May 27, 2014
Farewell - Versailles, May 2014
Edwin Huizinga, violin
My stint in the pit for Opera Atelier’s performance of Persée
has come to a close. The feeling I got after drawing my bow across the strings of my violin in the beautiful Opera House of Versailles as the last note echoed through the hall had tears running down my cheeks. Closing night was an incredibly emotional evening. The director of the theatre felt moved to jump on stage after the show and make a small speech thanking Marshall and David and “our brothers from Canada”. The first time in 244 years that this piece was played in Versailles… Totally crazy, considering how unbelievably beautiful the piece is. The crowd felt the moment too, the applause lasted for many, many, many bows. I have walked on and off stage several hundred times at this point in my carrier, and I can honestly say that it simply never gets old. The feeling of thunderous applause and the smiles on peoples faces as they thank you for the show is totally unbelievable. This week in Versailles has been totally amazing.
It is quite a feat taking over a town with a troop of about eighty musicians, mostly from Toronto, but also a few from all over North America and Europe. It really feels like a bit of a home away from home – it’s funny to call Versailles a home away from home, but I guess what I mean is that you walk into a store and they ask you, "Oh, you’re from Canada? With the Opera Company? We’ve heard that you are in town." Or sit down at a restaurant with your instrument and notice a couple of fellow company members sitting down for a bite on the other side of the restaurant, kind of like the same way you might bump into a friend at one of your favourite restaurants at home. Today we are all going our separate ways. I myself am spending the next couple of days in Paris, but several orchestra members are heading back to Toronto in a hurry to teach at Tafelmusik’s Baroque Summer Institute, TBSI. Julia Wedman is heading to Paris, Anna Marsh is heading to Germany to meet with her Bassoon maker, Marco Cera is heading to Italy, lots of traveling between all of the incredible players of the orchestra – once you make it to Europe you have to stay for a while if you can, especially if you consider that most of the music that we play for our family in Toronto all comes from right around here.
Greetings from the whole crew, orchestra, dancers and singers. And see you all soon in the fall for our next incredible season. I’ll be on stage again in September with my favourite baroque orchestra in the entire world: Tafelmusik.
Versailles Gardens. Photo by Jennifer Toole