Thursday, May 24, 2018

Unpleasant evening at the Kimmel Center

I had tickets for Tosca, supposedly the hottest ticket in Philadelphia, for me and my daughter. It was a special occasion, a birthday celebration for her.   As we approached the Kimmel Center, we saw a group of activists blocking Broad Street.  The police were monitoring the situation--I think.  Not very well, it turned out.  These activists were all over the place, like ants at a picnic.  At least two of them approached me and more would have. They were in the street, in the lobby, everywhere.

What was it all about?  These mostly middle aged white women were protesting the orchestra's plan to perform in Israel.

The Kimmel Center was showing signs of age, or perhaps of deferred maintenance.  There were buckets here and there set to catch leaks from the roof, fallen plaster was all over the place and one of the water fountains was out of order.

There was a full house. We took our seats, the concert master came out, then the conductor,   Yannick Nézet-Séguin, . He bowed and tapped his baton on the lectern, and...a female voice erupted over the speaker system, shouting about justice for Palestine.  The conductor left the stage, and some of  the musicians also started to leave.  The woman continued shouting.  We could not see what was going on, but the disturbance lasted maybe ten minutes. Ten minutes is a long time when you are waiting for a musical performance.  Then order was restored, Yannick and the musicians returned and the concert commenced.  It was handled clumsily.

It was a sort of semi-staged version of Tosca.  I did not enjoy myself very much.  Trying to follow the action of the opera distracted me from enjoying the music, and the music distracted me from following the plot. I blame the Palestinians. They and their supporters have a lot to answer for.

It was a very long opera, made longer by an interval toward  the end when the action was interrupted while a couple of stage hands moved some furniture, without musical accompaniment.  The audience stirred, ready to leave, but a supertitle warned us the opera was not over.  That was awkward, not to say weird.

All in all, not what I expected when I plunked down $158 for two seats in the third tier.

1 comment:

Dick Stanley said...

The lying Pallies and their lying supporters. They just want peace. Uh huh. They just want justice, i.e., all the land from the river to the sea. Never happen. All they've got is protests to spoil things like operas.