LA Phil Blog

Orchestra Post

The Tour According to the Other Mary

Kelley O'Connor, AKA Mary in John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary, is shown here during the dress rehearsal at Walt Disney Concert Hall with dancer Troy Ogilvie.

The end is finally here. New York. Our final show.

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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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Did You Bring Running Shoes?

LA Phil trumpet player Christopher Still takes a break in front of Paris' Le Pure Café during one of his patented city-discovering runs.

Planning to live out of a suitcase for a three-week European tour isn’t easy, and there are a few items that I can’t live without in my garment bag––a sport coat, comfortable jeans, and a pair of warm leather gloves. But the most critical item for me is a dependable pair of running shoes.

Considering the type of haute cuisine available in a city like Paris, you would think that my main motivation for jogging is to justify the butter, Bordeaux and Foie gras. While that’s partially true, my main interest is to get out and explore the city up close and in detail –– something you just can’t do from the back seat of a cab or tour bus.

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American in Paris

Countertenor Brian Cummings (third from right) and the rest of the cast of The Gospel According to the Other Mary, along with Gustavo Dudamel, director Peter Sellars and composer John Adams, take their bows in Paris after the piece's premiere in the City of Lights.

My love affair with the city of Paris began in 2001 when I participated in the world premiere of John Adams' oratorio El Niño. Barely 21 years old, I was astounded by the beauty of the city and the richness of French culture.

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Pourqoui pas Paris?

Barry Gold, LA Phil cellist, stands in front of the Arc de Triomphe in a city he knows well thanks in part to his tenure with the orchestra.

An American in Paris is, of course, an iconic and oh-so-familiar composition by Gershwin. But this magnificent city of lights and romance is currently being seduced by the magnificent musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the LA Master Chorale in what surely will be a overpowering performance of John Adams' new masterpiece: The Gospel According to the Other Mary.

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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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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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Running with the Wetzels

LA Phil violist Mick Wetzel takes a break from his run in London to pose for a photo.

Stacy and I have been touring with major symphony orchestras for 30 years. Before we came to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, we played with the San Francisco Symphony.. This has been a wonderful privilege to have been able to do this and most especially together.

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Walking In London

Nathan Cole, the LA Phil's First Associate Concertmaster, takes a moment to pose with composer and LA Phil Creative Chair John Adams.

Back in London, one of my favorite cities to tour! It's always alive, and I speak the language.

Since my flight and trip to the hotel were fairly easy, I found myself with more energy than I'm used to for the first day of tour. So even though it was rainy and getting dark, I knew I had to take out the camera for a night walk. The combination of rain, city lights, and sunset was a lucky one. The folks eating at this cafe on the Serpentine in Hyde Park had it good!

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The London Connection

 

This time 10 years ago, I was living in Hong Kong with my husband. We had relocated there so we could be together as a family while my husband was working on a project for his company. The LAPhil had granted me a Leave of Absence so that we could make this move. During our time there we met other "Expats" who had moved from other parts of the world for similar reasons. We had friends from Scotland, England, the US,  and also Hong Kong.

After we moved back to LA to resume our lives and professions we stayed in contact with all these friends. Over the years, some friends repatriated to their countries of origin. Two couples from England moved back and one couple we knew from LA moved to London.

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