I love the front row. Alvin Ailey is on tonight!
I love the front row. Alvin Ailey is on tonight!
Happy Friday, everyone!
It’s my favorite day of the week – it’s been one heck of a week. I caught an annoying bug (I know, in this beautiful weather, it’s very odd) and I haven’t been at home resting because I’ve been out and about celebrating match day for residencies with my med school friends. They did really really well, and I’m so happy for them! My ultimate plan was to plant all of them here as my residents, so by the time I’m a 3rd year med student in the wards, they’ll be my superiors. muhahaha
Below is a video that made my jaw drop. I’ve seen Swan Lakes before, but nothing like this. It gets really interesting around 3:30 and the end is unbelievable (she’s in pointe on top of his head! And the turns on his shoulder is equally incredible), although the choreography of the cygnets/frogs in the beginning isn’t half bad. What’s even better is that the lead girl has beautiful lines, and is a beautiful dancer on top of being an incredible acrobat. Thanks for the link, Patty!
May I suggest this as an addition to the repertory at SF Ballet or ABT next year?
Updated: more information on the video clip in a NY Times article, here.
In America where chief LA Times dance critic Lewis Segal just got fired and Boston Ballet is cutting 20% of its dancers, the UK government has just invested Â£5.5 million into dance education. (No, not P.E. education, dance education.)
It’s interesting that they state the reason for dance’s popularity is fueled by dance shows on TV. Dance shows on TV has been great exposure for dance, although I personally can’t stand watching too much of it. There’s one commercial I couldn’t escape where they do a close up on a girl’s foot in toe shoes, and her feet aren’t very pointed. I guess toe shoes on TV is pretty novel and so that was the point of that shot, but that’s something that won’t get me to watch, nonetheless. And I’d much rather watch live dance! But it’s great for people who’ve never seen dance before, and it might get people into theaters.
I’m starting to feel like I live in the wrong country.
Tiit Helimets in Tomasson’s Giselle. Â© Erik Tomasson
Watching San Francisco Ballet’s Program 5 showcasing great modern choreography (reviewed here) and especially its avant-garde piece, Eden/Eden, got me thinking about the future of ballet. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s exciting that great modern ballet pieces are still being created, as the ones showcased in Program 5. But how does this figure in with the great classical works, such as Giselle and Swan Lake? Is there room in one company, to satisfy both ends of the spectrum? Is one going to be phased out, in place of the other?
As sfmike mentioned in the comment below, the classical and the modern tend to “nurture” each other, in a symbiotic sort of relationship. Classical ballet is a foundation for the technique that’s tweaked by modern choreography. However, I can’t help but to think of a metaphor (I’m going to pull a metaphor from my other life in medicine) – it reminds me of the medical students who enrolled in Latin classes in order to help them with learning the Latin-based terminology for medicine. Latin can help, but precious little, and you could do without it as I have. Is this true for modern ballet as well? We can all appreciate modern ballet without liking or even having watched Giselle. Could we all survive and be happy without classical works? Is it just a ruse that classical works are necessary to round out a company’s repertoire, or are they keeping them in to satisfy the purists and dance elitists? Are classical works merely going to be stepping stones to modern choreography?
It’s no secret that some classical works, such as La Sylphide and Coppelia, are rarely being danced today. And even the classical works that are being performed, such as San Francisco Ballet’s Giselle, are being made over to make it more palatable to modern audiences. So in a way, classical works are already being modified. Perhaps this is inevitable. It’s hard to say that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, I’m the first to admit I probably wouldn’t enjoy sitting through a 3-4 hour traditional Sleeping Beauty either.
I’m also thinking of modern audiences, especially to those who are new to ballet. I’ve recommended Program 5 to my scientist non-ballet friends, who ended up loving it, especially Eden/Eden. How are these newer audiences, ever going to appreciate the technicalities of Swan Lake? Is it really just a matter of taste if they haven’t been exposed to these pieces and just refuse to see them? And if this is the audience of the future, will that mean that classical works will be phased out because there is less of a demand for them?
I’m an audience member with high and particular standards, who loves classical works as well as good modern choreography. My fear is that classical works will become more and more obscure. It’s great to view great modern works, such as Morris’ Mozart Dances or Wheeldon’s After the Rain. Classics are timeless for a reason, and hopefully they’ll persist in modern repertoire even though I can see the progression towards placing less importance on them.
Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance), After the Rain pas de deux, Helgi Tomasson’s On a Theme of Paganini, and Wayne McGregor’s Eden/Eden
Yuan Yuan Tan and Damian Smith in Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux. Â© Erik Tomasson
I’ve always wondered what the future of ballet looks like, and Program 5 at the San Francisco Ballet offered a good preview. Onstage was a program that made Balanchine look as ancient as Petipa. The oldest piece on the program was Wheeldon’s Carousel, choreographed in 2002. More than just offering recent, modern ballets however, it offered good modern ballets. My favorite of the night was Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux. Definitely my favorite Wheeldon piece so far, it features a man and a woman, looking very bare and simple, with the woman in ballet flats and loose hair. As the mesmerizing hypnotic slow music unfolds (with music by Arvo Part), the two dancers begin to melt into each other’s arms with complete surrender. An aching sadness pervades the air in their deliberate movements, as the two never make eye contact – when she falls into his arms, her gaze is aimed backwards as she arches her back; they often stand side by side, facing the same direction, or she wraps her arms around him and leans her cheek on his shoulder. In addition to complete trust without eye contact, this also implies a missed connection, as if they are harboring a guilty secret or wrongdoing, but trust each other anyway with unqualified acceptance. It includes a little bit of the experimentation that I saw in the piece Wheeldon created for SF Ballet a few years ago, Continuum. In this pas de deux, Wheeldon plays with the ebb and flow in the background of the steady music, as the two dancers push and pull through the slow music in inventive ways. This piece calls for a strong, steady partner – Damian Smith is probably one of the best partners in the company, and fulfilled his duties commandingly, with yearning compassion spilling out of every pore in his body. Yuan Yuan Tan completely trusted him, and her sensual langorous limbs were perfect for melting into him. The result left the audience mesmerized. It was a great example of modern ballet choreography, used in innovative ways with an intuition and understanding that everyone understood but could not quite verbalize.
After the Rain followed another Wheeldon piece, Carousel (A Dance). It had a completely different tone, reminiscent of an old MGM movie musical. It possessed all the elements that a modern audience would love – a sparkling set, modern costumes, and pretty imagery. It’s a pretty piece, but not much more than that. Set in a carousel, with ensemble members rotating in repetition as the horses, the rotating motif served as an apt swirling background for the love story in the central pas de deux. In the program notes, it states that the young girl is supposed to have an edge, as she goes for the “older man”. I was a little appalled that they considered Joan Boada an “older man”, and this didn’t come across at all. The central couple seemed no more than a normal teenage girl and boy at the fairgrounds, flirting. Dores Andre danced as his partner with youthful independence. My favorite part about this piece were the demi-soloists, mirroring the atmosphere of love and the fun of the fairgrounds, danced by Frances Chung, Elizabeth Miner, Rory Hohenstein, and Jaime Garcia Castilla. They were a great group that danced well together, with cheerful warmth. Historically, they were promoted to soloists around the same time (or since I started going to SF Ballet more seriously) and so it was great to see them dance together.
Helgi Tomasson debuted his piece, On a Theme of Paganini. As I’ve mentioned before, I wasn’t holding my breath with this one. However, it started hopefully, as he started with a motif of the flipped hand (shown in the picture below) .
This movement in itself is very witty, and a great starting point. However, the choreography never went far enough to explore its possibilities in innovative ways. The result was choreography that seemed overworked because it wasn’t going anywhere, and it felt like the piece could have been much shorter with the same results. Tomasson repeatedly displays a penchant for the melodrama and the cliche – the ensemble men dance in typical masculine bravura fashion, with big jumps and sweeping arms, and he really likes to have the girl curl up in the guy’s arms for no apparent reason in his pas de deux. I wouldn’t have been surprised if a fog machine had been turned on. Some positive things though – this piece had more complexity in its layers that I’d seen in his previous pieces. And as always, he knows how to showcase his dancers really really well. He pulled out all the stops in casting the biggest stars of the company, and I realized what a rare honor it is to see two star principals dance onstage at the same time (Maria Kochetkova and Vanessa Zahorian) in addition to three superstar men (Davit Karapetyan, Pascal Molat, Joan Boada). Kochetkova and Zahorian matched each other well in their precision, and mirrored each other well. He also cast three very tall men as demi-soloists (David Arce, Christopher Mondoux, and Anthony Spaulding) for a dashing dramatic result, although only for too brief moments onstage. It’s hard to see this piece working on any level with any other company than San Francisco Ballet, since it seems so tailored to exactly what the company has to offer now.
The evening closed with Wayne McGregor’s Eden/Eden. A few months back when I called into the NPR program that featured the SF Ballet, I asked how SFB is catering to younger audiences through its programming, and its answer given by executive director Glenn McCoy, who answered my question in short, by saying, “cutting-edge choreography”. The example he gave on air was this piece, Eden/Eden. Certainly cutting edge, this piece addresses the very futuristic issue of cloning, and utilizes video and electronic music for a multimedia experience. The music is by Steve Reich called “Dolly” from Three Tales (a video opera), led by conductor Gary Sheldon with earphones on. Interspersed with the buzzing electric music are short vocal phrases, describing the process of cloning, technology as an extension of normal evolution, and creating robots that are going to outsmart the human race. It suggests the possibility of humans as machines, with a voice that says that a silk flower isn’t a real flower. (Scientifically, I have problems with that statement because that isn’t a perfect analogy, but I will let it slide for now.) Humans as machines is then reflected in the dancers, who emerge from the ground with skin colored costumes and skin colored skull caps, who then proceed to dance in a pulsing, disjointed, and urgent fashion. The costumes are reminiscent of empty shells, vehicles to carry DNA, like a single celled enucleated egg. Partnering is gender-irrelevant, with dancers controlling and moving each other’s legs and reacting mechanically to each other. As superhuman machines, the dancers whip off multiple fouettes instinctively. Their heads move separately from their bodies, as do their hips and other joints, as a machine that is the sum of its parts. It continues like this in a disturbing progressive fashion, as anticipation builds in addition to the questions asked above the music. A transparent screen falls in front of the dancers, onto which lights and patterns are projected for an added cohesive effect of frenzy. In its final moments, a voice asks if we have it all planned out, as Yuan Yuan Tan peters out and collapses slowly onto the floor. The energy onstage was electric, with the dancers going full force the entire 30 minute piece. Anthony Spaulding was a particular standout, with a powerful presence and extra fire. The overall effect is a disturbing and chaotic high, which forces the viewer to consider the social message of science and where it’s going.
If this is the future of ballet, there is much to look forward to. With this program, it really cemented in my mind that one of San Francisco Ballet’s best strengths is its solidarity in modern ballet choreography. Their dancers absolutely absorb and breathe the choreography naturally. I was thinking though, if a ballet newbie sees Eden/Eden and enjoys it, how will that viewer ever be able to appreciate Giselle? Or do they need to?
Program 5 runs through March 18.
Happy Friday! I have two more reviews to write (San Francisco Ballet’s Program 5 and the Spelling Bee Musical), but I haven’t had a few spare hours to sit down and write them yet. So in the meantime, here’s something I stumbled across in my in my daily dance blog reads.
Lisa Traiger of D.C. Dancewatcher posted about a Science magazine sponsored event, where graduate students, post docs, and professors were invited to come and to dance out their Ph.D. dissertations. The rules were to interpret your Ph.D. thesis in dance form without using words. Winners get a free year’s subscription to Science magazine, one of the top scientific magazines in the field. I know the prize sounds dorky, but it’s very expensive (several hundred dollars? thousands?) and is a great prize worth striving for. Judges were mostly dance folk, with an addition of a “non-profit science communicator”, whatever that is. The winner, Brian Stewart, who not only won for his “graduate student” category but also took the prize overall, danced out his thesis titled, “Refitting repasts: a spatial exploration of food processing, sharing, cooking, and disposal at the Dunefield Midden campsite, South Africa”. An observer writes,
“No one was surprised when he scooped the prize. For one thing, Stewart wore nothing but a shimmering, translucent loin cloth. (That’s worth a few bonus points in my book.) But the judges told me afterward that his dance stood out because it accomplished two things at once. Most importantly, “he connected with the audience,” said Pastorini. “That is the purpose of dance: to create emotions.” A big help was his choice of musicâ€”a jazz interpretation of African Pygmy tribal music by Herbie Hancockâ€”which created an atmosphere of funky ancientness.”
I love the title of the postdoc category winner, “mRNA Stability Regulation as a Drug Target”. Hilarious! That title has a world of opportunity in terms of how you can translate that into dance.
The Ph.D. thesis would translate well into a dance for a few reasons. First of all, it has a point – you’re dancing out your thesis, and how well you accomplish this communication to the audience defines good choreography, as it should in the dance world. Also, as I was reminded this past weekend when I saw the scientific based “Eden/Eden” at SF Ballet, science can translate very well into art. I’ll blog more about it later, but the artist’s take on science can be very beautiful and thought-provoking. And multidisciplinary approaches to anything is always fascinating and creative.
Scientists, contrary to popular belief, have to be very creative people. You have to be able to approach a scientific problem in a myriad of complicated ways, and you have to be able to drum up all the possibilities and explanations for the results that you get. (You also have to be used to failure, which I’m sure has parallels in the dance world.) And how fun is it that these creative people get to show their creativity in a different and completely unprecendented way?
My Ph.D. thesis (in the field of neuroscience) has the possibility for a great dance. I work on synapse formation in the brain – so it incorporates broader themes of the creation of memories and thoughts, and destruction of both in abnormal function. The brain (or the higher cortex) is also what defines humanity; it’s what makes us human compared to other animals. It’s also very dynamic, so that could translate well into movement as well. The soundtrack to my dissertation would be… hm, I’d have to think about this. I would love to use Bach, but the sounds of aÂ polymerase chain reactionÂ machine might be more fitting (it’s very John Cage).
Reports that next year it’s going to be global, on Youtube! It’d be fun if there was a U.S. one. I would definitely try for it… anybody want to help?? Any ideas would be appreciated! The stakes are even higher for next year, where for the prize, “Negotiations are underway to have the winners’ latest peer-reviewed publications interpreted by a professional dance company.” Fun!! My feeling is though, that more rules have to be put into place. For instance, you could technically post a video of a ballet company performing “Eden/Eden” for a postdoc or a student who happens to electroporate enucleated eggs, or even for anyone works in the in vitro fertilization field. Can you use professional dancers or choreographers? Does the author of the study in question, have to be a major feature of the dance, perhaps the lead dancer? Perhaps I can borrow Jaime Garcia Castilla for my piece.
Check out the videos in the link below – I found that the links don’t work here, but maybe it’s because I’m at lab and the school’s firewall isn’t happy. You also have to read the entry, especially the last paragraph – I just KNOW the author/observer, John Bohannon, actually sat down to calculate the statistics of the number of grad students and professors dancing on the dance floor to come up with the p-value that he came up with.
This was also covered by the NY Times. And in response to the question asked in the article, no, it would ruin it if it was changed to having the best music video of your thesis. I prefer dance; music video would be too easy, you would just have to explain your thesis verbally and to make it rhyme somehow. Dance would stretch people’s imaginations more, and have scientists’ imaginations really come into play.
Program 4 of the San Francisco Ballet’s 75th anniversary season is a tribute to Jerome Robbins, an American choreographer who is equally well known for his ballet choreography in addition to his work as a director and choreographer of movies, Broadway musicals and plays, and TV programs. With a long list of more popular works from the 1940′s through the 1990′s, I wasn’t all to familiar with his choreography aside from vague impressions of the movie West Side Story, which he directed and choreographed (and a brief introduction to Fancy Free danced by ABT last year). Program 4 served to be a great introduction to Jerome Robbins and his choreography to Bay area audiences.
Jerome Robbins is, above all, a story teller. He uses movement to convey stories, with a narrative that runs through his pieces, even his abstract ballets. Modern audiences with little or no exposure to dance would easily be able to follow his stories, yet the quality of choreography is never compromised, as movements are used in fresh ways to propel the plotline and to embody emotion, from the hilarious to the quietly reserved.
One of Robbins’ well known pieces is Fancy Free, a rip roaring light hearted quest for three sailors in a night out on the town for the most mysterious of holy grails – how to catch the attention of a girl. There is anticipation, indignation, competition, all shown through high kicking and high flying movement. Garrett Anderson danced the role of the sweetly sensitive sailor, in his first appearance of the night, wooing Vanessa Zahorian gently and awkwardly, albeit their duet lacked a certain chemistry. Pascal Molat was the high flying sailor, utilizing his natural gift for comedic acting to its fullest. Davit Karapetyan danced the role of the sailor initially left out, who attempts to seductively sway his hips back into the competition with a reserved calm yet hilarious results. It’s hard to watch this without comparisons to ABT’s version of it last summer. SF Ballet’s version was packed with dramatic details (after all, Robbins is known for being a perfectionist), whereas ABT’s seemed to skim over details yet captured a little more of the lilt that was so appealing in this piece. Overall, it was a spirited well-acted performance that the audience obviously enjoyed.
Fancy Free was followed by Robbins’ abstract ballet, In the Night, set to the nocturnes of Frederic Chopin. It features a couple dancing to each nocturne, representing three different relationships. Although the choreography was abstract, each couple told a story to the audience. It was definitely the quietest piece of the night, even a little bland, although it showcased Robbins’ narrative abilities through dance alone. Yuan Yuan Tan and Ruben Martin danced beautifully as a couple first in love, with Katita Waldo and Pierre-Francois Vilanoba danced as a couple long been in love with a reserved yet simmering emotion. Lorena Feijoo and Damian Smith danced with fiery anger and passion, yet in the end, she lies down prostrate before him and he lovingly lifts her wrists and pulls her up to her toes and then into a high lift, and then catches her in his arms. That full movement from the floor to the sky and into his arms was in one fell swoop, and lovely in its completion.
The evening ended with the most anticipated piece of the night, San Francisco Ballet’s premiere of the West Side Story Suite. West Side Story Suite completely brought down the house due to its orchestral music and its dancing. Truth? I’m a little ambivalent about ballet dancers, singing. I realize that this piece was made to attract younger audiences to the theater, although if you wanted to see singing and dancing, I would recommend seeing a Broadway musical where performers specialize in these skills, whereas ballet dancers do not. The poor sound amplification did not help either, where I rarely understood a word anyone was singing. It’s hard enough to ask dancers to sing, and then ask them to sing… and harmonize… and sing with an accent; it’s a little too much. Despite this, the SF Ballet dancers sang with laudable effort and sang much better than I had anticipated (especially for Matthew Stewart, who has a clear sweet singing voice). The key to this suite’s success was the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, conducted by the always perfect Martin West, who fulfilled their difficult duties with this daunting score with a larger-than-life brash (American?) confidence. In this piece and in Fancy Free, the orchestra emphasized nicely the brassy quality of Leonard Bernstein’s music, which I know isn’t easy. It adds a lively three-dimensional aspect to the choreography that is so essential for the full theatrical experience.
The dancing in West Side Story Suite was absolutely superb, filled with a fierce sharpness in ensemble dancing and a finesse all at the same time that continues to stay in my mind. With the opposing Jets and the Sharks fight with heated rage, the male ensemble dancers kicked, fought, and threw livid looks with an unforgettable intensity. The intensity was punctuated even further with vocalizations such as commands, mocking laughter, and shouts. Speaking on a ballet stage is unexpectedly jarring to ballet audience’s ears, and this jarring effect utilized to its full effect by conveying the intensity of hate between the two gangs and setting the scene for the ensuing love story to take place between Tony and Maria. The role of Tony was danced by Garrett Anderson, who danced with a poetic softness of a naive hero in love. Rory Hohenstein danced the role of Riff with dangerous wild abandonment that was thrilling to watch; it’s an almost-feral quality I saw last in Diana Vishneva – that’s probably a jump in comparison, but I’m going with it anyways. Shannon Roberts as Anita was the audience favorite, a hip-swiveling performer with sass and sauciness to spare. The explosive energy and a piercing sharpness in the dancing with a natural approach to movement rather than the ballet-ish movement that would look out of place, elevated this piece to an unforgettable intense and thrilling experience.
Some general notes – this was a great night for Garrett Anderson, who danced both in Fancy Free and in the West Side Story Suite, and a great way for me to be able to see a dancer I hadn’t seen that much before. He dances with a lovely lyricism and a charming poetic quality.
Also, I wanted to say hello to my seat mate, Dr. R, a French horn playing orthopaedic surgeon. He served as a great example for a possibility for my future, a merging of the arts and medicine, who spent his one night in San Francisco at the ballet. A great seat mate is hard to come by, especially if you’re left to the mercy of strangers, and it was nice to have an intelligent being with similar arts interests and a sense of humor to share opinions with. If you’re reading this, please click here for the definition of “blog”, I don’t think I defined it for you very well.
This is definitely one of the programs to catch at the San Francicsco Ballet, where the excitement is palpable and the dancing is thrilling and it’s oh-so-fun. It’s really great for ballet newbies and first-timers, since Robbins uses a more universal dance language vocabulary that is more intuitive for modern audiences. Program 4 ends on March 20.
Did anyone else see it? Any thoughts on alternate casts? I’m curious about a different cast for Fancy Free and what that was like.
Photos Â© Erik Tomasson
This weekend, I attended four performances (and I loved every minute of it!), so bear with me as I’ll get through to each one in addition to having a more-than-usual crazy week at work.
This Saturday, I stopped by to attend a performance of the San Francisco Symphony. I admit I haven’t been back since I got invited last summer – this year’s offerings were good, but next year’s is going to be even better (more on that below) and so I know I’ll be back more next year. It was great to be back; the house was full, and the symphony is sounding great. I’m more apt in my impatience to surround myself with ballet or Broadway or more auditory arts that are supplemented with the visual, but with a great performance, I forgot how engrossing and how satisfying a classical music concert can be. The symphony was in preparation for their tour to Carnegie Hall in New York in a few days, and if they sound like this there, they’ll be fine shape.
The matinee started with the performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, with superstar violinist Gil Shaham. Gil Shaham’s playing was solidly confident, not overly obsequious or indulgent as Mendelssohn is often tempted to sound like, with restrained emotion that burst through in critical moments and in refreshingly modest doses. His interpretation didn’t milk vibrato into every note of its opening sequence, but was delivered clean and matter of factly with the emotion of the music speaking for itself. The fear here is that the emotional climax is reached too soon in this heartwrenching bittersweet melody, where there is nowhere to go from there and the result is that it stays at that emotional climax, which leads to things sounding the same. He was adorably charming to watch, with his earnestness and his interaction with the first violins and the Michael Tilson Thomas, the conductor, while he was playing. The Apollonian versus Dionysian argument kept on ringing in my head as I continued to watch, but he strayed into neither extreme territory. If anything, he is more Apollonian, but that didn’t stop him from getting down low and even jumping in its more emotional moments. It was a well balanced performance. The orchestra supported him well; there were a few dangerous offbeat moments in the third movement, but overall, it was great to hear how well the orchestra balanced the soloist. Usually the orchestra takes a back seat in a concerto, but in one section where the cellos had the melody, it was great to hear that melody instead of the accompaniment by the soloist. At its conclusion, the audience was on its feet, demanding an encore, which I thought was odd in the middle of the performance with the “Eroica” still left to go. I know the encore piece he played, but I don’t know the title. If you want me to sing it to you, call me and I’ll sing it for you. He played this mystery piece with lovely detail and interest. Does anyone know if Shaham is going with the SFS to NY as well?
The monstrosity that is Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony closed out the program. It was great that I had learned a lot about this symphony – a symphony I don’t know too well since it wasn’t one of the Beethoven symphonies I’ve played in my short flute career – with San Francisco Symphony’s multimedia program at reaching out to younger audiences, Keeping Score. This new multimedia program is a blog entry in itself, with the intention to demystify a piece, such as the Eroica, and gives you information about the history, musicology, and gives you ways to listen to a piece, narrated by the charismatic Michael Tilson Thomas, who often illustrates his examples with his piano playing. It also airs on PBS in certain areas, so try to catch it if you can. Thomas is definitely a great spokesperson for the symphony, and he speaks in a language that is accessible to newbies and classical music lovers alike, sprinkling his analogies with references to Chuck Berry and Elvis. After having seen this DVD, I knew that Thomas’ version of the Eroica wasn’t always so heavy and majestic, as it’s often played, with moments of lightness and humor. It was a sweeping rendition. The aerobic horns French were mighty and impressive, and the flute principal Tim Day was brilliant like a sparkling diamond in his incredibly hard solo in the last movement.
The concert was a great reminder at how satisfying a great classical concert can be. The trouble is finding these concerts, which can be difficult to find with time and financial constraints. I seem to have a more dependable positive experience at ballets and carefully researched musicals than classical music concerts. But taking a risk and attending a show such as Saturday was a well-rewarded risk.
In other exciting news, San Francisco Symphony has released its schedule for next year. It is going to be a really exciting year for the SFS, with a myriad of premieres and a generous sprinkling of great artists including the two I’m really excited about, Joshua Bell and Martha Argerich. There are some concerts I will definitely be buying tickets for the first day the box office opens. Click here for the official press release.
I was amused by this fortune cookie that came with my meal yesterday. Along with working, I will be watching a marathon of shows. What’s life if you don’t play hard and work hard?
Last night, my friend (a local TV news anchor) got a pair of tickets to see Spelling Bee again after my rave recommendation of the show, and she invited me to join her. In the audience, I was sitting next to a very tight lipped woman who was not amused – the only time she laughed was during Barfee’s “poscyiatry” comment. It’s amazing how the audience can color someone’s experience of the show, and it must be frustrating for the actors as well.
Have a great weekend everyone! Support your local arts scene by seeing a show this weekend, or multiple shows, like I am.
Review coming soon. It was the most fun I’ve had in theater in a long time – my coworker John was picked to be a speller where I got to see him shake it (pictured above, glowing, with my head on the left), and a friend of mine got to be the object of Chip’s desire.