As we reach the end of our wonderful five weeks here in Aix I must take my large, floppy sunhat off to all those you don’t see working behind the scenes but who make our lives here run so smoothly. Miriam and her team in admin organised all the tricky accommodation requests (campsites, apartments, villas and hotels) and travel requirements for us months ago. Usually a tour will involve the orchestra being in one hotel (ninety people checking in and queuing for the lift with suitcases is always such fun) and occasionally in a small place like Gstaad maybe half a dozen, but here, she had to deal with requests that would have made the mammoth workforce at Expedia cry with frustration.
Thanks to the ever-smiling girls suffering from RSI at the Archeveche backstage garden bar who told me they poured an average of thirty to forty wine bottles each show night and up to one hundred and fifty on the opening nights (and dare I say, more the closing nights this week). I don’t think my phone calculator could cope with working that out over 5 weeks needless to say I really hope they weren’t the ones having to heft the empties to recycling…
In a couple of days Alan and Dan will have the task of loading up the instruments to make the drive back home to London where they will be collected at some point (or not) by players eager (or not) to practise for the forthcoming Proms. They will also be taking back a collection of bikes, suitcases and “miscellaneous” according to the schedule.. hmm..probably a load of contraband like a fridge full of vin et fromage. Here is a snapshot of Alan conserving his energy for lifting my case after finding out how much shopping I have done here in Aix. I guess I’ll be owing him a trip to the physio.
However much we’ve enjoyed the performances, I don’t think many of us will be sad to say goodbye to the confines of the Pit. Over five weeks we have been (to mention a few) squashed, freezing cold, roasting hot, attacked by insects, rained on and pooped on. I’d be interested to know if any of the men played twenty opera performances in one black shirt… I have a possible candidate so might have to ask his housemates, who probably would have suspected him on the fragrant drives home.
Last news from the hotel – I made it to four breakfasts in five weeks, not bad for me and I’d say that equals one standard sized jar of Nutella. The famous lilo from blog 1 apparently never turned up in London, and the red substitute thankfully didn’t burst under the weight of one hundred boules of ice cream. I’ll donate it to the next occupant of room 205. I’ve devoured eight books and penned eight blogs (very auspicious number for someone of my heritage) including one for the “gradeoneathon” charity. As I compose this poolside, looking round at the apricating group of us who’ve lived here for over a month, I think if we stayed here any longer we’d more likely be known as The Leatherette Symphony Orchestra with sponsorship from Hawaiian Tropic (and Speedo).
We will be opening our next season at the Barbican with a concert version (sorry that means no naked dancing girls) of Rigoletto conducted by Noseda. If you are in London, please do come along to hear this fantastic opera – we know it pretty well now. You may spy some faded tans and players looking a little nervously up at the ceiling as we momentarily forget we are safe from bird bombings.
Lastly, personal thanks go to Jo Johnson for entrusting the LSO blog to me for the duration of Aix. I think it was the desperation seeping off the email with so many people turning down the opportunity that made me hesitate in replying with an instinctive no. It’s been a great experience for me as I never knew I could write so much without mentioning bling, make up and fashion. I have thoroughly enjoyed including you all into our happy five weeks in Aix and thanks for taking the time to read my inane observations and mostly for being so kind about them. Please do keep reading whoever is writing the blog to keep getting a little insight into LSO touring life – it’s never boring!
Now for a little swim before the unenviable job of packing for home.