Monday, November 9, 2015

Milan -- a 19 hour visit

Our next stop was Milan. We arrived in the early afternoon. Quite often when a large group like ours checks in to a hotel in the morning or afternoon, none or only some of the rooms have been cleaned and are ready. This creates extra stress and fatigue for that day, when often there is a concert or even a rehearsal and concert later that day.

This was the case in Milan. I was lucky to get a room right away, but my attempt at a nap was thwarted by the trumpet player in the room next to me who decided it was time to practice! I decided to punt on the nap and went to see the Duomo (above). The line to get in was pretty long and I didn't have the time to wait, so the view from outside had to suffice.

Besides I needed to keep track of the time. We had a rehearsal with our soloist, Radu Lupu on Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto which was on the program that night. This would be our only rehearsal with him, so a very important rehearsal.

After a short break, we played the concert. La Scala has an iconic look

The orchestra had never played at La Scala before. Since we played on the stage and not in the pit, I couldn't get a true view of how the acoustics for an opera performance would have been (that's what the hall was built for), so I'll just say that, from our standpoint, it was an extremely dry acoustic and not an easy place in which to make a beautiful sound. I hope I've missed something here, because it's such a legendary place!  Perhaps the voices come across best.

The concert began at 9:00pm, so with a 7:40 bus departure from the hotel, you could either enjoy a night out in Milan with no sleep or call it an early night. I opted for the latter, knowing that Paris, the next day would be exactly the same kind of tight schedule with a late arrival, rehearsal and concert packed into about 8 hours.

Touring can be glamorous and thrilling, but with a schedule like this and the need to uphold a very high standard of performing excellence, the thrill and glamour seem far away at times.

My daughter would say I have a "First World Problem" when I complain of such things -- a great job, the chance to see a lot of things I wouldn't ordinarily, so I'll stop complaining for now!

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