From the Royal Opera Chorus in Japan - Day 17
It has been a very hectic few days for the company with the preparations for the Messiah concert. Sight-seeing, shopping etc all had to be put on the back-burner for a short while but the concert is over so we are back in there with a vengeance. The main focus now is present hunting and the Oriental Bazaar has done a roaring trade with the Royal Opera House over the last few days and at one point you couldn’t move in the shop for choristers, orchestra trying on Kimonos and debating whether Japanese sizes would even meet in the middle of our larger frames! We are now in the NHK Hall in Shibuya which is big shopping country with its gaudy stores and heaving mass of humanity. I have never seen such a large volume of people waiting to cross a road as I saw on Saturday evening and what with neon lights of all size and colour blaring out, music everywhere and the noise of chattering (or I should say, shouting!) it was an unforgettable sight. London is so tame in comparison.
The rehearsal period was intense for this massive piece with the NHK Hall providing a fabulous accoustic and as usual dynamics were paramount. We had a first-class quartet of soloists and it was a treat to hear the orchestra on such fine form. Friday entailed a Messiah rehearsal in the morning with three hours off in the afternoon and then a change of venue back to the Bunka Kaikan for a performance of Manon. A long day indeed! The concert was a huge success and chorus and orchestra surpassed themselves and I think we were all rather pleased with how well an Opera company could perform this classic piece. Tony Pappano continues to bring boundless energy and drive every day to the company. Could someone please tell me his secret?
Sunday was the third performance of La traviata preceded by some shopping for some and probably a lie-in for many others after the late visit to the local Karaoke bar. Apparently our Chorus Master has a hidden Karaoke talent! Time is running out now on the trip and everyone still has so many things they want to do and visit but hopefully we will be back in the future!
We are all so going to miss Anna Netrebko’s glorious singing and her performance as Manon has been truly inspirational. She is such fun. She was spotted in the hotel foyer leaving to visit DisneyWorld with her son and she had ventured into the spirit by styling her hair to look like Minnie Mouse!
- Yvonne Barclay
Photo: Neil Gillespie