Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Rushing to Rwanda - Vaccilating round Vienna

My little piece of work in Rwanda is finally coming off in mid February - it was supposed to have happened in October last year. Then I would just have flown from Vilnius - now I have to travel from Tbilisi....it'll be a long, long journey, 27 hours there (four flights) and 38 hours back (five flights). Kind of far away, this Africa! I am sure as the crow flies I could have got there more easily, but not according to the time tables. So I am hiking there via Vienna, Amsterdam, and Nairobi (there was another option of taking a route via Brussels, but a half-hour turn-around in Vienna does not sound good for peace of mind or luggage).

However, always one with an eye on an opportunity I will now have an 11 hour stop over in Vienna on the way, and about 13 hours there on the way back (and 6 hours in Nairobi and and and). This means that my anticipated 'returning home from Georgia treat' planned for later this year can already be rehearsed on the way to Rwanda. Very pleasant, really. It means even more that I can stock up on books, and maybe also send one or two of my course assignments by snailmail from Vienna rather than by DHL from Tbilisi. But the best thing will be that on the way back I will be able to go to the Volksoper to see Boris Eifman's version of 'Anna Karenina' - at least half of it. It's a relatively new production, and ticket prices at the Volksoper seem to be half those of the Staatsoper.

Boris Eifman has done lots of wonderful choreographies, mostly in St Petersburg, where he hails from, also some in Vilnius ('Russian Hamlet' - about Tchaikovsky, 'Red Giselle' - about a Russian prima ballerina who during the revolution is unable to keep up with new styles of dancing, flees to Paris, everywhere falling unhappily in love with her ballet teachers or partners and finally going mad; both absolutely stunning, and another one where he quoted from a 1930's ballet 'The Green Table' by Kurt Jooss, a bit of an icon of its time). In Vienna he is probably best known to TV viewers for his choreography of the New Year's Concert (which he might consider trivia?). He often uses taped music which is a bit of a shame when, as in Vilnius, you have an orchestra to be employed, but the music he chooses is quite heavy, symphonies and so on, and often crosscutting between pieces. Not sure that the Vilnius opera orchestra is quite up to slipping from Mahler to Mozart via Schnittke.

So there are things to look forward to in all this, and of course the work. Let's hope we stick to the Rwandan state language of English, rather than the Rwandan state language of French.