Sorry for the lack of writing, everyone. I believe my excuses are justifiable. Last week the worst case of allergies/hayfever/cold I've yet had. Not entirely sure what it was. Although I did still accomplish things, I really couldn't concentrate to write anything. Now, after singing Handel's Israel in Egypt through from start to finish 5 times (plus some rehearsing) in 3 days, my voice has painfully ripped itself to shreds and opening the door to exhaustion.
In my last post, I mentioned two American girls, Morgan and Sarah. I spent Monday showing them around after an orchestra rehearsal. We started by taking the tube to the Tower so they could take pictures of the bridge and the tower itself. Morgan wanted to see Somerset House, so we got off and Temple tube. From SH, we walked to Trafalgar Square and did a super-quick walk through the National Gallery. I showed them my 2 favorite rooms as well as the Impressionist rooms. From there we walked to Buckingham Palace. Morgan was brave enough to carry out a suggestion I was given a while ago from Gerry (Rader). He had run into a former B'ham Palace guard, who told him a sentence that would supposedly allow entry into the palace. Morgan tried on the friendly cop standing at an important-looking entrance. He was confused, so he asked the 3 other friendly cops who were standing nearby. One had heard of it, but had never been asked. They all determined it must either be for a different palace or applied decades ago and had since been abandoned. Sigh. Still, we took a picture with the cops so as to record our attempts.
I spent Tuesday morning in Spa Fields behind my flat reading Pygmalion (for you uncultured lot, My Fair Lady was based upon this play). I commandeered a bench at 7 AM and read for the next couple of hours until I finished. For some reason, I left inspired to do some art, so I went home and drew Karl's requested headshot, of which I'm quite proud. Spent the evening with Adam, who was just entering the heat of his heavy week of work.
Despite hayfever (or whatever it was) that had just kicked into full swing over the course of the next afternoon, I still went to see The Marriage of Figaro at the Royal Opera House (Wednesday). My good intentions only survived the first half- my ticket was a standing seat at the back of the top balcony, i.e. not worth the exertion as the opera started at 7 and wasn't set to finish until past 10. So, at the 30-minute-long interval, I decided to nip into the chemist (pharmacy) behind the ROH for some sort of medication then walk home. Halfway home, I got a text message from Martin, one of the bassoonists in the ROH orchestra, asking how I was enjoying the show and inviting me to the pub afterwards. Feeling guilty, I hightailed it back to the hall...just in time for the show to have started 2 minutes before my arrival.
You may think I dejectedly (yet thankfully) returned home at this point, but you would be wrong! One of the workers in the lobby said, "You can't get to your seat, but we have an empty box, if that's ok." If that's OK?! Um, I can't complain about a private box upgrade from an £8 standing seat. [other worker], go ahead and take her up."
For the first 5 minutes or so, seated one box up and back from the stage, I attempted to figure out who was who onstage since faces were all blurs from the nosebleed section. My body then decided that it would rather sleep. 20 minutes later, I awoke in the middle of a plot twist. Opera finished (btw it was good), found my way to the pub, and enjoyed chatting with various musicians from the ROH, English National Opera, and a regular player (i.e. over 4000 of over 6000 performances) in Phantom of the Opera over the last 23 years.
Hmm... What did I do on Thursday? Ah, yes. I spent the entire day laying in bed attempting to recover. I watched 3 Top Gear specials and drank a lot of chocolate milk. Yes, I realize the latter wasn't the best for recovery, but it tasted maaahvelous.
Friday afternoon was installment 4 of payment for my drawing for Sean. This means we went for burritos at Chipotle on Charing Cross Rd. His was on the house as he'd been in every day for the last week and half. He's admitted that he has a problem.
Friday evening was reason to celebrate, as Adam had survived his busy work week. Champagne and a delicious/elegant dinner sufficed.
Saturday- wandered around some strange little town as Adam's car was serviced, then returned home for some more rest.
Sunday- LSO open rehearsal, horrific England/Germany World Cup game, and Haydn's The Seasons with Sir Colin. I was glad I decided to leave my flat relatively early, as the concert started at 7, not the usual 7:30. I picked up my ticket 2 minutes before showtime.
Monday- listened to flatemates' tales from Glastonbury Festival, then we all trekked up to Hampstead Heath to revel in yet another day of sunshine. From there, bus to choir rehearsal. I happened to look down as we were stopped. Ivor, our conductor, was sitting in his car with the top down right in front of us! I sprinted downstairs (from the top of the double-decker), and jumped into the back.
Tuesday- rehearsal at Cadogan Hall with orchestra and chorus. Approximately 200 people on stage, if not more. Right before the break, Ivor said, from the podium, "Ashley?" Of course I assumed he was just going to have me go sit in the hall to listen for balance or something. No. He had me come up to the podium and conduct the movement we'd just done. I am pleased to say I shook far less than last time, despite my knowing that the bass player in the orchestra in front of me is a member of the LSO!!!! Concert that night was amazing.
Wednesday- trumpet lesson with Gerry at the Barbican. 30 minutes of Halsey Stevens. Ran to Cadogan Hall from there. Rehearsal from 3. I was assigned to sit right next to the soloists, i.e. very near the audience, which apparently encouraged me to be a bit too enthusiastic.
I'm now, as I've mentioned previously, completely fatigued and shredded to bits. Spending the rest of the day resting before returning to the Barbican for the final concert of the season (the one at St. Paul's next week is actually part of the City of London Festival). One of my friends in the 2nd violins is retiring after this concert, so they're having drinks for him, and he invited me to join in the festivities! But until then- rest. Lots of rest. Alas, I only have about 2 hours...