Last night, Carol and I drove downtown to hear the Minnesota Orchestra at the Adrienne Arsht Center. There was a huge traffic jam, because not only was the MO performing at the Knight Concert Hall, but across the street at the Ziff Ballet Opera House, the Flamenco Festival Miami 2012 was presenting Estrellas del Flamenco. Furthermore, just south of the Center, at Bicentennial Park, "Cavalia returns with Odysseo, a new Cirque-style show that takes the horse and human act to another level." Finally, the Heat played the Pacers in the American Airlines Arena, just south of the Park! What a mess!
We and at least a hundred other people got into the concert hall too late for the Brahms Variation on a Theme by Haydn, but were in time for Sibelius' Concerto for Violin in D minor, with Midori and Beethoven's Fifth. This was my introduction to Midori, the MO, and its music director and conductor Osmo Vänskä. All three were simply a joy.
The most fun was the Fifth. Usually, before such a weighty piece, the conductor comes out, bows to the audience, mounts the podium in a dignified way, turns to the orchestra, looks around, brings the orchestra to attention, and then begins. In this case, however, Vänskä, who is tall, lean, and athletic, bows, turns, and leaps to the podium and, as he comes down, so also comes down the baton. The orchestra is poised and waiting (I didn't notice that, as I was looking at him). Out rings the famous theme of the first movement, full, and rich, and with gorgeous power and strength. Wow! It was the orchestral equivalent of a slam dunk, but it wasn't the end of the play. It was the beginning of a heady experience that easily grabbed us in the Third Tier balcony seats. My complaint was that it was over simply too fast. And no encore! If any of our Minneapolis kin read this, don't, don't miss the MO. Mary, whom we picked up at the airport after the concert, asked if it compares to the Philadelphia Orchestra. Oh, yes!
Here's the Herald's post of yesterday on the concert.
(This is now on my wish list.)