Thursday, March 12, 2009

Walking down Memory Lane!

This morning I woke up to an invitation to a new ‘ Hyves’ ( Dutch Facebook equivalent ) group on the “Hoofdstad Operette” ( HO) . Oh god.. Here we go, back to some great memories of my life in Holland back from 1983 – 2001. I then got the added surprise from my dear best friend Martin de Deugd in Amsterdam, who was Concertmaster of the HO orchestra, a ton of emails full of scanned pictures from our old HO days! Great fun! Lots of memories! The “Hoofstad Operette” was Holland’s oldest Operetta company. Formed just after WWII; Operetta is very near and dear to the Dutch people hearts, and therefore was a very successful company.

( this picture above, HO orchestra members surronding me and Martin, in the sun glasses, on one of our many tours..)

When I auditioned and joined the HO back in 1983, they had a season of 180 performances a year! This was a touring company. We toured all over Holland, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. Since the operetta’s we performed were all sung in German, therefore the countries we visited the audience could understand the dialogue. Operetta is a light Opera. But with more dialogue kind of the predecessor of the modern Broadway musicals. Operetta stories were all about people having scandalous sexual relationships with the wrong people. My favorite operetta is “Die Fledermaus” by Johann Strauss. My least favorite operettas are all the Gilbert & Sullivans.. I hate them!.. They are just plan dumb! Anyways… we had some great times on our tours… all by bus of course.

I always sat beside Martin in the bus, and we always tried to outdo each other in the types of sandwiches we made, or our newest CD recording that we just purchased and that we would listen together too with our headphone splitters on our Discmans in the bus. Oh, if we had DVD’s movies back then, and a portable DVD player, our trips would have gone by in a breeze ! We traveled an average of 2000km a week! Left on average at 3:00pm and got home at 2:00am, 5 – 6 days a week. We lived with each other basically. A lot of sitting, a lot of bus activity…and I did this for 18 years.. OMG.. I don’t think I could do it now! I can not take the bus any more… I can’t stand them! Always planes for now on!
( in this picture above, Martin and Me, taken on the ' Bodensee' in Germany)

So this fairytale does have a sad ending as the HO did die in 2001, in the hands of a very new and stupid Minister of Culture, who btw only lasted 2 years, but in the mean time created havoc in the Arts world in Holland with cutting the subsidies to many other arts organizations including the HO during his period in office.

So that’s why I packed it in, and moved back to Canada. Otherwise.. today.. I would be blogging a story similar to this on my macbook, and not my life with the HO, but my life in Toronto, all from our HO bus, that would be fitted with Wifi and individual DVD players and screens on the back of each bus chair.. ( well maybe not quite yet, but around the corner I would think…)

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