If you translate into English, you don’t expect to have many chances to go abroad… but I have had great trips to the US (e.g. Opera Theatre of St Louis) and Australia (separate trips to Melbourne to work with Brett Dean on his first opera, Bliss and then for rehearsals before the premiere in Sydney). More recently, I was in Munich for the premiere of the English version of Hans Abrahamsen’s The Snow Queen, which I prepared from the Danish for Barbara Hannigan. This was quite ironic as, when I was a student in Munich in 1966, every opera was performed in German! But it was an exciting occasion, with snowfalls and quotes from the text beamed onto the facade of the very opera house where I had spent a formative few months back in 1966 and where I discovered – almost unwittingly – a passion for opera.
But I have always loved travelling and leap at every chance, so when I was invited by Swan Hellenic to devise music talks for cruises, I was really delighted. And, researching talks is always a huge pleasure. Not having been a very assiduous student in my early days, I am constantly learning now.
I went with Swan Hellenic to the Far East, to America (North and South) and also around the Mediterranean. The challenge to make the lectures `relevant’ was a fun one – Sea Pictures and Symphonies: Piazzola; Villa-Lobos; Storms at Sea – Idomeneo, The Flying Dutchman, The Wreckers etc., Mozart in Italy; Love Duets (on 14/02) etc etc.
Swan Hellenic ceased trading on 2017, sadly, but recently I have worked for some other travel companies: Martin Randall Travel, Kirker Holidays, Andante and Noble Caledonia. Recent high points have been a cruise all the way up the Rhine and a week in Leipzig (seeing the Ring there) and visiting many composer connected places.