I am a creature of habit. Always, I would want to repeat things that I've enjoyed doing once. For me, repetition not only brings back memories, it also turns single joys into permanent ones. They become good habits, companions of my life that I look forward to encountering again. So, like last year I start my summer travels in Aix-en-Provence. The COC is very much involved as a partner in this year's festival. On Saturday, I will attend the opening night of Robert Lepage's (our!) production of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, and just now I returned to my hotel from the dress rehearsal of Don Giovanni which we are also co-producing. I will give you a full review after the opening on Thursday.
I'm glad we've made technical progress with the blog over the last year and happy to share this photo with you. As you can see, Aix is so beautiful.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (0) / permalink
Pearson Airport continues to amaze me having just spent more than one hour in Air Canada's baggage drop-off line. Luckily, I got there early for my flight to Europe! On the good news side I will be on on my favourite plane, a Boeing 777-300 ER. It doesn't get more comfortable than that. Even in Economy.
I will write more once I've arrived in Aix-en-Provence tomorrow.
I am just on my way home from tonight's concert, the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero, and André Watts as soloist, in Beethoven's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4. What a great, great orchestra! After Barber's Second Essay for Orchestra and the Beethoven in the first half, they delivered a terrific performance of Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances after the break, reaching the ideal of combining a brilliantly perfect technical execution with all the warmth and humanity that really brings this music to life. The Dances are Rachmaninov's last work. They were written and first performed by the orchestra and tonight they truly proved that the piece still belongs to them after more than 60 years. It would be difficult to single out individual players for their excellence, the amazing thing about this performance that the entire orchestra seemed to live and breathe the music like one single body.
Equal credit has to go to conductor Giancarlo Guerraro who, with his perfect pacing and differentiated dynamics, never brought the piece in danger of sounding vulgar (something that easily happens with Rachmaninov's music in a bad performance). On the contrary, his conducting displayed all the music's depth and grandeur with utmost clarity.
A wonderful concert. Hopefully, my enthusiasm will help me overcome the horrors of getting up at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow to catch my flight back to Toronto at 7:40 a.m.
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