Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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The Glam Factor. With Ceri Jones.

Fri Aug 5 2011

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Now time for some music by Felix Mendelssohn's good friend, Prince Albert (i.e. Queen Victoria's husband).… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Press Manager Katy Bell outside Mozart's House

When I tell people that I work for an Orchestra and occasionally get to accompany them on tour, they often get very excited and say, ‘ooh isn’t that glamorous’… Erm… well in a word, not always!  (editor – that’s two words!) This past weekend I was lucky enough to accompany the OAE on one of their 4 trips out to Salzburg to play in the festival’s production of The Marriage of Figaro. I definitely drew the short straw with this one – one of those blink and you’ll miss it 24 hour trips, but I did get to enjoy some stunning opera in one of the worlds classiest and distinguished music festivals so it can’t have been all bad. Do the negatives cancel out the highlight?  What do you think to this chain of events?? The glamour scale… Saturday morning aka usually my weekend.  Alarm fails to go off so I have approximately 5 minutes accompanied by sheer panic to get dressed and leave the house (minus). Arrive at Heathrow Terminal 1, along with the rest of the UK as it’s the first day of the school summer holidays.  Spend ages queuing to check in, then helping to sneak OAE players to the front of the queue and the bag drop so we don’t miss our plane (minus). Finally, through security and time for a coffee with our orchestra manager, Philippa, Press Manager Katy and the 2 Tony wind players (plus). Onto the plane, jam my bag in the overhead locker and settle in to my seat, with my free copy of the Daily Mail…(editor – double minus) I’m sandwiched in the middle of a 3. Surrounded by screaming children (minus). Offered a skanky egg sandwich (minus). Arrive at Munich, and en route to bus grab some food from the supermarket for the journey.  It will be hours before we arrive in Salzburg and it’s nearly lunchtime already (minus). Motorways in Germany/Austria are so packed that the bus driver takes the 2.5hr scenic route, with almost vomit inducing twists and turns in the road (most definitely a minus!). Arrive at hotel and smooth check-in (plus). Have just 1 hour for a quick wander to explore the old town with Katy.  Grab a piccie outside Mozart’s birth place (plus). Back to hotel to change into long evening dress for performance.  Thankfully my dress is crease resistant! (plus) Wave off the players on the bus to the venue, whilst I wait in hotel reception for our clarinettist Jane’s missing suitcase, whilst the hotel fire alarm goes off (minus). Taxi to venue with said suitcase (plus?  Well, more glam than walking). Sit in the pit whilst the orchestra warm up for tonight’s performance, say a quick hello to conductor Robin Ticciati (plus!) Have just 20 minutes to have a pre-opera snack and aperitif with Katy in a venue opposite the Haus fur Mozart (plus), then sprint to the venue in our pretty dresses (minus). Settle into our stalls seats for 4 glorious hours of Figaro, and enjoy sauntering around the foyer area in the interval with a little glass of something fizzy (plus, though would have been plus plus! if we could have afforded the Champagne…)

Interval fizz

Interval fizz

Post performance, its 11pm and it’s absolutely pouring down.  Thank goodness for my brolly, but my sandals are suffering (minus). Time for a late night snack with a few players in a local bar, which turns into a rather later night than planned… (plus because it was a lovely evening but minus for the knock on effect). Alarm goes off at 6.15am (definitely a minus). Amazing Hotel breakfast buffet (plus). But no more than 5 minutes to scoff a boiled egg (minus). 2 hour bus ride back to Munich airport, though thankfully we travel on the motorway (minus). Busy airport and lots of queuing to check in and drop bags, sorting out items that have been left behind… (minus). Very bumpy flight back to London (minus). Offered a limp egg and ham salad pot (minus). Amazing views as we come in over a cloudless London.  I can even spot Kings Place! (plus) All is relatively smooth coming through security (plus). Hot and stuffy Piccadilly line all the way home (minus). So overall…how glam is that?! Ceri Jones, Projects Director


  • […] in the end and we all had a ‘few’ drinks afterwards to recover from a stressful day… As Ceri says below, touring is definitely not glamorous! Share this:EmailPrintFacebookTwitterLike this:LikeBe the […]

  • I’ll have you know that one of those glasses of fizz belonged to Katy, and anyway it was WELL deserved by that point 🙂

    Ceri Tue Aug 16 2011