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.


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.