Firenze, Italy

I think this may be the concert hall (well, Baroque Italian Opera House) and Hotel (Ok, Renaissance Palazzo) to which I’ve returned more frequently in my time as a King’s Singer. The wonderful Amici della Musica have hosted us here in this beautiful city more times than any other presenter in Italy during my 14 years, with the possible exception of their sister organisation in Torino. And you know what? I don’t mind coming back here one bit.

Italian audiences are always great fun. From the first moment, they’re on your side and simply want to be entertained – which is something we love to do! This Christmas programme is slightly different from the norm, coming as it does during our GOLD anniversary season, and so we’re including music from our triple album even though some of it’s not strictly festive. Mind you, we celebrate Jesus’ birthday at this time of year, so why not the KS birthday as well?

So far we’ve stopped off in Rome and Vicenza, but this weekend definitely sees my favourite venues – Teatro alla Pergola here in Florence, and the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Turin. Turin, of course, is inextricably linked with the original Italian Job movie, which I’m distraught that some of my colleagues are yet to see. There should be laws forcing everyone to watch that – 2 hours of pure genius. Don’t get me started on the re-make…

As we near the end of term and look forward to going home to our families, it’s always a slightly tough time to be away. My girls have been busy with their school nativity play, and Christmas Feast, this week. Lyra had her first solo on-stage (duly videoed by my darling wife Stephanie) and Bella managed to get to the finals of the X Factor competition, so it’s been a pretty successful musical week at home. I do love Christmas concerts, but there’s part of me that is looking forward to being able to attend all these great school functions in years to come! Mind you, there is a New Year ski trip to look forward to in just a few weeks…


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