It has been a busy few days. On Tuesday morning we started rehearsals for our second concert of the season and then performed it at the Stefaniensaal only two days later on Thursday night. The orchestra was featured on two sections of Holst's suite The Planets (Mars--on which I played principal--which is almost as cool for an astronomy geek as it is for a trumpeter--and Venus) as well as Ravel's lovely and psychotic La Valse, but this time, the bulk of the concert was principally focused around arias sung by the AIMS student vocalists. There were 12 arias in total pulled from works such as Verdi's Aida, Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, and Puccini's La Boheme. The singers all did spectacularly well and though my parts on the arias were fairly minimal I was totally enthralled by each talented young diva and wasn't bored for a second. I did have one solo-ish part on Dvorak's "Song to the Moon" (listen to it on Youtube here) from the opera Rusalka: at the beginning of each chorus a muted solo trumpet accompanies the voice on the melody and, though it is intended to be only barely audible, it was always a joy to match the singer on such a lovely line.
One highlight for me (and a surprising coincidence) was hearing Michelle Alexander sing Massanet's "Il est doux, il est bon" from the opera Herodiade.
The other day I was having lunch at Margitt's (the cute little Austrian cafe across the street from the Heim) and overheard part of a conversation taking place behind me...
"Yeah, I never know how to tell directions here. Back in Salt Lake it's easy 'cause there are mountains in the east and another set of mountains in the west, but here there's really nothing..."
I turned around and interrupted, "Did I just hear you say you were from Salt Lake City? That's where I'm from!" After that we chit chatted for a while..."Oh, do you know so-and-so," etc., but found no immediate connection.
I asked her, "So, are you going to school?"
"Yes," she replied, "I'm at the U."
"Hmm..." I offered, "I wonder if you'd know my sister, because she's done some work with the operas there. Do you know Shaun Ricks?"
She was quiet for a second. "Are you serious? Shaun Ricks is your sister? Oh my gosh! I taught her voice lessons...and she, like, directed the opera out there!"
She then said she could see from my smile that I was related.
Michelle's performance on Thursday's concert was spectacular. She has an enormous and expressive voice, and immediately following her last words the house erupted in thunderous applause and numerous BRAVO!s. I leaned over to the second trumpeter and whispered, "She's my sister's voice teacher."
The orchestra has been given this weekend free and everyone's been taking off to exotic locations all around Europe from Vienna, to Budpest, to the Dolomites in northern Italy. I'll be going to Salzburg bright and early (my train leaves at 5:45...and the Strassenbahn I have to take to the station leaves at 5:00) tomorrow morning and will meet up with a couple friends who are currently living in Germany for a day of sight seeing. Should be fun...and leave me with about 1000 pictures to share!