Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Oregon Arts Orchestra - Day 8 Venice

Sunday was a walking tour of Venice with the whole group.  Getting off the bus, Flavio told us not to turn on our Italian iPods.  Ours had been moved while we were deviating from the rest of group.  I didn't see mine and thought Flavio had meant that we didn't need it.  We headed to the square and met our tour guide for the morning, Lucy. As we grouped around her in the Piazza San Marco and everyone adjusted their earpieces, suddenly things became very hard for me and Kip to hear.  Instead of the tour guide speaking up to project over the sound of the pressing crowds, she dropped her voice to speak quietly, directly into her microphone.  We would have appreciated our iPod's then.

Lucy took us inside the Doge's palace and across the Bridge of Sighs to the prison.  I stuck close to her to hear as much of the discussion as possible.  The wealth of these places is amazing!  The walls and ceilings are covered with priceless paintings that are framed (at least in the Doge's Palace) with 24 carat gold.  Because of the location (muddy island), all the Venetian buildings are built on pilings buried in the mud.  A large Venetian building would require an entire forest beneath it just to hold it up.  And almost as much inside to make up the building itself.

That evening was our final concert.  We performed in Treviso, almost an hour away from Venice.  We left early enough to set up, eat, and rehearse before the 9pm concert.  Unfortunately, Italian restaurants don't start serving dinner before 7 and we had to rehearse at 7.  But they will serve drinks and little salty pork sandwiches and caprese.  I can't get enough caprese.

Our concert was in a covered area in the main square of the town.  There were a lot of people out enjoying their Sunday evening who were very curious to see a bunch of American's all dressed in black walking the streets of their little town.  Our rehearsal had a bit of an audience all it's own.

When 9:00 came, the chairs in the covered pavilion were almost all full and people were sitting on the stone half-wall around the outside.  We we ready to go.  We took off with the Rossini, Theiving Magpie, and it was a good beginning.  Everything was lining up nicely and we were enjoying playing together.

The second piece on the concert was the Cimerosa.  While Phyllis and I pulled our stands taller and maneuvered to the side of the orchestra, Cindy and Flavio introduced our orchestra to the crowd.  Kp and Guy, our stage hands, took our stands to the front and we followed a moment after.

When we played the Cimerosa at the first concert, I was really nervous.  It was at the church in Rome.  In fact, we played it twice that night.  We did the middle movement during the mass, during communion if I remember right.  And that went just fine, although it felt a little odd to be performing in the main part of the church while Mass was held in the chapel on the side.   Then, we performed the whole piece during the concert after the Mass.  The seats for the audience were so close to me and Phyllis that we could have given people in front of us high 5's. it was super hot in the church, and with our beaded shirts OVER our concert blacks, it was sweltering.  Add to the the general nerves that accompany solo performance (or duo in this case) and I was pretty hopeless.  It wasn't a terrible performance, but it was a little shaky and by the end my ability to count had disintegrated.  I made mistakes that really weren't worth making.

During the second concert at the Tettuccio Baths in Montecatini, we had to shorten the concert.  We cut the first movement and did 2 & 3. This performance was better.  I was less nervous, less hot, and farther from the audience by several feet.  There were mistakes, but it was a good performance.

This concert in Treviso was a good one.  The weather was nice.  The audience didn't overwhelm me.  Things were good.  We performed the first movement since we'd done the other two last time. And things just really seemed to line up right.  It was the kind of performance that goes just as well as it possibly could go.  It wasn't a perfect performance, but I did my part as well as I had done in my very best personal practices.  It was magical to play with the orchestra behind me and Phyllis and just enjoy how everything came together.  I heard later that there was a little girl dancing at the front of the audience through the performance.  That's a good sign!

Yvonne played the Vivaldi Winter after us.  It was also very well done.  Then, the dixieland group came up.  They had performed at the concert in the Tettuccio Baths and been unquestionably the highlight of the concert.  They are a ton of fun, and very different from anything else you hear at a classical concert.  Especially a European classical concert.  At this concert, they were again a definite favorite of the night. After their piece finished, Flavio came up and announced that someone had requested the Saints, so they just whipped it out, no music or anything.

We closed out with the Hansen, 2nd and 3rd movements.  We have made a lot of progress on that one.  After the appropriate applause, we played our encores.  First American Salute, then, after another round of applause, a snippet of the Rossini.

The venue cleared out and we packed our things, stacked our chairs and started a hike to the bus.  The night was dark and the streets had emptied quickly.  Kip stayed at the back helping Sharon walk on the uneven cobblestones.  I tried to position myself where I could still see him, Sharon, and Susan behind and the rest of the orchestra ahead.  Eventually the main group stopped and waited for us to catch up.  The bus was still a good walk farther away and it had started to rain.  Flavio had called a taxi for Sharon.  We left him with her and hiked off.  When we reached the bus, Sharon was inside waiting for us.  Her hip has deteriorated and is it incredibly painful for her to walk.  This has been a tough trip for her.

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