As we walked into the performance hall at the Hochschule fur Musik in Detmold, Germany there was an air of excitement and curiosity. The singers filtered onto the stage as they arrived, some sat quietly waiting for rehearsal to begin while others began to attempt conversation with each other. There was a lot of laughter and a great deal of patience and understanding. Everyone was excited to be there and curious to learn about those who they were going to perform this mammoth work with.
While it was difficult to be rehearsing with a conductor that spoke another language than my own, the two elderly German women standing next to me were quick to help me out if they saw I needed translation. I found the atmosphere of the rehearsals as well as the performances to have an energy of complete collaboration that held great meaning because of our shared history. It was very moving to perform Britten's War Requiem with a generation who survived the war we fought against them. As our lovely tour guide put it "It is better to talk about it than to hide it." This collaboration meant so much to everyone who was involved and was evident by the tears in our eyes at the end of the performances. I feel lucky to have participated in this project and am thankful that it is now possible to have peace with this amazing culture.