Lucerne

...And Now It's Over

LA Phil Music Director Gustavo Dudamel stands in front of the LA Phil's truck outside New York's Lincoln Center following the last performance of the LA Phil's 2013 Tour.

The stage platforms are struck, the instrument cases are packed and the big LA Phil truck is rolling back to Los Angeles.

Another tour is in the books and we think it's fair to say that this one has been successful. From London to Lucerne to Paris to New York, critics raved, audiences cheered and we at the LA Phil were once again reminded why we do what we do.

Led by our Music Director, we took a typically audacious set of programs on the road. We played programs that said, "This is who we are and this is what we think is important." And we brought the audiences along with us - audiences that may have been skeptical were won over, note by note, until they were standing at the end of the concerts. And, sometimes, even cheering DURING the concerts.

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Memories, Big and Small

The sound of packed houses in London, Lucerne, and Paris clapping relentlessly in rhythm this past week will surely resound in our ears for a long time to come. What a joy it has been to present these 2 very different programs to our European audiences, and have them received with so much palpable excitement and appreciation!

Sometimes in one's travels on tour, however, it's also the everyday experiences that can be just as memorable. I'll share just a couple of my favorite off-stage moments from the European leg of this tour:

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Mountaintop Musings

Nathan Medley (far right) consoles Mary Magdalene (Kelley O'Connor) with his fellow countertenors (Daniel Bubeck and Brian Cummings) in a scene from John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary

Who knew John Adams could sound so good with a little extra cheese in the belly?

That's a random observation about performing The Gospel According to the Other Mary in Switzerland, sure. But, after our Lucerne experience, I can honestly say that "those hills were alive with the sound of music."

As we round the half way point of our tour and head onward to the discerning French it is a perfect moment for this kind of reflection. Two wonderful observations come to mind: 

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Alpine Inspiration

Gustav Mahler used cowbells to depict bucolic life in the rural villages dotting the Alps and Richard Wagner finished the third act of his opera Tristan und Isolde in 1859 living in the very hotel I write this from, the Hotel Schweizerhof. He was so inspired by the incredible view from our hotel of Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus rising above Lake Luzern that in 1866 he bought a house down the street which is now a museum.

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Picture Post - Life in Lucerne

The KKL, seen from across Lake Lucerne. The hall was designed by architect Jean Nouvel, who is also designing installations for the LA Phil's production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in May.

The temptation to take the occasional personal day must be pretty fierce in Lucerne, what with the concert hall standing in the shadow of the Alps and all. Luckily, the hard-working members of the LA Phil's production team were nowhere near where they could see such natural beauty; rather, they were all toiling away inside the hall getting ready for tonight's performance of The Gospel According to the Other Mary.

Ah, life on the road!

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Discovering Dudamel in Lucerne

It isn't only our own young musicans of YOLA or those in London-based El Sistema-inspired programs that get to "Discover Dudamel" - it's a Swiss thing too! Our Music Director took time out from preparing for tonight's Lucerne performance of The Gospel According to the Other Mary to pose with 150 young musicians from the Lucerne nucleo this morning.

Who can spot Gustavo in the sea of red T-shirts?

 

 

 

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Willkommen in Luzern!

Lucerne

The stage at the Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern (KKL) in Lucerne as the LA Phil crew prepares for today's performance of The Gospel According to the Other Mary.

 

The orchestra and some of the LA Phil staff had a much-needed free day in Lucerne yesterday, but, as you can see by the work being done onstage, that free day didn't quite extend all the way across the operation. After arriving in Lucerne on Monday, the crew had to unload the three trucks it took to move the equipment from London to Lucerne and get started straightaway with setup. No rest for the weary - but, in all honesty, that's why they're the best.

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Greetings from Lucerne!

Marion Kuzyk, Michele Grego and Michele Bovyer pose for a photo in Lucerne.

Today was a much-needed day off - no concerts, no rehearsals and no travel. I was fortunate to join two of my colleagues on an incredible journey to Mount Pilatus. Mount Pilatus is the 7000-foot Alpine Summit that is above Lucerne. Marion Kuszyk, Shelley Bovyer and I boarded a bus to the Kriens Station where we took the gondola to the first stop at 4649 feet. None of us had ever travelled to the summit and we thought surely we were to the top.

Marion took a wonderful photo of the next aerial cableway which took us to the summit. It's the tiny red speck in the middle of the snow covered mountain - it was nothing less than breathtaking and a bit terrifying.

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