Well, a couple of months ago I’ve been enjoying Glyndebourne and East Sussex in a beautiful summer days. Now is October, but still some good weather, at least in Paris last weekend; +24, sunny, city in full glory with falling leafs, haut-couture autumn dresses... and millions of tourists together with thousands of homeless on the street.
Summer was busy as usual, but very exciting too – Macbeth, White Nights, Prom, Spain, France and, of course, tropical Saint-Petersburg. Those 10 days at home in August with temperature over 30 degrees were just something! At one moment I’ve seen amazing rain: under +36 dark cloud suddenly appeared but produced just a light drizzle which immediately vaporised from the surface; it’s been so strange to see water going both directions, down and up at the same time!
Amongst all engagements in July-August I’d call two as a very special. Prom in London was a big showcase for the orchestra and I’m very glad that it has a great reviews and response, but more important is a level of consistency which has been extremely high in RLPO performance; this is as you know not only that “you can beat any opponent”, but that you’re sure that you’ll do it week by week, day by day without any doubts. And it continued in our Spanish trip, especially in Parsifal, with a fantastic set of singers in a very spiritual city Santiago de Compostela. Wagner is always difficult for orchestra not only because it’s length, but also because intensity; Liverpool doesn’t have at the moment huge Wagnerian tradition and to perform this piece with a very limited rehearsals time was a tread. I’m very proud that on reception after Parsifal (about 2am ) soloists who sang this piece many times in top-class theatres like Met , ROH or Bayreuth, said it’s been one of the best performances by the level of the orchestra.
Next morning I’ve been flying to Paris straight to rehearsal of Onegin. (Here software suggests me to change it to One gin!) Bastille is a very big place, but, surprisingly, with a good acoustic. And there is enough space in the pit for orchestra of any size! Yesterday was a last performance and I had a lot of pleasure from this project; even if production was discussable, level of performance every night has been on the highest standard. If you plan to visit Paris or other French city, I can give you an advice – check in advance when there are next strike days, French people like to make them and it’s quite difficult to travel!
Tomorrow we all off to China, looking forward very much (for me it’s a first visit), particularly to perform Shostakovich 15 which I think will have a very special reception there. Even if there are a very few things to improve after our great performance in Liverpool, another culture and mentality should give a special angle on perception of this great piece. And, of course, we’re so proud to be Liverpool ambassadors there!