In my previous blog post, I talked about my time in Buenos Aires and the performances at the Teatro Colón of ‘Les Illuminations’, which I illustrated with an excerpt from a radio broadcast I made some time later for the Nord Deutsche Rundfunk in Hamburg, under the baton of Sir Charles Mackerras. My first rehearsal for that performance finished at around 5.00 pm, and we arranged to meet for dinner at the hotel Vier Jahreszeiten at about 9.00 that evening. It was the middle of winter, and snow was falling. I wore thick woollen socks and leather ankle boots, as well as appropriate upper body clothing for the climate.
I was walking under a covered walkway from the rehearsal room to the Pförtner (Reception Desk), when a security guard stepped out of a darkened alcove. He had a ‘Deutscher Schäferhund’ (a German Shepherd ) on a heavy chain leash. Without warning, the dog went for me, sinking its teeth into my leg just above my left ankle. As the guard tried to pull the dog off me, he hit it with the chain leash, which only made the dog bite harder. Eventually it let go and, together with the guard, disappeared. I hobbled to the reception area and asked the Pförtner to call a taxi to take me to the hospital for treatment. I was there for almost three hours, being stitched and having dressings put in place.
The doctor asked where the dog was, as he wanted to test it for rabies. I told him that I didn’t know, but suggested that he ask the radio station who the security guard was, and to get his name and address. Nothing was forthcoming, as the guard denied having a dog with him, so there was no way of checking the beast for rabies. I was advised to return the next day to start a course of thirty-two injections into the lining of my stomach (OUCH) to counteract the disease, which, if it went untreated, could become full blown rabies in about three weeks.
I went back to the hotel to meet Sir Charles, and explained what had happened. We had dinner (not that I felt like eating after that ordeal) and went to bed. The following morning I returned to the hospital to commence the course of injections, and in the afternoon I attended a final rehearsal. The following day, the Hamburg concert took place. Here are the remaining songs from that broadcast.
7. Being beauteous
After a second performance in Hanover I returned to the UK, where I continued the injections over a period of weeks. Thankfully, I never got the disease, although I do foam at the mouth on occasions.