Dear All,

I can't believe another week has gone and yet, having said that, it's a month since I arrived. It seems like I've been here for ages and ages - in a very good way!

This weeks just flown by and it's been a very busy one. Summer School has ended - wow, what madness it was, a real baptism by fire, trying to get everything done in time, but what wonderful students they were - so curious and full of questions, interested to learn, bright and motivated without exception.

It's also been a week of music with the Enescu Festival that started last weekend. On Friday, I went to hear the Orchestre de Paris conducted by our own Kri-Kri here in Bucharest with Lucia, George and Mihai - Pinchus Zuckerman was the soloist and it was sublime from beginning to end. last night, I managed to get a ticket for his trio (so it said on the programme though there were 5 musicians!) and that, too was a delicious concert - Dvorak, Mozart and Enescu plus 2 encores (Brahms and Mendelssohn) at the Ateneul Roman, my favourite place on earth. There are three or four concerts a day every day of the week, not including a free open air venue just next to Ateneul on Piata Palatului. Concerts take place here from 18h, as well as poetry reading to honour the country's composer George Enescu. South and central Bucharest are full of coach parties from all over the place and the concert halls are full to bursting point! It's wonderful!

I've been rehearsing a lot with Mihai in view of my audition for the George Enescu Philharmonic Choir during the week of 15th Sept. We decided together finally what I'm going to sing, and let me tell you that Mihai isnt only a marvellous pianist, musicologist and pedagogue, but he's also a fabulous accompanist, so all you chaps in London, if you need an accompanist once he's there at the RA, don't hesitate. he's really more than excellent. I'm soooooo grateful to him. And when I've finally got the details down to a fine art on his recitals in Paris, you all absolutely have to come, or you'll miss a treat.

We went on a tour of a part of Bucharest I didn't know today, and saw two of the oldest houses here in the capital. One seems to be unlived in though well-kempt, and the other is now an art museum to the Romanian artist Pallady. It was built in 1822 though I suspect that it was in fact constructed earlier and revamped later on - see pix attached. I discovered the Parcul Carol, designed at the beginning of the last century, with it's boating lake and gladed paths and alleys, and then we jumped on the metro to explore the streets around Pallady's house. Really a wonderful afternoon. Just when I think I can't possibly love Bucharest anymore - I do!

I continue to be very well fed by Tantza (today mixed vegetables 'copti' - how to explain? She barbecues the veg and then marinades them in the most delicious sauce that's neither sweet nor savoury but full of flavour. Eaten cold it's very refreshing on a warm day like today) and now that Mandita and Nicu are back from the Black Sea, I've had two lots of vinete this week!!!! Maaaaarvellous!

The Anglican Church adventures continue. I was there this morning and met a fellow alto who will assist me in the new choir which I hope to start up at the beginning of October when everyone's back from their trips. I hope to visit Sasha next weekend at long last, and Lidia and Manny the last weekend of September, so that suits me fine. Thank you to everyone who's sent me such good and wise suggestions on how to manage this rather depleted choir: no music, no piano (but there's an organ), no tenors and most of the singers cant sightread, read music at all for that matter much less sing in tune - but they have oodles and gushings of motivation!!!

I hope to get to Sighet to see Mariana in the near future, and am waiting for my timetable to see when I can make the long train trip there and back in time for a Monday morning. The new term begins 20th September so I should know by then.

All's well. All's absolutely bloomin' lovely, actually and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I miss you all of course, my pusscats, the choir... but I'm loving being here and feel so at home. Everyone's so kind and warm and generous with their friendship and time. I don't know what I'd do without George and Lucia who are dear friends and family all rolled into one. Tantza's a wonderful neighbour, and Mandita is a love. Such an elegant, charming lady, who bends over backwards to help me understand everything she says, kindly teasing out the right word from me, correcting my lamentable grammar and writing down new vocabulary for me every time there's a new word in our hesitant conversations. Bucharest still fills me with such a joy every time I step outside the door into the street. I keep waiting for the moment when it doesn't have that effect on me any more, but so far it hasn't happened, and frankly I doubt that it will. I adore being here, that's all there is to say. And Bucharest seems happy to put up with me for the time being.

Love to you all until next Sunday's news update!

Hugs!

Sarah xox