What a Lovely Project!

4 December 2017
Joel Hunter

Joel Hunter



We are so lucky in the MCO, travelling the world, performing in famous concert halls and at major international festivals.

This project was a little different both logistically and artistically but with interesting parallels between the two!

No conductor. No soloist. No big name or weighty programme. Just our very own concertmaster, Matthew Truscott directing from the violin. Haydn, Mozart and two pieces by living Portuguese composers that were conducted by one of them. Nuno Côrte-Real was also the director of the festival and main reason for our presence there.
Very refreshing to work with someone so humble and passionate. A thoroughly likeable and lovely man.

And then our base for six days. A hotel from a bygone age perched alone on a rocky outcrop on the Atlantic coast. Quite isolated with only swathes of sandy beaches and a few deserted apartment blocks for company.  A 30 minute drive inland to our first concert venue of Torres Vedras and an hour north of the capital, Lisbon, to our second. The hotel itself, once grand, now a little sad and unloved, slowly decaying away whilst retaining some kind of strange charm. One can only imagine the kind of guests who stayed there 30 years ago in its pomp. There was something rather eerie being there out of season and without other guests. The cult film ‘The Shining’ became a reference and talking point amongst many of us! With none of the usual amenities close by and only a fish restaurant, cafe and car park in sight, we were more than rescued by the most lovely sandy beaches, the sea and the amazing weather.



The hotel

View from my balcony

The beach

Day Three
Trying to get into our first concert venue in Torres Vedras for the dress rehearsal

Trying again


Backstage before the concert. A little tight!