Miracles in Perugia- Dame Mitsuko Uchida plays Schubert
This is what I wrote about the same concert in London last december.
It had become but a beautiful memory ……until today …..who says that miracles never strike twice?
It is many years ago that I was in Perugia for the course of Lydia Agosti .
Invited by Eugenio De Rosa director of the Conservatory in Perugia and like me an ex- disciple of Guido Agosti.
I was invited to help Lydia train her young actors and direct from the keyboard in a semi staged performance,the first in Italy, of Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti.
It was the year of the Royal Wedding between Charles and Diana.
All scandal broke out when the stage director Alvisi decided to dress the actors as Nazi’s!
Luckily he was persuaded to change his mind and the performances went ahead successfully with our revered Maestro Agosti obliged by his wife to attend!
I came back a year later to accompany a brilliant young schoolboy ‘cellist in an audition with Alba Buitoni.
Tonino Lysy was the son of Alberto Lysy assistant to Menuhin in Gstadt.
We had played together in the theatre in Rome and also for the married couple at Villa Volkonsky,the British Ambassadors residence in Rome, on their honeymoon in Italy.
Tonino was also grandson of Dame Iris Origo a great heroin for her work during the war of helping people flee the fascist tyrany that had been inflicted on them especially around her estate of” La Foce” in Tuscany.
Her book: “The War in Val D’Orcia” is a monument to her courage and endurance.
I remember the house of Alba Buitoni and her piano with fotos of Serkin and Rubinstein and many other illustrious musicians all with dedications and thanks to her for inviting them to play in Perugia.
Antonio Lysy has since become a renowned cellist and although living and working in America comes back to “La Foce” during the summer months for a festival of chamber music with his friends and colleagues that include the Ashkenazy’s,Pascal Roge,Alessio Bax,Joshua Bell.
“Incontro In Terra di Siena “ is the name of the festival that has become a much awaited annual event in one of the most beautiful parts of Tuscany.
(I used to take Rosalyn Tureck to the hot springs in Bagno Vignoni overlooking the Val D‘Orcia during her winter tours of Italy and she would regularly give a little after dinner concert for the astonished guests!)
Having heard the same Schubert recital in the Festival Hall in London I was delighted to have an excuse to return to Perugia to visit dear friends and to be able to hear again the sublime performance of the Schubert B flat and share with them what in Mitsuko Uchida’s own words had become but a “beautiful memory.”
In fact talking afterwards in the green room she exclaimed that she was a twentieth century lady , the social media or instant communication has no place in her life.
A concert should remain in the memory as a beautiful experience forever.
It was certainly that today and as she said dedicated to friend who was no longer with us.
Dame Mitsuko has reserved space in her worldwide travels to play every season for her friends Ilaria Borlotti and her husband the late Franco Buitoni.She has been a trustee since the founding of the Borlotti- Buitoni Trust in 2003.It was created to help and promote young musical talent.
But today with the Schubert B flat sonata written only a few months before his own death she and we could all feel a special presence that only music on special occasions can provide.
The simplicity and perfection of the slow movement of Mozart’s Sonata in C K.330 offered as a thank you to her adoring public spoke much more eloquently than words.
In fact it left us all speechless as this miracle bore wings and filled every crevace of this magnificent theatre.
In London with her Mahler Chamber Orchestra that she brought to her friends in Perugia two years ago