From the Royal Chorus in Japan - The First Night of Manon
The first night of Manon has been a great success. There was a good atmosphere backstage, and the music and drama seemed to really fizz. Everyone received great ovations with Anna Netrebko and Matthew Polenzani being particularly (and deservedly) well received. Anna even took time to hand around chocolates seconds before stepping on stage to sing her heart out in the finale of Act III. Another surprise was the massive floral display which arrived centre stage during the curtain calls. The applause was still going on as we were getting out of costume! It was interesting to see that anyone with their picture in the programme was mobbed for autographs and photos when entering or exiting the Stage Door.
The chief promoter and head of NBS has arranged receptions for us after both opening nights at the headquarters of Tokyo Ballet. Coaches were arranged to transport us to this very elegant building in the Meguro district. It was a wonderful evening and we were entertained graciously to a four-course buffet in a magnificent baroque salon absolutely brimming with objects and artwork celebrating music and dance. From the menu, the swordfish, steak and sushi all deserve a mention but top honours must go to the sublime choice of desserts! The centrepiece was a cake topped by a gold Royal Opera House crest and cut by Tony Pappano. Our esteemed musical director seemed to be in excellent form, enjoying (like the rest of us) taking lots of photos of his ‘opera house family’. I know the Tony was worked tirelessly for this hour because of the great company bonding experience it would be! Judging by our experiences so far, he was absolutely right.
- John Bernays