Sunday, March 20, 2011

St. Patty's Day, 2011

Location: School.

Situation: Uploading clips from the week of shooting in Oslo.

Lamentation: Only 2 clips out of 360 have transferred. But really, who cares. I'm jamming to Lauryn Hill, Usher, and Blackstreet in the meantime.

And in the other meantime, a story for you!


It was a Thursday in Oslo.

March 17, 2011, but not so green as it was gray.

We had an interview with a climate researcher in the morning, then subwayed back to the city centre and proceeded to buying cheap croissants before hanging out on the second floor.

But I knew that this St. Patrick's Day would end on a higher note. A very high note actually, sung with a falsetto in the key of G major. For today was the day I was going to the OPERA HOUSE!

Since January, my cousin Joel had been in Oslo working as an assistant director for the production "Rigoletto." RAD, I know. He went to the University of Toronto for opera directing, and his adventures so far have brought him to Oslo 3 times.

On Thursday, it was SO crazy watching him walk into the lobby of the opera house to meet me. Here was my cousin that I've played baseball and shared many a Christmas day with growing up, and now we're in Norway together. HA!!! So cool. So wierd. The world is so small.

After a lovely dinner in the canteen (that non-opera folk will never get to see), Joel took me on a guided tour of the opera house.

The outside was FANTASTICALLY beautiful.

And the inside was so intriguing...there were so many rooms and behind-the-scene things that you wouldn't expect the building to hold.

I saw the wig and make-up room,

the costume room,

the gym - (HA! The opera house has a gym...maybe not just for lifting weights.)

the practice rooms,

the library,

the ballet studios,

and the stage.

Sadly, sadly, SADLY, my camera DIED righter after that picture was taken. (I'll steal some of Kristin's pictures later to give you a better look.)

But MAN. Standing on that stage in that familiar atmosphere...that airy acoustic silence, and foreshadowing nature of standing at the base of a sea of seats...made me miss ballet so unbelievably much. I miss being on stage dammit!!!

What was cool was that some of my TV amigos came a bit later for a tour as well! The fact that my international friends met someone in my family was almost as weird as seeing Joel myself. It was like a collision of 2 worlds that I truly never thought would happen.

After the tour, it was time for one of the final rehearsals of the show, and Kristin and I stayed behind to watch some of it. We took a seat on the upper level in the wooden seats with jazzy orange seats as Joel took a seat by the sound box in the middle of the floor seats.

And this is where time could have stopped for a while.

There I was, sitting next to Kristin with my cousin below me, getting a private pre-show of Rigoletto, in the opera house, in Oslo, Norway.


Kristin and I left after about an hour, but before going to meet up with our classmates for dinner, we climbed to the roof of the opera house and took pictures of the city lit up.

Thinking back to that moment, it was definitely a night of surrealness.

At one point when we were outside, Kristin went back inside to the washroom, so I just turned on my iPod for a bit to accompany the nightscape in front of me. I put on "Be" by Common and just starting laughing.

There was a time when I was listening to this song while walking underneath the Gardiner in Toronto, on my way to work. Now, I was standing in front of a glowing opera house in Europe. HAHAHAHA! Tell me that's not the most insane thing you've ever heard.


St. Parick's Day really isn't a big drunk fest over here as it is in Canada, but in keeping with the yearly March 17th semi-tradition, the crew went looking for a bar to spend the last night in Norway in. Sadly, it's hard to keep a group of 19 people together when you're wandering a bit aimlessly through city streets, so we got separated. But Kristin, Rui, Rob, Thorsten, Marije and myself stumbled upon a place called "Underwater Pub." It actually looked like a setting from a Pirates of the Carribean movie, complete with fish on the walls and sea decor everywhere you looked.

But guess what. Instead of "yo ho and bottle o' rum tunes" illustrate the emerging theme of the day, this place had live OPERA singers !!!! Apparently every Thursday, you can listen to some show tunes and classical arias over a pint.

We enjoyed 2 sets of free music and when that was over, we turned the place into a dance floor like we always do. Yes.

Last year on St. Patrick's Day, I was cleaning up empty beer glasses until 4 in the morning.

This year, I interviewed a Norwegian climatologist and I saw my cousin across the ocean. I stood on a stage, I listened to live opera in a pub, and walked through the streets of a Scandinavian city.

It was 4 a.m. by the time we got to sleep, only to continue our Norwegian excursion 4 hours later with a tour of Parliament.

Just a hop, skip and an adventcha I tell you!!!!

Love, Oslo.

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