Across the Channel and Back

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.

 Click here for an interactive panoramic view of the hall.



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.

For an interactive tour of Royal Albert Hall, click here!


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.

For the panoramic interactive tour, click here!


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!







4 thoughts on “Across the Channel and Back”

  • Clemmie, you are welcome to use material posted here. Yes, be sure to reference this website, and Stephanie Tretick as the author/photographer as per your usage. Thanks for your interest!

  • Indeed, at the Royal Albert Hall for the Proms, the Arena Prommers aren’t supposed to run, but I do see very brisk walking, near-sprinting, of people to get to the “holy rail”, as some have called it. Personally, when I’ve been to the Proms and have Prommed in the Arena, the better sound is further back, more like in the midst of the of the logo in the middle of the Arena. From where you are on stage, you obviously can’t see closely the Gallery, the other standing room area in the RAH, which holds about 500 people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons