China Bound: NSO Tour, Day One
The NSO heads to China and South Korea: An Asian Overture for the NSO, by Anne Midgette.
Tour, Day One.
After arriving in Hong Kong late last night, the NSO spent its first full day in Asia getting a very brief glimpse of the city (those who didn't actually venture out at least had the view from the picture windows of their hotel rooms overlooking the harbor), sampling dim sum and congee at the hotel breakfast buffet, and then taking a high-speed ferry to Macau (or Macao), an hour's ride across the Pearl River Delta, which looked appropriately pearlescent draped in gray cloud and viewed through the ferry's spray-soaked ferry window. Macau (I seem to prefer the "u" spelling for some reason) is, along with Hong Kong, one of China's two Special Administrative Regions. Once notable mainly for its Portuguese heritage and architecture, it is now notable for some of the largest and most alarmingly be-neoned casinos outside of Las Vegas: Sands, MGM, the Venetian, many housed in huge flashing buildings that range like a defensive barrier along the waterfront. Arriving on the ferry, you can see a historic-looking edifice in front of the new casino towers, and there was some debate among us new arrivals about whether this was a wonderful old Chinese fortress or a tacky modern reconstruction. The answer was, alas, the latter (it's part of a theme park called Fisherman's Wharf, which includes a volcano that erupts every night), though it was amusing that the difference proved more conceptual than perceptible. (To our credit, we knew the volcano wasn't real.)
Once in the hotel, everyone touched base with the tools of their respective trades, warming up for tomorrow's rehearsal and concert before heading out for a free evening. I found it oddly comforting to be working at the computer to the strains of someone practicing. Finger exercises, however tedious, are also the sound of someone being productive.
June 8, 2009; 12:45 PM ET
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