DAY 4: THE GRAND FINALE – A STUNNING “CARMEN” ON THE LAKE SHOW

AUGUST 17, 2018

WEATHER MAGIC PRECEDED THE MAGIC ON BREGENZ STAGE

Тhe grand finale of the entire trip – a performance of “Carmen” on the Bregenz stage on lake – hung in the balance at the mercy of weather gods. For the last three days, I have been watching the ominous forecasts for Friday evening – thunderstorms and rain.

This afternoon, as I sat by the lake under the three magnificent poplars which I dubbed Solar Trinity three days ago, I watched the clouds starting to gather in the west.

But the day before, on Thursday evening, I did what I used to do in Hawaii when hurricanes threatened our little island (Maui),  I deployed the magic of shamanic prayers. And weather magic did happen again courtesy of my spirit guides, paving the way for an amazing magic which unfolded on the Bregenz stage on Friday night.

The “Carmen” performance was due to start at 9 PM. At 6 PM, still at my hotel in Switzerland, I was getting ready to leave. The clouds which were gathering all afternoon to the west of us were getting quite dark. I could hear the rumble of thunder.

“Should I go or wait to see what the weather does?” I was wondering.

I did neither. Instead, I fired up the weather.com forecast for the next 4-5 hours. And was thrilled, but not totally surprised by what I saw. Take a look at this video. I suggest you click on subtitles (.CC) for better understanding of my narration.

As I said, I have done and seen such weather magic before in Hawaii. But this was the first time that I also experienced it in Europe. So I jumped in the car and started driving toward Austria confident the tonight’s performance would take place..

By the time I made it to the Bregenz Festival venue and found a parking spot, which was no small feat, it was close to 7:30 PM. And the organizers had just made an announcement on loudspeakers which confirmed my intuition: The show will go on as planed on the lake at 9 PM.  YEAH!

I was just in time to be able to go in and see the workers do the last minute adjustments to the massive technology that was hidden behind the enormous props – hands, cards, cigarette… It was quite windy which accounts for my ruffled hair (below).

And then I took a stroll along the lake. Even though there was still and hour and a half to go before the start of the show, huge crowds were already milling around everywhere. The bars and restaurants were filled to overflowing.

I just sat down on a bench in front of a big chessboard on the ground in a park, and ate half of my Lindt chocolate – my dinner for tonight – while people-watching.

ANOTHER MIRACLE: CENTER STAGE SEAT, EMPTY SEAT NEXT TO ME

When I picked up my ticket, I was surprised to see that I was to go in through the Entrance A. Which means center stage – the best seats in the house. When I was here the day before, I thought my seat would be more to the east side of the auditorium. Or should I say the stadium since the capacity of this arena is 12,000 seat.  Which are ALWAYS sold out.

“Did they upgrade my seat?” I was wondering as I entered the auditorium about 15 minutes before the start of the show.

When I got to my seat, I realized that must have happened. And not just upgrade my seat. My spirit guides even seem to have saved the seat to my left for my Belgrade friend who could not come because of her other obligations there. The seat remained empty throughout the show. From what I could see, it was the only empty chair anywhere in the 12,000-seat arena.

The lady to my right, who was scribbling in her notebook all the time, turned out to be an opera critic. This further attested as to the prime seating location I had.

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And to think that I only got this seat by chance on Aug 6 – when the Bregenz Festival website that all performances were sold out – made me shiver with both apprecitation and gratitude to my spirit guides. Especially as they also did it on May 23 in Moscow at the Bolshoi theater (see  A MAGNIFICENT BOLSHOI NIGHT, May 23).

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“CARMEN” MAGIC ON STAGE

As for the performance itself, it is difficult even for a writer to find the right words to describe the magic that unfolded before us on Friday night. Opera is arguably the most complex and advanced form of music. And last night’s opera included a myriad of spectacular high-tech special effects, coupled with real life lake effects which teased and engaged all human senses.

Such as the famous Gypsy dance in which the performers danced knee deep in water and splashed each other as they dance like little kids on a beach. Or when Carmen escaped from prison, she literally jumped into the lake swam away. Being a good swimmer is evidently a new requirement for a Bregenz opera diva. 🙂

A few minutes later, Carmen was back on stage in a new costume signing away as if nothing had happened.

It was difficult at times to decide what to watch – so much was happening at the same time. Does one focus on spectacular special effects and actors on stage? Or on the two screens on the side of the arena which showed the orchestra pit, highlighting each individual solo instrument as appropriate? Or on the German subtitles which were also projected on two side screens?

Fortunately, I had brought my binoculars. So I was also able to focus on details which were not visible by a naked eye. Such as the jewelry and even bras Carmen and other girls in the show were wearing. 🙂 Or the magnificent toreador costume the Escamillo character was wearing,

The show even included the fireworks. And when Don Jose and Carmen are hiding with the smugglers in their cave den, you could even SMELL the burning fires. As I said, this spectacular opera staging engaged all human senses. With a little lake twist at the end.

In the usual Carmen performances, Don Jose kills her with a knife in the final scene. Last night, he drowned her in the lake. For a moment, I thought literally. Because she stayed under for so long that any normal person would have drowned. Guess she must have had a small oxygen tank hidden away somewhere in her costume? Or maybe at that very spot in the lake under water?

TRUE MARRIAGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES

Anyway, last night’s show was a true marriage of arts and sciences and a triumph of modern Man’s creativity. It was both an epitome and a fulfillment of a prophecy I made in 1994, when I predicted that such a (re)fusion of arts and sciences would take place “thanks to the silicon” (the advent of computer technology) which “would return Man back to Leonardo da Vinci’s era” (see  Refusion of Arts and Sciences, Nov 1994). I reiterated that point three years later in my FORBES magazine column:

Forbes, Jul/97: “Move Over Einstein, Signor da Vinci Is Back”

Here’s an excerpt…

(Re)Fusion of Arts and Sciences

A major flaw in World Bank’s logic is that the leading economies of the 21st century will not be industrial.  They will be an information-driven mixture of arts and sciences. 

By the way, that’s a blend which a 16th century great (Western) mind also possessed.  

If a TV reporter stuck a microphone in front of Leonardo daVinci, and asked him to separate his “art” from his “science”- he would probably have trouble doing it!  It’s the industrial era’s penchant for compartmentalizing )simple) things so as to be able to mechanize them that has driven us to differentiate between the two.  Artists lived in a world which (was much more complex) and could not be mechanized.  

Until now, that is.  With the advent of information technology, the (re)fusion of arts and sciences is also inevitable.  In a way, man will be returning to nature courtesy of the silicon. 

Another frightful thought, isn’t it?

Don’t worry.  The universe is unfolding as it should… (from Refusion of Arts and Sciences, Nov 1994).

Also see History of the Bregenz Festival.

And that’s all she wrote from this day four of my Bregenz Music Festival visit.


 

 

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