I know, you think we do nothing but eat and drink when we are here. Well, to tell the truth, you’re probably right! But in our defence, we’d walked a fair bit and built up quite an appetite, and the Wienerschnitzel really did taste as good as it looks.
Our hosts were the delightful Tosta family. Volker’s company Edition Nordstern had published the music we had come to hear and we had another lovely meal, sitting around a table sharing interesting conversation in a lively mix of German and English at the same time. We walked through the city to find an outdoor table for coffee and icecream – the weather was beautiful and we basked in the sunshine for another hour or so before we each returned to our hotels to change and get ready for the concert.
From our hotel it was a good three quarters of an hour’s walk, over the river and past the Friedensengel, high on top of the column.
The Autumn colours along the bank of the River Isar looked lovely in the early evening, though there was no time to stand and stare! The pre-concert talk was due to begin at 6pm and we didn’t quite know how much further we had to go. Cobbled pavements and heels don’t make for a good combination.
Of course, we reached the Prinzregententheater in plenty of time and found our way to the Gartenzimmer, where the talk was to be held. Unlike the CBSO pre-concert talks, this one was absolutely packed with people, all eager to learn something about the opera we were to hear – a rarity in modern times.
I knew nothing of the music and am ashamed to say that I didn’t get a great deal from the talk, either, finding it hard to follow an academic presentation auf Deutsch.
However, as soon as we stepped inside the stunning theatre and settled into our seats, I was happy – just being here was enough.
Our seats were fantastic. The steep rake of the auditorium and lack of an orchestra pit meant that sitting in Row 6 was to be on a level with the performers, who were just about close enough to make eye contact. Though it was a concert performance, the five soloists really got into role and it was easy to follow the story as it unfolded. The choir were superb – orchestra too – and the whole ensemble came together magnificently.
The performance was broadcast live on Bayerische Rundfunk and is to be issued on CD shortly, too. But, as was agreed around a table afterwards, with Volker, Sabine, Johannes and their friends, there is nothing like live music to stir the soul and lift the spirits!