Faycal Karoui seemed to disappear during the final days of the New York City Ballet's Spring season. Thanks to one of my European readers, Anne, we can find out what he was up to: conducting his own Orchestre de Pau - Pays de Bearn in a concert featuring the Berlioz SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE and a selection from WEST SIDE STORY with a massed choir in which Anne participated. She sent me the following note about the concert:
Thought I would tell you about our concert last Saturday. The first part was Berlioz's 'Symphonie Fantastique' which the orchestra played incredibly well, led by Faycal in his usual spectacular way.
Then our turn came - The arranger had combined various instrumental themes of WSS with our four songs : Somewhere, Maria, Tonight and America. Let's say, we did our best!!
I was interested it what you wrote about Fayçal's tempo choices because he decided to play America REALLY fast. Most of our choir members are not native English speakers and so it was quite hard. Imagine a French person, singing at top speed 'Chromium steel in America, Wire spoke wheel in America, etc", trying to pronounce it with a Portorican accent!! But that's what is so great about Faycal : he is prepared to play with people like us and ENJOY it. He came to have a drink with us after the concert and he said he had had a good time.
Here is a link to a review of the event; it's in French, but you'll get the gist of it. Thank you, Anne!