Touring Europe with an organization as large as the Philadelphia Orchestra is no picnic, but it may just look like on in the selfie photo that music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin took of his orchestra just before coming in for a landing on Friday afternoon.
The flight captain had just made the usual announcement about being glad you took Luxembourg Air charter flight LG 7731 from Dortmund, Germany to Lyon, France when another voice came over the loud speaker.
"Hello, this is your other captain, heh hed heh...."
Nezet-Seguin announced that he wanted to take a selfie photo of the orchestra on the plane. So everybody looked terribly animated - no matter how tired they might be in the middle of the three-week Europe 2015 tour. Conductor and orchestra posted the photo on their respective Facebook pages, and the rest is...well...rather viral. Within hours the "likes" were in the thousands.
Here's the link to the orchestra's website:
In truth, Nezet-Seguin brings needed levity to touring. Even while standing in the most slow-moving security line, one hears periodic explosions of laughter, and they're either from him or clarinetist Ricardo Morales. He enjoys touring. He and his partner Pierre Tourville strolled around Lyon and fell in love with the place. The weather helped: After rainy overcast in Germany, Lyon was a place to get sunburned.
The rest of the day was fairly eventful. A local bell maker Fonderie Paccard, had an exact replica of the Liberty Bell (this same company made something like 50 of them for each of the United States in 1950) and the public was invited to ring it in exchange for a small donation for UNICEF. However, the event was held in the lounge area of Auditorium Lyon - indoors, in other words - and the bell sound is so formidable that each ring has a decay time of 30 seconds (which is how long the sound resonates in the air). This definitely wore on the nerves of those attempting to have a quiet coffee or sandwich before the Philadelphia Orchestra concert. Some plugged their ears. Others simply fled the sound of freedom.
The concert itself was a success musically (the program was Emanuel Ax playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Nezet-Seguin conducting Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 3) as well as diplomatically. A contingent from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development met with some 40 industry leaders from the Rhone-Alps region to encourage development of business, university and cultural relations. Drinks included strawberry juice.