The evening cafeteria meal was unique in being quite utterly tasteless. I had to ask Gala to try the dried out cheese, pasta and beans with joyless broccoli to make sure it wasn’t my mouth that had given up in despair. Even the excess sugar in the dessert failed to save me from yawning. I didn’t expect to make it through the special invitation to orchestra, blumenmädchens, Klingsor, Kundry and Parsifal, and conductor Hartmut Hänchen. Oh, but I did.
Gala and Dasniya worked early afternoon, and me feeling lazy decided my usual abdominal bootcamp was not how I wanted to warm up. Instead I hung myself up from one leg while the dancers waved their arms around. We ran the section with music and I opted for hanging on my unsullied side, which proved just as capable as my usual – all the lateral strengthening stuff has made me unusually solid.
More importantly, here are some photos of the dancers! Anna-Lise, Lodie, Ana, along with Tamara, Cindy, the contortionists Anna, Dalai-Uujin and Buyanjargal Gonzalez, and of course Anna (yes, another one). And the other dancers Dasniya and Jorgos (Gala successfully avoided the camera, using several well-placed bags to distract me.)
And the orchestra. We were sitting up the back, so mostly I took photos of Tomas, Andrew and Anna’s bums, the backs of musician’s heads, and in the very distance, Hartmut (I really do wish for a better zoom than the LX3 has … perhaps to buy a new camera?).
We’ve been using one recording in the studio, along with piano accompaniment, the singers being fairly close compared to other versions I’ve heard in the last weeks, but to hear it with orchestra, even from the wrong side, and to get a sense of how it will feel in two weeks was something quite different.
Hartmut asks at times for a snappy delivery (to my ear, and really, I know sod-all about how to analyse classical music), often getting the phrasing to arrive a caught breath before the obvious rhythm. He also pushed the blumenmädchens in their enunciation, particularly in “Komm! Komm! Holder Knabe! Lass mich dir blühen!”, where the komms can easily slide into sighs floating up and he wanted a ‘k’ that almost spat.
Not having to worry about hanging or ropes or getting off stage and untied, I could enjoy listening to all of this for once. And the blumenmädchens are sex. Split onto either side and split again, the lines pull back and forth and between, starting with one, being picked up by the one next to, caught and carried across to the other side, perhaps in a pair, or passed one to the next, bewitching, ensnared by the group and lifted up, a thread drawn out by one again and with an in-breath urged on, this becomes intoxicating, drugged. It is a foreplay, teasing, seduction, tension, bringing the senses higher but never finishing, an orgy where the pleasure comes from not being fulfilled. Each time with the chorus by the finish I am breathless, and then on into the torment of Kundry and Parsifal.
I asked Anna if she’d been a goth in her teens, to which she said no, but then in the final bars of Act II where the Timpani deluges in a truly black metal drone moment, she turns to me and goes all upturned-claw-hand-of-doom (really, like this, but with palms upwards a-turned). I just thought, “Wow! Anna! Metal!” and then thought, “Oh imagine her with Attila Csihar.”