Monday, February 24, 2014

And back from Halle

Came home from a lovely evening at the opera last week, having really enjoyed the performance of Lohengrin (although I have to admit that I didn't think the staging or costumes worked at all well - I loved the overture though and it was amusing to here the Wedding March in it's original place). Kudos have to go to Simon Neal, the bartione who took to the stage despite being in the throes of a flu. Unfortunately, an hour or so after I got home though, I started shivering. Since it wasn't all that cold, I somewhat nervously took my temperature. 36.7 - hmmm, not so great considering my normal temperature is 36.1. It continued to rise and was over 37.5 by the next morning so I dragged myself off to the doctor. He checked my lungs but there was nothing but some slight whistling in my upper left bronchi so he told me to go home, get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and take paracetemol before bed. Just want I wanted to hear on the second week of my holidays. One of these days I'll get to actually enjoy a full two week break!

The fever just did not want to give up and I had sooo much I wanted to get done. I did my best to do as little as possible and confined myself just to those things which were actual appointments with other people. So that was a counselling session on Monday evening (apparently physical issues and recurring illness can often happen due to grief and/or depression - perfect!), nothing on Tuesday but then a few different things on Wendesday which meant I was out and about for quite a long time, although I did incorporate long breaks between appointments rather than running around putting up posters for our next concert as I had originally planned to do. I gave choir a miss in the evening and after the AGM of the choir supporters' group was over, headed home to pack and have an early night.

Yes, even though I was ill and really not sure I'd be able to do anything much, I decided to travel to Halle for the annual Happy Birthday Handel performance of Messiah. Well, I had already paid for the hotel and the train ticket and would have only gotten a portion back if I'd cancelled so late. And since the hotel room comes with a cleaning lady, I decided that even if I did nothing more than lie in bed for the four days, it'd be better than lying in bed at home for that time.

I'm very glad I did go as despite feeling kind of miserable, especially on the first day, I still had a fantastic time. It's so nice to catch up with people I haven't seen for a year - and, of course, with some of them it seems just like yesterday was the last time you were together and you can pick up the threads of conversations just like that. I missed the first rehearsal but dragged myself to the second one, which was on Friday. That was a bit of a struggle to get to and to get through but then again, singing always makes everything feel better, too. I didn't take long after it was over to get back to bed, though! A few hours saw my rested and well enough to venture out for dinner with a few people and a quick stop at the concert some of the choirs participating in the main event were putting on. Saw a really fantastic group of young men perform - just five guys (called Mehr als Vier or More than Four) from a youth choir that got together outside of normal choir rehearsals to do their own thing. So, so talented. And after that it was off to the pub for one of the usual get togethers. We didn't stay to the bitter end though, a couple of hours was all and then it was back to bed for me to try and be rested for the big day on Saturday.

I did wake up feeling much better that day and not only made it to breakfast but to rehearsal, too. With a bit more voice than the previous day even. And then in the evening the performance was held for a packed out Handel Halle, that's over 1,200 people, which isn't bad. My voice just about held out, although the last bars of the Hallelujah chorus were definitely a bit of a strain. And I had a horrible coughing fit come on just as one of the quietest and delicate orchestral and solo parts, the Pastoral Symphony, was starting and was in tears trying to suppress it. It probably only lasted twenty or thirty seconds before I managed to get a lozenge into my mouth but it was hellish. Apart from that, things went well enough and by the time we got out of the concert hall and were able to head for something to eat, it was nearly 11 and it was off to a local Italian restaurant for a well-deserved pizza, the first thing I had eaten with a true appetite all week, before hitting the pub and staying up till three having a ball. It was awfully hard to get up and leave the next day - it was the kind of weekend you just don't want to end. But after another day of plenty of rest, tomorrow it'll be back to work. I'm going to head to bed and focus a bit more on the lovely new memories I have than the thought of work now, I think! I'll leave ye with a video of one of my favourite parts of Messiah. Enjoy.

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