They started on Tuesday and it sounded like gunshots. The fiesta does not start until Sunday, but I am very lucky that the sweet children in my street decided to start practising early. They have been letting off crackers at random hours of the day and night. It is a stroke of luck that I will be in Barcelona for San Juan - one of the biggest fiestas of the year. All I know is that it will be 24 hours of celebrating and loudness...... but more about that next blog.
Last night was more than just luck - it was also a privilege. Wandering the city during the beautiful evening light, then watching and listening to the renowned Spanish tenor Jose Carreras perform outdoors at dusk, in front of the Pedralbes Royal Palace, surrounded by gardens, was a special experience.
It might have cost six Euros ($8) to buy a hotdog for dinner and I might have felt completely out of place wearing jeans (really wish someone had mentioned that the dress code was formal....), but I did get very lucky with my seat. After the seat I booked online was deemed to have an obstructed view, the wonderful concert organisers took the liberty of changing my seat. They told me they hoped I would be OK with that. I was more than OK with that - I had been moved from a cheap seat to the best section at the venue, for free.
He may be a lot older than in the glory days of the Three Tenors, but I was unprepared for just how powerful and transcending his voice would still be. Listening to Jose and Gladys (a gorgeous Italian soprano) doing a duet of “All I ask of you” from Phantom of the Opera, sent shivers down my spine. Their finale (after five encores) of “Amigos Para Siempre” (Friends for Life) is a memory that time will never erase. Unluckily for me, the taking photos was not allowed once the show started and besides, I think the crowd would have lynched me if I had tried. Cameras with big zoom lenses are definitely not ‘de rigeur’ at the opera.
During the taxi ride home, the Indian taxi driver and I had an interesting discussion in Spanish about the concert ...... and cricket. As I paid the fare, he kindly suggested that we could go together to the San Juan festivities on the beach on the weekend.
It was a very kind gesture, but not his lucky night.