The second leg of our tour took us to Amsterdam. This date of the tour was unusual in that it was only actually confirmed a few months ago. Usually tours like this are planned up to 2 years ahead. In this case the orchestra originally booked to perform at the Concertgebouw was unable to perform, so we were asked if we would be free, and luckily we were, although with the exception of mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotjin, who was replaced at this performance by Anna Stephany.

The trip to Amsterdam was uneventful – a short flight during which there was barely enough time to eat the breakfast roll that was served. 3pm saw us rehearsing at the Concertgebouw, although the start of the rehearsal was delayed somewhat, partially because of some problems tuning the organs, but also because we were trying to decided on the best stage layout – the Concertgebouw has a fairly unusual stage in that the flat part of it is actually quite small. Behind this small flat area the stage rises up dramatically, and whereas in most concert hall these ‘risers’ are removable or can sink back down into the stage, here they are permanent.

After the rehearsal we retreated backstage to enjoy one of the real treats that the Concertgebouw offers performers – the canteen! The facilities here are really first rate – and the stylish canteen could easily be mistaken for a chic cafe. The food is solid and a complete bargain at €11.50 for 3 courses!

The performance was very well received by a packed hall, and it was a real treat to hear the OAE in such a great acoustic. After the show we of course stopped off for a few drinks, though I was sad to find that the principal attraction (according to the players) of the bar we went to, a HUGE cat, had passed away since our last visit.

We returned to London the next day, having managed not to get run-over by trams while loading double basses into the coach, and are now ready for the next leg of the tour – to Spain.

William, Marketing Director

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