Thursday, October 12, 2017


After many, many years of performing, this is a life first: Having to pee really badly during a show.

Third night of the Romeo and Juliet ballet, I feel slightly full five minutes before the 8pm start. I don’t dare to go out, I’m afraid there isn’t time. I hope the pee production stops there.

But five minutes in, I can feel the bladder slowly filling to the brim, and there’s more to come.

Unfortunately the first act is also the longest. Introductions to the Montagues and Capulets, Juliet comes of age, meets Romeo at the ball, troublesome Tybalt comes in and there’s nearly a quarrel, the lovers meet on the balcony and declare their love in what feels like an impossibly long time.

As my bow quivers (luckily it’s a tremolo), my lower half aches from the effort of holding it in for an hour.

The moment the conductor takes his post-Act 1 bow, I wait, agonized, as he walks out and I scurry after him, bent in pain. The moment we’re out of the theatre, I overtake him and scamper into the toilet for blessed release.

I share my tale with my colleagues, they laugh.

Then they tell me an urban legend of a musician who tried to hold it in but failed and ended up doing a Big One. Yes, it wasn’t a pee but a poo and he wasn’t in an orchestra pit but on stage. The players around him apparently had to abide the smell throughout the performance – he continued after his release - and the chair was either thoroughly washed or discarded, I’m not sure.

Anyhow. The kids didn’t go to the Big Ballet this year. I didn’t particularly compel them to, they weren’t very keen and tickets were prodigiously expensive.

Pity. My pee debacle notwithstanding, it’s another stunner. Prokofiev’s score for Romeo & Juliet doesn’t move me as much as Tchaikovsky’s Onegin did, but the plot, action (fight scenes, carnival) and fantastic sets probably do more for the audience.


And I have to give thanks, again, for the opportunity.

Just as the wedding gigs have dried up completely (I’m not young and pretty anymore, market is flooded with competition, I never did any marketing, didn't make friends with the right people) I never know if a concert / ballet / opera gig will be my last. So many brilliant young players out there.

Following photos, beautifully taken by my violinist colleague, Gerard Chia, from the pit, of the dancers during their curtain call. Thank goodness he's sitting on the right side of the 1st violins (best views):

* The Korean "Juliet" on night 3, and on her right the ballet conductor, whom we all remember clearly after three years because he's just that sort of man who leaves an imprint

* Romeo and Juliet on night 2

* The clowns!

* Violin 2s and violas

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