Friday, 29 January 2016

Capital joys in Madrid

Marvellous Madrid... brilliant to be back at CaixaForum singing in another amazing architectural marvel; this time in central Madrid.

The green section on the right is a living wall, which was much less bushy when we sang at the opening of this venue!
Here it is at night:- (it's all flora!)

CaixaForum venues are always splendid, and this was as splendid as when we first came here; a wonderful auditorium with brilliant staff....
And a willing, enthusiastic and fun audience too!

Some hours to wander about Madrid were also a tremendous glory... there was all this...

Kew gardens (sort of) amidst Atocha Station:

...and even a Banksy (or so it seems):

We're back in Spain (Barcelona & Palma de Mallorca) in March.... but The Netherlands & Belgium & Turkey too in the next few weeks... as well as some recording...

Monday, 25 January 2016

Zaragozan beauty

In the wonderful city of Zaragoza....
...we last performed in this city, at the University, at Christmas in 1991 - that's a while back...

As with many previous Spanish excursions we are here at the behest of CaixaForum (The social arm of La Caixa Bank, based in Cataluña) - all banks in Spain have a social aspect, providing exhibitions, concerts and concert halls and other support all over the country...

Splendid to be in Zaragoza & to perform at the amazing floating building below:

A wonderfully enthusiastic and full crowd greeted us, and accepted our journey from Henry VIII to Adele, via Monteverdi's Lamenta della Ninfa & Tiger Rag... and they enjoyed our talking in Spanish (and maybe even understood us), as well as our singing of La Panaderita - the tale of an alluring woman Baker...

Zaragoza is a splendid place to visit & we had time to see the tremendous, huge Basilica in different lights & weathers... Here are three (the first with Chris in the foreground)!

All glorious - we have come to Madrid now; we have a little time to look around - hooray! - haven't been here for a few years; and then another concert tomorrow, in another excellently-architectured building... more pictures to follow!


Monday, 11 January 2016

We open a newly-renovated venue...

To Diepenbeek (east Belgium, as you wish to know) to be the first to perform in a newly-refurbished venue.... and plush it was ... (as were our lodgings the night before too!).

It was a Sunday AM concert at 11 o'clock - a slight shock to the system, but as we were treated so well... all marvellous!
...and followed by a drinks reception - what could be better!

As ever our Belgian audience were a delight; joining in where necessary and clearly enjoying a relaxing Sunday AM in the concert hall.... & not throwing things when we gently insulted one of the men in the audience (all in the best possible taste, as Kenny Everett would have insisted...)
They particularly loved California Dreamin' - naturally!
Our hard-working Belgian agent, Thomas Van der Spiegel was there and telling us of how many more Belgian concerts we could expect next season - hooray! - & we still have Mol and Deurne (11th & 12th March) to come in this season (both Showtime)....

Classic lit-church look of a corner of Belgium... (lovely):

Thank you to Nele, Kim and all who looked after us and helped to make the trip splendid!

We're off to Spain next - where we have not been for a little while... which will be terrific!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

German New Year... & we saw SNOW!

A splendid start to 2016...

Two return visits; to the beautiful spa resort Bad Kreuznach, and to the wonderful Dreikönigskirche in Dresden.

It was a game of two halves; tho' the first half must have felt a lot longer for one of us...
Sadly, having spent a lovely pre-New Year in Germany, Sarah-Ann & her husband got food poisoning; so when we met up with her at the airport, all was clearly not well!

So the London Quartet, became for one night... The London Trio!
Sarah-Ann recovered well, thank goodness, but needed an extra day of rest...
Mike played the piano for a few numbers and we swapped parts around in others (it's very good for the brain, you know!)... and somehow we got away with it!
The good people of Bad Kreuznach were even afforded the glory of the German première of Sigh No More, Ladies by a certain Mark Fleming, not heard outside my house since 1988 - the music just happened to be in my bag, guv!
Other surprises included singing Greensleeves from our Great British a cappella Songbook... hooray!
But we did a whole concert... we passed time with good company, instructed them on proper tea-making, told them the rules of cricket, insulted a man in the audience (& flattered a woman) and sang like a broken record... and finished off with can You Feel the Love Tonight?  All in all, a recognizable TLQ gig!

The audience were supportive and kind... and delighted we had come; & of course wanting Sarah-Ann to get better soon!
Thank you Dominik for your support in general, and also your excellent photocopying services...!

So the next day, we were delightfully able to do the programme as expected.... Dinner for 4...
We were in the lovely Three Kings Church again, and all went very well.

The picture below shows the small section of the original church which is the centrepiece of the new...

A great building in which to sing, with an audience of happy, joyful people... at the apt moments, joining in lustily (The Lion Sleeps Tonight; Rolling in the Deep; Money, money, money) & in reverential silence (Tallis, Bach, Richard Rodney Bennett).... glorious...
Rounding off with Wenn ich vergnügt bin, muss ich singen in full tongue-twisting style...

Great start to the year... (Glad Sarah-Ann's well again!)

We flew home from Prague (good to see another country); which meant we did finally see some snow... but only a wee bit!

Off to Belgium again at the weekend... a Sunday AM concert (11AM) at Diepenbeek.

Oh, and by the way, splendidly, they still had some Christmas ham at Bad Kreuznach! (Looks like Mike has already had a nibble...)