October 15, 2011: David Perlman, Publisher of The WholeNote Magazine in conversation with bass-baritone Mark S. Doss (www.marksdoss.com). Topics include his recent performance as Thoas in the Canadian Opera Company's production of Gluck's Iphigenia in Tauris, early role models and teachers, his practice regimen, working with different directors and teaching music therapy at the Michigan State University in East Lansing.

The Gypsy Princess
by Imre Kálmán, directed by Guillermo Silva-Marin
Toronto Operetta Theatre, Jane Mallett Theatre, Toronto
December 28, 2011-January 8, 2012

For its New Year’s show, Toronto Operetta Theatre is presenting its third production (not its first as I mistakenly stated in my December column) of Imre Kálmán’s most popular operetta, The Gypsy Princess (or as it was known at its 1915 premiere in Vienna, Die Csárdásfürstin)..  It has one great tune after the next, with no lack of that typical Hungarian dance, the csárdás, and a plot that moves forward less because of artifice than because of the interplay of complex human emotions.  The current TOT production has much to recommend it, particularly the stunning performance of Lara Ciekiewicz in the title role, but when I saw the December 30th presentation, halfway between the premiere and the big New Year’s Eve gala, the show still seemed a bit rough around the edges.

The story uses certain clichés of Viennese operetta plotting--a comic couple balancing a serious couple and difference in class as a bar to marriage--but librettists Leo Stein and Béla Jenbach have found a way to emphasize the human side of the conflicts so that characters and the community on stage seem much more real than is sometimes the case in operetta.  For one thing, the title character Sylvia Varescu (Ciekiewicz) is a cabaret singer herself.  Prince Edwin (Keith Klassen) is in love with her, but she doubts whether he has the courage to stand up to his parents’ disapproval of his marrying not just a commoner but, even worse, a stage artist.  Meanwhile, her manager Count Bonifazius or “Boni” (Ian Simpson) is trying to get Sylvia started on a tour of America.  Edwin doesn’t want her to leave so what can he do to stop her but propose?  Boni, who has never taken Edwin’s passion seriously, doesn’t want to cancel the tour and so produces an announcement Edwin’s parents have prematurely had printed announcing his engagement to their choice for his bride, Countess Stasi (Elizabeth Beeler).  The mood for everyone except Boni gets very dark before events work themselves out.

Ciekiewicz has a clear, strong voice and a delightfully pert personality ideal for Sylvia.  She also can dance.  This must be the first time I’ve ever seen a soprano hit her high note while doing the splits!  She and Klassen’s Edwin have a chemistry on stage that makes the frequent tiffs and reconciliations of these two highly strung individuals seem quite natural.  Klassen’s tenor has darkened over the years in a way that has allowed him an even greater range of expression.  This plus the rapport between the two makes the slow minor key waltz “Where Are They Now?” an unexpected highlight of the second act.

As the traditional parallel comic couple, Boni and Stasi are not typical at all.  Stasi, in a surprising notion for 1915, proposes an open marriage to Edwin as the solution to their problem in the “Swallow Duet”.  Beeler’s scintillating presence lights up the whole second act.  She gives Stasi a fascinating personality, a seeming outward nonchalance hiding deeper feelings underneath that makes you pay special attention to her every word.

As Boni, Simpson simply cannot match or the other leads.  Though I have enjoyed other performances of his, his acting style is completely different from that of the others.  He adopts the consciously artificial line delivery one often hears in musicals rather than the naturalistic style the others use here.  Although he played Boni the last time the TOT staged Die Csárdásfürstin, he plays Boni as a stereotypical comic figure rather than the complex one the librettists have created.  While he may be the main source of humour in the operetta, his motivation for ruining Edwin’s proposal to Sylvia are completely selfish.  I’d like to see a bit more chagrin in him when he recognizes the effect of what he’s done.  I’d also like to see some kind of change in him when changes from the devil-may-care rake of Act 1 who does not believe in love to a man hopelessly enslaved by it in Act 2.

In secondary roles, Stefan Fehr is excellent vocally and dramatically as Baron Ferencz or “Feri”, friend to Edwin and Boni.  Mark Petacchi, though much too young for the role, gives a solid performance as Edwin’s father Prince Leopold.  In contrast, Eugenia Dermentzis as Edwin’s mother Princess Anhilte indulges in a bit too much posturing and should give some hint of the hypocrisy of her opposing her son’s marriage to Sylvia.

As usual director and designer Guillermo Silva-Marin has managed with carefully selection of props, furniture and patterned lighting gobos to conjure up the exciting backstage of a theatre for Acts 1 and 3 and the contrasting formal world of Edwin’s parents in Act 2.  Due to an evident enthusiasm for the music, conductor Derek bate uncharacteristically allowed the TOT Orchestra to play at too high a volume in the Act 1 so that most of the words went missing.  By Act 2, however, the balance had been corrected and the words were clear.  The choral singing was lovely throughout.

TOT has not staged Die Csárdásfürstin since 1997 so fans of Viennese operetta in general, and of Kálmán in particular, should not hesitate in seeing the show, especially with such a delightful singer as Ciekiewicz as Sylvia. The show is so full of good tunes that you’re certain leave with waltzes, galops or csárdások still dancing in your ears.

©Christopher Hoile



December 28, 2011  WholeNote publisher David Perlman chats with mezzo Wallis Giunta in Toronto, among other things about her current four day Toronto working holiday (Attila Glatz Productions opera spectacular "Bravissimo" at Roy Thomson Hall New Year's Eve), about life in the Lindemann program at the Met, and about where Rufus Wainwright fits in to her upcoming March 1 Music Toronto recital.

It was standing room only at the Music Gallery last night for the first of two concerts featuring the works of Vinko Globokar this weekend, but by the close of the second half of the evening’s programme you wouldn’t have noticed because everyone was standing to applaud. (More about applause as wrecking ball at the end of this.)

What a feast, for players and audience alike. I remember reading about Globokar that every work in his fifty year career poses a different question, requiring a different aesthetic answer – that he never repeats himself. Boy does he ever not! Billed as “Back to Back,” because different presenters did the honours in the first half and second half of the programme, it might just as well have been billed “Back to Back to Back to Back,” because each of the four pieces was as distinctive as could be imagined.

In the first, “Au-dela d’une etude pour percussion” percussionist David Schotzko was put through his paces in a series of evolving, and to my eye and ear devilishly difficult, “exercises” on a wide range of percussion instruments. “If the percussionist is interested only in percussion” Globokar says, they can simply play through sections A to P without stopping.” If on the other hand “the percussionist is interested in things other than percussion – such as fencing, karate, ... the production of noises with the body,... a variety of cries,... or mime, then he can invent six short performances and place them in a suitable space, outside the scope of the percussion.” The list of other interests he gives is much longer than the few I have cited, but no matter, because Schotzko, of course, chose nothing from the list, opting instead for a dextrous little episode of swishy casting with a fly fishing rod, followed by five bouts of chopping, dicing, dusting, cooking and consuming a meal on stage, each episode cunningly and ferociously amplified. As the piece proceeded one had to deal with the somewhat alarming realization that not even artistry of the highest order could hope to match the percussive (and compositional) wizardry of a piece of meat frying on a plate. Smelt good, though.

The second piece was illustrative of another facet of Globokar’s own life and work in that it was a true improvisation by four musicians (trombonists Scott Good and Heather Segger, and percussionists Schotzko and Dan Morphy who worked with Globokar during his two week residency). The four had never worked together before this week (and in fact I was a fly on the wall at their very first session together, exactly a week ago). At that first session they did about a fifteen minute improvisation, with Globokar listening. It was interesting, and resolved easily enough. Globokar talked a bit about his own years as an improviser, how their cardinal rules were never to discuss what they had just played, and never to discuss what they were about to play. And then he simply said “So do another, but this time, play longer.” It was fascinating last night to watch and listen to how that simple instruction still informed the “final” piece, as it wandered along its course, through a classy, deft first ending into a difficult rebirth (for the audience too) and a second, less tidy but emotionally far more satisfying close.
The first half of the programme concluded with “Dos a Dos” (Back to Back), “for any two mobile instrumentalists,” in this case trombonist David Pell and saxophonist Wallace Halladay. “Throughout the piece the performers have a tumultuous relationship, and battle for supremacy” is how the programme notes put it, and that sums it up quite neatly (although “neat” in the tidy sense, is not, as you may have gathered by now, Globokar’s signature.)

I said at the outset that I would come back to the notion of “applause as wrecking ball” at the end of this, and here I am, with nothing said about the life-changing, second half of the programme “Terres brulees, ensuite ... (Burned lands, then ...)”. It’s a work scored for piano, percussion and saxophone (Stephen Clarke, Ryan Scott and Wallace Halladay, respectively), with the pianist and saxophonist relatively stationary, and the percussionist wandering (or is it driven?) through seven stations, unleashing all the cries and moans, concussions, crackles and explosions of humanity doing its very best to do its worst with all the elements available to man. As fire consumes all, and is itself consumed, little jingoistic anthemic snippets of melody blessedly fade. Darkness descends, and with it comes silence. Profound, blessed silence. But dare we hope for a lasting peace?

Nope, not in our time. Haven’t yet been in an audience in this town where some individual didn’t feel compelled to be the first to bellow bravos into the disquieting quiet or fire celebratory rifles of applause into the air hungering for at least a moment more of silent healing.

Can’t wait for Sunday’s final concert (New Music Concerts, Betty Oliphant Theatre, 8pm).



I’m an enthusiastic but not very musically sophisticated attender at new music events so sometimes I end up stupefied, not knowing what I am supposed to be listening to or for. In the good old days I could at least pick up a couple of newspapers the following day to find out whether or not I had a good time, or if I did to feel mortified at the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed something that no-one with real taste would have. But those days alas are no more. Now I have to rely on my own judgment (or go out to the Duke of York or equivalent after the event with one or another person whose judgment I value.)

I did just that last night after Austrian composer GF Haas’ IN VAIN performed by the RC New Music Ensemble (that’s RC for Royal Conservatory, not Roman Catholic) under the spirited direction of Brian Current, who is developing a loyal following among audience members, no matter what the repertoire is.

And last night’s repertoire was pretty daunting for players and audience alike – a single work, 65 minutes long, of which fully thirty minutes (in two chunks) was played in complete darkness. My greatest fear was of being discovered sound asleep when the periods of darkness lifted, but happily a well known Toronto stage and production manager/stage fighting coach sat down next to me. With the assurance that a well placed nudge in the ribs would be forthcoming if my deep attentiveness became too sonorous, I relaxed and had a wide-awake wonderful time.

Haas’s piece (as I told readers in my December In With The New column) is, to quote director Brian Current a “spectral wonder.” Happy to say, I have more appreciation of what he meant by that today than I did 24 hours ago, thanks in part to a great lecture Haas gave an hour before the concert, but also because, right away, I got to listen for the things he was talking about. “Spectral” as I now better understand it refers to music based on the physics of sound, the sound spectrum, and the precise scientific relationships between the different wave lengths. Hit someone over the head with a two by four of a precise length and it will not only produce a lovely A440 (concert A) but also a series of overtones, with the intervals between overtones diminishing, octave by octave, according to very precisely calculable rules. So, cutting a long story short, music based on true overtones would, if played on a modern piano, require keys not just capable of half tones, but quarter tones, sixths and twelfths – and VERY skinny fingers.

The modern piano by the way is the great villain of the piece, because it is grounded in something called “equal temperament.” That is to say it divides the tonal universe up into half notes, splitting the difference, agonizingly, between what are for people with musically way better ears than mine necessarily different sounds. To give one simple example, the black key between A and B must serve as both A sharp and as B flat. If you can hear the difference you can spend a whole evening, metaphorically, searching in vain for your auditory contact lenses, quite sure you played or sang or heard a wrong note. (Singers are often the greatest victims in this regard, sounding sharp or flat when all they were doing was matching the 88-key tonal antichrist they were leaning on.), or counting, on. Spectral composers have no such worries. They simply do the math and then put the players (and tuners) through whatever hell is necessary to reproduce the resulting “consonant” sounds.

Haas’ “In Vain” plays with both kinds of “harmony.” The “dissonance” in his terms of the world ruled by the piano (which sounds pretty good to start with to a three chord guitar man like me) is gradually overtaken by a world of true “consonance” (which sounds less and less strange as the piece progresses and the ear becomes more attuned), only to succumb at the end to the old regime again. The struggle for consonance, as the piece’s title suggests, has been all “in vain.” Perhaps not, though, because the stuff that sounded pretty good the first time through, sounds somehow less convincing in the reprise once the listener has had their ears washed out with consonant soap.

Well, at any rate, the great big verbal muscle that passes for my aesthetic brain soaked up enough of the theory ahead of time, that I was thoroughly convinced by what I heard, as were many others in the audience. Not so convinced were some of the aforementioned “people whose judgment I value” with whom I retired to the post-concert do at the Duke, but I have to fly off to Globokar at the Music Gallery right now, so that will have to be grist for another day.

In short, I had a lovely stimulating evening. Kudos to Current and co. for taking on the piece. For all concerned a rare and glorious chance to learn to listen a little bit differently.



I’m gearing up for the big Vinko Globokar invasion I talked about in my December issue column www.thewholenote.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=40&Itemid=32 , starting tomorrow night (Friday Dec 9 at the Music Gallery) and culminating Sunday night (Dec 11) with New Music Concerts presentation “The World of Globokar” at the Betty Oliphant Theatre.

I wanted to add something to a comment I made in the column – I said anyone wanting insights into trombonist/composer Globokar’s work and mind should start with an interview he did with John Palmer http://cda-nt.concordia.ca/econtact/10_2/GlobokarVi_Palmer.html a couple of years back. Well this is to say there’s an even better place to start,  for anyone with 45 minutes to spare, courtesy Paul Steenhuisen.

Many of you know Steenhuisen in his own right as a composer. Some of you will also remember him as the author of perhaps the best, sustained series of interviews “Composer to Composer” we ever ran in this magazine – fantastic chats between Steenhuisen and a veritable who’s who of, mainly Canadian, contemporary composers. The series went on to become a book, SONIC MOSAICS, published by University of Calgary Press, good news for Steenhuisen and book readers – not so good, alas, for us.

In one of those bone-headedly dog-in-the-mangerish moves that (particularly), academic publishers are prone to, we were required to obliterate all traces of the series of interviews from which the book arose from our website, thereby robbing the composers interviewed (and, dare I say it, the author of the book) of any hope of a contant trickle of already interested online WholeNote readers to the U of C Press website.

That being said (gee, it’s good to get it off my chest) Steenhuisen has now gone on to create a wonderful new (ongoing) series of interviews (of which the latest is one with Vinko Globokar), this time in a medium that transcends the limitations of print. Titled THE SOUNDLAB New Music Podcasts http://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-soundlab-new-music-podcast/id438086263 the series revolves around interviews, commissioned by New Music Concerts, that Steenhuisen has conducted with a growing list of composers, six to date, including Rick Sacks, Elliott Carter, Jonathan Harvey, Kee Yong Cho, and, of course, as mentioned before, Vinko Globokar.

The beauty of the medium is threefold: the interviews are vintage Steenhuisen (interested, agile, informed); they are edited and embedded in a considered voiced-over narrative; and, the icing on the cake, they include numerous sound samples of the actual music referenced in the course of the interview, not only works by the composer being interviewed, but seminal works by other composers arising in the conversation.

It’s an absolutely brilliant way of getting not only words about the music (guilty as charged!) but a priceless taste of the sounds themselves. No better time to check the SOUNDLAB series out than with the Globokar interview, prior to heading out for a weekend with the master himself.

img_1136_al_forest__jeanne_lamon__tricia_baldwinAt Carnegie Hall on performance night, it was gratifying to see, as Jeanne acknowledged in her speech, many familiar faces. A group of loyal Tafel patrons, board members, and fans from Toronto constituted a sight for sore eyes. Energized by the best acoustics of the tour (and a now silent jackhammer), with a program seasoned by our Virginia run, everyone gave their best for Carnegie.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a reception with sponsors and fans at the trendy Flatotel, just four blocks south from Carnegie's stage door, before fanning out into midtown Manhattan on a Saturday night.

What was the critical reaction?

An online review from a site called bachtrack by one Stephen Raskauskas was generally positive while frequently wishing for more instruments in the ensemble.

In this piece [Vivaldi concerto], a few plucked strings, such as a guitar, lute, theorbo, or any combination thereof, would have enriched the sound. In truth, plucked strings would have improved the sound of every piece that evening, and Tafelmusik should be taken to task for not employing at least one full-time lutenist to tour with them…

Although it pains me, I am for once forced to agree with a critic. Ironically, our own Lucas Harris was in New York that evening, but preparing for a concert of his own. He was no doubt happy to be reunited, however, with his violinist wife Geneviève Gilardeau--who was onstage with us--and baby Daphnée, the newest addition to the Tafelmusik family. Her tiny presence on the tour was a source of cheerfulness to all, and she has already proven herself a stalwart traveler.

img_1139_christina_mahler_and_dick_freeboroughA New York concert always raises the question of whether or not the Times will write a review. Since our concert was on a Saturday night, when the arts sections for the weekend have already been put to bed, there was a wait of a few days before anything appeared. I admit to a feeling a traditional sense of dread about such things – but we didn’t need to worry. One of the newer critics, Steve Smith, attended our concert and delivered a glowing review that started with this headline:

Violins Take Center Stage in a Repertory Reincarnated

An excerpt of the review:

Indeed, the principal allure of the arrangement [Bach Concerto for Three Violins] was in the contrasting sounds and styles of three excellent soloists from the ensemble's ranks: Julia Wedman, Patricia Ahern and Aisslinn Nosky… [In the Bach Suite]Ms. Lamon was an exciting soloist, conjuring a whirlwind in the final Badinerie.

It's not just that the view was positive, but Smith seemed to “get” what our concert was about! What really matters, though, is what we ourselves thought and what our friends thought. [Tafelmusik supporter] Al Forest remarked that it was a “really great concert!”  That's what we want to hear.

Our morning drive from Charlottesville took us north through the Shenandoah Valley, historically a conduit of armies and one of America's breadbaskets. But one was unaware of being in a valley since the Blue Ridge Mountains were entirely enshrouded with low-hanging clouds and fog. In the eighteenth century, Winchester was near what was then the frontier, and once housed the surveying headquarters of a young George Washington (yes, he slept here!). During the Civil War, Winchester changed hands 72 times between Rebel and Union forces, but Tafelmusik's occupation was to be a mere 18 hours.

tafelmusik_masterclass_with_tricia_ahern__photo_by_colleen_cook_9Shenandoah University consists of a handful of schools, the largest of which is a Conservatory of Music with about 700 students. In the late afternoon, Tricia Ahern gave a well-attended master class, hearing four string players play Bach and other composers. Much of the orchestra's rehearsal was devoted to the challenging acoustics of the auditorium, but with some adjustments we got the program into shape.

Some of our repertoire is relatively new to us, such as the reconstructed Bach Orchestral Suite, BWV 1067 (for violin instead of flute) and the Triple Concerto, BWV 1063 (for violins instead of harpsichords). Much of the program features brilliant solo playing: Jeanne Lamon, Julia Wedman, Tricia Ahern, Aislinn Nosky, John Abberger, and Marco Cera take turns in the spotlight. Our biggest ensemble piece, Lully's Phaeton Suite, is already imbedded in our memory, since it is part of our music stand-free Galileo program. The audience must notice the change, because our gazes wander from their normal course and we must suppress the urge to walk or dance about the stage. We don't need no stinkin' scores!

Our Winchester audience was mostly college students, an interesting compromise between Charlottesville's mature evening and juvenile morning crowds. The sound in the hall improved with their presence, so the concert came off well. For this blogger, being in Winchester was a bit of nostalgia, since I taught cello at the Conservatory in a previous life. Onstage with Tafelmusik in Armstrong Auditorium, where I once performed the Elgar Cello Concerto, I felt two universes colliding. Some dear old friends met me afterwards for a brief but lovely reunion.

In the morning our bus headed for New York, feeling not tanned but definitely ready for primetime. Our bassoonist Dominic Teresi had already departed in the wee hours, having been called in an emergency to replace the principal bassoonist of John Eliot Gardiner's Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique for their Beethoven Symphony performances at Carnegie Hall. Luckily, he had brought along his classical bassoon for this tour. Keep your powder dry, as they used to say along the frontier!

img_1123A cold and grey morning's drive, first through slivers of rural West Virginia and Maryland, then more substantial chunks of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, until at last we slip through the Lincoln Tunnel into Midtown Manhattan. We disembark at the hotel on 57th St., just a few blocks from our ultimate destination, Carnegie Hall. It happens that I blogged for the last tour which brought us here, so I will first borrow from that original impression of Zankel Hall in February, 2009:

My Life as a Blog

img_1126Carnegie Hall is really three different halls: There's the Stern Auditorium, the most famous one where the big orchestras play, with its rings of gilded balconies, red velvet and classical columns. There's Weill Recital Hall, (no relation to Bruno!) , once known as Carnegie Recital Hall, the traditional space for debut recitals. And now there is Zankel Hall, where we will play. This venue was created in 2005 in a below ground space which formerly housed the Carnegie Cinema. While I have played many times in the two traditional halls, I have never played in or even seen the new Zankel Hall.

The last time I was in this space was some 20 years ago, when I went to a screening of the Swedish movie “My Life as a Dog.” So my curiosity was very high when we walked in on Friday for our dress rehearsal. What a lovely space it is!  Unlike the older halls, it is almost entirely framed in light-toned wood, with wooden seats padded with green velvet. The official seating is 599, and the layout is entirely flexible. For our concert, there is a traditional arrangement of seats on a sloped floor, with a small ring of balconies. The sound is warm, the audience fairly close. It seems like an ideal size for our group.

img_1128So today there is some feeling of familiarity as we approach the iconic venue again, but no less enthusiasm! But first, after four continuous days of traveling and performing, we have an evening and a morning off to enjoy New York. Everyone has their personal preferences, so I made an informal survey the next morning of where people went. The kaleidoscopic results include the Grand Central Station Oyster Bar, Neue Galerie, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum, Brooklyn Academy of Music (John Malkovich Show), Avery Fisher Hall (New York Philharmonic), Birdland Jazz Club, Carnegie Hall (Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, with our own Dominic Teresi pinch-hitting principal bassoon). Christina and I vistited Christoph Landon's violin shop and tried a million dollar Tecchler cello.

img_1132On Friday afternoon, with the sun shining for the first time during the tour, we reconvene for a full rehearsal on the stage of Zankel/Carnegie Hall. Balances and pitches are fine-tuned despite the jackhammer obbligato from a nearby construction site. The house manager tells me that Zankel's stage is 35 feet below street level, and just 8 feet beyond the backstage wall runs the subway (N, R, Q line-if you ever happen pass through the 57th St. station, remember we were there!). He also says that when Carnegie Hall first opened in 1891, this particular subterranean venue was the first to present a concert, before the more celebrated grand opening in the main hall with Tchaikovsky conducting. When the subway line was put in, they put a layer of rubber under the track nearest to Carnegie-but not all the lines. You can feel the rumble once in a while.

Because of extensive renovations being done to the Carnegie Hall towers, there is scaffolding enclosing the whole structure, and the Tafelmusik poster, proudly proclaiming SOLD OUT, is partially obscured. So plans for a group photo in front of the poster are cancelled-I should say, postponed, until our next appearance here. With all the pieces touched up and adjustments made, it's time to suit up for the concert!

--Allen Whear

US Tour Blog #1, by Tafelmusik Cellist Allen Whear

Thursday, November 16, 2011

jeanne_lamon__with_tour_manager_stephanie_miletic__charlottesvilleTafelmusik began its US tour in the historic college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, beautifully situated amid forests and hills of the Blue Ridge. Thomas Jefferson, president, diplomat, architect, author of the Declaration of Independence, and violinist, made his home here. One can't help but wonder what he would have thought of our program of Bach, Lully, Vivaldi, and Fasch – all “ancient” music in his day. He was known to like Corelli and did have Vivaldi in his famous music library. Jefferson once wrote, “Music…is the favorite Passion of my soul...” This signifies two things: not only that Jefferson was a kindred spirit to us musicians, but even in this small way was declaring independence from England by spelling favorite without a “u”. 

The venue for our first concert, Old Cabell Hall, is situated on the campus of the University of Virginia, opposite Jefferson's Palladian-style Rotunda.  Designed by Stanford White in 1898, the auditorium seems inspired by Palladio's Teatro Olimpico, with the audience rising in semi-circular tiers above the stage. Adding to the sense of antiquity is a mural-sized reproduction of Raphael's School of Athens behind us. More kindred spirits, perhaps?

At the rehearsal, the director of Charlottesville's Tuesday Evening Concert Series, Karen Pellón, welcomed us enthusiastically and said that people had been stopping her in the street to express their excitement and anticipation of Tafelmusik's coming. She also hoped that we were not worried about our previous experience in Charlottesville. (In 2004, two different buses broke down, delaying both our arrival and departure from their fair city and causing us to nearly miss a flight. We had begun to suspect that there was a Charlottesville curse…)

When I asked her later why people in Charlottesville were so pumped about our coming,  she replied that our reputation preceded us and there was a real love for baroque music on period instruments here in Charlottesville, and that our previous visits in 1995 and 2004 were fondly remembered. How about that?

rehearsing_in_charlottesvilleLast night, a full house of nearly 1,000 fulfilled the expectations, and the applause was warm and sustained; maybe Tafelmusik played a role in their “Pursuit of happiness.”

Early this morning we played for another thousand, but of quite a different demographic. An orange armada of school buses delivered grade and middle school kids from all over the city and surrounding county to the Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center to hear an abridged version of our program. Jeanne was MC and kid wrangler, and soon had thousands of hands clapping along to Marais' Tambourin.

Later, as our bus headed up the Shenandoah Valley towards Winchester, it was safe to conclude that there is no Charlottesville curse. In fact, we can't wait to come back. Jefferson would have loved us.

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