Marianna Ginger tells of her wedding with Russian-English-Greek poet Alexis Romanov-Highbrow in Staffa this June, and says ‘ya mas’ to 2021
Superb Opera Singer, Marianna Ginger, we welcome and congratulate you here and now!
Hello, hello, thank you.
Your wedding was postponed due to the Corona virus, or so you’ve said.
Yes, haha! Yes, I am very sorry, of course.
Walk us through this tale.
Well, as you know, of course, I am now married to the famous poet, Alexis Romanov-Highbrow.
Did you change your surname?
Oh no, no. I –
Why should a woman change her name when she is married, that I do not understand. So of course, before the virus, we wanted to have a wedding. Not an extravagant wedding. Not a too-much wedding. We decided to marry in the isle of Staffa, in Scotland, about 500 people were invited. But of course, you see, then there was the virus.
That’s an unusual place for a wedding.
I always thought I will be married In the Opera House in Vienna. With less compromise about the number of guests, but Alex has a, how do you say, fascination with the Fingal’s Cave, of course, it is very beautiful.
I have not been there before. But I heard about it and I thought it is a good idea. We were to marry in October, with guests from many countries in Europe, and we saw it will not happen. Even before the summer came, we knew it will not be.
You were in New York when the pandemic started, during your glorious Madame Bovary opera tour.
Oh, these days seem very far away now, very far away. You see, it is very different. I see Alex, he only needs a pen and a notebook to be his full self. I need, I think, a lot of things to happen to be my full self as an artist. It is very difficult.
How did you meet?
We met in Berlin, for a very short moment, about two years ago. I was familiar only with his Russian verses from the late 90’s.
Translated as The Sorrows.
Yes. Verses that, how do you say, burden the spirit. When I said to him that I had read them and felt they were songs of winter, he laughed, and said he wrote them in a very hot summer in Greece. You see, Alex was born in Russia, his mother is from Saint Petersburg and his father is from Scotland, originally, but lived most of his life in London. When he was five, they decided to live in Athens. So, of course, he considered The Sorrows, written in his mother’s tongue, to be somewhat of a parody. Somewhat of a pastiche of what he should write in this language. That is what we talked about then. He was very impressed with my Madame Bovary, of course, but you see, I was very, how do you say, very much inside my artistic process back then, I was very to myself and with myself.
That encounter made him write the poem As Emma Bovary struts Berlin*.
Yes, and I did not know about it until later, very much so, because I was, how do you say, very invested in my Madame Bovary. We met again, almost a year later, in a very cold day in New York, in December. We knew so very little about the virus then, it was as if nothing different will happen in 2020! When 2020 did begin, it suddenly became different, when Alex said we should marry, and I said, yes, we should.
I do not think so. I think it is very slow. Because when I met him again in December last year, I thought I should have met this man years ago. It is love. When a man asks you to marry… when most men ask you to marry, they ask you to stay where you are, with them. It is not like that with Alex. He has many homes in Europe, as do I. It makes me feel very, how do you say, unsettled.
Yes. It relaxes me very much.
Hmm. Unsettled usually means the opposite.
No, no. I wanted to say, not settled. Not settled down. Not, how do you say, confined. Men, most men, have difficulty with that. Have trouble with that. Not Alex.
That’s really great, we’re happy for you.
Yes, thank you. Thank you. So, returning from New York in the spring, for a very optimistic summer, a very, how do you say, falsely optimistic summer, we decided to marry as we planned, in Staffa. But of course, it is difficult, very difficult. Alex’s parents are not young. I have guests who are not young. Flying to Scotland for our wedding, well, it is a big trouble. We did not want anyone to be sick. Alex said we should marry in Athens, where we live since we returned from New York. But I said, no. It is not his dream.
So you went to Staffa anyway, in August.
Yes, it was beautiful day! Very sunny, very, very sunny. And we went there alone, in secret. We decided we will find ten random people to witness our wedding.
That’s really cool!
Yes, it was a very, how do you say, wild idea. So one of the guests was of course the captain of the boat. And a tourist who was very ill, very ill. We saw the seals and we saw a shark in the waters, and she, well I’m sorry, but she was very ill often.
In the ceremony also, but you see, it was an adventure. Very unpredictable. Very festive.
Were your friends and family a bit upset over this?
What? No, of course not, what? Why? No, we will have a celebration in Athens in the end of the month.
That’s a lovely tale, which I have to admit, I wouldn’t have expected from you. I thought you would have some kind of a royal wedding.
Yes, yes, I thought so too. But you see, this year, 2020, is a, how do you say, not expected year.
Yes, of course. I say, ya mas to 2021!
* Alexis Romanov-Highbrow’s poem:
As Emma Bovary struts Berlin
A bright red sunset of limelight,
Cares not for the coming of spring
Nor for the prudence of hindsight.
Readily, Redly words uttered
This Emma in crimson and glow,
Of sorrows reflected in laughter
Of Yonville, of Athens, in song.