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February 26, 2011 at 9:12 AM

 After several inquiries why I stopped blogging, I decided to give it a try again. In order to get the feel for it, I installed myself at a place I often blogged before, while living in the States. I am in Starbucks, which is thankfully also appearing more and more in Europe. To be precisely, I am at the Starbucks in Basel, Switzerland, which is now my hometown. I moved here last september, starting the job as concertmaster of the Sinfonieorchester Basel

The orchestra divides its time between opera, ballet and the big and lesser known symphonic works. Next week, one of our big opera projects is to start: Parsifal. It will be my first Wagner, and brings accordingly a mixture of respect, excitement and a healthy dose of fear. I had the incredible opportunity to see Parsifal in Bayreuth, a couple years ago. The staging was very powerful, but it was the orchestra sound that impressed me most. I sat in the last row of the theater, but I could hear every single note, though the singers were never overpowered by the orchestra. A nice detail at the end of the opera, was that there was a big mirror, which reflected the orchestra to the audience and we could see these incredible players. But next week, it is our turn, together with Theater Basel. The Theater Basel is, for the 2nd time in a row, theater of the year. They have very adventurous programming. This season we started with Aida, which was an example of this adventurous way of looking to this beautiful opera. The staging was done by Calixto Bieito, who transforms old themes into present actualities. The opera played in a soccer stadium and was this the the story of an immigrant woman in a city struggling with extremist thoughts and the way people are influenced by group dynamics. Seeing the opera myself in the dress rehearsal, brought tears in my eyes. The music and the staging were enriching each other in such a powerful way.

But that was not the only production we did of Aida. We also did a production "Aida am Rhein", yes, indeed, Aida at the river Rhine. A coproduction with Swiss television, the singers were partly on the Rhine or at a beautiful hotel in the middle of Basel, also located at the Rhine. That's also where the orchestra was seated, in the ball-room. Our conductor, as well as the singers, had little earphones, so they could here each other, while the production was televised live! For an impression, you can look  here

For the ones who are wondering what I have been up to, the last couple of years, I will tell at some point. But it was an interesting and rewarding musical time. And in my private life, well, I am not only a musician anymore; I am also a wife and a mom of a beautiful little boy, which also was one of the reasons I had not much time to be blogging...  

From E. Smith
Posted on February 27, 2011 at 5:54 AM

 Congratulations and welcome back! I always enjoyed your blogs and (for some reason) you flashed into my mind earlier today and I wondered what you were up to. Your entry is a welcome surprise. Looking forward to further updates.

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on February 27, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Good luck, that seems very exciting!

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