Basking in Bach -- Those lucky enough to have packed into St. John's Cathedral on Friday night were treated to some rare music indeed. The third of the four Bach Festival concerts was one of those moments in the local arts scene to be cherished. The evening started out with the familiar, beloved Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1 and 3, but the audience was offered something completely different in the second half.
Artistic Director Gunther Schuller chose a little-known work by Telemann, the Overture in F -- which, he told the gathering, may have never been performed in the United States before. With a soaring overture and flights of fancy, as the music mimicked the sounds of cannon-fire and even frogs a-courtin', it was a musical treat.
Speaking of treats, watch out for next year, the festival's 25th anniversary, when Schuller aims to pull out all the stops and mount performances of Bach's Christmas Oratorio and a signature piece by one of Bach's biggest admirers, Mozart. If you saw the film Amadeus, you know the work; it plays at the end, and it's one of the most moving pieces of music ever to make it from brain to paper: The Requiem. We can't wait!
The Wind in Wyoming -- Judging from the audience's attentiveness and occasional weeping, Tracey Benson's cast did a powerful job with a powerful script at the University of Idaho's Kiva Theater over the weekend. In The Laramie Project, a 1998 docudrama about the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, the octet of actors were asked to play about eight roles each. They differentiated one character from another remarkably well: the same actor might play an insensitive bureaucrat and Shepard's grieving, eloquent father; or a compassionate physician and both the murderers. In the process, the production spotlighted the difference between mere tolerance and genuine acceptance.
Sold-Out Soliloquy -- Maybe we've been in Spokane for too long. We always assume we can just walk up to the Met about 15 minutes before a performance, grab some tickets and walk on in. That's exactly the mistake we made here in the Buzz Bin Friday night. We were planning to go and give one of our own, Pia Hansen, a show of support for her role in that night's production of The Vagina Monologues.
But we blew it. Pooched it. Messed up. The show was sold out by late Thursday, and the only way we were going to see it was by sneaking into Friday afternoon's dress rehearsal. Pia tells us the show was an enormous success and we're thrilled that Spokane was so supportive of this event, a fundraiser for Stop the Clock.