Thursday, 2 May 2013
and Gigi, at the warehouse in Harlem
I spent the end of April going to New York to work. When you are at this stage it is best to follow those you trust the most and not to wait for oppertunities to come your way. It is what I had to learn and something I have always found to be challenging. When you always head out into the world, how do you know where there is home? And then when you are always restless, who will want to find rest with you. Where will you find your peace?
I met great company, acquaintances, mentors, role models, and a bit of New York. I have never been much of a visitor, rather I want to live in the places I visit. I feel uncomfortable easily and I don't really like being watched. Then again I can't get enough of it. I've always been funny like that. I ended up staying with Jimmy and David, and David is a fine young Tenor and he was preparing to sing Nemorino and together we remissed about all the great singers. I was fortunate also to meet Wallis Giunta at the Met, a member of the Lindeman Young Artist Programme. We said hello in front of Lincoln Center, bathed in beautiful sunlight, after I had catched a recital of hers the previous day. She was out of a rehearsal, about to jump into a masterclass with Maestro Levine, before singing in Rigoletto that same evening. Those jobs don't come easy. She told me how the programme had allowed her much freedom to do the things she valued most, like sing with Canadian Opera for three months last season.
I gatecrashed two parties on that Saturday with David, one in Downtown and the other in Brooklyn somewhere. And then I headed back to Lincoln Center to catch the first half of that night's Rigoletto and it was there that I heard Wallis Giunta for the second time, but now it was like her house debut or so it said on the posters and she is the first to seduce the duke and she sang with such an air of class and a commanding stage presence already.
On the Sunday we ended up going to the church of St Ignatius of Antioch on 87th Street. My Anglo Catholicism is a little rusty, but there I was, in the middle of the Upper Westside, listening to Tallis and Buxtehude. I told David how much it moved me and how listening to Buxtehude always reminds me that Bach went out of his way to walk half across Germany in order to listen to him play. And I guess I had flown across the Atlantic to listen to my mentor sing and for him to listen to me. By that afternoon I had been from Harlem to the Upper Westside, from there to Columbia University where we heard a school band play the brassiest rendition of Carmina, following steak and eggs for Brunch. And then I was back to midtown to see some more friends I had not met before, play in a video shoot for their band and for me to take pictures although I was over an hour late. Before I knew it I had shot Zap and the Naturals in a yet to be opened bar on 23rd Street and it was all Rock'n Roll although we had saxophones and there was a tuba I think. On my way home I wandered through Times Square and it struck me yet again, the sheer size of it all and how I had been fortunate to meet everyone I did and how kind New York had been to me.
On my last day we headed to the flower market early in the morning where we bought flowers for a birthday party or something and so it was that I ended up carrying flowers through Manhattan. Not only was David an opera singer, but he knew all about flowers.
Before I left New York, it was rainy like it had not rained at all for my stay, and I nipped into a diner on 7th Avenue following a long walk through Central Park and down Literary Walk, and I overheard an old Spanish gentleman telling two German tourists as they left, how he remembered his stay in Hamburg like it was yesterday, it had been back in 1946, he must have been US army, and he looked so old and frail, but with an air of elegance and then he told them how he will never forget the Ambassador Club.
I looked outside onto 7th and I saw the gentleman as he wondered through the drizzle and I thought that here, the ones that make dreams are not the dreamers.
And I slept on the plane and the following day I woke up in London and it was on that same day that I became an uncle.
Featured on Maximilian Van London at 20:29