March 12, 2008
It’s hard to believe that we’re on our way home. It’s the first leg of a long trip from Madrid to Munich and then Munich to LA. I’m actually on the plane right now! The last couple days have been another whirlwind but wonderful yet again. In San Sebastián, we had a full house of 1800 people. It was very different from the Paris audience, very relaxed-feeling. In Paris, one had the feeling that the audience was waiting to be critical, although in the end of course they didn’t seem to be that at all. In San Sebastián everybody seemed to be very relaxed, and just waiting to be enthusiastic, which they were – and they were incredibly enthusiastic. In a way, much as we loved Vesselina Kasarova, it was great to end with a program of Uri Caine and the Orchestra, because it’s much more about the Orchestra. And the audience was as enthusiastic about that as any audience had been about any of our concerts.
We went on from there to Madrid, where we had our farewell party last night at a wonderful club in the center of the city. People had had a few hours either to wander around or to go to the Reina Sophia, which was the only museum that was open on a Monday, and were in very good moods when we got together for our final, big celebration. There were lots of toasts, good food, good wine and then a few of us went out for the famous Spanish chocolate con churros at a place that’s open all night long. It was Jeffrey and Martha Kahane, Connie Kupka, Margaret Batjer, Andrea Laguni, Dan Read, Devin Thomas, Cooney and I with Roland Kato. It was a great way to finish our time in Spain and in Europe in general. It meant we didn’t get much sleep because the call for the bus this morning was no later than 5 am for our 7:30 am flight.
The way that has worked all along is that there’s a 1/2 hour window during which we need to bring our luggage down for it to get onto the bus, and then 15 minutes after the close of that window, we need to be on the bus. Joanna Trebelhorn, from TravTours, was our guide, if you like, the whole way; making sure that everybody was there, making sure that all the luggage got checked in, holding on to our baggage checks, just in general making sure that everything went smoothly, and she did a great job of it. She said that we were not the most prompt group, and she decided that it was because we were all Californian and very laid-back. So she moved the call up this morning by 15 minutes to make sure that we would get to the airport on time, since of course this is the beginning of a long international flight.
It means that there are a lot of people sleeping on the plane right now, but I think basically sleeping very happily because it’s been a fabulous experience. Jeff spoke at the closing dinner when he made his toast about the transformation of the orchestra, and I think everybody feels as if this was a high point, but also the beginning of something very wonderful that will continue once we get back to Los Angeles.