Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Tours Brazil

In November of 1996 the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra journeyed south of the equator for a one-week tour of Brazil. Rich Capparela of Los Angeles station Classical 105.1 - KKGO-FM was there as well and filed daily reports for the station. Here is the text of those reports.





KKGO-FM - POSTCARDS FROM BRAZIL
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra/John Mauceri
Rich Capparela, November 28 December 5, 1996

Thursday, November 28 - Flying Down to Rio

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving. Here's our first Postcard from Brazil. We have traveled south of the Equator for the beginning of summer here in Portuguese-speaking Brazil. To be more precise, we are in Rio de Janeiro, a metropolis that has been described by more than one visitor as "the most beautiful city in the world." Rio boasts 23 beaches, including the famed Copacabana. Right now, though, everyone is still adjusting to a mild case of jet- lag. The time here in Rio is six hours ahead of Los Angeles. Following our 12-hour flight, the members of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra were given bus rides to our hotel.

A few "First Impressions": The level of efficiency thus far, here in Rio - especially when it comes to things like staying on schedule - makes, say, the Caribbean look like Tokyo. One has to allow a lot of time - and I mean a lot - for little things like getting off the plane, boarding our buses, moving stalled equipment out of traffic, and so on.

Today is a free day for the group. Rehearsals don't begin until Friday morning. In fact, the orchestra is set to rehearse three times before its first concert: a free open-air program on Copacabana Beach. As many as 100,000 Brazilians are expected to attend. (That's right: I said 100,000!) Both that concert and the second program - another outdoor concert in San Paulo's Ibirapuera Park - are both going to feel a little bit like home to the orchestra. The concert presenters here in Rio have apparently built a replica of the famed Hollywood Bowl shell for the first concert. As to why they'd do such a thing and just how accurate the effort will be must wait until Monday's report. Meantime, our hosts have arranged for us a bus-tour of the city later this afternoon. I'll tell you about that tomorrow. And that is our first Postcard from Brazil. Observations on the current two-city tour of Brazil by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Principal Conductor John Mauceri. I'm Rich Capparela.

Friday, November 29 - Mutant Fruit

Here's another Postcard from Brazil - observations on the current two-city tour of Brazil by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Principal Conductor John Mauceri. We are in Rio. Once we had gotten settled into our hotel rooms here yesterday, we had the remainder of the day free to explore. Most of the orchestra took advantage of one of two city tours that were offered during the afternoon. The shorter of those tours lasted three hours and included a bus trip to a remarkable railway. This quaint cogwheel train winds its way up the steep slope of one of Rio's many distinctive mountains. Along the half-hour journey, orchestra members "oohed" and "aahed" at the sight of the comically large yellow-orange tree fruit that the locals call Jade (or "Jack") Fruit. Once the slow-but-sure train made its final stop, the Bowl Orchestra found itself atop, not just any mountain, but Corcovado. At Corcovado's peak there rises the 120-foot statue of Jesus with outspread arms, a statue that has become the best-known symbol for this incredible city. I'd be willing to bet that the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra burned up a hundred roles of film attempting to capture the breathtaking 360-degree vista.

And about Rio - "incredible" only begins to describe a place that, depending on the block, reminds this first-time visitor at least, of just about every place I've ever been. It's got L.A.'s intoxicating ethnic diversity ...the ocean waves of Carmel, the lush foliage of Fiji, the weather of Miami, the topography of Kauai, the horn- blowing mania of New York City and, yes, the traffic density of Waikiki. Today the orchestra is in rehearsal for its first concert: a free, outdoor, Saturday evening program on Copacabana Beach - under a replica of the shell of the Hollywood Bowl. The orchestra members can't wait.

And that is it for another Postcard from Brazil - observations on the current two-city tour of Brazil by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Principal Conductor John Mauceri. I'm Rich Capparela.

Monday, December 2 - Concerto for Bikini & Orchesra

Here's another Postcard from Brazil - observations on the current tour of Brazil by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Principal Conductor John Mauceri. We are now in Sao Paulo. Saturday night the group gave the first of its three concerts on this tour: a free outdoor event on the sands of Copacabana Beach. The Brazilians built a replica of the famed shell at the Hollywood Bowl and, though it was tad smaller than the Cahuenga Pass original, it certainly had the shape and feel of a Bowl concert. Thousands of Brazilians gathered at dusk on the white sands stretching north toward Ipanema for a program comprised of scores written for the silver screen and even a helping of dance music.

While visitors to Copacabana are used the sight and sounds of an orchestra on the beach, this was the first time a major ensemble played this kind of music in these parts. The result was an audience whose enthusiasm for John Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra was matched by that same audience's intimate knowledge of most all of this music - a familiarity that manifested itself in whoops and hollers at the start of the Lalo Schifrin theme from Mission Impossible and an audible sigh at the start of (of all things) John Barry's title music for the film Somewhere in Time (a movie that obviously did better in Brazil than in the U.S.). Of the entire experience, including fireworks accompanying Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever at the conclusion, the indelible moment for me was the sight of a sizeable throng gathered at the foot of the stage at the concert's end. Audience members were so taken with John Mauceri's charisma that they were asking for his autograph - without having brought either pen or paper. And there was Mauceri, obligingly signing people's palms. That, ladies and gentlemen, is star power.

And that is it for another Postcard from Brazil - observations on the current two-city tour of Brazil by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Principal Conductor John Mauceri. I'm Rich Capparela.

Tuesday, December 3 - Murphy's Law Strikes

Here's another Postcard from Brazil - observations on the current two-city tour of Brazil by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Principal Conductor John Mauceri. And this is the story of Lemonade. When it comes to touring, it's bound to happen eventually: a concert where everything doesn't go just right. Sunday started in Rio as the members of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra were herded (yet again) into three buses for a trip to the airport and the 45-minute flight to Sao Paulo. Upon arriving at the hotel, the group was given a whopping fifteen minutes to get their bags up their rooms before hopping aboard the buses once more for a trip to the site of the second concert of this tour: another free outdoor concert. It took place in the vast Ibirapuera Park. The trouble was, it had rained earlier in the day and the skies still looked pretty ominous, and the sound engineering team had been given no time to set up the microphones, and the stage wasn't ready, and the instrument trunks were late in arriving, and there was no food and the lighting on stage started to fail. Then, things changed. It started pouring. Let me put in this way: looking at the musicians' faces as the concert finally got underway, I found myself gazing upon a sea of bemusement. But here's the happy ending: In large part because of their good natured "Oh, what the hey" attitude, Mauceri's indomitable spirit, the ensemble's collective talent as well as a large and resilient (if somewhat soggy) crowd of music lovers standing in the rain - it all came together. In fact, during the very first piece, a suite from Max Steiner's score for Gone with the Wind, it stopped raining. The sun even came out. The audience grew more and more enthusiastic, dancing on the grass, clapping along with several pieces and demanding encores. And then, when it was all over and the orchestra members began leaving the stage for the trip back to the hotel, their exits were punctuated by heartfelt applause from a large group of music lovers who had surrounded the walkway leading to the buses. Each and every player got to take a solo bow. The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and John Mauceri had given a textbook example of how to turn lemons into lemonade. The audience knew it and appreciated it.

And that is it for another Postcard from Brazil - observations on the current two-city tour of Brazil by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Principal Conductor John Mauceri. I'm Rich Capparela.

Wednesday, December 4 - Snake Farms

Here's another Postcard from Brazil - observations on the current two-city tour of Brazil by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Principal Conductor John Mauceri. Later this morning the members of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra will be reunited with family and friends as we are just getting back into town, having taken a red-eye out of Brazil last night.

Monday evening in Sao Paulo the orchestra gave its final concert of this tour: a private dinner-concert at Estacao Julio Prestes, a converted train station. The event was sponsored by Philips do Brazil and was attended by 800 invited guests. The decor at Julio Prestes is worth mentioning: it has to be the only rail station in the world featuring ten palm trees - some reaching a height of over thirty feet (the stage was built around four of the trees). Quite a sight. The concert itself, being given indoors (and safely out of the rain) was the least eventful of the trip. The music-making was of the caliber one expects from this group comprised of Hollywood's finest studio and concert musicians. By the way, the program began at 10:30 and ended at midnight.

Then came a free day on Tuesday, a day that found the Bowl Orchestra fanning out throughout the city in diverse activities including Concertmaster Robin Olsen's general wish to "get in some shopping" ...keyboard player (and Assistant to John Mauceri) Mitch Hanlon scheduling a game of squash with his wife ...harpist Mindy Ball, second violinist Vivian Wolf and five others flying to Iguassu Falls (said to make Niagara look like "a dripping faucet") ...Sound Designer Joe Magee searching for an oil painting for the living room wall ......drummer Bryan Miller's aim of "wandering aimlessly," ...and Principal Timpanist Tom Raney's plan to "not set the alarm." And, lest I forget, more than two dozen musicians got together for a tour of a remarkable snake farm, part of the world- famous Butantan Institute.

And that is it for another Postcard from Brazil - observations on the current two-city tour of Brazil by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Principal Conductor John Mauceri. I'm Rich Capparela.

Thursday, December 5 - The Orchestra Speaks

Click here for a :50 excerpt from this final report.

Here's the last in the series of Postcards from Brazil - observations on the just-completed two-city tour of Brazil by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Principal Conductor John Mauceri.

(MUSIC UNDER)
Williams: E.T. - Flying Theme
Mauceri/Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Philips 432 109		Track: 15      4:08
from "Hollywood Dreams"
To sum it up: the orchestra gave three concerts - the first on the sand at Copacabana Beach in Rio, the second (in the pouring rain) in a park in Sao Paulo and the final program (also in Sao Paulo) inside a converted train station. And now that the seven-day odyssey has come to an end, I'll bow out of giving you my impressions and, instead, make room to hear from the most important people in this group - the musicians themselves. What will be their lasting memories of their journey to Brazil? Conductor John Mauceri. . . .
:30  John Mauceri, Principal Conductor  
:23  Robin Olson, Concertmaster         
:08  Bill Booth, trombone               
:22  Pamela Gates, violin               
:12  Carol McCallum, bassoon            
:14  Eun-Mee Ahn, violin
:14  Dmitri Bovaird, viola
:22  Chris Reutinger, violin
And that is it for our final Postcard from Brazil - observations on the just-completed two-city tour of Brazil by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Principal Conductor John Mauceri. Though I'm glad to be home, I have to admit I will never forget the view of Rio from atop Corcovado. I'm Rich Capparela. (MUSIC UP AND OUT)
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