Spoiler: This post is mostly for the photos. Just kidding; it's only for the photos. Last night we had the first orchestra concert! AIMS does a concert series while we're here -- a couple of different ones, actually. The orchestra concerts are done with the orchestra (as you probably already guessed) and members of the Opera Studio. The Concert Studio, which I'm in, will present Liederabende in August. The orchestra concerts are always stunningly beautiful. Last night the music was fantastic and the singing gorgeous, but oh, the church. The concert was titled Alleluia! and was held in the most beautiful cathedral I've seen since I've been here: Herz-Jesu-Kirche. Alleluia, indeed. This was the perfect setting for such a word. But really, only the photos do it any kind of justice -- and a poor kind at that.

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At one point this thought occurred to me: if, as a follower of Christ, I'm a temple of the Holy Spirit, then I'm like this cathedral in the eyes of Jesus. Better, because I can breathe and I have the will to love Him. Blows my mind.

Today -- heute, Freitag -- was a pretty relaxing day. We have an absolutely free weekend with NOTHING on the schedule. This is an AIMS rarity, and the only time it will happen in the entire six week program (which is already two weeks in, incredibly). A lot of my friends went to Budapest this weekend, but I and some others are staying to explore the city -- more on that in a later post.

Today I sang in eine Meisterklasse for German pianist Ulrich Eisenlohr. As I said before, he's recorded ALL 600 of Schubert's songs -- as well as being vastly knowledgable about the world of Lieder in general. I learned so much from him. One piece of information I keep hearing over and over again, from multiple sources, is this: Speak it as you sing it. The song is speechlike. It's difficult, because obviously, I don't speak much German (Ich bin Ausländer und spreche nicht viel Deutsch!), and therefore I don't know proper speech rhythms. But that's why I have coaches and all these other talented people around me. I spend a lot of my spare time speaking texts to myself in order to get them in my voice. As a singer, it's easy to get wrapped up in the tones I produce. While that's important (please sound pretty), in these songs, the text is king. The text informs the music. The more I study, the more I'm sure I could never reach the bottom of these words and the way they influence the notes on the page, but I'm sure going to try.

Tonight Emily and I tried a new restaurant: a Spanish tapas place in an alley off of the Hauptplatz. Y'all. THERE WAS SALSA. And it was DELICIOUS. It tasted a lot like the sun-dried tomatoes that were on my plate. It tasted so fresh, and it wasn't too chunky. It was rich and delicious and awesome. It's been at least three weeks since I had salsa. I nearly passed out when they brought it to the table. I could (and I do, and I did) eat salsa with a spoon. Salsa is to me as chips are to my brother Luke.

Stick around! Yet to come: weekend shenanigans, more gorgeous music, and as always, lots more singing.

Bonus photo, taken while I was practicing:

Translation (top sentence): The most beautiful opera of R. Strauss is "Der Rosenkavalier."

Dang right it is.

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