Saturday, June 30, 2012

Gloria in Excelsis Deo! Chorale Tour, Days 3-4

Grüß Gott! Sorry for not posting yesterday, but what can I say. We're having too much fun in Europe to be blogging every day.

On Thursday, I spent the day being a tourist with our big group, but I chose not to do the big group tours yesterday or this morning. Rather, I spent Friday and Saturday on my own and with my friend Luke. Thanks to all my walking, I now have downtown Salzburg fairly memorized, and I know how the bus system works (all in time for me to leave town tomorrow!). I've even eaten lunch in restaurants where I hardly used any English (in fact, at lunch today, ich sprach kein Anglish; ich sprach nur Deutsch!). It was a lot more fun to experience Salzburg on my own schedule, and besides, my mind and body needed some time to be a little quieter, and a little less rushed. AND I was not waking up at 5:30 AM on concert day for a boat ride. Sorry. Was not happening.

Yes, concert. Today was the big concert day in the Salzburg Dom, and we sang everything to a packed house. It was glorious to see a multi-national audience take in Mozart's Missa Solemnis (I feel the need to tell you that Mozart served as the choir master in the Dom for a season working under Archbishop of Colleredo, so the mass we sung was written specifically for the space in which was sang tonight. Yeah.), Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, and a few Moses Hogan spirituals. I had the solo on "My God is So High," and I was rather pleased with my performance! Except that I practically blew a gasket on the high A, but life goes on. So does the show. It truly was a wonderful experience, and tomorrow, we get to sing the Mozart mass for Mass! That's right. We're singing the Missa Solemnis as a liturgical work, not a concert piece, so that should be wonderful.

Picture time.

Prof. Janos Czifra, director of music at the Dom, leads us in a rehearsal

Just a beautiful day for a walk on the Salzach River

The famous Mirabel Gardens with a world-famous view of the Dom and Fortress

A Croation Catholic Church

On left: God's Word is a light onto my path
On Right: Blessed are those who hear the word of God and understand

Luke, my Aussie friend, with me at the end of our concert at the Dom. Notice the tie sits down. Don't judge.
We leave for Vienna after mass tomorrow, and it's a bittersweet farewell. I loved, loved, loved Salzburg with its mountain charm and sunny skies, but I'm eager to see the music capital of the world. Thank you, Salzburg, for a great 4 days of Weinerschnitzel, Weißbeir, and beautiful music.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Walk Together Children: Choral Tour, Day 2

Today was our first full day in Salzburg. In the morning, we were tourists, and in the evening, we were musicians.

After a full Austrian breakfast - and by full, I mean oatmeal, fruits, cold cuts, cheeses, eggs, bacon, sausage, cereals, a wide variety of bread (so yes, FULL breakfast) - we made our way towards the old city (Altstadt) for a tour of the Mirabel Gardens, or the gardens of the royal family, which was the same garden where Julie Andrews and the von Trapps sang "Do Re Mi"in The Sound of Music. After galavanting about the gardens, we crossed the river Salzach to see the Mozart Gebortshaus; translation: the house in which Mozart was born. Meaning: I walked through the tiny apartment that the young W. A. Mozart grew up in, and I stood in the very room where Mozart was birthed. To say it was a transcendent experience would be an understatement. When we departed the Mozart Gebortshaus, we toured around Altstadt, including the catacombs that inspired the climactic final scene of The Sound of Music, and we made our way up to the Fortress atop the mountain to take in some fan-freaking-tastic views of the city.

And then we made our way into the Salzburg Dom, or the cathedral. When I walked in, my jaw dropped. High ceilings. Marbled floors. Paintings and sculptures in the style of the Italian Baroque. Five, count 'em, FIVE pipe organs in the cathedral. And, oh yeah, I will be singing in a concert in this space where Mozart was the Kappellmeister.

Oh fine, I hear you screaming, "PICTURES!" Let me give you a few.

Mirabel Gardens

This is a fence on the pedestrian bridge over the Salzach River. These locks are placed on the fence by star-crossed lovers who are making their commitments to one another. They lock the lock on the fence and throw the key in the river.
Crowded street in Altstadt 
Of all the things I find in Salzburg, I find an Andean harp being played by an Ecuadorian. 

The Dom. I'm singing here. O. M. G.

Look up!

The view from the Fortress, looking towards the German border. I think I found my retirement home.

So after a busy morning of walking, we ate lunch and had our first (THREE-HOUR) rehearsal of the trip in preparation for Saturday's concert. After rehearsal, I took my tired body to meet my friend Luke who is visiting us from Australia for some local cuisine, and then we went back for two more hours of rehearsal.

Skoog leading us in rehearsal.

True Austrian Weinerschnitzel with cranberry sauce and potatoes. And of course, a Weißbeir.
And here we are, about ready to pass out again. We have another rehearsal in the morning, and then I'm branching away from the group to join Luke, and we're going to have a build-our-own-Salzburg-adventure kind of afternoon. I don't even know what we're going to do besides walk, but I'm looking forward to it!

Until then, Tchüss!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Grüß Gott! Chorale Tour, Day 1

Grüß Gott! My friends, we made it over to Salzburg. Let me give you a few highlights from our first day of tour.

Our flight was flawless. Let me tell you that Lufthansa knows what they are doing with International Travel. The flight crew exhibited utmost professionalism, and the airplane felt like a spaceship gliding through the clouds with not one bit of turbulence.

We landed in Munich and made our way through customs. After grabbing our bags, our coach whisked us to the Marienplatz in München for an afternoon of shopping, sightseeing, and eating...und bier zu trinken! Man, I thought beer was great, and then I had an authentic Paulaner Hefeweizen in an outdoor market int he Marienplatz...never again will I be able to drink that beer over here. After a lunch of Weißwürst and Kartoffleknöppeln, we did a bit of church hopping. Oh here, let me just show you some pictures.

Best beer ever. Or at least in a long time. 
Lunch, which doesn't include the AMAZING pretzel I had.

A view inside the Heiligekirche, a church that was built in the 1300s. NBD.

A view of Michaelskirche.

Beautiful fountain

The Rathause in the Marienplatz
I also bought a Deutschland Fussball-Bund scarf to get me in the spirit of the huge football championships. 

Then we transferred to Salzburg for dinner. We're all on the verge of passing out, so I'll keep this short. Here's one more picture for the road. 

Or rather, from the road.
Just a view of the Alps on our way to Salzburg. No big deal. So tomorrow we get to explore the Mozarthaus, Mozarteum, and the Fortress, along with other palaces and such (I hear Eddie Izzard now: "You Americans think we're up to f______ here with castles. And we are!")

But for now, it's time for Operation Stabilize Circadian Rhythms.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Auf Wiedersehen: Rhodes MasterSingers Chorale on Tour, 2012

My friends, take a gander at these three pictures:

Beautiful Salzburg
Picturesque Vienna
Magnificent Prague
This is where I will spend the next 10 days with the Rhodes MasterSingers Chorale on tour. We will sing Mozart's Missa Solemnis, K. 337, Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, and three spirituals by Moses Hogan.

It's okay if you're jealous! I've been looking forward to this trip for the last 10 months, and tomorrow, I'm going to get on that Europe-bound plane and not come back...for ten days.

I want to invite you to join me on my journeys. I'll be providing tour updates as often as I can complete with pictures, so check back often. 

Until then, Auf Wiedersehen!