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My nextdoor neighbour was singing in her garden this afternoon. She could, if not already, be an opera singer. She goes up and down through the do-re-me scale, I guess, but exclusively using the sound ‘la’. La-la-la-la-la-la-la. I also guess she worries we find it annoying so doesn’t do it for very long. Windows open or closed, I hear it all loud and clear. My studio, aka Black Ivory Printmaking & Audio Club stands one meter from the edge of her garden. Other than when she’s singing I work in silence. Only if I’m painting when she sings, does it feel like we’re in Norfolk or some other countryside place.
Recently, I saw an opera my cousin, herself a classical singer, produced and staged in one of the Muswell Hill churches. Halfway through the show I found myself backstage with the singers waiting to go on. Being an audience member, I wasn’t supposed to be there, but it was where the only toilet was, so I had no choice.
The singers backstage have to be silent as there’s no amplification on stage. There isn’t really even a stage. Audience and performers are all on floor level. Just one piano, played by two pianists, and one singer. Any noise backstage would be heard by the audience. Had I given it any thought before I went, I would have assumed the singers backstage would all be sat down waiting their turn, like in a doctors waiting room, but they weren’t. They were dancing with each other. Erratic, clearly improvised, dancing in silence to the music on stage. I don’t know if this is normal, as it’s the only time I’ve been backstage at an opera, but I still find it amazing how unfunny it was. A complete surprise, visually ridiculous and in no way funny. Just a stunningly beautiful sight I vividly re-experience when hearing my neighbour perform her vocal exercises. Countryside humans stun city boy citizen. I don’t know if any of them were from the countryside, but I like imagining they travelled in from the sticks, so one day, when I move out there, we’ll all similarly gyrate in silence to whatever the pursuit is that evening.
Here’s today’s work (and video above). Part of the Heckel’s Horse Jr. oil transfer drawing series. At the time of writing, they are £70 each. Contact me if interested.
For more Heckel’s Horse Jr. oil transfer drawings, see the hhj otd tag.
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