A deep breath. I hear the chatter from the audience settle as the auditorium lights dim.

The expectant silence.

I grip the neck of my cello tightly and close my eyes. Visualise. Breathe.

I see the endless hours of practice. Fingers bleeding. The encouraging smile of my father and mother. The exasperated berating of my teacher. A childhood sacrificed. I hear the melodies as they should be played. All leading to this night – the Musikverein. Vienna.

Exhale.

I walk out onto the stage. The audience applaud as I take my seat. Shut out the bright lights bearing down. Breathe slowly.

And play.


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© Bjorn Rudberg

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

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92 thoughts on “OPENING NIGHT

  1. A beautiful insight into the years of work and sacrifice preceding this moment. It’s never occurred to me that a cellist’s fingers would bleed, but once mentioned, it’s obvious that they would! I’m not a musician! Lol 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. haha – that reminds me of the iconic Eric Morecombe sketch with Previn ‘I can play all the right notes; just not necessarily in the right order’

        Great piece and I agree I think you’ve relayed a lot of emotion and the physicality of nervous anticipation. Good job!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Always staggers me, the years of practice and devotion needed to reach this level of artistry – astonishing in itself. Nicely captured feeling of anticiptaion, Iain, a lovely build up. And it all payd off in the end. Great story

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks very much for this, Iain. I play the violin and wasn’t too sure about the bleeding fingers but turns out the cello can get rough. I remember when I first played in public and we had trouble with the lights. There were holes in the music stand and the lights were coloured and the music appeared with bright glowing pink holes. Not good for a first performance. I actually broke my foot just before another performance and still went on stage with blood dripping down my leg. Performing takes a lot of commitment. https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/this-violinist-plays-on/
    It seems like some degree of nerves is quite warranted.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m new to the violin but my grandmother was a professional concert pianist and practiced for 5 hours a day. She loved it. All that practice wasn’t an effort. My Mum was her pupil and that’s how my parents met.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved your depiction of that feeling of nervousness and excitement just before going onstage, it really rang true to me! I like how you stopped before the narrator actually played, which makes sense for that transition; it’s like stepping into a whole different space, becoming a different person.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You summed it up nicely, Iain. For performers there’s that moment of truth. They have the lousiest rehearsals, but, when push comes to shove and the lights are up, the magic seems to happen.

    Five out of five rosin blocks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You capture that moment right before a musician plays for an audience well. This seems like a very prestigious place to play and an honor to play at. I hope he does well. That the sacrifice of his childhood was worth it! Great job.

    Like

  7. You’ve portrayed that tension so perfectly. I know all about it. This is why I don’t do solo song recitals anymore. It was too much for my nerves and making me too thin. No bleeding vocal cords, though!
    It must be incredible pressure for someone, if there’s huge parental expectations put upon them, too — the feeling that you might let down the people who probably feel that they’ve sacrificed so much for you, when the sacrifice has doubtless been the other way round.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I really like this! The tension feels so real. It reminds me when I had to do solos for choir or the first night of performance for drama. 🙂 Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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