Friday, July 17, 2009

July: Musique des Lumieres

Arriving for our last concert on this tour at Notre Dame de la Paix which is beside the Abbaye Ecole de Soreze where we stayed and which houses this festival. We were hoping for some hot southern weather on our last day, but the tour ends as it began - lots of rain. There was, however, a brief and lovely bit of sunshine through the clouds at concert time - meaning that we could make our entrance without getting drenched!

This was our hotel, part of the Abbaye grounds and a few minutes from the church so we could dress in our own rooms which is quite luxurious.

Our daytime adventure was that we had been told that there was a handwritten sign of welcome on a door, so we went to find it. As Matt was writing a note on the blackboard by the front door...

...the signer of the note, Leo, appeared at the door...

... and invited us in to show us his spectacular apartment where he lives and makes art when not in L. A.

We didn't have so much time here - but enough to have some culinary delights and a walk around ( and our surprise visit to a private home) before coming back to our hotel.

One last warm up - where we disccovered the huge and wonderful acoustic of this church. It was really fun to sing into.

Our fan and friend Danielle from Luxembourg came 1000km to see us! There seemed also to be a lot of English speakers present. The audience was extremely warm right from the beginning through the several encores.

Bye for now. We're flying back to San Francisco tomorrow, then on to our various vacations - and in Gabe's case, honeymoon.
Thanks for joining us on this trip-we'll see you in September when our new season begins with a Bay Area tour of our new program "In time of..."

July: Cabourg to Soreze in a long day on the bus

Here's a little travelogue from our day on the bus going from the top of Normandie to Soreze in the Southwest of France -not so far from Spain. While bus travel is sometimes long it works out better for us - the airlines won't take our amount of baggage on internal flights - changing train stations in Paris ( and elsewhere) in July would have been a monumental drag - so we sat on the bus, patronized rest stops, played cards, and, 15 hours later there we were!

There have been a number of animals along the way we would have liked to take a long - the goat of the Hotel du Parc in Faverges, the kittens at the reception in Plougastel, and here the dog of our presenter in Cabourg...that would have been some menagerie - the 12 of us and our pets!

At the flunch restaurant, Cortez tries to live up to his bib which says 'le plaisir intensement..." -oh those French!

And voila - we begin to arrive.

The sun sets over the southwest. We proceeded on through an impressive electrical storm and arrived in Soreze by midnight.

July: Promenades Musicales en Pays d'Auge

The Eglise de Cabourg, where we perform for the Promenades Musicales en Pays d'Auge -a fantastically beautiful corner of Normandy full of all kinds of cheese and Calvados and such that we didn't have the time to enjoy fully! Cabourg is, of course, the site of much of M. Proust's work - we had madeleines in the dressing room, bien sur.

France 3 Normandie filmed a bit of our warmup, including another balcony interview with Matt. They broadcast live at the top of our concert.

A man sat on the floor in front of us painting many pictures of us during the concert. It certainly beats flash cameras, but unfortunately he was unable to let us have one. They were destined for a gallery somewhere.

We had a very warm reaction, and, as always in France in places where we haven't been before, sold loads of CD's. A number of people just took every title we had on the table - that's the most flattering response of all!

After the concert we drove along the seashore to Lyon-sur-Mer -to the house of a wonderful lady who fed us - including delicious beef from Normandy, and other delights - and made us feel very at home.
A lovely end to the day.

July; Chant des Chapelles

The legendary Brittany weather was true to form and we experienced everything -sun, rain, wind - - in the short time we were in Plougastel.

We were about as deep into the countryside as we have been and it was a magic moment when we arrived and saw where we would perform.

The festival Chant des Chapelles takes place in eight small chapels in this part of Brittany. This is the Chapelle Notre Dame where we sang.

It couldn't have been a prettier place...

As it was Bastille Day,we worked a little Marseillaise moment into our madrigal, which caused a big laugh!
After the concert we were treated to a dinner just for us with fantastic vegetable tarts, and everything home made. That was really good and very kind of our hostess!

Monday, July 13, 2009

July: Faverges to Tours

A travel day in which we knock off much of the distance between Faverges ( not far from Geneva) and our next destination - Plougastel in Brittany. Leaving Faverges ( of which we had grown very fond) we drove along the Lac d'Annecy which is unbelievably beautiful.

Back to eating at rest stops on the highway...

We arrived on schedule in the early evening in Tours ( in the Loire Valley) where the Bastille Day parade was just beginning.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

July: Music et Nature en Bauges

Today was the first concert of the tour in France- for Music et Nature en Bauges ( in the Haut Savoie) which had brought us back for a second consecutive year. First, however, there was Sunday to enjoy.

As if we hadn't eaten enough at our lunch of Pate, Robuchon en croute, Blanc de Vollaile, and Ile Flottante, some more dessert appeared later on in the afternoon - the very sympa patronne of the hotel thinking that we might need sustenance for the evening, which began with the arrival of a television crew.

The concept of the TV producer was that we should fling open and appear in the windows of our rooms and then, of course, just sing something. So we got into the Sound of Music spirit, flung open our windows and sang "Without a Song."

Then Matt posed in a window and did a little interview. The TV crew followed us to the church to take in a bit of rehearsal