Tuesday April 19, 2011
To LAX, by Way of Munich
On the last full day in Salzburg we were free to explore on our own. Harry and Matye visited Germany in the morning for a tour of a salt mine. Some, like Renee, Susan M., Irene and Marcia, spent the day in old town with some serious scarf shopping in mind. Many, like, Karl and Genevieve, Mark and Susan C., took the funicular trip up to the looming castle that sits right above Old Town. Jackie and others found time to pay homage to Wolfie by walking through the museum housed in the Mozart Geburthaus (Birth House). Eva went Teddy Bear shopping with Barbara and David Dusing. Others simply opted to climb every mountain in order to take in the views (or perhaps catch sight of Julie Andrews spinning around while singing). In fact Marlene and Jackie took the enormously popular Sound of Music tour.
Monday evening found us back at the Grosses Festspielhaus for our last music program of the tour: the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle’s direction in a program with, not one, but two stunning soloists. Mezzo-Soprano Rinat Shaham (no relation to Gil) sang Maurice Ravel’s exotic song cycle Sheherazade (set to texts by a poet who evidently liked Wagner – his pseudonym was Tristan Klingsor). Then the orchestra was joined by the young violin phenom Julia Fischer for the seldom if ever heard Glazunov Violin Concerto.
As we left the hall for intermission Marcia squeezed my arm and said “Look there!” She’d spotted, all by himself, hunched over a bit so as to become as invisible as possible, Gustavo Dudamel, moving through the crowd. (At the concert’s end JoAnne and Chuck bumped into him and got to say hi to him a second night in a row).
After intermission Rattle led the mighty Berlin forces in Rachmaninoff’s lush Symphony No.2. Man, oh man, can that Berlin brass section roar.
This morning we are motoring our way to Munich where we catch our flight home.
I’ve had the pleasure of hosting several European tours with classical music fans. This one was the best yet. The attention to detail provided by KUSC’s Minnie Prince and our guides James and Brigitte and the meticulous planning by Peter Strauss – but most of all the great company – made this the Austrian experience of a lifetime.
– Rich Capparela