Drizzle on Florida“…cambio, cambio,” “tango show,” “dollars…exchange…” the Argentinean “hustle” at every step up Florida Street. This is Buenos Aires and it’s either jostle through the crowds of pedestrians on “Florida” or risk the broken sidewalks and the blind bus drivers who back you up from the curb in a cloud of diesel smoke.  Drizzling and cold, Buenos Aires has welcomed the Israel Philharmonic like a noisy tango.

Last night, Wednesday, the IPO opened its series of 4 concerts in Argentina and Uraguay at the Teatro Grand Rex.  The famous Teatro Colon is under renovations and the “Rex,” an auditorium just a few steps down from “Obelisk,” was full with more than 3,000 cheering music lovers.   The program of Strauss and Beethoven was followed by encores of Mozart and Johann Strauss (“Thunder and lightening Polka”).


crowds at the Rex

Zubin Mehta spent the afternoon yelling at stage hands and directing construction when it was discovered that there was not enough room on the stage. An extension that had been promised was hastily built.  To give a feeling of a concert hall the “backdrop” of the Teatro Colon was brought over.  IPO member Enrique Maltz translated for Zubin while finishing touches were put on the lighting during the acoustic rehearsal. 

August is Tango Festival in Buenos Aires.  Young couples are dancing for coins at intersections, and in the department stores, space has been cleared for public dancing and even free lessons. 

Public Tango

Thursday morning, rehearsal  of Mahler Symphony #9, started clear and cold!