RSMI in Havana Part II

A cool front arrived late yesterday along with the three lost suitcases. Last night we all attended the opening concert of the 20th Frank Fernandez Music Festival at the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Habana Vieja. The first part of the  program consisted of songs for choir and short pieces for string quartets by Maestro  Fernandez. There was a brief ceremony honoring his 70th birthday followed by a vigorous rendering of "The Trout" with Maestro Fernandez at the piano. The concert was attended by a standing room only crowd of fervent fans. Two Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies were played as encores.

A casually elegant reception followed in a charming open courtyard across the street from the Basilica. There Diane and Madeleine were introduced by Maestro Fernandez to Cuba's First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel.  In very understandable English he asked us for 2 favors: to bring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Ricardo Muti to Cuba, and to help our 2 countries find a path toward a normal relationship. We said we would try. What a thrill to meet the man standing next in line to Raul.

A late dinner was eaten at the charming new paladar "Ivan Justo"around the corner from Havana's Revolutionary Museum whose centerpiece is the "Grandma" — the boat that the Castro's and Che used to cross from Mexico to begin the Revolution in the mid fifties. More to follow...

Madeleine and Diane