Tag Archives: vacation

Euro18: and home

I woke on Friday morning to the iPad NOAA warning about extreme temperatures at Rienosslsgasse 3 in Vienna.

Fortunately, I was home in Saint Louis with moderate weather, but more humidity.

At some point my iPad will figure out that I’m in the USA. I certainly know that I am! Witness:

  • Iced tea!! I went for three weeks without it.
  • Taco Bell. I went for 3.5 weeks without it.
  • Airport staffs who are not multilingual (except in Spanish). Such a change from Europe.
  • Air-conditioning everywhere.
  • Cellular service everywhere without having to think of turning the phone on and off.
  • A fridge and a freezer. (Small fridge only, with no freezer, in Vienna.)
  • Loudness. Americans just talk so damn loudly.
  • Diet Pepsi! I went for 3.5 weeks without it.

But as my friend Alice said on Facebook last evening, she has little compassion for the slight frustrations, given what I was able to see and do. And I expect no boo-hoos for the cultural differences and the weariness because of the seeing and doing.

And DO I did.

The research grant proposed outcomes are essentially complete. The draft report is 75% there, with some details and nuance to ponder and finesse. In other words, I accomplished the stated goals. The grant outcome was successful. Now we move to implementation.

Along the way, I was a tourist nearly every day — in fact, save for last Sunday, every single day of the sojourn in Europe.

What did I not do? Well, I skipped the Salzburg and Venice/Dolomites excursions because I just was not feeling well. Summer allergies are, I’m told, quite severe in Vienna this year. I did not make it to all the art museums I would have wished, and since concert season was over, I attended only two musical performances.

What DID I do?

Enough art to keep me happy for months. Less-frequented locales such as the Snow Globe Museum, the Freud Museum, the Schnapps Museum, the Imperial Crypt, and the old Jewish cemetery at Zentral Friedhof. Anglican Church services in Florence and Vienna. Florence. Choral concert by a British choir at the British Embassy Church. A cruise on the Danube. Cooking class. Visited Mahler’s grave. Walked in the steps of Mozart and Beethoven and Schubert and Haydn and so many others. Melk Abbey. Heurigerabend. Organ recital at the Jesuit Church. Churches and parks and the Naschmarkt and gelato and beer and bubbly and schnitzel and . . . well, the whole five-senses experience indeed.

And I kept up with the daily office work. My email inbox is only marginally more crowded now than it was when I left, and no decisions have been punted to next week.

Now home for a few days, and with days off this weekend with few obligations, I can rest and recharge before the onslaught of the run-up to August 20 when contracts begin.

And I can love on Auggie, who apparently did indeed miss me.

Of all the pleasures of travel, returning home is the greatest joy.

Thursday in NYC

By the numbers:

13,374 steps Thursday.

2 meetings with songwriters.

1 show.

And 1 most extraordinary dessert.

Amy’s Bread had a butterscotch cashew bar calling my name.  I succumbed.

And speaking of succumbing, Hello, Dolly! was a paroxysm of delight.  Bette Miller is out this week; I saw Donna Murphy in the title role.

While Miss Murphy’s voice may be ever-so-gently frayed, her energy, spunk, spirit, and timing — and her legs — are intact. And I loved her.

This revival had me in tears of joy a couple of times.  Kate Baldwin is glorious as Miss Milloy; Gavin Creel, a most engaging Cornelius.  I could not erase the memory of Josh Borgmeyer (may he rest in peace) as I watched Taylor Trensch as Cornelius, though.  

One of the stunners of this current revival is the chorus — rich, glamorous, able to move as a unity, and full-throated.  “Sunday Clothes” will never be bettered, visually or aurally.

Holiday

My 2.5-week summer holiday has commenced, as of the close of the work-day yesterday.

Unlike other summers where I’ve taken a full four weeks away from the office, I’m departing for a shorter term this year, since I am music-directing two different shows and only have 1.5 weeks off between the end of The Sweet Smell of Success and the start of rehearsals for Out on Broadway: The Third Coming.

But summer holiday is filled, as usual.  I’m off to NYC next week, for a short visit and some research.  Then I have a dash over to Lee’s Summit and on to Des Moines to see Billy Budd at Des Moines Opera.


The next few weeks, until August 10 or so, are still three-days-in-office, and some long weekends.  I still have reading to do, and music to compose, and local tourism to do!


But I wish I were abroad this summer . . . .

Art Institute of Chicago

The view upon leaving the Art Institute on Sunday.

Most any trip to Chicago includes some time at the Art Institute of Chicago, called by some the greatest museum in the world.  I never tire of the Impressionists, of the miniature rooms, of the great masters, of the architecture collection, of the paperweight collection.

Hello, old friend.

Hello, old friend.

This trip included the America After the Fall exhibition, the collection of modernist chairs, and some Napoleon stuff.  And my old friends Messrs. Seurat and Monet.


From the 1930’s American exhibition, viewed during a private members-only morning:

Edward Hopper, 1939. New York Movie. This painting is filled with incredible suggestive detail.

Edward Hopper, 1939. New York Movie. This painting is filled with incredible suggestive detail.

I loved the symmetry of the view: a visitor and the painting he observes.

I loved the symmetry of the view: a visitor and the painting he observes.

Edward Hopper, 1940. Detail of Gas.

Edward Hopper, 1940. Detail of Gas.

Grant Wood. American Gothic.

Grant Wood. American Gothic.

Alice Neel, 1935. Detail of Pat Whelan.

Alice Neel, 1935. Detail of Pat Whelan.

Charles Sheeler, 1931. Classic Landscape.

Charles Sheeler, 1931. Classic Landscape.

Thomas Hart Benton, 1938. Cradling Wheat.

Thomas Hart Benton, 1938. Cradling Wheat.

Thomas Hart Benton, 1938. Detail of Haystack.

Thomas Hart Benton, 1938. Detail of Haystack.

Grant Wood, 1932. Daughters of Revolution.

Grant Wood, 1932. Daughters of Revolution.

Paul Cadmus, 1934. The Fleet's In. Notice the prim lady at the left, and her dog.

Paul Cadmus, 1934. The Fleet’s In. Notice the prim lady at the left, and her dog.

Paul Sample, 1933. Church Supper. I love the sly glances at the lady in pink.

Paul Sample, 1933. Church Supper. I love the sly glances at the lady in pink.

 

Vacation ends

Truth be told, I only had off eight working days over the past two fortnights.  Such is the life of an administrator.

And over the holiday break between semesters, I’ve dealt with a dozen and a half church services, a few days away with family, a leak in the bathroom, a dead dishwasher, cabinets falling off the kitchen wall, and prep for the foundation repair that starts tomorrow.

Three Webster kids descended at 5.25 p.m. tonight to help.  Twenty minutes later, they had moved everything in the basement that needed moving.  I fed them homemade lasagna and panna cotta in thanks.

I also coached five students today on audition music for tomorrow’s theatre auditions at Webster.

Tonight?  Downton Abbey, and putting my latest choral music in Finale.

Pics from the week: