During my four years in Bangkok, after leaving work, I was usually spending evenings singing with various groups and choirs active in town. In particular, I was a member of the choir of the Bangkok Music Society (BMS), the Bangkok Opera Foundation, Nuni Productions and a small group called In Nomine Musicae (INM).
I had lots of fun. This being Thailand, there was always food involved in the process, either on stage or backstage.
Backstage first: the chorus' changing rooms on Bangkok Opera nights is known to be full with things to eat, which members have always contributed voluntarily. There are always sandwiches and cake for the choir at BMS rehearsals and concert nights. After INM rehearsals, Sarah always invites all singers up into her appartment to sample cheese, crackers, wine and cocktails prepared by her husband Paul. There's more than just music involved when singing with these groups.
Onstage, I seem to have been connected to food in several of the opera productions I participated in. I was the drunken uncle in Madama Butterfly (BKK Opera); the whole cast was having a raucous tea party in Il Campanello (Nuni); we had Champagne and oysters for Mac's wedding in the Three-Penny Opera (also Nuni). The last two opera productions I was involved with were an orgy of food and drink. In Bangkok Opera's Thaïs, I brought the bread on stage in the monk's monastery and we had our frugal dinner on stage during the first act. Then we all turned into party revellers in the second act and had a literal orgy on stage with wine, wine and more wine. In Puccini's La Bohême (Bangkok Opera) the director Darren Royston asked me to be the Maître D' in the Café Momus scene. Have you ever tried to keep a respectable catering establishment running with chorus, principles, children's chorus, a baby, a fairy, a clown, two cancan dancers, and four dogs all romping on stage and all calling for their table to be served?
I really enjoyed that.
Now the tempo has calmed down. With three other friends from the various singing groups, we're preparing a programme of French Renaissance songs for a small private concert for friends and colleagues on 26 January. Once again, there's food not too far behind. Indeed, there's cake and tea at all afternoon rehearsals for Ema, Brittany and Jonathan. I've also constructed the programme around food an agriculture so there's mention of something you can eat or drink in all the songs. I wish bon appétit to all who will join this concert at the end of the month.
Summer of '69
Brian Adams, So far so good, A&M