Monday, May 03, 2004

First, I have to say thanks to everybody who took the time to write after reading my post from Friday. It means a lot to me to know that we have support from so many different sources, whether lifelong family and friends or simply neighbors from the internet.

I'm pleased to report that we had a wonderful weekend, with just the right mix of boring (Saturday--gardening and grocery shopping) and exciting (Sunday). We drove to Stuttgart yesterday and met up with our friends Paul and Kim Cale and their 2 kids. We've known the Cales for 14 years, through 2 tours at Ft. Bragg, 1 tour in northern VA, 1 in Ft. Sam Houston, and now here in Germany. They took us to their favorite Biergarten for lunch in downtown Stuttgart.

After lunch, Anastasia and Annabelle had fun making daisy chains:

They even made one for Fred in honor of his 43d birthday:

After lunch, Paul and Kim took all the kids back to their place while Fred and I stayed downtown to see Das Phantom der Oper:

The show was just amazing. Our seats were in the very middle of the front row in the first balcony, which gave us a fantastic overview of the whole stage. We could even see down into the orchestra pit.

I spent the weeks leading up to the show doing my homework. I found a copy of the German libretto online and printed it. Then I listened to my CD of the German version over and over again, as I followed along on the printout.

As the show started, I found myself experiencing a twinge of anxiety that reminded me of taking tests in college and law school. Had I studied enough? If only I could go through the material one more time . . . Better yet, if only I could take my notes in with me!

I needn't have worried though. While I didn't understand every word (heck, I can't even follow every word in the English version), I had no trouble keeping up. I was a little bit thrown, however, to discover some minor modifications in the translation since my CD was recorded. Die Musik der Dunkelheit ("the music of the darkness"), for example, is now die Musik der Nacht ("the music of the night"). It matches the English version even better, but I've spent 15 years listening to die Musik der Dunkelheit.

Fred and I were both surprised by how many of the cast members weren't German. Our phantom, for example, comes from Florida. It's kind of silly if you think about it though: we think nothing at all about non-Italians singing Italian opera in the States, so why should we be so surprised by this?

If you're familiar with The Phantom of the Opera in English, you might enjoy the following 30-second audio clips in German, brought to you courtesy of Amazon.de:

Denk an mich ("Think of Me")
Engel der Lieder ("Angel of Music")
Das Phantom der Oper (duh!)
Die Musik der Dunkelheit ("Music of the Night")
Mehr will ich nicht von dir ("All I Ask of You")

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