Violin Virtuoso

My soul is musical. Going to orchestra concerts is such a joy, especially when there is an amazing talent featured in the program, like a concert we went to recently in our village.

Alexandre Dubach is a Paganini genius. I was floored as soon as he started the Violin Concerto No. 1. The more he played (from memory), the more in awe I was at his brilliance (and at Paganini’s). Frequent double-stop thirds (lots of chromatic and harmonic ones, no less!!) made my jaw drop, not to mention his bow work, flying fingers, and vigor.

As an encore, he played a version of Happy Birthday (similar to this one) for a friend in the orchestra:

And of course, he just happened to be playing his Strad the night we went. Sigh. Way to melt my heart in an instant!


Swan Lake Reloaded

Words cannot describe how amazing this show was.

I recently made the trek to Geneva with Carmela to see “Swan Lake Reloaded”. As she puts it, the show “far exceeded” our expectations.

Fredrik Rydman’s modern, “street” version of this ballet classic was thrilling. The dancers were brilliant, the choreography was thoughtful, and the remixed music was geniusly modern.

The director’s choices made the story very easy to follow. Attending the show was such a magical moment that I was disappointed when the curtains closed.

If you ever have the opportunity to see Swan Lake Reloaded, DO IT! I would see it again in a heartbeat.

Hôtel des deux mondes

“Un lieu entre la Terre et le ciel, où nous attendrions que notre sort se décide ?
Vivre ou mourir? Par l’ascenseur ? Un hôtel entre deux mondes !?! “
(A place between heaven and Earth, where we wait for our fate to be decided?
Living or dying? By the elevator? A hotel between two worlds!?!)
Last night, we had the pleasure of attending HOTEL DES DEUX MONDES, a play written by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.

The play takes place in a “hotel”, a waiting area for people who haven’t died yet but whose physical bodies are in a coma. At the end of their stay, they get in the elevator and find out when the doors close if they are returning to their bodies (going down) or are journeying on to the unknown that is death (going up).

In the opening scenes, we meet Julien, who arrives at the hotel via the elevator. He doesn’t know how he got there or what he’s doing there. He meets the other hotel guests, who reveal to him the truth of his situation… which he has great difficulty accepting.

As the story unfolds, Continue reading

Hairspray A Bit Flat

I never thought Hairspray could disappoint. It has all the ingredients for greatness: a positive message, unique characters, catchy tunes, bright colors… Today, though, the performance I witnessed was simply mediocre.

Ok, to be fair, the singers sang mostly the right notes. And yeah, they knew their lines and dance moves. The makeup and costumes were appropriate. We could almost always hear the singing over the musicians. Nearly all the actors stayed in character. Things were, on the whole, watch-able.

The theatre was cute, quaint. It was big enough to give the appearance of grandeur but small enough for audience members to see everything.

So, what did I see? I saw actors -not characters- going through the motion of the ocean, but there was no sun in the sky. Or rather, no sun in the eye. I scoured the stage for life and soul in the actors’ eyes and found them both to be completely lacking. Therein lies the flop: there was no magic.

No one else in the audience seemed to notice. The show received a standing ovation.


Earlier this month, I went to visit Carmela in Stuttgart. A whirlwind weekend, but oh so worth it!

After 5 1/2 hours of training, her first surprise for me was Starbucks! That sure made for one happy (Seattleite) traveler.

Later that night, we went to a Mexican restaurant downtown with a couple of her Swiss friends. There weren’t good tram connections for some reason, so we showed up at 7:50 for our 7:30 reservations. The very-German host told us that we were “too late” for our reservations. He almost refused to seat us… Luckily they hadn’t given away our table yet, so we still got to eat to our hearts’ content. The food was good despite our cold welcome.

At a stand in the Christmas market

A stand at the Esslingen Christmas market

Continue reading