This weekend I flexed my artsy cred with a roadtrip to the famous Kennedy Center in D.C. for an evening of classical music starring Renée Fleming and Lang Lang. It was the National Symphony Orchestra's season opener, led by new and shorter-than-expected music director Christoph Eschenbach. "Say Kari, is shortness really relevant here?" you ask. Well, only in the same way Yahweh (or whatever) is relevant in religious circles or Tony Orlando is relevant to the existential worldview of the Dawns, i.e., totally. What, were you born in a barn? Without height commentary, all being is nothingess, etc. etc.
It was one of the most enjoyable programs I've witnessed, classical or otherwise—casual, relaxed, and engaging, minus all the self-important rich people baggage you usually get at these gala-type events—so I will take some time out of my busy schedule to detail for you the line items:
- J. Strauss: Overture to Die Fledermaus (NSO)
- R. Strauss: Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) for Soprano and Orchestra (Fleming)
- J. Strauss: Kaiserwalzer, Op. 437 (Emperor Waltzes) (NSO)
- Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major (Lang Lang)
- R. Strauss: Caecilie and Morgen (Fleming)
- Debussy: Petite Suite (Lang Lang, who was joined at the piano by Eschenbach)
I have nothing intelligent to report about musical performance, as there is zero connection between what I hear and what I know how to say, and because I have this fear, deep down, not only with music but also extrapolated to theatre and books, that if I'm someday able to understand it on, so to speak, an "intellectual" level, thinking will supplant listening and then where will I be? I'm not saying "deliberately ignorant yokel" is a goal to strive for, but some things work better as magic and pure unsullied pleasure and when it comes to music I'd rather be an INFP than an ESTJ, if you know what I mean. So I can give you only the customary mental image of my jaw gaping wide with joy and awe and marvel, and the occasional tear trickling silently down one freckled cheek (that "Beim Schlafengehen" is a killer).
Afterwards we went backstage for a visit where we ran into all of these internationally famous superstars and engaged in the sort of coordinated whispering, shuffling, hooting, and clapping for which we as a group are known. It was Roxie Z's first time meeting Renée Fleming and she adhered admirably to her printed list of the Top 10 Things Not to Say to Renée Fleming, which included "Eugene On-again, Off-again" (extra credit for subtle Russian literary humor), and here's where I'm going to throw out the word "balls," apropos of nothing, just to test a certain someone on her tolerance for the street lingo of twentysomethings.
For the record, the whole thing was pretty spectacular.
On Sunday we followed that up with a delicious brunch and my new gold sequin shoes, which are like a flashy William Hurt to the scruffy but lovable Albert Brooks of my usual workaday dress and demeanor.
Ladies! You're all gorgeous.