Here’s another overview of Verona photos. Please excuse the rudimentary nature of the gallery: it’s partly the software, I think but also my lack of creativity.
I loved Verona: it’s clean and quiet and generally very civilised, and the surrounding countryside is predictably beautiful. I loved the ochres and sienna colours, which were set off beautifully by the blue sky, and the feeling that around every corner would be a beautiful vista.
We went to the opera in the arena. I’d say that this is more an experience for lovers of experiences than for lovers of music. Although we paid quite a lot for our tickets, we were a long way from the stage and the orchestra, so the wonderful nuances of Bizet’s music would have been lost to anyone who didn’t know the piece well. My recommendation: take a warm wrap with you. Even on the hottest of days, the arena can get very chilly as the night wears on, and performances don’t finish until 1am. This is mainly due to the intervals: opportunities to pose in one’s gladrags. If you are lucky enough to have stalls tickets then no outfit is over the top, and plenty of people were obviously there to show off their finery.
Of course the band did themselves proud. They are great ambassadors for the skill and dedication required to play classical (and popular) music at such a high level. They are truly ambassadors for this country, and I couldn’t help feeling that such young people should not really have had to deal with being the focus for the aftershocks from the stupid EU Referendum vote. The message resounded, however, that music and culture are the things that can bring peoples together, that can help us foster friendship and understanding in the future. The tour was overshadowed also by the murders in Nice and the carnage at the attempted coup in Turkey and the shocked band were keen to commemorate this with one of their pieces..
What is always astounding in the places that welcome our young people so warmly, is the audience’s thirst for culture, and their joy at the glory of music. The standing ovations were proof of this. I feel proud and privileged to know these young people and to be able to share in their some of their adventures. Long may their tours continue. And Verona? Oh yes! I can’t wait to go back.