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BILL NEWMAN has been to the 2001 Spoleto Festival
and reports on his impressions of the surroundings,
local artists and international music-making


Bill Newman - a portrait by Enzo Falcone



Last year I attended the final three days of this Festival, this time I went for the whole glorious two-and-half weeks!

OK, I did not have to pay for accommodation! James Lock, Edmund Purdom, and myself arrived at our apartment just round the corner from the Duomo to find that Christine, the owner, had departed for a holiday. Jimmy had to leave almost immediately to engineer a recording in Canada.

Edmund and I shared the responsibilities of looking after each other -- he to make the coffee and me to wash and clean up afterwards. Almost immediately I found myself replenishing his stock of cigars, not the brand he preferred but the nearest to it. When he entrusted me to purchase milk and yogurts, I made the mistake of picking up long life and 0.1 sugar free by mistake, and got my first scolding. 'And don't touch Mueller's Peach and Apricot: they are mine and the only ones I eat. You and your vanilla!' I had been to one of those well-stocked medium-sized shops where you have to use your eyes and speak in reasonable Italian rather in my style of 'Prego', 'Gracis' and 'Arrividerci'!

Edmund Purdom with dog, near the antique shop on the Piazza del Duomo. Photo: Bill Newman

At the far end of the Duomo are a brace of steps which are certainly not for the faint-hearted. The heat in July was pretty fierce, so the attractions of calling in at either of Mercato's two gelati cafes was enticing. Edmund preferred his other domicile, the Tric Trac, where he enjoys the hospitality of the management, staff, and clientele. As a Hollywood screen idol and purveyor of numberless jokes, he keeps the entire gathering entranced.

Edmund Purdom (left) with Scott Nickrenz at Tric Trac, Piazza del Duomo. Photo: Bill Newman

I had other things on my mind like fixing an interview with the Maestro, getting press tickets for the opera, Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street, the midday chamber music, an orchestral concert at La Rocca -- at various times a hospital and a prison, but now a tourist attraction -- the ballet, and a costumed performance of Daniel and the Lions, with early instruments playing its 13th century music.

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Copyright © 6 November 2001 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK






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