LA Phil Blog

The First Concert!

The First Concert!

This is our third day here - I think - hard to tell because of the travel time to get here. Lisbon is a gracious city; hilly like San Francisco, with a suspension bridge that closely resembles the Golden Gate. It is paved in cobblestones, and peppered with little shops and very old churches and crowned with an 11th century castle from which the views are sweeping and astonishing.

Yesterday, I walked probably 7 or 8 miles, getting my fill of brisk air and sunshine to help speed my adjustment to the 8-hour time change. The sights here are filled with history; of 14th century explorers and cartographers, ancient towers used to protect the city from invasion from the Tagus River shores, and statues of generals, kings and saints.

Today, we had our first rehearsal of the tour - we all had to struggle to focus, the jet lag testing everyone’s concentration. The concert hall is in a complex that includes a museum and some beautiful gardens, which are lit at night. The wall behind the stage is glass, and the orchestra was dramatically set in front of the backlit trees and water features for the concert.

The audience was very appreciative - I have found the people here to be warm and friendly - and they showed it tonight as we performed our first concert followed by two encores. Tomorrow night we play Mahler 9 - it will be a challenge to play it for the first time with Gustavo somewhere other than Walt Disney Concert Hall. I think that touring often makes us appreciate how truly wonderful our home hall is - with few exceptions, there is rarely another venue that comes close to its perfectly balanced acoustics.

Time to get some much needed sleep - after I Skype my son Anthony to tell him about my day and hear about his. Ciao!