9. The festival begins!

Saturday 13 April 2019

Today was a great day in Opatija – the weather was clearer and much more welcoming, with sunshine and a cool breeze!

After a lovely morning breakfast, we walked down to the Crystal Hall to have a soundcheck and rehearsal for the Friendship Concert later in the evening.

A few of us have been feeling a little under the weather, so whilst some singers went back to the hotel to sleep off their sickness, the other healthy ones were given a guided walking tour around Opatija.

We learnt about the history of this fishing town, the hot tourist spots, some interesting historical facts, famous visitors to the town, the mix of German, Italian and Croatian culture here, and the past Communist regime which affected so many lives.

Reconvening at midday, we returned to the picturesque Crystal Hall, where the view of the sea was now a piercing blue! We joined with all the other choirs, including from Catalonia and Graz, to rehearse our massed piece for tomorrow’s finale concert.

Blokes and BBV went to lunch soon after, with many travelling to “Roko”, a local pizza/pasta restaurant, whilst others went a little further north to “Ugo” and enjoyed (more) pizza, meat and vegetable dishes, and thick hot chocolates.

At 3pm it was time for the Friendship Concert, where each guest ensemble had 20 minutes to showcase their repertoire, culture and choral diversity.

We thoroughly enjoyed all the amazing performances, including Corale Santa Rita, Coro Alpi Retiche, West Hill Park Community Choir, Choir Burgas and Ted Bursa College Polyphonic Choir. The Blokes set was incredibly well received, with “Invictus” eliciting a delighted response, and BBV was especially poignant and vocally stunning in their performance of Paul Jarman’s “Malala”.

Our combined acapella performance of “Danny Boy” made a few of the audience members cry.

After this long but successful concert, we walked back to the hotel to enjoy another warm dinner.

Jenny and Paul, the conductors of our respective ensembles, congratulated us on our performances earlier – many were moved by our singing!

Our evening free time was spent doing some washing, packing a few things away, and preparing for our trip to the Postojna Caves in Slovenia tomorrow!!

We invite you to keep following our journey of this epic Europe tour!

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#vobanzac2019 #vobeurope2019 #voicesofbirralee  

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