Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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St Matthew Passion: Valladolid

Wed Apr 8 2009

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Well it’s a couple of days since we got back from Spain now but I thought I would write a few lines about the second concert we did there in Valladolid. We had a very quick turn around after our mammoth coach journey and as soon as we had got off the bus, it felt like we were back on it and on our way to the concert venue. The Centro Cultural Miguel Delibes was very impressive, it is part of a new development on the outskirts of the city and the inside of the hall was almost completely made of wood and the audience seating seemed to go on forever.

We settled the orchestra into the rehearsal and I was then set the challenge of finding out if there was any food for everyone between the rehearsal and concert. Unfortunately for us, it was a Sunday, we were on the outskirts of town, there was not a supermarket in sight and as the hall is ‘new’ (2 years old!) the restaurant is not being built until September… Lola (the lovely Spanish lady from the promoters) and I managed to find the bar manager and after much discussion and a bit of wheeling and dealing in my best Spanish, we convinced them to put together some platters of cheese, meat and bread sticks that would keep the Orchestra going through the 3 hour performance. The Orchestra were very pleased to see some food appear at the end of the rehearsal (a key to orchestra management – keep the musicians fed and watered!) and I was happy in the knowledge that no-one would keel over in the performance!

The hall is quite an interesting place as it is the home of the Castilla and La Mancha Symphony Orchestra so the corridors backstage were lined with cages full of instruments. One of the backstage crew told me that they call them ‘okupa’ which means ‘squatter’ in Spanish as the orchestra spend so much time there but don’t pay any rent!

The concert was a great success again like the previous night with the orchestra and soloists going on for three bows. We packed everyone back on the coach (while a few eager fans managed to corner Mark Padmore for an autograph) and drove back to the hotel where I stayed up for a drink with some of the players. This is always the nicest part of tour, when everyone winds down after the concert, it is a great opportunity to get to know the players a bit better and not ‘talk shop’. I stayed up long enough to have a quick drink and a bite to eat and then went to bed in the knowledge that it wasn’t that long until I had to get up!

It was another early start the following morning with a 3 hour coach journey to the airport (once we had woken up the player who shall remain nameless whose alarm had not gone off!). There was a bit excitement once we got to there as Ronnie Corbett was checking in whilst we were sorting out our cellos and bases (perhaps I was a little more excited than everyone else…)

Next stop on the tour was Paris, watch this space for details of midnight cycle rides!

The photos are of the hall in Valladolid, of us clogging up check-in with all our gumfph (just before Ronnie C turned up!) and a really blurry one of Ronnie C (in yellow!)

Megan Russell, Projects Officer

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