Closing day. And what a long one. My normal call time for our 7:30pm show has been approximately 4:45. So for our 2:30 show, I made my way to the theatre for 11:45. But the 2:30 show didn’t end until 5:05, and thus continued the incredibly long two show day. However, both shows were really strong. At intermission of the second show our producer came up to me to tell me that he thought that performance was our best so far. Which is a lovely thing to hear when all you feel like doing is falling over from exhaustion.
When we got back to the hotel after our incredibly long day we ordered some bottles of wine, got pizza delivered, and hung out talking and visiting until two in the morning. It was a perfect way to end the show.
Since the only thing to happen all day today was the show, I bring you pictures related to the show.
Now that the show is open, I had a bit of time to explore again today. I went back to the main Christmas market and picked up yet another item that hasn’t left my mind in the week since I saw it. And then I made my way to the Swiss National History Museum. Unfortunately, It wasn’t very good. The number one reason it wasn’t very good was that its collection is really lacking. It had more photos of items than actual items. The second reason is that I couldn’t enjoy it as there weren’t English descriptions of what each item was. The third problem was that the museum is housed in a BEAUTIFUL building, but the design of the museum does not allow the use of the existing architecture. Fake walls block grand staircases, vaulted ceilings are hidden by fake ones. It was very disappointing.
Frau Munster through the window of the Art Museum
From there I made my way over to the free art museum near the opera house. Again there were no English descriptions, but it was art and didn’t really need them. Some of the pieces were really odd, but it was fun to look at them.
I did a little bit more shopping and then made my way back to the hotel for a nap before the show. It was a really great nap.
Lexi singing her heart out tonight.Switzerland
The show tonight was really great. The audience still loves it and it sounds amazing. I was standing backstage talking to Valentina, a Mezzo from Italy, about how lucky we are during tonight’s performance. Not only do I get to do what I love, but I also get to listen to amazing music every night and travel the world and get paid to do all of it. So so so lucky – even when I miss my own bed. Which I do.
Tomorrow we have our last two shows and then Sunday is an adventuring day and Monday I head to Sweden. It’s all wrapping up here and I am going to miss these people so much.
Today was another long day in the stadium. Twelve hours with lots of climbing up and down stairs. Maybe I’ll lose some weight with all the walking. Or at least keep from gaining the weight I should be gaining from all the chocolate, cheesecake, and wine I’ve been consuming.
We had our first audience tonight and they seemed to quite enjoy the show. And tomorrow is opening, so I’ve got my party dress ready to go!
Speaking of cheesecake, the wonderful men of the wardrobe department brought Lexi and I a piece (with two forks) this afternoon. It was from Bubbles and is supposed to be the best cheesecake in Zurich. It was definitely some of the best cheesecake I have ever had and we intend to go find the cafe that makes it to get more . Just thinking about that cheesecake is making me drool. It was the perfect finishing touch to our dressing room picnic. The picnic was cheese, more cheese, meat, more meat, bread, pickles, cookies, juice, and gummy peaches. Yum.
Now I have a confession, which may be shocking for those of you who know me well. I have fallen in love with a puppy. Gatsby is adorable. Tonight after dress rehearsal Lexi, Simone and I spent an hour playing with Gatsby. We became a puppy playground on the bed and were all greeted with many kisses and excited bounces. Gatsby is behaving as therapy for the end of the crazy days.
Today was a day full of adventuring. After breakfast, Lexi, Marco, Valentina and I made our way into downtown Zurich. We stopped at the Christmas market so that I could buy the Christmas ornament I fell in love with the first night I was in the city but hadn’t bought yet. It is a beautiful hand blown glass ball with a glass angel inside it. It is my new favourite. When I first saw it, I photographed the sign on the hut so I could research the artists before I bought it. His studio is further north east outside the main city, but I am so glad he is at the Christmas market because it is so pretty!
Then we made our way through the Neiderdorf district, visiting various shops along the way including a five floor music store that sold CDs, instruments, sheet music, accessories, etc. Lexi and I split the cost of a German-language Christmas CD that we will both burn to our computers. It will be a good souvenir!
Sitting in the window in the stairwell up the GrossMunster tower.
We found ourselves at GrossMunster and decided to go in and take a look. Inside we discovered a small doorway which led up 187 steps to a viewing platform overlooking the city. Just watch the video above to see it because it is incredible. Well worth the 4 Francs we paid to go up!
From there we crossed the bridge to FrauMunster where there are gorgeous stained glass windows created by artist Marc Chagall. Sadly we were not allowed to take photos inside the church, but this was the kind of stained glass where the longer you looked at it the more you saw because there were little things in corners or sort of hidden. I want to go back again to see if I see new things another time.
This led to more shopping, which led to tired feet, which let to Honold – a tea shop/chocolate shop/delicious shop. We had pasteries, chocolates, and really really good hot chocolate. The best thing about European hot chocolate is that instead of coming sweetened it comes with a sugar packet. I did not put any in and it was amazing. I can highly recommend unsweetened hot chocolate. Also it is easy to drink way more of it because it is not sickeningly sweet.
After the adventure, I had to head over to the Hallenstadion to get a tour of the space, see where the dressing rooms were, and do a little bit of prep for tomorrow’s piano dress rehearsal. It was great to get into the stadium and start to figure out where things are going to be. It’s going to be a very interesting day tomorrow.
Ragnar and Lexi at dinner.
When I returned to the hotel there was a group in the lobby ready to go for dinner. We went to a Swiss restaurant just up the street from the hotel where the prices were reasonable and the portions quite large. It ended up being 10 of us – a mixture of departments: one singer, the pianist, me, the stage director, and most of the costume department. The food was great, and as we were settling up the bill the waiter came over and brought us free shots of vodka. It was a fun ending to a day full of laughter and adventures.
First view of the stadium, all set up for “floorball”
Today was a bit of a stressful day at rehearsal. It was our first “work through” of the show, but part way through there was a medical emergency that required an ambulance. Everyone is okay at this point, but it was scary and a little overwhelming.
Tonight we got our first glimpse inside the stadium. It was smaller than I thought. But when i was thinking about that reaction later tonight I realize that it must be because a speed-skating oval (the only stadium I have experience with) is so big. We went over to the stadium to meet the lighting programer, and ended up watching the Swiss lose the world floorball semi finals 4-3 in overtime to Finland. It was quite dramatic.
After visiting the stadium I headed downtown to meet up with my friends Kaari & Erin who I visited in London and went to Amsterdam with. They are in town just for the weekend, so we decided to meet up and go for fondue. The first place we went to had an hour wait, so we went to a place that their hotel recommended, and when we finally found the random door with a very small sign, we found one table left in the restaurant. It was a table for two, but they were happy to pull up a third chair for us.
Fondue dinner with Kaari & Erin.
We ordered the fixed menu: salads, cheese fondue, and our choice of desserts. It was fantastic. Real swiss fondue: CHECK.
The only problem was that I forgot my camera at the rehearsal venue, so I could only take photos on my iPhone. It’s less than ideal, but it does the trick most of the time.
On the plus side, I think I picked out moms Christmas present tonight but I still have to go back and buy it.
A Screencap of the Viva Verdi website after being run through Google Translate featuring some of the artists involved.
I’ve hinted a couple of times over the past four to six months that I am going to Switzerland for work this year. I am proud to announce that I am going to Zurich as the ASM for Viva Verdi. What is Viva Verdi? Well, it is an Opera Spectacular celebrating the bicentennial of the birth of composer Giuseppe Verdi‘s birth.
One of the fun things about the website is that the whole thing is in German, so I can only read the website via Google Translate. According to the website, here is the show info:
A classic show of superlatives in Zurich celebrates its world premiere. At the start of the Verdi year 2013 of 13 to 15 December 2012 VIVA VERDIlisted in the Hallenstadion. With its breathtaking effects, and a top international cast Verdi’s immortal opera melodies are set for a contemporary audience a spectacular manner.
On the 200th Verdi’s birthday are now the person of the composer and his most popular melodies in the center of the show. Verdi’s music appeals to an almost uncanny way of direct and timeless human passions, of exuberant joy, hope, happiness and love, despair, fear and hatred. ForVIVA VERDI the best known and most passionate pieces were selected from Verdi’s operas.
Giant movable mirrors, multiple projection screens and a sophisticated lighting design to create the spaces and moods of love in which Verdi’s characters and suffer. Video projections to tell the story of Verdi’s own turbulent times and run along the triumphal march of his music through 200 years of world history to the present day.
What does the show look like? It’s a 2.5 hour long stadium show featuring selections from Nabucco, La Traviata (which was the first Opera I ever attended in Calgary), Rigoletto, Don Carlo, Il Trovatore, La Forza del Destino, Aida, and Falstaff. There are 10 featured singers, 20 actors, a choir of 100 and a full symphony. It’s playing in the 13,000 seat Hallenstadion. The team for the show is from all over: Canada, USA, Mexico, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Switzerland, and more.
I’m delighted, a little nervous, and mostly excited to spend a month in Zurich helping to bring this spectacle to life. The show runs for four performances with tickets ranging from $55 – $225 CHF (Swiss Francs).