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Breaking: Orchestra returns home in triumph – and has its instruments locked up by Customs

The Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra made its first appearance at the BBC Proms last week to tumultuous acclaim. It also played at Aldeburgh, Rheingau and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, planting a significant footprint on European soil under music director Marin Alsop.

The orchestra then flew home, arriving Monday. Its instruments landed in Brazil a day later – only to find that Customs were on strike.

The airport refuses to release the instruments until Customs officials are back at work.

The orchestra has concerts tomorrow, Friday and Saturday.

‘The players are bringing spare instruments into rehearsal, ‘ artistic director Arthur Nestrovski told Slipped Disc. ‘They are borrowing whatever they can and hoping that all will be fine for the concerts. But the first concert is tomorrow and the Customs are still on strike…’

Is there no-one in Brazil with a spare key to the Customs shed? This does not look good for a country that aims to stage the next Olympics.

UPDATE here.

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  1. Rosana Martins says:

    Norman, Customs has been on strike in Brazil for the past couple of weeks! So far, discussions between Customs and government have gone nowhere. Let us pray that someone acts fast before some instruments are damaged!

  2. This, and similar stories, are part of the ongoing price that a free society pays for 9/11 and other acts of terrorism. It seems a shame though that the new rules are applied so rigidly to everyone – take the dreadful scenes of young kids being frisked by customs officers. What a shame that exceptions cannot be made to the rules when there is clearly no risk in the individual case. If a customs officer, or any other person cannot exercise judgment, then they might as well be replaced by machines.

    • Rosana Martins says:

      Johno, the Customs incident in Brazil had nothing whatever to do with 9/11 or fear of terrorism. It was a strike for better wages and, although the strike is still going on, the musical instruments were released and given back to the orchestra.

      We don’t suffer from acts of terrorism in Brazil, unless you count soccer fans socking one another when their teams loose!

  3. Patrícia Pedrosa says:

    Sorry, but I don’t get why is easier to criticize Brazil, when we know that instruments are getting hold and damaged around the world.

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