I asked the Staatsoper portier this morning how long it had been sunny and gorgeous in Vienna, and he replied "seit halb zehn" - since 9:30. I've heard yesterday was lovely too, but evidently winter lasted right up until Thursday night. Today was crazy beautiful, however, the irresistible sun surrounded by unreasonable blue, everyone outside in shorts and skirts and tank tops and sandals, eating ice cream and taking pictures and getting sunburned and having brunch outside. I did that too, having strolled in triumphantly from the airport (pride checklist: easy conversation in German with a stranger on the train, strolling to my hotel with no map). The warm sun helped keep me awake through breakfast (the butter! the egg with the rich golden yolk! the grosser brauner! the tangy cottage cheese and tomatoes!). Then back to the hotel for one of those disorienting naps before Eugene Onegin. First there were reunions: unexpected, with a longtime Met colleague and a few singers, and expected, with beautiful SS who had Dienst up in the company box, where I sat.
It was a good performance. The orchestra is just mind-bending on a night like this, all impossibly warm strings and pristine winds, horns like a sound directly from someone's heart and mind. KP conducted with a light, lithe hand, and for the first time in my limited experience, there were no balance issues. The cast was mostly good, with several ensemble singers giving impressive performances, and with the great FF stopping time in his aria.
In the seat I'll occupy so often in the next three years, directly above stage left, I have a compromised view of the stage but a remarkable view of the house, and I had to keep myself from too often staring openly out at my fellow audience members. Hey, everybody, I wanted to say. For the first time, that room began to feel like home.