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.