Friday, 16 December 2011

The Messiah

overcast, dreary, damp - temps plus 1

The last of several days of wet and gray. Very, very mild yesterday - up to seven degrees. And huge amounts of rain. We were very lucky - drove the almost 4 hours home from Ottawa through rain, but not the heaviest.

From Montreal we drove to Ottawa on Wednesday. Arrived just afternoon and went out for Indian food. Again, disappointing. Strange. I hadn't realized how very lucky Michael and I had been by having a terrific Indian restaurant around the corner from us in Montreal for many years. It closed a year ago. I'm afraid I just assumed all Indian restaurants were that good.

they aren't. Still - it was a treat.

Then back to the Ottawa hotel in time for a nap before the evening festivities. Met our friend Bal, his son Jim and Jim's wife Melissa in the lobby, then drove to the national arts Centre. Our friend Trevor was conducting Handel's Messiah. But one of the treats was that before the concert Trevor had agreed to a public 'conversation' in a smaller room, with one of Canada's great interviewers, Eric Friesen. We got there early and had terrific seats to hear Trevor and Eric talk about the Messiah, about music, about Trevor's feelings about music and approach to conducting. He was incredibly open and generous in letting us see into him. And Eric's insightful questions helped, of course.

Trevor had arranged for us to have a private box at the NAC. Just before the concert began we got to the box...the lights dimmed, the soloists walked onto the stage to thunderous applause. Then the concert master. And finally Trevor in his white tie and tails. Thrilling.

But....I have a fear of heights that is situational. I can sit on our fifth floor balcony in Montreal without a problem - but in a theatre I always have great difficulty. And, to my dismay, I felt it wash over me in bigger and stronger and more smothering waves. finally, I had to leave. I stood outside, looking through the glass door and hearing the muffled Messiah.


Then I had an idea. I snuck back in and whispered to Michael....then I retreated again. And went downstairs to the main floor. Sneaking down the aisle, outside the concert hall, I finally saw what I was looking for. One of those small 'jump seats' reserved for attendants. But this one was empty. And close enough to the stage I could have been called on to have a solo!

So I snuck in, pulled down the seat - and enjoyed the entire concert. It was magnificent. magnified, if possible, by having great affection for the conductor. Trevor actually played the harpsicord, and conducted from there. It was a virtuoso performance. And the orchestra and choir and soloists were glorious. No other word. Glorious.

then the Hallelujah chorus....everyone stood. I asked afterward where that tradition came from...apparently the king (not sure which one) stood at that point in the work, and of course everyone else did. And since then, we all do it at every performance of the Messiah. Very communal.

when we left home for Montreal earlier in the week I forgot my glasses. Need them to read - it was very strange not to have them. But it meant I couldn't read the programme- and still haven't had time to do it. but have saved it for a quiet moment. A treat.

The concert was two and a half hours, but was over in a flash. Standing ovation, of course - and many curtain calls. We were so happy for everyone - they all seemed so pleased. Joyful.

Then our party retired to the NAC restaurant for dinner - when trevor entered to join us the entire room burst into applause. It was wonderful to see a man who deserves every honour, be honoured.

Dinner ended at midnight and we got back to the hotel, and collapsed into bed. Next morning we drove through driving rain to get home. so much rain that the dirt road leading to our house was slick and almost molten. The hills in particular were disconcerting, as the car slipped and slided along. But we were careful and got home in time to see the end of the marble installation. I took some photos to show you - you've been so supportive and encouraging, as our frayed nerves frayed further.

As you can see, the marble looks amazing. What a lot of work for Bob and Mike and Paul and Ashley and everyone who helped. Now we just have to learn to use it - and not treat it as though it wasn't stone at all but silk. Paul - the marble guy - said the sealants are so much better, that we needn't worry about staining anymore - if there is a stain, it's only on the sealant and we can just lightly sand it off, and reseal. It won't get down into the actual marble.

We'll see... But like the floor and everything else, it's meant to be used and lived in - stained and scratched. Like me. At least marble doesn't wrinkle (or grow a mustache) as it ages.

The latest drama is that our wonderful gas fireplace is not longer working. Pilot light went out and refuses to stay on. Lots of gas in the tank - the technician thinks it might be the valve. Michael and I nodded and tried to look intelligent. But it means a repair and no fire through the weekend. too bad.

Our friend Susan is arriving tomorrow - staying just the night. Very fun to see her for a pre-christmas celebration.

Hope you're enjoying yourself and this run up to Christmas. Be well.


Dana said...

Love the kitchen. My present to myself is re-reading A Trick of the Light with the TV turned to the animated fireplace. Entire family arrives here at our smallish winter Florida home next week so I am grabbing the peace and good will while I can.
Happy holidays to you and Michael. Thank you for being such a joyful part of 2011.

Miss Diane said...

Merci de partager avec nous ces bons moments.

J'aime bien votre nouvelles cuisine. Nous avons aussi une nouvelle cuisine de chez IKEA et je remarque que nous avons exactement les mêmes carreaux derrière la cuisinière. J'aime bien!

Anonymous said...

your counter top is beautiful. so nice that it is a light color. i know what you mean about height in theaters. at the opera house in chicago, goodness. we would take the kids down when ABT came to perform.
we often scouted out lower seats as well.

Colombine said...

Que c'est chic le marbre! Lorsque j'ai rénové il y a 2 ans, j'ai hésité et ai finalement opté pour le quartz, très apparenté au marbre, dans la cuisine et je me suis gâtée avec le marbre dans la salle de bain.

À l'usage, j'adore le quartz aussi... très facile à entretenir.

Bon week-end même sans le fireplace!

p.s. j'ai aussi mon "coq du bonheur" dans ma cuisine ;-)

lil Gluckstern said...

Your kitchen is stunning. I used to sit in the cheap seats with my parents, and right in the front row on the fourth or fifth tier. All I know is that I could never do that today, so I can commiserate. Glad you made it home safely.

Michelle said...

Love your new countertops and new kitchen! I have the same rooster in my kitchen (only a smaller version). Just finished reading "A Trick of the Light". I think it was my favourite by you so far. Now have to patiently wait for the new one next year! Next time you come to Ottawa and are looking for really good Indian food go to Taj on Carling. It is about a 20 minute drive from the downtown core but it is worth the drive! Best curry and best butter chicken in town!