City of beauty and style

As I mentioned in my last post, Barcelona is a very picturesque city. I took these photos in the last few days while out and about. Even though I’ve had a busier week as far as rehearsing, I’ve still had some time to walk and just enjoy the sights. This is my third trip to Barcelona. I was first here in 2002 for “Tristan und Isolde”. That was for an extended period of time and at a very warm time of the year. I remember the heat just sizzling on the Ramblas (the major walking street that cuts through the center of town). I was next here in May of 2008 for “Die Walkure”. Again, it was warm and beautiful. Everything was blooming which added to the colorful nature of Barcelona. And finally, I’m here in winter. Yes, it’s cooler than during my previous visits but it’s certainly not anything I can complain about. Another major storm hit Eastern Pennsylvania last night bringing 15 more inches of snow to my wife and children. It seems these last few winters have been so harsh---but not here in Barcelona. We’ve had many days that have reached well into the 60s although today it was only in the 50s. Today was also the first day with rain since I arrived. As I said, I can’t complain.

The old and new blend so beautifully in Barcelona. It is a very “Mediterranean” city--so different than the other cities of Spain where I have performed--Madrid, Bilbao, and Seville. Each of these cities have great beauty. But Barcelona is unique with towering hills surrounding the city except for where the land gives way to the sea. You can see the beautiful beach in the top picture. Other pictures were just taken on the streets that I walk down each day. The bottom picture was interesting and I was kind of shocked when I stumbled upon these people. I didn’t see any cameras but I believe they were filming some kind of program judging by the clothing they were wearing. No, Barcelona is not that old fashioned. But oh, what style clothing had at one time.

Rehearsals are going well. Yesterday, we moved onto the stage for the first time. Our set is a massive revolving unit that is requiring everyone to be versatile and patient. We have to adjust so much of what we did in the rehearsal space (since that room didn’t spin) and will be spending a great deal of time fine tuning before we begin working with the orchestra in the next few weeks. I am one of those performers that really likes to rehearse (for the most part). I like creating characters and delving into just what “makes them tick”. Each production is so unique--and this one, so far, works very well for me. I do a lot of singing from a very high perch. I hope this does not compromise the acoustics for me--but it’s kind of fun to be having a new perspective on the orchestra and the audience as well. I hope I don’t get a nosebleed.

So, I’m happy to be warm and not having to shovel snow this winter. It often seems like our worst winters occur when I’m on the road. Even last winter, when I was home a great deal, the worst storms hit when I was away on short trips. That was just fine with me. If only I knew how to surf.