Buenos Aires – Ahh sweet music. And who knew that do-re-mi was more than just an exercise in Sound of Music? And why do they change the “ti” to “si” in Spanish? And why am I nattering on about this?
My friend Michael sent a note yesterday morning that he had an extra ticket to a concert at Teatro Colón. This is one of the most famous concert and opera houses in the world, and certainly the finest in South America. I’d taken a tour of it back in February with a friend from Paris and we’d had a great time, though unfortunately come away with minimal in the way of photos. At that point, they didn’t allow photos anywhere except the lobby. I understand that now, they don’t even allow the lobby! Maybe the souvenier book wasn’t selling well. Regardless, it’s a grand and glorious 150-year old theater with four tiers of balcony boxes and two tiers of single row seating and standing room above that. A stunning domed ceiling (not to mention the amazing stained glass lobby ceiling), marble columns, massive velvet curtains (I vaguely remember something about the weight of the curtains being something close to a metric ton, but I could be completely off), gold leaf everywhere, and spectacular lighting. Decent tickets, especially for sought after performances, can be nearly impossible to obtain – most of the theater is taken up by subscription.
Nonetheless, Michael had three tickets for Camerata Bariloche, the 40-year old national chamber orchestra of Argentina. I’m not going to go on ad nauseum about the music, suffice it to say it was brilliantly played. The orchestra’s international reputation is well deserved! In short, the program, entitled Por amor a Mozart, consisted of three pieces: Leoš Janáček’s Suite for Strings, Mozart’s Concert in D for Piano, No. 26, and his Symphony in E-flat, No. 39. The piano piece featured soloist Bruno Leonardo Gelber, one of the world’s most accomplished pianists, and a native Argentinian. The audience clearly adored him, with a standing ovation and three curtain calls (and he does know how to work the crowd, with bows and waves to the cheap seats). In fact, quite a few people (easily 5% of the audience) left during the intermission after this piece – they were clearly there just for him.
Truly a memorable, “lifetime moment” experience!