Hallo! I’m about one week into my opera program out here in Weimar. It hasn’t been the easiest week of my life, since I’ve been homesick in addition to struggling with some difficulties and issues at the program itself. To be honest, I haven’t had much time, energy, or desire to post at all. But now that we’re starting to settle into a routine (and I’m not needed for rehearsal at the moment), I thought I’d post sort of an overview of what it’s like to be here.
The program is based on one particular property in Weimar. There are two houses on the property, the “front house” and the “back house.” The majority of us live in the front house, and that’s also where we have all our meals and German classes. In the back house we have coachings and occasionally music rehearsals, and we are only allowed to sing in that building. No singing in the front house!
I share a bedroom in the front house with four other girls. Yes, there are five of us in one room. It feels a bit like being at Hogwarts, so I actually kind of like it. Two of us are from the States, and the other three are from New Brunswick, Kenya, and Hong Kong, though all three of them studied or are studying in England. There’s a whole variety of countries and languages represented here, which is really amazing.
In the mornings we have breakfast (Frühstück) provided for us by two lovely Frauen, followed by German class. It’s very early and very hard to motivate ourselves to actually go to class, but it’s at least somewhat helpful to be able to focus on the language by itself for a little part of the day. After German, we jump in to both staging and musical rehearsals. These are usually held at the theatre where we’ll be performing our final shows, which is about a ten-minute walk from the house. It’s really lovely to be able to walk through town several times a day, and there are lots of shops and things that are conveniently located on the way.
Lunch (Mittagessen) is served back at the house at 2:00, which is incredibly late for even a German lunch. I don’t know why it’s scheduled that way, but everyone is always starving by then, which I guess is good because Mittagessen is the main meal of the day in Germany. It usually consists of something hearty, like pasta, stew, or meat of some sort. Germans love their carbs, and it can be tough to find fruits or veggies (at least raw ones) that are readily available.
After lunch we head back into rehearsals, usually working on new staging in the afternoons. Throughout the day, people are scheduled for individual coachings with some guest coaches back at the house, which can be a welcome break from a long rehearsal. Dinner (Abendessen) is always “on our own,” so we head out in groups to find something to eat before coming back for the evening rehearsal session. I won’t lie, a few of us have had ice cream (Eis) for dinner more than once.
The day usually ends at about 10:30 PM when we all drag ourselves back to the house and go to bed… or more likely, gather in the living room in the front house and watch Robin Williams movies. Sad face.
That’s a basic overview of what a typical day looks like. On the rare occasions where some of us have free time because we’re not called to rehearsal, we spend it getting groceries, doing laundry, napping, going to the giant heavenly Target-esque department store called Müller, browsing through Bärenreiter scores at the music shop, and of course, studying our roles and practicing. But those, meine Freunden, are stories for another time.