The hail line slashed through Philly yesterday just before 7pm in a magnificent display of colliding weather fronts. The clouds seemed to be battling for turf and it was all over in a loud few minutes. People were dashing for cover, their umbrellas merely sight gags. I was running late, so I got to watch instead of getting soaked before heading out to Verizon Hall. Walking along Delancey off 18th in the buildings ravine, the low hanging clouds parted on stratospheric whited plumes with slashing shafts of light worthy of Cecil B deMille depicting Calvary. The Mendelssohn Club crowd was not to be deterred from hearing a premiere by composer Jennifer Higdon and Verdi’s Requiem, even though they were ringing themselves out in the lobby. I love fierce weather.
“Come on, we talk about budgets like they’re real.” Cookie Roberts putting it all in perspective when she is allowed to get a word in edgewise on This Week with George Stephanopolis.
Abigail Mentzer (PABdancer), Jeffrey Gribler (former principal PABdancer, current ballet master), me, Phil Colucci(former PABdancer & current med student)
Even a block of empty seats couldn’t dampen the spirit on the Forrest Theatre stage or in the audience as the dancers of the Pennsylvania Ballet. Directing for the second year, Jonathan Stiles, kept it fast moving and sleek. The mood seemed to address the recession with a show featuring minimal production design, great lighting and a choreographic thread of down-sized style and mucho communal spirit.
and then there were Brian Sanders comic interludes for some mondo bizarro.
This time Sanders reaching into the bowels of vaudeville for perhaps the crassest and most hilarious moment in SU&D history providing cosmic comic relief- let’s see how to put it, with his own laughing gas- during a classical pas de deux scored to Bach and titled ‘Air on the G String.’ Then to completely outdo himself hoisting the glorious Abigail Mentzer, supported her with a working third leg aparatus bringing a new meaning to the word en pointe. The man is unhinged, and fortunate for Abigail’s arabesque can still work his erector set.
Charles Dutoit, current chief conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, such an authoritative and relaxed presence that he brushes past any perception of organizational turmoil. He also catches the mood of the audience yearning for spring with a crowd pleasing program of Ravel, Stravinsky and Prokofiev, that met with a completely rapturous reception. He might not have fab maestro hair, but he has dancey, port de bra and like a great dancer seems like he is moving the musical air.
And the audience was immediately moved at the esprit and clarity of Ravel‘s ‘Le Tombeau de Couperin,’ in this performance, the players going for more than a pristine tableau. The vistas are so beautiful in ‘Tombeau’ that it is already a beatified tone poem. The orchestra builds its looming angularity and propulsion, with a swirling sense of discovery. This work illustrates many of the subtle strengths Dutoit brings to this Orchestra.
I’m back. Computer woes. tech poltergeist on my laptop. I was writing a review of the new Fred Astaire bio and wanted to watch a bit of Flying Down to Rio which I had on disc and the screen just went blank. On Fred & Ginger!!! Contemplating the risk of months of journal entries lost and a revision of a play draft if I don’t get it back. I’m lacerating myself with guilt for not doing daily backups. I’m writing ‘I will backup’ 500 times on the side of my building. Have to rewrite the book review and don’t even remember reading the book, so I’m really screwed today. Merde!