In the opening scene of Puccini’s opera La Bohème, we find a couple of starving artists ( a poet and a painter) talking about life and art in their Parisian garret on Christmas Eve. They’re having some trouble paying the bills, so after a witty conversation, they decide to burn the pages of the poet’s latest play in order to keep warm.
Once again, I am living la vie bohème in Salzburg. That doesn’t mean that I’m having trouble with my central heating! But I get to be an artist among artists. I have the privilege of knowing so many talented and creative people in this city.
Here in our cozy Alpine flat, my friends have been hosting a lot of coffee parties, even more than usual. And it’s Christmastime, so we always have candles burning in the window and sweet treats in the kitchen. We have had honored guests from Stockholm and Vienna, and more local friends, as well. They all come over to discuss Life and Art over coffee or wine. Most of them are classical musicians, of course, and they tend to quote German poetry and refer to Italian operas in the same conversation, so it always feels like we’re about to burst into song, and sometimes we do. This week, our coffee table has become a kind of nexus for artists, where we all discuss and compare our latest creative projects. It feels a little bit like Paris in the ’20s… but for the Facebook Generation.
Of course, Salzburg is much smaller than Paris and I feel the urge to visit a larger city quite soon. Can you guess which one? (Hint: it’s not Paris.) Stay tuned…
And while you’re pondering that, enjoy this clip from La Bohème: