Early flight...my alarm woke me at 4:30 and half asleep I got dressed and hurried out into the dark to catch to first metro. If I hadn‘t called mathias at 4:45 he would have overslept!!!I couldn‘t believe it! I have known mathias for 5 years and never ever was he late or had overslept : )! But in only 13 minutes he made it to the metro U3 Neubaugasse and caught the first train just in time, out of breath but just in time : )! We were about to fly off to Bari, the capital of Apulia, for four whole days. My grandmother is from Italy, from the north, from Rovereto and a part of me always feels like coming home as soon as I set foot on Italian grounds. Having the chance to play in Italy means a great deal to me.
I had never been in Puglia and was very excited, especially looking forward to drinking real Italian coffee as well as conducting a big band for the very first time, oh yesss!!! mathias had the idea just one week before we left for Bari. It made sense as he would be sitting on the piano and I would be standing anyways : ) so why not combine singing and conducting? And to be honest I really liked the idea and tried my best to study the score to be some kind of ready for the Jazz Studio Orchestra of Bari. mathias had prepared arrangements of the Vienna Art Orchestra but had also written new ones – exclusively for this occasion – he had arranged two songs of our album „my poet‘s love“, „One who for the first time loves“ and „Everything has already happened to me“. I couldn‘t wait to hear these wonderful songs played by a big band in a fresh rüegg arrangement!
We arrived round noon in Bari and before we caught up on our sleep we walked round town and I had my first cappucino da Bari : ) and it was goooood! Sunshine & coffee, a wonderful combination! We got back to our hotel and took a loooong nap before our first rehearsal in the evening. The director of the Big Band Paolo Lepore picked us up and to get ready to work in Italy you always have to drink one coffee, I believe it is a strong tradition and I would have never dared to mess it up, so I just let it happen to me and enjoyed it : )! On the day before our concert we were invited to RAI to record Schumann‘s Mondnacht live for Italian television. I loved the studio and enjoyed it very much, the team was very kind and we had lovely session. Grazie!!!
To be honest mathias and I had to get used to the rehearsal rules in Italy and that starting at 19:30 means something else in Switzerland or Austria : ). But we did our best to adapt. But because of the challenges we were facing during and around rehearsals, unfortunately the time was too short to learn all of the songs we had planned with the orchestra but we found a good compromise and decided on „Persischer Marsch“ , „Zoge am Boge“, „Josephine Baker“ and „One who for the first time loves“. mathias had quite some disagreements with the piano at the venue, it got tuned but while sound checking and rehearsing it developed a life of its own and got out of tune again : ) it was a challenge oh yes, but the important thing is to keep on going, trusting the music and no matter what working and helping together.
The venue was a charming and pretty big old cinema with extremely comfortable chairs : ) ) Our concert was planned to be in two parts, first part was a duo set with mathias and me and the second part with the big band. I was very nervous and due to our exciting complications starting to feel my limits, but as soon as we started our set I was just relieved to be singing and enjoyed every second of it. The audience was very charming and helped me with my Italian : )!mathias and I played our first duo set and really enjoyed it, we played songs from all of our albums and also some songs of the Vienna Art Orchestra, it was a very new experience for us and we were happy to have the chance to do it!
Grazie mille mille mille for coming out that night! I really wish to come back once more, to meet the wonderful people and musicians once more, to have more time to rehearse and to get to know the people and Bari better. OH how I fell in love with conducting!!!!!!I can't wait and hope to do it again soon - there is so much to learn!!! Paolo Lepore, thank you for inviting us and giving me the chance to visit this unique city Bari. Bari is located right at the ocean and it‘s the town of San Nicola : )“Nikolaus“ , yessss its true! I saw the incredible church with the statue of San Nicola inside. mathias and I walked through the old part of town and were stunned by its beauty and energy. Paolo gave me real Italian coffee beans to bring back home and now when I wake up in the morning I can‘t wait to get up and drink real Bari coffee in my little cosy flat in cold, cold snowy Vienna. I swear, you can taste the sunshine inside this coffee : )!
Grazie mille, ci vediamo, yours Lia!