Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Here and back Again in NYC - Day 4 - Met Backstage and A. Museum of Natural H.

Hey guys! So I just got back from another trip. Me and my friends rented a beach house in the Riviera for our Carnaval holiday. We had a LOT of fun and I've acquired a nice tan. Carnaval is the biggest Brazilian holiday, it lasts from Saturday to Wednesday, it’s fun to have that time off where you can be with your friends but wonder why my country is so underdeveloped with this kind of holiday.

But I’m not here to rant, I’m here to talk about fourth day in NYC, so here we go!

I actually hardly had any sleep because I arrived in my Hotel at about 2:30 (that night was so freaking cold, the wind was murderous!) took quite a while to get my excitement down and then woke up around 8. I got breakfast with my mum and headed off to the Met (yeah, I’m always there, all my pictures are there) for the backstage tour that was scheduled for 10:30. The problem is, my friend, Mr Mike, overslept and was now running against the clock to get there. When he did get there the doors were locked and he couldn’t get in and nobody had the key. The tour guide told me to tell him to go to the stage door and thank God we are the sort of maniac fans that actually go to the stage door so he knew where it was, so off he went.

Even though there had been a lot of snow the day before, LC was clean on Sunday
I don’t know what happens but this also happened the last time I took the tour, the most annoying person from the group ALWAYS sticks to me and annoys everyone and talks to me no stop. Maybe I’m too nice, I don’t know. The worst part was that she was Brazilian. After I picked up my fabulous SCOTTISH friend from the stage door she would talk to me in Portuguese in his presence which I found most impolite because she did speak English after all. I would always answer her with grunts and nods or in English, I know what it feels like to have people speak in a language you can’t understand right in front of you, not very nice, not by a long shot.

But I found it was so cool to take this backstage tour again because they don’t work on Sunday so the opera house was empty except for us which gave us a lot more liberty than last time. So we started the tour backwards, so we started with the dressing rooms and this time we were actually able to go INSIDE the dressing rooms. We went inside the first soprano diva extraordinaire dressing room and just to think that merely 12 hours from then Renée had her pretty bottom sitting on that chair that I was leaning on. Gosh I’m such a psico! The tour guide explained all those things we already knew but one took me by surprise.

Now, there are 10 principals’ dressing rooms in a corridor that has its entrance right in the middle. So you have 5 for women and 5 for men. The center dressing rooms are not specifically for the leading singers but for the soprano and tenor. So, for instance for an opera like Werther, we saw the dressing room arrangements and the super soprano dressing room was destined to Lisette Oropesa who plays Sophie instead of being for the mezzo who plays the leading role of Charlotte, Sophie Koch. Sophie was actually way down the hall. But the tour guide said that when they do Carmen the mezzo playing Carmen gets the super star dressing room. They are all alike, the dressing rooms, the only difference really is their location.

Moving on we went by the place where they build the sets which is so amazing. The Met has a huge auditorium but has an even bigger backstage area. You see the new Met was built in the 1960’s so they used up all the space and innovative technology they had. You remember that movie West Side Story? It was filmed right where now the Lincoln Center is. And life there was more or less like West Side Story, gang fights all the time, a great deal of violence, robberies and such, it was a very dangerous place to be. There used to be what people used to call an “urban slum”, they relocated the people, took it down and build Lincoln Center. You might think that’s an awful thing to do, to take people out of their homes to take them down to build a playground for the rich people of NYC. But everyone seemed to benefit from what happened. The people got relocated to various parts of the New York state which diminished if not ended with the fights, and since the neighborhoods people went to were much safer they had better quality of life. As for the Upper West Side of New York, the construction of Lincoln Center brought in new people and helped renovate that part of town into a sophisticated area just like the Upper East Side.

Why, hello, this just turned into a history lesson!

those were actually hanging about backstage
As we went to Level C the tour guide asked us to pick a nail from the floor, one for each and he told us how some singers would only go on after they’ve found a nail on stage to bring them luck. He said we could keep our nails for good luck, mine is currently resting beside my bed inside my wand case.

Level C is where the two big rehearsal rooms are and since there were no rehearsals happening we could actually go inside the rooms. They were so immense! One of them was a little bit bigger than the Met stage! It was fun to see the tape marking on the floor with the names of the operas in them. They were currently rehearsing The Enchanted Island so we had Sycorax’s place marked as well as Prospero’s, quite a lot of fun! Then we headed to the stage area where we could spot some of that beautiful scenery from Prince Igor, the red flowers. All the boxes and things we went by had their respective opera names written on them. We also went by the costume racks for Enchanted Island so I could actually see up close Placido Domingo’s awesome Neptune costume.

When we went into the auditorium they had about half of the scenery of The Enchanted Island up on stage which was so weird because it looked so small. I never saw this opera live, only on my pc. We didn’t spend half as much time as I would have liked in the auditorium though but we did get to sit on the expensive seats.

When the tour was over we went to the Met Store and Melanie was waiting for us. We had a happy hug moment and then looked through the store. Then we took the subway uptown to have lunch at the Shake Shack, after a very long wait we ate and had a lot of fun, opera gossiping and eating carbs like there was no tomorrow.

we just had to take the silly picture with Jonas' poster
Then we went to the American Museum of Natural History, yes, the museum from the movie. We didn’t walk a lot about the museum though. We went to this super awesome butterfly exhibit that we had butterflies flying everywhere around you, like loads of them, it was pretty Disney movie cool. Then after some turbulence we were able to get into a space thing exhibit that showed the history of the universe and of galaxies. Mike, who was most excited about this, slept. It was dark and he hadn’t had much sleep. And there was a point that I just had to say “I’m scared” to which both of my friends totally cracked up right in the middle of this super trippy video thing. Overall it was a lot of fun.

Before this universe exhibit we went to the cafeteria and just sat there for a while chatting and you know who I saw there? Derek Wills! Yes, the British stage director from Smash, the guy who was supposed to marry Elisabeth in Pirates of the Caribbean 1. I was so shocked, what actually caught my attention was the voice, the accent, it was so familiar, then I turn to my side and BAM, there he is telling his kid he could not get this or that soda. My friends didn’t know who he was and I was left to fangirl alone. Of course I didn’t go up to talk to him because you never know how they are gonna react, plus, I didn’t really want to. Although he is super handsome he didn’t look very friendly.

3 happy heads at the Museum
We spend like 2 minutes in the souvenir shop when suddenly they are announcing that the museum was gonna close so get out! Mel’s parents picked her up and me and Mike walked about 20 streets beside a frozen Central Park until I couldn’t take it no more and we took the subway to Barnes and Noble on 5th Ave. We hanged there for quite a long time just browsing through all those amazing books and chatting and then when they were announcing that they were closing the store we left.

It was very cold but it was also so gorgeous, the moon looked exquisite
We headed our separate ways and when I got to my hotel I collapsed on the bed just thinking what an amazing first day without worrying about taking an audition that had been. And of course how very lucky I am to have found such amazing and unique friends! God bless twitter!

I'll try and post more as soon as I have a moment to sit down and write. See ya soon everyone! Cheers!    

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