Swine fever strikes the IPO.

No, we’re all fine; there are no pandemics in the IPO, but we were seriously hurt by swine fever this evening, our last night in Brazil.  It’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere and the flu season is at its peak.  In order to prevent the spread of the flu virus health authorities of Parana, Brazil’s most southern state, closed schools and issued a warning against large congregations of people. 

The IPO found itself in the high risk category! Bottom line: it was extremely difficult to sell tickets to the IPO and the beautiful Teatro Positivo in Curitiba was only about half full of the bravest (and healthiest) concert goers. 

In the meantime, 2 mutations of Swine fever (Shapa’at hachazirim) have been discovered in the orchestra: “Shapa’at hachazanut” (Cantorial fever), first seen in Tel Aviv, and “Shapa’at hachazarot” (Rehearsal fever), a high temperature and sore throat brought on by too many rehearsals.  The IPO toured China at the height of the “Saars” outbreak and now fearlessly in South America with the “Swine.”

The only hard evidence of the dreaded “swine” was two security guards who stood behind the bass section coughing their way through the concert.  

Tuesday morning we left in the pouring rain for Buenos Aires after eight concerts in Brazil.  Members of the IPO who have been coming to South America over the years were unanimous in their admiration of the progress Brazil has made.  In every city we visited, we saw blocks of new apartment buildings, up-scale shops, shopping malls, the newest models of cars, and a general feeling of prosperity.  The threatening atmosphere in the streets has been replaced by the bustle of people trying to improve their standard of living.