Coronavirus Trapped This Bolivian Orchestra In A German Castle Surrounded By Wolves And Ghosts
In early March, the Bolivian group Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos travelled to Germany to prepare for a two-week tour. Before they had even played a single show, the entire country was put into coronavirus lockdown. For two months, they have been stuck at a hostel on the grounds of Rheinsberg Palace, a massive estate that is located about 90 minutes away from Berlin.
The BBC just did a long piece on what the orchestra has been up to since being forced to live 6,000 miles away from their home. They spend a lot of their time rehearsing — they practice three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon — and the rest of their time is spent exploring the surrounding areas, which, as BBC notes, is “home to 23 packs of wolves.”
The palace is also, allegedly, home to ghosts. One of its former inhabitants was Frederick The Great, who spent his evenings while there listening to music. At least he should be pretty happy! “We all joke that Frederick’s ghost is following us and trying to trip us up,” one of the orchestra members said. “I don’t usually believe in such things but it does feel as if there are ghosts on the grounds.”
Germany is just starting to open back up — the Bolivians were allowed to finally enter the castle itself for the first time last Monday when public tours restarted — but Bolivia remains closed to international flights. The embassy is apparently trying to get the orchestra back on a flight in early June, though the government doesn’t seem entirely sympathetic to their plight.
“People back home think we’re in a fairytale land,” one of the members said. “I’ve had hundreds of messages telling me to stop complaining, and that I’m living like a princess in a German castle.”
Keeping an entire orchestra locked up is also expensive. Accommodation costs are more than $38,400 a month, per the director of one of the music festivals where they were set to perform and which is is helping to fund their extended stay.
But most of the orchestra members are trying to keep a positive attitude: “There are worse places to be trapped,” one said. “When I wake up, I watch the sun rise over the forest and the lake. Back home, I only hear the sound of traffic.”
Hopefully they are at least getting to hang out with Sheldon, the palace cat.