Bahaia Blanca

Bahaia Blanca – Friday 3 November 2000

I would like to tell you something from first hand about Bahaia Blanca but in all honesty all 1 can say is that it has a charming (read basically functional) airport, an old theatre with three balconies and a lot of red plush but very basic backstage facilities and a hotel with very comfortable beds in which we were able to spend far too little time. We arrived early yesterday evening, checked into the hotel and went straight to the theatre. (On arrival at the hotel I was delighted to get a message from Lynn Hawkes of ABC Radio – I called back and went to air on Ric Paterson’s breakfast program with news of the tour.)

The concert, attended by an audience that filled the theatre’s 600-odd seats, was well appreciated and the Orchestra was in fine form. After the concert several players met with members of the local orchestra, which seems to be professional but were impressed by the standard of the TSO. Most of us returned to the hotel to enjoy the hospitality of the local Mozarteum committee – again supper meant a full sit-down dinner, commencing after midnight. The food and company were again excellent and we appreciated not having to venture out into the town at that hour to find dinner for ourselves.

We checked out of the hotel and boarded the bus at 7.30am to commence the lengthy journey to Salta, in the foothills of the Andes in North Western Argentina. There is the inevitable confusion over cello seats at check in – boarding passes are issued, returned then re-issued for no apparent reason (maybe the cellos have now requested vegan meals!)

A review of our concerts in Buenos Aires and Rosano has appeared in today’s La Nation newspaper, and according to Recha they are very positive, praising in particular the performances of Beethoven Symphony No.7 and Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D. I have purchased three copies, almost the entire stock of the news stand at Bahai Blanca airport.

Am sitting writing this sitting near check-in, waiting for the flight to board. I’m sitting with the laptop on my knee, on a large set of scales outside the airport office of the Argentine Navy, which is incidentally the only branch of the Argentine services never to have apologised for its role in the terror, or Dirty War. Must remember to be careful.

Later, in Salta…

By the time we arrived in this charming Spanish colonial town after two lengthy flights, many in the party were feeling the effects of sleep deprivation. The party is split between two hotels on the main square and there were some complaints from players sent to one of them, that the rooms were not up to their standards. However, a bit of room swapping and everyone seemed happy enough to go off exploring, which is just as well as there isn’t a lot of choice – it’s only a small town. With a bit of luck we’ll all get some sleep tonight.

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