Thursday, June 14, 2018

Royal Encounters in Mexico

Last week I visited my brother William in Mexico, where he has been serving as concertmaster of the Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional in Mexico City. We did a lot of fairly typical Mexican sightseeing (including Chapultepec Castle where Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlota lived) and eating, mostly beyond the scope of this blog post, but the evening of June 6 was far from typical: a performance for HI&RH Archduke Carlos Felipe, a grandson of Emperor Bl Karl of Austria-Hungary and great-great-grandnephew of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, at his Mexico City home, for an audience that also included his wife, his two sons, and his cousin HRH Prince Alexander Margrave of Meissen, head of the Royal House of Saxony! While I have had many special experiences as a musician, it's hard to imagine that anything could top playing Bach, Kreisler, and the Kaiserhymne for such an audience. Afterwards (as well as the day before when we were getting ready) I had ample opportunities to talk to all the royalty present, who were impeccably gracious and appreciative: a monarchist musician's dream. I felt that my brother and I got to be the latest in a long line of musicians who have performed for members of the Habsburg dynasty over the centuries. Archduke Carlos Felipe has done a great deal to rehabilitate the image of Emperor Maximilian in Mexico and it was a tremendous honour to be his guest.

With Archduke Carlos Felipe and his wife Annie-Claire in front of a portrait of Emperor Maximilian, June 5
Portraits of Maximilian & Carlota, and their piano, at Chapultepec Castle

My brother and I with Prince Alexander of Saxony, Margrave of Meissen

With Archdukes Louis-Damien and Julian
With Archduke Carlos Felipe and a portrait of his ancestor Emperor Charles V
Altar of the Kings, Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, June 7

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