I was going to begin this blog post by saying that I am gradually coming down from the high of the Anghiari Festival, but I have realised that it is simply not true. I am still giddy from the excitement of it all, performances of Shostakovich, Barber and (especially) Tchaikovsky to live long in the memory, the dodging of lightning bolts on Saturday evening, the feeling of being part of a wonderful community – artists, audience, town – it is all too close to leave quite yet. Add in the wonderful week it was for me personally and the reverberations could take a long time to fade away.
I was back at the computer this morning sending out scores, recordings and proposals to various people, striking while the iron is hot, and getting in touch with those I have met over the past week and a half, and it has been sheer pleasure. Back late last night I stopped at the fizz shop, and then we ordered in some food (not Italian, I have to admit) and stayed up late. By 9 in the morning my cat, never effusive in his affections, had grudgingly begun to forgive me for being away, saying a proper hello for the first time, and the rest of the day has been spent in delightful enterprise.
This year’s Festival was the first, I think, where I managed really to enjoy myself in the midst of everything else, and I am still not quite sure what it was that made all the difference, but I felt significantly less stressed and on edge, even though there was just as much work to do as in previous years. It helps that the Southbank Crew are such wonderful people to be around, orchestral members and those backstage as well, and despite rain and goodness knows what else the show goes on, calmly and efficiently. No problem, it seems, is unsolvable and no obstruction insurmountable – these people are, to use a terribly overused phrase, simply the best.