Another night with the Pacific Symphony. Carl St. Clair conducted–his long gray hair flying all about as he leapt around on the podium. I told John that in some ways he looks the very caricature of a conductor–his movements so exaggerated, his whole body leaping dramatically around the stage. But he remains a complete joy to watch.
Tonite was all-Tchaikovsky. The first piece his No 1. concerto in B flat played by a recent Van Cliburn silver medalist. Beautiful & breathtaking.
Then at intermission E and I made the mistake of getting in line for hot chocolate (for her, not me) after using the restroom. It was about 50 degrees and windy in the stadium and E was freezing in her fleece. It seemed the right thing to try to get a quick warm beverage for her. Big mistake, tho. As a result we missed the final call for seating and had to sit outside the stadium (where we couldn’t see a thing!) for Swan Lake. We entirely missed the ballet performance. I was crying as I pleaded with the usher to let us in. To no avail. [FWIW: John had never seen ballet close up before. I think he was a bit shocked. He said the male dancer in his body-baring tights had muscles where he didn’t know muscles even existed…And to think that I missed all of that–Sheesh! :) ]
But fortunately we were able to take our seats for the finale: the 1812 overture complete with cannon fire and fireworks. There was a full moon and the cannons were shooting off adjacent to our seats. They shook the whole amphitheater. It was awesome. Cannons rock! The moon had risen and was just barely visible through the red haze of the display overhead. John tried to take a quick picture (the moon is the glowing white thing in the pic above), but it’s almost impossible to capture that kind of scene on film–the shutter speed too slow, the fireworks exploding so quickly.
What a great end to a great season. I fear it may be years before we can afford orchestra-level season tickets at the symphony again. But I am so glad for these summer concerts and hope to be able to squeeze in a few individual performances again soon.
It seems, in a way, a frivolous thing to pay the outrageous prices of the Pacific Symphony (or any other local symphony, for that matter). Especially when the same amount of money could be used for more important things. I tell myself that I could just buy a CD and listen to it real loud and pretend that I am hearing it live [and then I wouldn’t have to put up with our neighbors who fiddle with plastic bags during performances, or fight for parking spaces, or cry in front of ushers who won’t let me back in after intermission].
But the CD just can’t compare. I want the real thing: the cannons, the tights, the conductor, the family, the summer, the stars, the fireworks…the memories.