February 29, 2008
Today was the day that we started working again. It was very hard for the musicians because they, I think, were particularly jetlagged, as one tends to be on the third day of such a trip. But we had a big rehearsal in the afternoon where everybody got to meet Vesselina Kasarova for the first time and to hear her absolutely magnificent voice in preparation for the concert tomorrow night in Treviso.
Then, after a bit of a break, we had the first concert in Ferrara, a completely full house at the Teatro Comunale, which is a beautiful theatre that looks very much like La Scala. It has an orchestra level, and then the whole rest of the house is five levels of boxes, all the way around in a horseshoe shape, and really magnificent to look at. The sound is rather unforgiving, so the Orchestra was very exposed, but they did a great job. The concert started with Pulcinella, which is probably the hardest piece on the program to start with because it is so exposed, even in a theatre that is less so than this one. Then came Uri Caine’s Mosaics, which was a huge hit. There were clearly a lot of people in the house who were here for Uri, and that was very exciting. People loved it in spite of the fact that, of course, it is a very contemporary piece, and they just kept warming up from there.
We went on to a very warm and beautiful Haydn and finished, or almost finished I should say, with the Prokofiev “Classical” Symphony, which, of course, is really a signature piece for the Orchestra, and they were hot by that time.
Then came the encore, and Jeffrey addressed the audience in Italian, telling them that tomorrow was Rossini‘s birthday and that in honor of that fact we were going to play some Rossini. Specifically, we were going to play the Overture from L‘italiana in Algeri, and Jeffrey asked whether for this one night, they would forgive him if he wanted to rename the piece The Los Angelinos in Ferrara. So, the audience loved that and were very, very excited about the Rossini – they would barely let the Orchestra off the stage. Finally, Jeff had to take Margaret by the hand at a couple minutes before 11 (the concert had started at 8:30 by the way) to lead her and rest of the group off. So, it was a very exciting start to the tour, and we celebrated with a wonderful dinner at local restaurant that has been around since the 15th century. Thanks to Jeffrey and Martha Kahane for hosting all of us!
See the LACO Gallery for more pictures form rehearsal at Teatro Comunale