Sunday, March 9, 2008

Speaking of incadescent light bulbs

I went to the MSO last night and the Marcus Center is decorated with about a million of 'em. The CFL bulbs just won't look right, not to mention the public health hazard of uncovered mercury bulbs out in the open along the corridors. Damn shame about the ban, because it's a very nice-looking facility. Until 2012.

I'd like to think I support arts/music, but this was my first symphony (there may have been a field trip in middle school, but that doesn't count). Meine Deutschlererin (German teacher) is in the MSO Chorus and hooked me up with a reduced-rate ticket. I'll try almost anything once. Last night was Verdi's Requiem, kind of an operatic funeral mass.

It was a really enjoyable evening. There's no dress code, but the website suggested business casual; I probably should have worn women's shoes (when there's snow on the sidewalks fashion stops at the knees...) but otherwise I don't think I stood out in black pants and a sweater. The staff were very friendly and helpful.

An hour before the performance, one of the choral directors gave a little talk about the history of the piece, and pointed out some things to listen for, which was very helpful.

And the performance was beautiful. The mezzo-soprano's voice was amazing (both the female soloists were large women in beautiful, beautiful dresses). I think I'd heard the trumpet antiphon before--possibly at an Easter service at Valpo--so I got a little sidetracked trying to figure that out. Even though it was in Italian, I was able to follow along in the program, which pleased me.

The music was gorgeous, just gorgeous. It's cliche to say I was moved to tears, but it was a funeral mass, and coincidentally I'd been a little bummed all day by the anniversary of my grandmother's death. But the director said in his pre-performance talk, "if this doesn't make you shiver, have your heart checked."

So. Very enjoyable evening, and I will do it again sometime. Besides the amazingness of the music, I was very impressed by how the organization made it very easy for this white-trash hayseed to access the performance, both physically and intellectually. I don't know enough to evaluate the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra musically, but their willingness to reach out and gently educate people who aren't stereotypical "symphony patrons" is first-rate.

(Note to self: learn to write artistic criticism more interesting that using the word "beautiful" over and over.)

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