There was a violin concert today at the cultural center, sponsored by the Italian embassy. Free entry, though the embassy reserved the entire orchestra section for themselves and guests, leaving only the balconies available for the unwashed masses. We managed to wrangle a couple of seats in orchestra, though.

All in all, it was a mediocre performance, which was kind of a disappointment, considering how well-known the violinist was in Italy. Stooping posture, notes out of place, poor bow control, doctored passages - I could go on and on. The worst of it was how he would steal glances at the pianist's score and disguise it as "dancing" across the stage. I mean, sure, you're old, your fingers aren't as nimble, but after all these years of concertizing, surely a little familiarity with the piece isn't too much to ask? The only redeeming factor was his vibrato, which, though glib, at least lent a lyrical touch to the mechanical garble of notes. Monkeys typing Hamlet... how about monkeys playing the violin, for a change?

The food more than made up for it, though. Concerts like these are definitely worth going to, if just for the food. There was pasta (of course) with some REAL pomodoro sauce and REAL tomatoes (which is too much to ask for in this country), and even REAL fresh Parmigiano to go with it (a veritable dream on this side of the world). There were also people, quite a few of them, shamelessly picking the roses off the vertical planters on the walls beside the hall entrance. One woman actually had a whole bouquet of them by the time I saw her. Curiously, no one thought to stop them (though the attendants stopped *me* from trying to re-enter the hall to look for my program). I'd have gone and joined if not for my deep-seated association of fragrant roses with overbearing stage mothers who can scream and shatter glass. Let's not go there, please.



May 2012

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