On this special Back to the Future social media day, I was talking with Assistant Principal Second Violin Eva Kozma about Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony, which comes up on the concert calendar November 13-15. Kozma is from Romania–one of three Romanians in the orchestra–so I thought it would be interesting to hear her take on Back to the Future.
“It came out when we were still living under Communism,” she told me. Any films they saw from the West were “really old.” She’s managed to see parts of the movie over the years, “So I’m looking forward to seeing the whole thing. As a matter of fact, my husband wants to bring both of our boys to a performance.”
Back to the Future will be on the big screen at Powell Hall October 30-November 1, with the St. Louis Symphony performing the score live.
A visit to the dress rehearsal of Barber of Seville got me to thinking about perspective. Rossini’s entertaining romp is the season opener for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. The folks making the music from the pit are members of the St. Louis Symphony. (The Symphony is roughly divided in half through opera season, the Red and the Green, and the two groups rotate between operas and Live at Powell Hall concerts–see previous “Red and Green” blog posts over the last ten years or so for more in-depth explanations.)
This Barber is delightfully colorful with touches of absurdist comedy akin to the Marx Brothers, Monty Python, and the camp classics of Pedro Almodovar–the opera does take place in Seville, after all.
But as to perspective, all the stage bits, Figaro’s deep blue long-coat, the row of cocks at the base of a curtain, a swaying rump–the musicians see none of it. So, since no one I talked with sounded in the mood for a photo during rehearsal break, I thought, how about the backs of heads as metaphor for the musician’s experience in the opera pit? The audience sees the show; the musicians see their music and the conductor’s baton. The face; the faceless.
And let’s make a game of it. Let’s see how well you know your Symphony musicians. I provide the list of five. You match with photos.
1) Helen Kim 2) Xiaoxiao Qiang 3) Eva Kozma 4) Born Ranheim 5) Shawn Weil
Monday morning Wild Things came to the Powell Hall stage. Two onstage concerts were performed for pre-schoolers, teachers and parents from Grace Hill Head Start. The good folks from the PNC Grow Up Great program helps make this all happen.
The story was Maurice Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are, with music by Ravel and Shostakovich. A string quartet made up of Jooyeon Kong, first violin; Eva Kozma, second violin; Chris Tantillo, viola; and Alvin McCall, cello made the sounds that made the children dance, and sway like trees, and bend like ocean waves, and growl like wild things.
Max was the superb actor Moses Weathers. He and I took a selfie together in the middle of the show.
Resident Conductor Steven Jarvi played the role of the conductor. Eva Kozma also served as music director.
We do it again next week for more Grace Hill Head Start kids. Thanks PNC Grow Up Great for helping the Symphony to fulfill its mission: to enrich people’s lives through the power of music.