So much is happening in such short amounts of time, it’s incredible! Alyssa and I will be performing three different times during this upcoming week. Monday we are performing “Tornami a vagheggiar” from Alcina by Handel in a Masterclass with Helen Donath. Tuesday we are performing “Die Bekehrte” by Wolf for the program’s midterm concert, then performing “Tornami” again on Thursday in the Schloss Mirabell Honorable Mention Awardees Concert. I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunities we’ve been given to perform and grow together as a duo.
We are both improving in strides individually also. We are lucky to have this time to absorb so much great teaching and knowledge. I am loving my lessons with Dr. Margaret Astrup. It is my first time studying with a coloratura, and I am so grateful for her insight!
This week has gone by tremendously fast. German vocab quiz and a larger quiz on chapters 1 and 2 went well for the both of us, and we are starting to gain confidence in using our German while out and about in Salzburg.
Wednesday we went on a outing to Hellbrunn Palace, which is located about 20 minutes bus ride from the center of Salzburg. The palace was built for Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus in 1613-19. No bedrooms in this palace, since it was intended for day use only. It is beautiful and the rooms upstairs are unique and full of history. I’ve posted some pictures from the inside. It was customary in that time to have a “Chinese” room, since art and culture from the east was considered to be exotic. There was a “Fish” room, where paintings of fishes caught for Markus Sittikus were hanging on the wall. Next to that room, was the “Bird” room, with pictures of exotic birds. The art and furniture throughout the palace were incredible.
From the windows you can look down at the courtyard which now features a cafe and gift shop, but off to the right on a small mountain, you can see a miniature version of the palace. They call it the “Month Palace” because Markus Sittikus had it built in one month after it was suggested to “fill the spot” to look good, and to serve as a guest house, essentially. Now it serves as a Folk Art Museum. The hike up the mountain is incredibly steep, and I was drenched in sweat with my calfs on fire, but it was worth every step! You’ll see incredible pictures of hats, scarves, paintings, drawings, furniture, and my favorite pieces, the masks. It was so beautiful.
We then took the back of the mountain as we went down to visit the stone theater. It was neat to see that it was carved from the mountain, and that it was used for performing.
Ah! I forgot! After we did the tour of the palace, we had a tour of it’s “watergames” which were a series of fixtures, grottos, and fountains that were all powered by water, and were installed as jokes for entertaining Markus Sittikus’ guests. The tour guide would surprise us on the tour with water squirting from hidden holes to surprise us! Everyone was laughing. It was so fun, especially since the tour guide gave away by his smile how much he loves his job.
When we made it down the back of the mountain where the Month Palace was, we passed two large fields, one filled with wild queen anne’s lace, and the other with sculpted patches of flowers, and people with their dogs. It was beautiful to see, and made me miss my pup Greyson that much more! At the end of the path, we reached the gazebo from the Sound of Music where “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” was filmed. ‘Twas very cool. :)
That night I went to see my first concert of the Salzburger Festspiele. It was Mozart’s Mass in C minor, and I was lucky enough to see it performed in St. Peter’s, the church for which Mozart wrote it to be performed with. I got dressed up, had dinner by myself at an outdoor cafe in the center of town, with a pizza and a glass of wine. It was so wonderful to watch the passers by, and take a moment for myself. The concert was fantastic. Unfortunately my seat’s view was of a pilar. I was able to scoot over about two seats and see the head of the conductor and bits of the soloists. The mezzo’s Laudamus Te was incredible. Her voice was rich and moved with ease, and the soprano’s voice was so perfectly matched for the repertoire. I noticed as she got up to bow, that she was probably seven months pregnant! How incredible! I hope that baby grows up to be a musician of some sort, too! The music was divine, and the choir’s ability to give stark contrasts between their loud and soft gave me chills. I was blown away. What a way to start the Festspiele season!
Alyssa and I just had an epically hilarious ping pong match in the basement of the dormatory, and we will be going out tonight for the first time with some others from our group to go to the Stiegl Biergarten to enjoy the start of our first free weekend. Guten Abend!