During the break, at the bar, before I would climb the Singing Sunday stage – an open podium in Amsterdam-Oost for singers of all levels – I approached the jazz pianist who accompanied the performers:
‘Are you okay with playing classical music? I have the sheet music right here.’
I didn’t raise my hopes, as not every pianist can switch styles. He was clearly a very gifted pianist, but from what I had heard before the break, a jazz player. Still, to my pleasant surprise, he shrugged amically and said:
‘No problem, I’ll accompany you. Just bring the sheet music to the stage and it will be fine.’
As you can see in the far left corner of the video, his only rehearsal was some ‘air playing’, while Master of Ceremony and fellow voice teacher Annemarie Hilbrands introduced me. I said a few words about the aria of Le Nozze di Figaro I was about to sing. (Porgi Amor is about a woman who is broken-hearted by her husband’s infidelity.)
Then the pianist struck the first chords. If you know the piece, you might notice that he plays them too fast. But as I began singing, he immediately adjusted.
Well, judge for yourself how an unprepared pianist and an opera singer managed. Do you think we deserved the loud applause?
Want to sing at Singing Sunday?
Want to see singers, or perform yourself? Singing Sunday open podium is every second Sunday of the month, in Jungle, Amsterdam.
PS Unfortunately, only the hands of the pianist are in the image. He is, I later learned, the outstanding and award-winning Mark van der Feen.“I had drunk a few delightful alcoholic beverages in the break – something I would never do if I knew I would have to play classical music a prima vista” – Mark van der Feen