Among the many joys of yesterday was a very hot and very energetic choral rehearsal in the Anghiari Hotel at the bottom of the hill, still known almost universally to the locals as the Hotel Oliver despite a name change nigh on five years ago and a big sign above the door giving its correct title.  Even putting the current name of the hotel into the interweb will bring up the two hotels, Oliver and Anghiari, side by side on the map.  Anyway, the rehearsal was very convenient for me, as the hotel is where I am staying, so the commute was about as long as the one I make when at home, and it is an accommodating place, in al senses of that word.

Lunchtime had been spent at one of the castles in the area, as you do, and the post-rehearsal evening was a delight, the town alive with markets, music in unexpected places, a real buzz everywhere.  Tonight, though, it is the turn of Sansepolcro, as it hosts two concerts, including the Anghiari Festival Chorus gig, Gounod, O’Neill and some others too.

The Festival Chorus is a group of singers that comes together, as the title suggests, specifically for the Festival, and we rehearse during the week before the excitement of the choral concert.  Last year was the year of the Verdi Requiem, so this time around the scale of the performance is slightly smaller, but I think that the quality will still be pretty decent.  The Cathedral in Sansepolcro will, I suspect, be fresh inside, the very opposite of the stifling rehearsals, but, if no blood has yet been spilled, it will still be worth the sweat and tears.

After what I think will be yet another memorable concert tonight, tomorrow will be the final showcase, Rossini, Vaughan Williams and Elgar, and then home, where my other half, the catses and some lovely new board games await.  There’s no doubt, though, for all the stresses and strains of tearing around the Tuscan countryside, that Anghiari is becoming a place where the welcome becomes ever more warm and enveloping year on year.  I shall be glad, as a homebody at heart after all these years and after over a week away, to get back home, but I cannot deny for a second that I shall be glad to be back here as well when the year swings around once more.

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