Photographic France Finale
Gail is traveling through France with a KUSC tour group. Click here to see images from their stop in the village of Roussilon in the Luberon. And click here for more on their visit to the St. Remy-de-Provence sanitarium where van Gogh was a patient from 1889-1890. They finished their tour in Paris.
The KUSC tour of France ended with a blaze of concerts, opera, and even a modern Passion Play.
We saw three magnificent Roland Petit ballets at the Paris Opera, including a hair-raising Carmen; a splendid, conventional production of Verdi's Falstaff at the Opera Bastille; and two LA Philharmonic tour concerts: the staged version of the John Adams Passion Play, The Passion According to the other Mary, and a program of Vivier, Debussy, and Stravinsky, both at the Salle Pleyel, with its superb, brilliantly warm acoustics.
The audience responded rhapsodically: incessant rhythmic clapping, and a real standing ovation. Rare in Paris!
Then three longtime LA Philharmonic players hung out with members of the KUSC tour backstage: Principal keyboards, Joanne Pearce Martin, clarinetist and bass clarinetist David Howard, and Mitch Newman, from the first violin section. Thanks so much to these wonderful musicians for their generosity and great conversation.
Our tour ended with a final dinner at the beautiful Cafe de la Paix around the corner from the Paris Opera and our hotel.
This is the specialty of the house. A grand chocolate and mocha finale! There was much laughter, exchanging of e-mails addresses, and amazement at how quickly the tour had gone. It seemed to be over in an instant.
We gave our brilliant tour guide, historian James McKenzie, a gift, as well as our undying thanks. He knows Paris as if he helped build it, and his expertise extends to ancient art, architecture, and the (accurate!) dirt on royal families going back at least 500 years.
Even after the farewell dinner, KUSC tour director Minnie Prince, also the Director of Major Gifts for KUSC, was spotted taking care of last-minute challenges back at the hotel lobby. She is so beloved of tour participants, and takes such great care of them, that these tours are unthinkable without her.
All in all, just a magnifique time was had by all.