Mystery score

Mystery score

Monday, October 08, 2012

NCCO, Britten & Bartok

I had originally decided not to attend NCCO's first program, then had a change of plans and Patrick had an available ticket. So off to Herbst, where we were in the fourth row.

That's too close for me, and it created some problems. I don't like the music to go over my head, and I like some hall perspective. This didn't much affect Britten's Simple Symphony much (it is a charmer) or the Bartok Divertimento, which got a fine performance.

But I was way too close to soprano Melody Moore, who sang Britten's Les Illuminations, close enough to be annoyed by a couple of extra-musical and a couple of musical issues. She was dressed...vaguely informally, in a way I did not like: her jacket wasn't the same black as her pants, and her hair was informally disheveled. And during the performance, I thought there was an excessive amount of what amounted to nudge-nudge, wink-wink with NCCO's leader, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. There were so many knowing looks between them that it was like watching a bunch of in-jokes happening on stage.

So that was annoying. On the musical side - well, I was too close for much perspective, so I can't say much about balances and so on. I can say that when I reviewed Moore in this same music a few years back, with NCCO during Axel Strauss's audition concert, I complained about her French. I'm sorry to say that it hasn't improved, and boy, was that distracting. To the extent that I remember that program and this, I would also say that the orchestra in the earlier performance was crisper than it was this year.

6 comments:

Joshua Kosman said...

Too close for you, but probably too far away for Patrick. I saw him the other night in the front row for something (Biss maybe?) and was amazed all over again at his kinky seating preferences.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I sure don't get it. The one time I tried sitting in the front row, for a new music program in Hertz last season, I disliked the effect, even though I liked the music and there were maybe five players.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Yes, probably Biss: sorry I didn't see you.

If preferring to sit in the front row is my biggest kink, then . . . well, I don't know if I'm relieved or disappointed.

I'm extremely near-sighted and particularly for opera and other forms of theater I like to see what the actors, if I may call them all that, are doing. There also is more legroom (usually) in the front row. And in some venues the seats are cheaper. You lose some effects but I feel there is a gain in immediacy and vitality.

Mostly I like the feeling of being immersed in the performance rather than a sea of (usually annoying) people.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I dunno, Patrick.

- You spend more time sitting next to annoying people than I do.

- Dollars to donuts my eyes are significantly worse than yours. They are in the -13 diopters of correction range.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Yes, I do spend more time sitting next to annoying people than you do.

Also, I did know that your eyes are probably worse than mine. What matters is how much one prefers to see.

Not sure why my seating preference affects anyone but me anyway. . . .

Lisa Hirsch said...

Anyone reading your reviews should know that you're hearing a concert or seeing a play from a physical perspective that 1) they're unlikely to be in themselves 2) affects what you hear and see.

I mean, the latter is obviously true, but the front row is an unusual location for most people who write reviews.