A Friendly face – The dinner at the ball by Adolph Menzel

The dinner at the ball by Adolph Menzel

Glasses clink, plates and fork clatter in between the laughter and conversations. Monsieur Duboncourt is once again delighting his guests, entertaining them like no other host in Paris.

The bourgeoisie has gathered on this Friday evening to celebrate the upcoming hunting season. Although the hunts will take place in the Vallée Chevreuse, all the attendees reside in the heart of the city. The room, which is no other than his lordship’s living room, is filled with women and men in their best attire of sumptuous fabrics and sparkling jewellery.
Most of the husbands are standing up, having given up their seats to their wives. s. Small groups have formed here and there and the champagne is flowing into the flutes held gracefully by women’s petite hands. The canapés are served by elegant garçons whom have never witnessed such an outstanding dinner party.
From behind one of the large columns, the diva hired by Monsieur gets ready to make her entrance. She is impressed by the crowd and wonders if she will meet their expectations. The frills of her satin dress swoosh as her left foot taps nervously on the ground. She inhales deeply as she scans the room in search of a friendly face. She wishes someone could be there for her.

Mr Garibaldi, the ceremony master snaps his fingers in her direction to warn her that he is about to start the concert. Although she has been waiting for this sign all evening, she is taken aback that it’s already time for her to perform. Leticia nervously makes her way to the centre of the room, all eyes on her. Without her even delivering a note, her grace and elegance has already captivated the audience. They follow each of her steps attentively. The silence, which has now replaced the hubbub, weighs on the diva’s frail body. An additional light has been switched on and encircles her. She looks up, closes her eyes, her head tilts back. She opens her lips.

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