It's been quite a while since we were in Spain - last time was in Pamplona. We have arrived, rather torturously, in Avila (birthplace of Tomas Luis de Victoria) for 3 days at the Festival Ablulensis where 38 singers will work and sing early music with us. A bit like our Sonoma program, except that these participants have come in already formed ensembles. Fred has been here working with them for two days - we can't wait to meet them tomorrow. The festival is in its 6th year and guests have been The Sixteen and New York Polyphony among others. We'll be working in a hotel/conference center outside of Avila ( whose ancient walls we can see from our windows) and performing in the St. Thomas Monastery Church there.
To digress a bit about the glamor of it all: some famous European airlines ( this was our second such experience, the other a few years ago) seem to have been able to reduce their cabin space to a point where there is no unbending of any leg, the seatback in front is 6" from your eyes ( really, we measured,) so reading not really an option, there is no room for a seatback pocket, and one wonders how people actually manage it (some of us almost couldn't) and why they put up with it so calmly. Amazing. We started out driving in a bus 3 hours to the Hamburg airport from Havelburg, then up, down bumpy over the Pyrenees, then another hour and a half on the bus to get to Avila. No complaints, but you can imagine how thrilled we were to unfold ourselves out into the night air of Spain.