‘Nothing much, just work, you know, same old same old…’
Well, last week shouldn’t have been a ‘normal’ week and it wasn’t in many regards and yet there was also a familiarity about it, too.
Monday was an early start from the ‘delight’ that is Luton Airport. Cluj-Napoca was our destination and it was so lovely being back in Romania again. The audience were as generous as ever – we were in the Opera Națională Română Cluj-Napoca this time – and I can’t wait to return.
Tuesday was a seven-hour train ride to Budapest, Hungary. The train goes on to Vienna if you forget to jump off…or step off, like most people prefer to do…
Wednesday was a relaxing day before our concert at the refurbished Liszt Academy. It’s an even more stunning place to perform now with extraordinary acoustics and an audience to match.
Thursday was a flight to Basel and a quick transfer to Riehen. The concert hall is attached to the Guest House so it’s a very efficient (no surprises it’s Swiss) operation and you can literally hop out of bed and, within a minute, be at breakfast or on stage…or onstage with breakfast!
Friday was the concert (long time after breakfast) in front of another enthusiastic, slow-clapping audience.
Saturday was an hour-long trip over the border into Germany for an afternoon concert in the beautiful Cathedral of Sankt Blasien. Unfortunately, the former abbey church was burnt down in 1768 but it was rebuilt as a Neoclassical round church with a a huge dome (third-largest in Europe, north of the Alps). With the right repertoire, it’s a fabulous place to sing and we’ve already been booked to go back in two years so they must’ve enjoyed the concert a little bit. After the concert it was back to Switzerland, this time in the direction of Lucerne.
Sunday was an early start to get the voice in gear ahead of an 11am matinee performance in what is arguably one of the finest concert halls in Europe, if not the world: Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre. It was a fitting place for Eddie to have his 30th birthday and we celebrated afterwards at a Spanish tapas restaurant before driving 3-4 hours south towards the picture-postcard, northern Italian, lakeside town of Lecco ahead of our concert the following evening.
For any James Bond lovers (thinking more the film buff type than the leggy blondes and brunettes who have somehow fallen for even a single one-liner), Lake Como was the place of rehabilitation he went to in Casino Royale (spoiler: James Bond *actually* gets hurt and needs medical attention).
The concert in Lecco was a free concert put on by the town in conjunction with Associazione Musicale Harmonia Gentium. Apparently more than 35,000 people applied for tickets to hear the concert in the stunning Basilico di San Nicolò. Crazy!
So yeah, when people ask me what I did last week I reply: ‘Nothing much, just work, you know, same old same old…’ and that seems completely bonkers on one level because not many people do UK, Romania, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, Switzerland and Italy in the same week. Then again, that’s small fry compared with Kosovo, UK (Solihull, Warwick), The Faroe Islands…I mean, who’d do that??!!
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