Volume 4 / Chapter 146
[TN: Hey guys – enjoy!]
When Amelia arrived after her performance in Prague, it was clear that she was already a known pianist. People asked for her signature while she was walking around in Salzburg and unlike Danny, she had a performance scheduled every night.
Jun Hyuk was also in the middle of last practices, so the two of them felt like they would pass out whenever they arrived at their hotel.
“Jun, I think this semester is going to be my last.”
Amelia started talking when they were lying on the bed tired. She meant that she would be quitting school.
“Isn’t it a definite? It would be stupid for you to try to learn anything more at school. I expected it.”
“When the tour is over in August, I need to perform concerts for at least a year.”
Amelia is already receiving a rush of invitations to perform with orchestras all over the world. She is not being treated as a rookie who won in a competition, but as a complete pianist who has found her place.
The performance schedule would not be over after a year. If she releases a live concert album and the reaction to it is good, she will have to keep traveling to perform like a nomad.
“Are you okay?”
“You might not be able to see me for a year.”
Amelia stared at Jun Hyuk as she spoke. Jun Hyuk knew that the time had come for when Danny had told him to be careful with his words.
Jun Hyuk looked at Amelia for a while without speaking.
“I’m always going home. I’m always going to my boyfriend’s house.”
Jun Hyuk recited one line of German poet Novalis’ poem. He changed ‘father’ to ‘boyfriend’.
“Amelia. Your tour is just another journey for you to return to me. I’ll always be in the same place.”
When Jun Hyuk smiled at Amelia, she hugged him with tears in her eyes.
Jun Hyuk put his arms around her waist and knew that he had gotten over this dangerous moment safely and well.
In the last week of July, the weekly performances of large conservatories began.
All of the students watched the performances with their eyes wide open. There is no 1st or 2nd place. It is just a festival without eliminations.
However, the audience’s reaction. The evaluation of critics. The articles to be in the festival’s newsletters. These will tell them the clear ranking and who the winner is. This is not a festival but a fight.
They had thought that the European conservatories would be traditional compared to the open-minded American schools, but their performances were beyond expectation.
The European conservatories did not perform Mozart’s symphonies or concertos in the traditional way. They performed with such unconventional arrangements that Europe’s nobility would be surprised.
Electronic instruments were a given, they used drum sets instead of the timpani, and there was even a school that had the electric guitar next to the violin.
The Paris conservatory was the school to receive the most applause. They put on a European version of an animation of Don Giovanni on the screen behind the stage. The animation was a modern rendition of Mozart as a musical.
Unlike Mozart who based the humorous expression on the wrongdoings of the nobility, the animation was modeled after business that exploit Third World workers. It is a very French expression of a national revolution.
The unique part was that they performed to the character’s song before the singers entered. There were a lot of arrangements made, and there was even an insertion of an entirely different song.
However, the audience applause let them know that it was a successful performance.
Summer festival newsletters praised the Paris conservatories’ innovative performance highly. Now the focus went to the New York conservatories.
On the day of the New York conservatories’ performance, Professor Roger Neill was backstage encouraging the anxious students very differently unlike he did in rehearsals to calm them down.
“Everyone calm down and just perform as you did in rehearsals. You have practiced enough to receive a lot of applause, so the performance is a success no matter what. Trust me.”
Professor Roger Neill could not do more after giving his encouragement backstage. Once the performance starts, the students have to get through it with their own power.
“Jun, the director of this team is now you. I don’t really have anything to say but… I’ll leave them to you.”
“Okay. Don’t worry about it.”
Jun Hyuk had already experienced performing in front of a full audience. He was more relaxed than Professor Roger Neill was. He called the members of the orchestra over to him in this relaxed state.
“Now we need to properly show them what we practiced. Let’s show them a performance that even the singers will be surprised by.”
“That’s not a problem. Jun, just conduct well.”
The bandmaster was also full of confidence.
“Alright. Today is the day that you can’t lose track of my baton. Okay?”
The students of the 3 New York conservatories went out onto the stage feeling the bond between the schools.
With a dark stage, only the bright lights lit up the orchestra under it. When the members appeared, clapping exploded from the audience. A few moments after when Jun Hyuk entered wearing a tuxedo, the applause grew even louder. Jun Hyuk bowed lightly to the audience and met eyes with the members of the orchestra.
When the bustle of the audience calmed down, Jun Hyuk brandished the baton with power. He succeeded in capturing the audience with the power of Mozart’s original song and the 7 minute overture.
When the overture ended, the audience could not take their eyes off of the stage in anticipation for the appearance of the actors. But the first song, ‘Save Me!’ was heard from the back of the audience and not from the stage.
Prince Tamino had appeared while performing from the rear of the audience. He had on a suit that was too large instead of grand prince’s clothing, thick and full-rimmed glasses, a briefcase under his arm, and walked with a slump toward the stage. He had been changed into the average salary man from a prince. Laughter burst out from the audience. From the way he hands out flyers to the people in the audience, he is without a doubt a salesman.
When a large, monstrous snake is supposed to appear, the screen behind the stage lit up with a complicated graph covered in numbers. Prince Tamino shook in fear. The prince is afraid of the sales performance and not the snake. At this time, 3 chambermaids of the Queen of the Night appeared in two piece suits. The women looked to be Prince Tamino’s employees. In the original, the chambermaids fall in love with the prince at first glance because he is so handsome. Now, he is a boss who bothers his employees who do not have good performance. The audience became a sea of laughter with the inconsistent stage.
The funny new hunter character ‘Papageno’ entered wearing clothing that bikers who worship Harley Davidson would. The chambermaids who need to get angry with him fall in love at first sight and cling to him.
The atmosphere of the entire opera changes with a costume change. Someone who does not understand German would think that this is a story about a weak salaryman, female superior who is great at her job, and the biker that the women fall for.
Of the people on stage, only Queen of the Night’s daughter ‘Pamina’ was wearing the traditional dress. The villain Sarastro who kidnapped Pamina was dressed like Steve Jobs in his trademark turtleneck, jeans, and glasses.
When Queen of the Night appeared on stage, the audience broke out in laughter and applause at the same time. Laura Goldberg was not wearing a scary witch’s outfit, but skinny leather pants and a leather jacket that showed off her figure.
The audience’s laughter turned into emotion because of her voice. The actors’ tempo changed according to the constantly changing audience reaction. However, no one noticed the actors’ wavering because the orchestra followed the tempo exactly.
When Queen of the Night sang her aria, she handed her daughter a pistol instead of a knife. The audience laughed at the gun, but they became lost in the coloratura that followed.
Actors who are beyond the audience’s expectations and an impressionable performance. The actors ran around the audience and became one with them. Laura Goldberg’s wonderful aria.
With the finale ‘The day brightens soon’ that even the supporting actors participated in, the lights on the stage turned off. When the performance ended, the audience exploded in applause. Most of their applause was directed to Laura Goldberg.
The costumes and stage background alone made Magic Flute, which recalls a myth or fairytale, into the story of a common society salaryman.
Art director Professor Roger Neill actively utilized the fact that the performers are college students. Even if the performance was too unconventional, it could be made up by emphasizing that it was carried out by college students. And because it is unconventional, it would capture the audience’s attention and it was a performance that is faithful to the original. This performance’s reigning points were Professor Neill’s production and Laura Goldberg’s voice.
Jun Hyuk knew that the performance was not a failure when the orchestra’s greetings received a storm of applause. The students on top of the stage finally relaxed and smiled brightly at the audience.