The other day, when I was running across midtown (as per my usual everyday life entails) to meet some friends at Bouchon Bakery, I was stopped for a moment by a middle-aged, well-dressed (but obviously from out of town) couple. How do we get to Carnegie Hall? they asked, looking both hopeful and slightly bewildered at their navigational predicament. Practice, practice, practice! I replied, and trotted off toward Columbus Circle.
Ok, so that didn’t really happen, it’s the
corniest oldest Carnegie Hall joke in the book, and the real answer is to take the NRQ trains to 57th & 7th, which I did this Sunday afternoon. Up the stairs I went to the SE Corner of the intersection, and ‘round the corner to Carnegie Hall for a good, healthy dose of music by George Frederic Händel.
Remember how I had to pop into my office on Saturday to grab the tickets I’d printed out Friday afternoon and brilliantly left on the printer? Those were for this concert, and an extremely generous gift from Steve Kass, a fantastic tenor alongside whom I used to sing in the Dessoff Choirs (also the operator of each of these clever blogs). He had an extra ticket, and reached out to me last week, asking if I’d like to go. Naturally, I said yes — as much as I love it, Carnegie Hall isn’t something that happens on a daily basis, and this particular program served as both a much-needed music fix, and a trip down memory lane. (I studied Baroque music quite extensively in college. Händel’s kind of in my blood, now.)
It was a lovely afternoon concert featuring 2 soloists — Dorothea Röschmann, Soprano, and David Daniels, Countertenor. Backed by Juilliard415, the period-instrument ensemble of The Juilliard School, the soloists took their turn delivering captivating renditions of arias and duets from a variety of Händel’s operas (full programme here). With a voice capable of (and probably used to) performing much bigger-voiced works (i.e., Wagner), Ms. Röschmann commanded the stage, moving the audience with her presentation and interpretation of the pieces. Likewise, Mr. Daniels impressed the house with his strong, clear voice and extensive range, deftly emoting through the runs and embellishments for which Händel is known.
Absolutely no photography is permitted, I was (rather round-about-ly) reminded by the usher just prior to obtaining more specific directions to my seat (Dress circle, front row, left wing, amazing). Fortunately, the Carnegie press contact had a few images for this post — so you can see Ms. Röschmann’s red evening gown (ever an odd color choice when one is surrounded by so much red velvet) and Mr. Daniels, in the midst of articulating every note with his head, hands, and body. I will say this, though: Dorothea’s accessories, glittering subtly with each shift, and her eye make-up were impeccably chosen. And Mr. Daniels, though oddly mixing genres (a tux jacket with a lavender gingham button-up and straight tie), was appropriately dressed down for the 2:00 pm performance.
Regardless of styling choices, the music was fantastic. Juilliard415 worked as tight-knit unit, providing a solid base for Röschmann and Daniels to build upon with their vocal expertise. The hall filled with love, anguish, anger, more love, and finally — wild applause.
Few better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon, yes? Yes.
A huge thanks to:
Steve Kass for the tickets to this performance!
Carnegie Hall for the photos of this performance!
For more on this event: