I spent the last two weeks in Japan. It was my first time in this country, my first concerts there, and I come back full of incredible memories and impressions that I want to share with you.
For the three first day I was in Tokyo.
Saw-heard my brother conducting a beautiful french program in the Suntury Hall.
Spent time visiting and shopping with my family (who happened to be there with my brother) in Ueno, Shibuya, Omote-santo, and Shinjuku.
Received a magnificent kimono from my dear friend Itsuko .
Ate the most incredible sushis (Chef Kidogushi ) and a delicious Dutch Pancake at Path Café with Troisgros son and his girlfriend.
Sang a karaoke with 3 lovely french friends and my two brothers and totally rocked it all together.
Spent a day with my dear friend Aki dressed like Yukata (summer kimono : took an hour to be dressed, and it was super hot and difficult to walk small steps, but it was a wonderful experience), visited Asakusa and a Game Center, ate the best eel dish I ever had (Hitsu-Mabuchi).
Notes : It was really too hot outside (42 degrees), and too cold inside (A/C) but I managed to get sick.
Then I went to Hakuba for ten days, invited by the International Chamber Music Festival, together with 8 other musiciens from around the world. It has been a fabulous adventure and an enriching experience.
The place : in the mountain area, the rice fields all around make the landscape flashy green, and it’s just so beautiful !
NB : I made myself famous in the village because I did at 12km hike and swam in the (cold) river !
The people : I think I was never received and welcomed in such way. Our hosts were just amazing, always full of little attentions (they remembered after hearing it only once that I couldn’t eat gluten and always made a special dish for me when necessary, they heard I missed chocolate and the next day they had bought a dessert with chocolate for me to be happy, they waited on our last concert that we came home at 2am and woke up at 4am to say goodbye with little gifts to bring home..and so on !), the public was educated and enthusiastic, always having a special compliment or gift or feedback to give you, always smiling…and the musiciens were all super talented and perfect gentlemen (never I could open a door myself or pour myself some wine, always someone to offer his help, that was exquisite).
NB : look at those beautiful flowers (again from the wonderful Itsuko who couldn’t come but still had a thought for me).
The food : Just fell in love with japanese food in general. I didn’t eat ONE “ok” dish in the whole ten days. It was always so so sooooo tasty ! and never I felt heavy afterward 🙂
The venue : the concert venue was a Chagall museum in the middle of the forest. The stage is surrounded by glass windows, so you have the feeling that you are singing in the middle of the trees !
The music : We worked a lot, because there were 4 concerts of at least 2h20 each, with every day a different program. It was just a great honour and pleasure to be able to rehearse with such musiciens. I’m not use to chamber music as a singer (not yet) so I couldn’t dream of a better way to make my debuts. We had fun, and we worked with passion and efficiency. I sang Il Tramonto (Respighi) for the first time, Rossini (Elena’s aria), Ravel, Poulenc, Duparc, Berlioz, and even Nina Simone ! It was also interesting for me to discover many pieces for chamber music that I had never heard before.
NB : For the last concert, we played a japanese song (Okatonbo) and the public sang along, it was a big emotions for both them and I. The japanese public sings like a professional choir, it’s impressive. And I was told that my singing japanese isn’t bad !
Video extracts here :
Onsen : At last, I will tell you once more (I did on Facebook already) this onsen story :
Something unexpected, touching and special happened today.
After a long day of rehearsal, we went to the Onsen (traditional Japanese hot bath). Here I was, naked amongst the colleagues and several local old ladies, bathing, talking…and I ended up singing for them Dalila’s aria (Mon cœur). At the end, an old lady stood up, came to hug me (still naked) and told me that she was 81 and never had heard something like that…That it was a gift she would bring with her to the grave.
Music and love have no borders.
I’m deeply moved.
I came back yesterday, and I am still walking on the clouds towards the sun. Japan has been enriching my eyes (the landscapes), my heart (the people), my belly (the food), my ears (the music)…THANK YOU Hiroko for inviting me, thank you dear colleagues (Henri Demarquette, Pascal Godart, Bogdan Zvoristeanu, Yumi Kombo, Sasha Zemtsov, Jean-louis Capezzali) for being awesome musiciens and adventure companions, thank you Hakuba people for welcoming us this way. I will never forget, and I can’t wait to come back !
Mezzo soprano. Marina was born in Switzerland, her parents both being musicians, and grew up in France. Curious by nature, she did not only study classical music (flute), but also explored jazz, metal or chanson.
Marina is represented by Hilbert Artist Management (firstname.lastname@example.org)