortable or want to sleep. What is happening on stage is no longer enough to keep my concentration. Most times, I have managed to get back into it, but going to the opera is more something I do because I feel I should rather than because I want to.

There has been the occasional piece I have liked enough to see twice. And I find that (as with most music) once you start to recognise the music and get to know it, it becomes a whole lot more enjoyable.
I worked for a while behind the bar at la Monnaie during college, and even got the chance once to work at the canteen (no white hat and plastic shoes though!) during Carmen that was being played at the Cirque Royal.
The show ran for at least a month and I was there most days and for the rehearsals before that too. It was great fun (and hard work) and for a short period of time, I got to see the Monnaie behind the scenes. Suffice to say, if there is one Opera CD I have in my collection, It's this one.

Anyway, tonight's concert was amazing. A mix of every different kind of music and expressed in many different ways (solos, duets, dancing, speeches...). I knew some of the singers, lots of the music and there was some sort of emotional charge in the theatre that made it captivating from beginning to end.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening!

And a little extra twinkle, tonight I got to see my cousin sing on stage with José van Dam.
Now him, I could listen to for hours (and watch him too, this man's charisma just oozes!)
Beligans are very proud of him and rightly so.

So I guess tonight marks the end of an era in my life. It would take too long to explain but it's been a big part of my life, even if not because of the music.

Now I must give this saxophone playing idea some more thought.

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