The Hour of Expectancy

Anticipation at the beginning

«Всё уж готово, час ожидания наступает,» as Figaro reflects in the Russian translation I had to get my head around: “Everything’s ready, the hour of expectancy steps on,” which I’ve always thought is a wonderful way of putting it – and it’s pretty much where I am now.

Figaro was lurking in the pinewoods, with an air of foreboding, expecting his wife to be unfaithful to him before his eyes; I am sitting in the FILO, with a pint of Crofters, expecting Sam to serve me another at any moment.  No, it’s not a comparison with Figaro’s situation that brings these words into my mind and makes them seem so appropriate, but rather remembering the first time I encountered them.

That was 25 years ago, in Krasnoyarsk – a town on the River Yenisei, the dividing line between East and West Siberia – where I had just got a job at Государственный Театр Оперы и Балета (the Russian State Opera and Ballet Theatre), and Свадьба Фигаро (The Marriage of Figaro) was about to be my first performance.  That trip – and particularly that performance – was the other great adventure of my life which I could compare with the one I am about to step into tomorrow.

Larisa Marzyoyeva as Susanna and Toby Sims as Figaro, State Opera and Ballet Theatre, Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia, Spring 1998 – part of the other ‘great adventure’

But the feeling is different.  Then I was a young(ish) man, and I was hacking my way through the virgin forest of a young man’s dreams, making a new life for myself in Russia.  Now it is like stepping up to a chalice which is offered me, and accepting whatever wine it contains: it’s an act of receiving, an act of release.

I wonder whether, when this life’s path is trod, I shall have the courage to step up to that chalice of greater stillness and mystery, and whisper the same parting words: Всё уж готово, час ожидания наступает.

Home and its images, to which I shall return
The lovely Ecclesbourne Glen and the beautiful Rachel
A pint of Cardinal before the brazier at the FILO, High St., Hastings
Sunset from home: Pevensey Bay and Beachy Head

Comments (5):

  1. Cecy Kemp

    22 May 2022 at 20:40

    Wishing every success dear friend. Enjoy every minute. Xx

  2. Toby

    22 May 2022 at 22:49

    Bless you, Cecy!

  3. Guy Harbottle

    23 May 2022 at 07:03

    Go Toby!

  4. Julia Bevan

    23 May 2022 at 10:55

    It’s after 1130 on Monday – I trust you’re on the train now …. on your way to this new adventure xx

  5. Peter Copley

    23 May 2022 at 19:08

    Very best of luck!


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