Well, it’s quite a few days, since I’d written last message… Good excuse is that I’ve been extremely busy doing concerts in Royal Albert Hall and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, and then had a long and intensive journey to Cincinnati, Dallas and finally back to Europe –at the moment in Amsterdam.
First things first – week in UK was very exciting, Classic FM concert in London been “the best show in last few years” as directors of FM declared. I would say it’s been a very good show despite of horrible travel day before (took me 6 hours in Virgin Train, some idiot opened fire on trains, and we spent 3,5 hours in Nuneaton), some rude jokes of presenter… but soloists this time (Kate Royal, Alfie Boe amongst them) been excellent, and their dresses been VERY exciting ;)). Fireworks at the end, as usual, made everyone happy and deaf.
Verdi in Cathedral, it’s been very special and spiritual event, if you missed it, you really missed something. Choruses did stunning job, soloists “top class” and well shaped orchestra plus atmosphere and huge audience – all made this evening remarkable! For me personally – I conducted Requiem first time in my life, while sung it as a boy and as a teen more than 10 times, I thought about this concert for a months and enjoyed every minute of performance!
Next morning I flew to US (first time I’ve quite liked long flight, because of opportunity to sleep and study quietly after few crazy weeks!), Cincinnati is true American city with all good and bad about it. German immigrants built a very nice and big (3500 seats!) theatre, but all their houses around it now half-abandoned, so, of course, there are big problem with audience: I’ve got half-a-hall for two concerts with popular programme, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich, but producers said it’s very good by attendance! Actually, I’m always amazed by American cities – they looks very powerful in downtowns and picturesque with its modern stadiums, concert halls, highways and statues, but it’s such a different world if you go closer! Office workers driving in their cars inside skyscrapers, parks there, go up to their offices, taking lunch also within building in “food courts” and driving home or shopping areas outside city. If you walking downtown in a daytime, you’ll see people, mainly with very little, who, I suppose, sell some bad things or ask for a change. At the same time if you go inside a building, it’s “golden and posh” there! And distance between “well done” area and “poor” is just 20 meters… Anyway, back to music, concerts had a very positive review, orchestra looked happy and satisfied.
If you heard, that in Texas everything is big – it’s almost true! Dallas starts from airport, which have 8 (?) terminals and distance of about 30 miles from city centre. If you ask for a cappuccino, don’t choose large, please! I did once, its size of two pints!!! Jaap van Zweden, chief conductor of Dallas Symphony, was very kind and offered me to stay in his flat (while he did his debut in Chicago), and what a flat it is! I’ve been lost there on the first day, couldn’t find way to my bedroom )), and it’s not only big, but very stylish and modern with all gadgets (I didn’t discovered even half of them!). Playing Heldenleben four times in three-and-a-half days is very exhausting for everyone, especially if you couple this in programme with Sibelius and Stravinsky, but I did enjoy performances of this great piece – also did it for a first time. Orchestra have stunning soloists, great potential and if they are even more eager to improve themselves, they will be amongst the very top orchestras in US!
This week I’m in Holland, working with Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, concert is tomorrow in Concertgebouw, I think it’ll be absolutely great – feel very strong connection with orchestra and chorus is one of the best in Europe!
P.S. Concert in Amsterdam went really well, with a lot of enthusiasm from audience…