Saturday, October 8, 2016

Opening Night

October 8, 2016

So, first thing, all my anxieties about getting home from the far-flung museum came true. There we were, standing darkling in a dangerous bend of a high curving street in Buda, alone, three different taxis having failed to arrive. The last people leaving found us room in their cars, and we got home, but I do not feel good about the occasion. By “we” I mean AP and his woman friend from–Slovenia? Slovak Republic? I had never thought to see A again in this life, though he sort of started al this rolling by getting H in touch with me 17 years ago. The transportation debacle shifted to one side the fact that the premiere of The Birth of Color was quite amazing. The Chapel in the Kiscelli is one of the best rooms in the world, vast, medieval-looking, rough and ruined, resonant, a place a boy could play in for hours, except for being clammy as a tomb, perfect in every way. It was filled with singing bowls made of pale quartz and streamers to bear the lights, and the chorus was, as ever, perfection, with just the edge of coldness to bring tang to a score that is perhaps ever so slightly over-lush. I thought myself that the event was a little over-produced, more like an Olympics opening ceremony than the sort of art event I understand, but none of the comments from the crowd suggested that, all praise, all fireworks. A famous critic from Atlanta who’d flown in for the event murmured “wonderful. .  wonderful. . .nothing like it ever.” It was moving, extraordinary, and I will agree with everybody on the adjective “unique.” H and D were proud and happy, as was I, especially in the degree to which it delighted them. Here I am in a Central European Capital part of what is, for a few nights, the most remarkable thing happening in the arts. They translated my text into Hungarian for an opening declamation, and it sounds fantastic, like the first language ever spoken in the world. I tried to listen to see if it was as beautiful in English, but I couldn’t get past the meaning of the words. It’s hard to imagine this set of talents and circumstances ever coming together again, but the oratorio itself could have continuing life. I hope everybody hears it. I hope everybody (with major talent) wants to sing it.

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