Travel to a country at war V

Saturday 01-04-2023, Odessa.

In de ochtend: zware wolkenbuien boven de Zwarte Zee. Repetitie in de chique foyer van de schouwburg met Roma, Polina, Slava en een nieuwe danseres. Het theater en de Potjomkin-trappen zijn de beroemdste bouwwerken van Odessa. Deze genieten een internationale bekendheid en behoren sinds kort met het stadscentrum tot Unesco werelderfgoed..

The first opera house was opened in 1810 and destroyed by fire in 1873. The current building was built by Fellner & Helmer in (Viennese) neo-Baroque style. Opened in 1887. The architecture of the luxurious auditorium follows the late French Rococo style. The unique acoustics of the horseshoe-shaped hall allow artists to bring even a whisper-soft tone from the stage to any part of the venue. The most recent renovation of the theatre took place in 2007. Every day, even in wartime, newlyweds and "tourists" allow themselves to be photographed around and in the iconic theatre. Everyone who has been to Odessa has at least one photo with this building on it. The theatre has a huge list of prominent visitors and players from world political and cultural history.

These include Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Oistrakh, Richter, Gilels, Caruso and Chaliapin.

The passage of the pieces with Roman and Polina goes very smoothly. Beautiful dancers. Slava and his partner are also a pleasure to the eye. It feels like rehearsing at the court of Versailles. The dancers perform so well that repetition is not necessary. Very musical, detailed, fluid and expressive. Warm embraces and on to the opera rehearsal hall where four male dancers have to be rehearsed. Meanwhile, the entire building was crowded because non-stop performances are given. Even in wartime, a packed agenda. Costumed singers, dancers, musicians and technicians walk through the corridors. A colourful world. In the background singing voices and practicing instruments.

Two new dancers find themselves among a group of four that need to be trained. The quartet is starting to look like something. The solo dance still needs a lot of attention. The last part of the rehearsal is spent on a duet and solo dance by two experienced dancers from the original line-up. They are familiar with my movement style. Enough has been done today. It's raining outside. Back to the hotel. When I get some food in the supermarket in the evening, I see that the youth of Odessa has taken over the center. The weekend beckons. Of course, like everywhere else, they want to go out carefree.

I did not observe an air raid alarm today. However, appearances can be deceiving. Yesterday I didn't think I noticed an air raid alarm, but it turned out that there had been two according to different, independent witnesses. Tomorrow a reunion with two choreographers from Odessa. I worked with them last autumn on a full-length Romanian production. And a first rehearsal in the evening with all the male and female dancers of Carmina Burana together. Military transports through the street again tonight.

To be continued.