The PSO’s stay in Lucerne was life in the clouds, complete with thunder, lightening, and amazing amounts of rain. Here Lake Lucerne turns a steely grey under a rough sky and the shadow of Mount Pilatus.
Indoors was bright and cheerful, and our audience enthusiastic. The orchestra rehearses here with Anne-Sophie Mutter for the evening’s concert.
The concerts in London were in Royal Albert Hall, a circular venue of immense proportions. Backstage is a series of tunnels and narrow hallways. The BBC (London’s premier radio/TV purveyor) is the main sponsor of the Proms, and not only are the concerts broadcast for radio, but now also streamed over the Internet. They haven’t left out the backstage, either: new this time was a strong wireless signal for the use of guests. Orchestra members had the Username and Password memorized in seconds.
French hornist Bob Lauver has found a cozy nook and is checking his email.
In a tiny room off the main hallway backstage PSO Operations Manager Sonja Winkler attends to orchestra business online.
Royal Albert Hall is a circus of texture, color, and proportion. The round section in front of the stage is the “arena” and is filled during concerts by 900 people who stand during the concert, motionless and silent. These attendees camp out in long queues outside the hall, and when the doors open there is a stampede (even though one is not “supposed” to run) to get the best spots near the front. Here an usher is about to give the signal to let the crowd into the arena from the staircases on each side.
The Orchestra traveled to Paris via the Chunnel train. After passport control and a security check similar to that of airports, violinist Dennis O’Boyle and French hornist Joe Rounds await the train in the spacious St. Pancras station.
St. Pancras is computer friendly, too. Free WiFi, and an impressive bank of outlets. Moments later this counter was completely filled.
The Paris venue was Salle Pleyel, an Art Deco hall.
One of the quintessential Paris Metro (subway) signs, in all its Art Nouveau glory. Gare du Nord (North Station) is also the terminus of the Chunnel train.
The ornate gate of a nearby cul-de-sac.
And what is this????
It’s the end of a French horn mute, of course! Here’s a nosegay of different horn mutes – each produces a different sound when put in the bell of the instrument.
And this is another sort of nosegay, with a delicious half-pint in London!