Our music cruise is a combination of blissfully relaxation and cultural stimulation, with world class music-making every day. I missed the walking tour of Siracuse but enjoyed the opportunity to catch a taste of Sicily when we set off for our concert in the Pupillo Winery, where Elizabeth Watts’ exquisite Mozart was followed by Stephanie Gonley directing the ECO strings in an excellent performance of Bartok’s Divertimento (for which our audience had been well prepared by Stephen Johnson’s fascinating talk about Bartok).
Bulgarian pianist Plamena Mangova was our soloist on board ship in an eclectic recital programme that evening, raising the roof with her exciting rendition of Ginastera’s Argentinian Dances. The next day we docked at the beautiful city of Valetta, Malta, where our sightseeing trip allowed plenty of time to enjoy the two amazing Caravaggio paintings in the Co-Cathedral. The site of our shore concert in Malta was the Palazzo Parisio, known as the “mini Versailles” because of its highly ornate decoration. We were delighted to be reunited with Pinchas Zukerman and Amanda Forsyth who performed Kodaly’s Duo for violin and cello and Vivaldi’s Double Concerto; in between, Maria Meerovitch joined Pinchas for Brahms’ Sonatensatz. Fabulous performances in a stunning setting! That evening, back on board Wind Spirit, the ECO Ensemble and Maria Meerovitch gave us a lovely rendition of Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet.
We are at sea all day today and looking forward to two more concerts this afternoon and this evening, as we sail towards Greece across a deep blue ocean.