Sunday, April 17, 2011

Concert at Disney Hall

The concert, Elgar and Tchaikovsky, at Disney Hall was wonderful. I've never heard better performances, but then I'd never heard the two selections before so probably would have been thrilled to hear them no matter what. Richard has seen/heard the Tchaikovsky performed several times and he thought it was excellent. Just watching Nickolai play anything on the 7 million dollar fiddle was a thrill in itself. He's a very controlled player - didn't break a sweat until about 15 minutes in and even then it was blottable sweat not the pouring, splashing sweat I've seen violinists produce in the heat of the thing. 

Early bird reward...all alone on the stairs

The fabulous delft fountain - Richard serving as perspective
We paid $165.00 each - and the hall was full. 

We go so rarely, we splurged using up our entertainment budget for the quarter. Now we have to stay home, eat ramen noodles and watch On Demand until July. Where do people get the money?? The heads in the 7 rows in front of us were mostly grey and at intermission we were surprised at the number of walkers parked outside. Old money I guess, literally old. 

Of course, the hall is beautiful - inside is wrapped in doug fir (I think for acoustics) and the organ, which is the visual centerpiece of the theatre (before the orchestra files in) - is just stunning. Once the orchestra is in, it's like putting a diamond in a ring - the whole setting is complete.  

Hall interior
In the Tchaikovsy, one whole movement is plucked, but they didn't exactly pluck - they rubbed the strings and created a kind of orchestral sighing which they were able to increase and  decrease in volume. It was just unbelievably good and I guess the interpretation of the guest conductor, a very competent Russian dude. Dudamel wasn't there (he's a brand new Daddy) which was a disappointment initially but after a bit, we started thinking  we may have lucked out to hear/see this Russian. But who knows. I haven't a clue how critics compare these performances because at this level of orchestra, there's no bad playing - it's going to be  a choice of best, really best, amazingly best....or something like that. Superlatives all the way.

I read somewhere that Tchaikovsky used to hold his hand under his chin when he conducted because he had a psychological fear that his head would blow off. Sitting in this audience and keeping still - I had a similar feeling...well, not that my head would blow off but you had to fight the urge to sway and bob, tap the toes, clap your hands....the music was so emotionally engaging. Lest you think I'm totally nuts, Richard was fighting the same thing.  

Oinkster menu board
Pulled pork Oinkster
As we had appointments all day in Glendale and had to grab a quick lunch, we chose to visit the highly praised Oinkster on Colorado in Eagle Rock. It's been on Jonathan Gold's essential L.A. list for a couple of years. Truly a joint, the ambiance is funky and the place is very popular with a constant line out the door. We didn't like the food much the first time we tried it and sadly, our opinion hasn't changed. Good Belgian fries made from Kennebec potatoes- currently the rage,  were flavorful and crispy, but the pulled pork is dry and disappointing despite a generous soaking in a Carolina barbecue sauce. No expense has been spared on ambiance - it's authentic joint, through and through. They make all the sauces, even the ketchup. Too bad they aren't very good. 
Oinkster ambiance

Before the concert we had a light drunch at Bottego Louie:  burrato cheese (thanks Robert) and tomatoes, prosciutto, fried calamari and a lobster manicotti...all small plates. The lobster manicotti was a total waste of lobster; the calamari was fine; the cheese plate and prosciutto plates were excellent. The crashing, bashing din in the restaurant was almost unbearable for me and we noticed even the young and trendy were leaning into each other to hear. Service was perfect and the chocolate creme brulee we took home from the bakery was superb. We'd go back, with ear plugs. 
Bottega Louie from LA Weekly
Prosciutto at Bottega Louie

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed your concert. I found Bottega Louie's a very appealing place, even if I hate din as well, maybe because I'm getting old... :)