|The Grand Opera|
After the air warm-up, I zipped over to the Sarah Bernhardt Room – a beautifully paneled side-room on your left as you enter the Grand Opera House. There was a short chamber concert before the orchestral performance which was a great program performed mainly by the adult members of the Wilmington Community Orchestra and some of their friends. A flute trio by Kaspar Kummer, a modern tango for strings, the first movement of the Beethoven Wind Octet in E-Flat Major, Opus 103, a movement of the Duo for Violin and Viola in G Major by Mozart and a wind quintet by Darius Milhaud called La Cheminée du Roi René. Note: Bassoonist Jennifer Hugh came in as a last minute sub and did a great job in both the chamber works and the symphonic works and she has a heavy gig this coming Sunday in the Newark Symphony. Brava!
Then I followed the crowd back to the main hall for the concerto winner performances. The orchestra sounded fantastic in the Grand – man, do they have wonderful acoustics. I enjoyed hearing the young concerto winners. Marius Sander(student of Eliezer Gutman) played the first movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor, Opus 64, Madeline Cheong (student of Jennifer Chen) played the Mendelssohn Piano Concerto in G Minor, Opus 25 and Alexis Meschter (student of Lee Snyder) played the Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Minor by Henri Vieuxtemps.
I went to the beginning of the intermission chamber concert – an excellent rendition by some young students of the MozartQuintet for Clarinet and Strings, K 581, but left early to check out the stage. First of all, since the stage hands moved the piano, I had no idea if I would be able to see the conductor from wherever they put it. Secondly, I feared that I would not be able to get on the stage after the chorus and all the musicians were in place.
I went and dutifully tested the piano bench, closed to half stick so the lid wouldn’t block my view of the conductor and tested a few quiet notes which sounded amazingly loud from the stage. I couldn’t start practicing full force because the audience had already started to come back in. So, nerves up and move on.
I enjoyed watching the Delaware Children’s Chorus come shyly on stage from my offstage vantage point. They were trying so hard to do the right thing and were small and adorable. Dr. Schwarz mouthed the words for them to help as they sang. Then the Delaware Women’s Chorus joined them on stage.
Next was my gig on the piano so I went on stage from the piano side (no percussion to stumble over on that side) and survived my piece. I rushed off and went under the grand in the cavernous passage to the steps to the front lobby. I was delighted to have seen the backstage that all my friends use before they play with the Delaware Symphony.