Greetings from the other side of the planet – I’m enviously imagining the arrival of summer in Australia while I wait for the predicted snowfall here in Leipzig. This afternoon we have our first Hauptprobe (major rehearsal) for the production of Bizet’s Carmen I’m making for Leipzig Opera. This means that we see all the scenery and costumes together on stage for the first time – always a nerve-wracking experience, especially when there are about 120 people on stage including chorus, children actors and principal singers.
This is my third production in this extraordinary city of artists from Bach to Goethe to Wagner and Mozart, so I feel I’m getting the hang of it day-to-day, but it’s impossible to become blasé about the sheer excellence in the everyday art experiences this city offers, all within walking distance from my apartment, or that Berlin is only an hour away by train. The city’s magnificent Gewandhaus Orchestra will be playing for Carmen, so they’ll be in the theatre most days. Tomorrow evening I’ll pop into the Thomaskirche (where the great St Matthew Passion was first performed) to hear some Bach. And last week I had the pleasure of discovering the sensational collection of paintings at the city’s brilliant Fine Arts Museum. Pretty overwhelming for the first time, so I’ll be back as often as I can before I leave. It was also fun to discover this paper mache Tyrannosaurus Rex by Estonian artist Edith Karlson and Yoko Ono’s Peace is Power.
Wish. Think. Hope. Listen.
Wise words, and perfect advice for a festival director as the Ten days on the Island team in the office in Burnie wrangle the million and one details of bringing you our 10th festival.
Watch this space for highlights in just a few weeks!