The third week of the European Festival tour is underway: 13 concerts in 14 days. While staying at the hotel in Bonn, we did a run-out to Cologne, 50 minutes down the Rhein River. Zubin spared us a rehearsal before the performance, but we were all guests for a short beer party immediately after the concert. The beer was the local favorite, a “kolsch:” light but strong!

The party did not end at night: the next morning at Bonn airport, Zubin stocked up on 100 cups of Ben and Jerry’s coconut chocolate ice cream for the in-flight service to Milano. It was a great improvement over our Lithuanian airline chartered service with intermittent toilets and no overhead space.

Unfortunately for the orchestra, we landed at lunch time for the Milano baggage handlers which meant a lost hour by the conveyor belts. We made up the hour by standing through lunch at the hotel… not enough chairs…and what a weird hotel! It was the back-lot set for Fellini’s “La Strada:” isolated, silent, and seemingly uninhabited until the arrival of the orchestra; early 60’s décor, somewhere between a government hospital and an Olympic village. Quick sleep and off to the concert.

The Teatro Degli Arciboldi was built 12 years ago to accommodate the company of the La Scala Opera House during the 2 year renovation of their 18th century theater in the downtown. Since then it has held its place as a concert hall, theater and auditorium for shows. The concert of Liszt and Mahler was broadcast live on Italian radio and was attended by the Israeli ambassador his wife, Mr. and Ms. Gideon Meir. They were guests backstage at intermission, a very welcome demonstration of support for Maestro Mehta and the orchestra!

 

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