Before the tour started Linda Ashford, Sally and I attended a concert of the Berlin Philharmonic visiting Vienna under Simon Rattle playing Bruckner’s 7th Symphony. Our agent Claudia had found us seats in the very back row high up at the back of the hall, miles away from the stage of this famous long narrow hall, the Musikverein. But it turned out to be one of the most overwhelming performances I can remember. The clarity and richness of the sound was extraordinary, as it the orchestra surrounded us. The performance was musically magnificent too.
The tour program starting two days later didn’t falter with highlights like:
- a production at the Vienna State Opera of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale starring the fabulous Juan Diego Florez
- St Petersburg Philharmonic playing Brahms and Beethoven at the Musikverein conducted by Temirkanov very efficiently like a Russian general. I found it very anti-musical
- A glorious performance of Mahler’s Song of the Earth with Klaus Florian Vogt and Matthias Goerne and the Vienna Philharmonic at the Konzerthaus, another beautiful 19th century concert hall
- A morning song recital in the intimate Schubert Saal of the Konzerthaus by tenor Julian Pregardien. An die ferne Geliebte by Beethoven and a bracket of Weber songs stood out in a delightful program