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Well today is the first day of our latest project with our Principal Artist Sir Simon Rattle (pictured conducting us a few years ago in Budapest). Of course everyone is *quite* excited about it. We’re touring a concert of Mozart and Haydn, which also features pianists Katia & Marielle Labèque playing the Mozart Concerto for two pianos.
This afternoon and evening sees our first rehearsal with Sir Simon (he’s coming to us straight from a project with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra), with further rehearsals Wednesday and Thursday (we have a rehearsal of Rinaldo for Glyndebourne on the Tuesday). That evening we’re off to Brussels – staying the night there and onto Luxembourg on Friday. We give a concert in Luxembourg Friday night before travelling onto Paris for a concert there on Saturday. We’ve also just found out that we’re going head to head with the London Symphony Orchestra that night – we’re at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, while they are at the Salle Pleyel – and we’re even staying at the same hotel!
Sunday morning we travel back to London before flying to Dublin for a concert at the National Concert Hall on Monday night. Then it’s an early flight back Tuesday to London and the final concert of the tour at the Royal Festival Hall.
Next Tuesday we are performing Haydn’s Creation in the atmospheric surroundings of St Paul’s Cathedral, as part of the City of London Festival. We caught up with conductor Thierry Fischer to ask him a few quick questions:
What/when was your big breakthrough?
Still to come…
What do you fear the most?
Today, … I fear that Switzerland is not going to reach the final of the World Cup…
Which mobile number do you call the most?
My wife’s number and my travel agent’s one… and the “lost and found office” at Geneva Airport.
What – or where – is perfection?
Fortunately, there is no answer. A perfect hope would be to believe that everything is still possible…
Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Well… today… it’s…
Book: Raimond Gregorius in Night train for Lisbon by Pascal Mercier
Comic: XIII by Jean Van Hamme
Film: Schlomo in Va, vis et deviens by Radu Mihaileanu
Opera: La Musica in La Favola d’Orfeo by Monteverdi
… And tomorrow will be different…
What’s your favourite ritual?
My favourite ritual is to do my best not to have one.
Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
Anyone, at any level, in any branch, acting with creativity to bring something new and constructive, full of perspectives…
What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
Being a striker in the Swiss Football Team.
What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
La Ville des deux Paix played by Hesperion XXI conducted by Jordi Savall.
Should the classical music world work harder to attract a wider audience?
Yes, not really much harder but more specifically, promoting the energy of “Live Music” which can’t be replaced by any technology…
Here are some pics from Monday’s Creation Education project, a joint effort with Brighton Early Music Festival. The orchestra rehearsed on their own in the morning in St George’s Church, Kemp Town, Brighton. We were then joined by 250 school children in the afternoon, who were EXTREMELY well behaved. At 6pm we were joined by all their parents who were queuing around the block to come and hear them sing some Turkish songs and Part 1 of Haydn’s Creation.
After the performance I nipped down to the beach (looking and feeling very out of place trying to carry my wheelie suitcase down the pebbly beach!) to meet the bassoonist, Zoe and Rebecca, and Lizzy, one of the singers. They were keeping Zoe company as she had decided to go for a swim.
Megan Russell, Projects Manager
I arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last Thursday, pretty exhausted from our concert the night before with Sir Mark Elder conducting the OAE in Haydn’s Creation, to help out at our schools concert based around the same piece of music. I had been told that there’d be 800 kids from various schools we work with in the local Camden/Islington area as well as some who’d travelled down from Suffolk, but I couldn’t imagine quite how noisy and packed the Front Room of the QEH would be! The aim of the day was to explore the links between music and science through activities in the foyer and then a concert in the main hall.
In preparation for our Haydn Creation concert at the Royal Festival Hall last night we rehearsed for a few days in Cecil Sharpe House, in a leafy street just by Regents Park. I arrived at the rehearsal the other morning to find an extra special member of the orchestra purring around the hall. A local cat had managed to sneak into the rehearsal room and was making friends with various members of the Orchestra, including Anthony Bailey (one of our young players on the Ann and Peter Law OAE Experience scheme) who is in the photo. Unfortunately we couldn’t let it stay for the rehearsal as it had a bell around its neck which might have been a little distracting!
Megan Russell, Projects Manager
Earlier this month, I travelled with a group of our patrons to Austria for a performance by the OAE in the Schloss Esterházy in Eisenstadt. Haydn worked in the Esterházy for over 30 years and it seemed a perfect time for this trip to celebrate Haydn’s Bicentenary.
After a hassle-free flight to Vienna we travelled to Eisenstadt, which is approximately 1 hour from the airport. That evening we dined outdoors at a lovely restaurant directly opposite the Schloss Esterházy. We sat outside to make the most of the balmy evening but blankets were a nice touch as the night turned cooler.
Morning walking tour of the Jewish Quarter, Haydn Mausoleum and Schloss Esterházy, along with hordes of other tourists. The patrons then spent the afternoon in Hungary and thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Eszterháza.
We were all very excited about hearing the Orchestra perform in the Haydnsaal. As always, the Orchestra played beautifully and the acoustics were simply superb. Following the concert, Laurence Cummings and some of the other players from the OAE joined us for a hearty feast. We enjoyed a seasonal dinner, starting with pumpkin soup, which was the best I have ever had!
Back to London with long delays checking into Heathrow…
Claire Lenyk, Development Manager, Individual Giving
Having written a short while ago about a less busy period for the Orchestra, we are now currently in the midst of an incredibly busy few months.
Last week we started rehearsal for the St Matthew Passion with Mark Padmore, which had its first performance last night in Bristol. Prior to this project starting we had already started rehearsals for Dido & Aeneas and Acis & Galatea at the Royal Opera House. We had the dress rehearsal for that last Friday, and the first night is tonight. You can imagine that quite a lot of work goes into scheduling and dovetailing two projects like these!
The Passion is touring to Amsterdam, Spain, Paris and Berlin, and the double bill at the Royal Opera House is playing until 20 April. Then from 19 April we’re straight into our next two projects – Heiner Goebbel’s Songs of Wars I have seen and our Haydn concert with conductor Ed Gardner. Phew!
William, Marketing Director
An audience members review from our concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 10 March:
I am not really qualified to pass comment on the performance of the OAE as I am a very amateur musician (I pay to be allowed to play the trumpet and as far as my wife is concerned, the best present she ever gave to me was a practice mute), however, I was at the concert so here goes……
A few gripes first:
My seat had been sold to someone else as well as me! The other person let me have the seat (thank you) and was then re-seated in a much better position (a just reward).
The QEH was a bit on the warm side.
The stage was very squeaky under the foot of one of the soloists as she stood up to play.
Kind of. We were rudely interrupted in our Kings Place office when one of our big floor to ceiling windows was shattered by a missile coming from the other side of the canal. All very dramatic with the police visiting etc…
Onto musical matters – this week we’ve also been doing a new recording with our regular collaborator, violinist Rachel Podger. We were actually recording in a church rather than a studio (as you can see) and were recording Haydn violin concertos. We’ll let you know when it gets released – it’s usually at least 6 months later.
William Norris, Marketing Director (with thanks to Megan for the pic)