Walking through a large repertory opera house will probably always be one of my favorite things to do. I finished up a coaching last night at 6 and opened my office window. On the Herbert-von-Karajan-Platz below, the live video transmission of Tannhäuser began, and the first burnished notes floated up to me along with the combined music of steps, conversations, and streetcars. Somewhere around the beginning of the Venusberg music I closed my email and walked into the hallway, where that same music took on a new, ghostly timbre as it traveled up from the theater five floors below. It grew louder and brighter as I passed the half-open door to the catwalk and faded as I entered a rehearsal room to check in on Pique Dame. Under the brilliant, busy piano whispered important voices, saving their effort and tone for the theater. Back in the hallway, I heard the mens' chorus from the half-open door. In the corridor that leads into the house itself, I couldn't hear anything, and then in the lobby outside the top balcony there was just a hint of Wagner, as though from a distant radio. Into the Kinderzelt, a tent on the roof of the opera house, where the children's opera rehearses: tinny upright, dead acoustics, young singers working to be understood by the kids that will fill the tent come Sunday. It was intermission when I headed back to the theater, where I had intended to hear the rest of the opera from my usual seat in the company loge. But I kept wandering, up to the catwalks for Act 2 and the backstage for Act 3. I took such joy in this evening, hearing the various musics of the house from the shadows. The intimacy of it, the privacy, was balm for my overextended spirit. The paying guests were at the party and I was a servant listening in secret, and that meant the grand house was truly mine.
Late in the evening, MtMn went down into our street to help our visiting friends get the luggage out of their car. I leaned out of our window, five stories up, and listened to familiar voices floating up to me, and waited for our guests to enter our home.