Blogger Marieke Muller writes about her 'Opera at Home' concert in 2011.
"The theme of this year's concert was 'forgotten musical treasures'. One of the really nice things about these house concerts is that you can choose from various types of music or you can choose to be surprised — and that is what we did."
Strawberries dipped in chocolate
Every year I and my housemates throw an opera party — this year was our third 'Opera at Home'. Everybody helps out and we invite all our friends, our neighbours and our families. If the weather's good we hold the party in the garden, and if not we have it in the communal kitchen — which is right next to our splendid garden anyway! This year we had to use the kitchen.
We didn't really want to prepare too much in advance, but we did nonetheless. Our kitchen was pink, but we painted it white for the occasion — Opera at Home for us is the best incentive to get things done and so the garden as well as the kitchen also got a good going over! We didn't plan to do much in the way of food, but of course there was far too much. Everything was made by me and my housemates, from strawberries dipped in chocolate to carrot cakes and éclairs. We ask our guests to bring something to drink with them — from the beginning everyone has always brought bottles of prosecco.
A funny tenor
Of course we put up decorations: we hung up enormous Operadagen Rotterdam posters, put festival flyers everywhere and the odd bouquet of flowers. On the evening itself we had 35 people inside — a little fewer than before, but it was gloriously fine weather and several friends had probably stayed outside on café terraces! The kitchen was nicely full in any case and as always there were lots of children; they were unusually quiet during the concert and listened breathlessly to the music — really unusual!
The concert itself was really beautiful. Mezzo-soprano Nicole Rushing and tenor Tim Van Peteghem worked well together and they were easy to talk to and friendly. Tim was also very funny as he introduced the various pieces; I don't remember how late it was when they finally left after the post-concert drinks. We immediately invited them back for next year! The concert was very different to the one we had the year before, for then our guest artists had been two Russian opera divas.
In the official programme?
The theme of this year's concert was 'forgotten musical treasures'. One of the really nice things about these house concerts is that you can choose from various types of music or you can choose to be surprised — and that is what we did. All in all, the concert was a great success. Many of our guests said that they too wanted to organise such a concert next year — and we of course put our names down again. If Operadagen Rotterdam lets us, we'll go on until we've given five of them — although our real dream is that one day our names too will be in the official programme!