Warm greetings from Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
There has been a gradual re-opening of restaurants, bars, and most other businesses, some allowed to open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, others Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The orchestra for which I am the principal cello (Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais) has already been webcasting live chamber music for six weeks. There is minimal stage crew and no audience in the concert hall to help ensure safety. We perform with spiffy black masks. I have already played twice on the series, and it has truly been a pleasure! One pianist I had the pleasure of working with is Brazil’s most famous rising artist, Cristian Budu.
This said, it is really strange to have a mountain of cameras on stage and no one in sight except my colleagues with whom I’m performing. At the same time, I do my very best to reach out to the audience at home with as much joy as I can genuinely convey, and with a smile in my eyes.
In October the orchestra is scheduled to return to performing smaller symphonic works, with approximately 40 musicians on stage. Watching so many businesses reopening, I am apprehensive that the pandemic will worsen here once more, and that we will not actually return in full force as soon as planned.
As spring approaches in the southern hemisphere, it is refreshing not to have to wear a sweater! Whatever the weather and, like musicians everywhere, I wish to make music live with people listening from a distance of fifty feet vs. fifty kilometers. All the best from Brazil!