I went for a short trip around Cluj this morning before leaving for Munich. Cluj is a city of some charm but but it is clear that there are economic challenges, to say the least. Apparently a newly qualified doctor can expect to be paid €200 a month. Is it any wonder that there are so many superbly trained Romanian doctors working in France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK? Of course consumer prices are pretty low here, but not THAT low!
Our delightful hosts here, Mircea Sampetrean, a distinguished Romanian singer, and his son Bobi, went out of their way to make the whole experience of these auditions at the Gheorghe Dima Music Academy a real delight. Nothing was too much trouble and we were introduced to the very meaty cuisine of this part of the world. Bobi's elder brother Adrian Sampetrean is a rising young bass who is clearly going places - including to Chicago, I understand, in 2016.
So I hope we will be back in Romania next time. And let us hope that the young singer we chose yesterday for the finals does well in October. I am confident!
I have now arrived in Munich, leaving the sun and warmth of Cluj behind. It is 9 degrees C and raining here. I will be seeing the full Neue Stimmen gang this evening - with a lot to catch up on.
The National Theatre and Opera House, Cluj-Napoca 10.00 am May 31 2013