The first delightful thing I noticed when I got in to the theater Friday was the plethora of red scarves. I'd of course like to think that everyone read my earlier entry, but I probably wasn't the only person with that idea. Regardless, it was beautiful to see. It was heartening, quite frankly.
Also heartening, was the standing ovation that Venzago received when he came out on to the stage. It was incredible, and so deserved. Seeing him back on the podium was amazing. All my words, by the way, are not doing justice to what it was really like. It's hard to put it in to words. I can still feel what it was like when I saw him walk on to the stage, and it was thrilling, but thrilling isn't a strong enough word, really. That's what it was like.
After he came out, he talked to the audience a bit, thanking us for the warm welcome, and then we went on to talk about Mahler's Totenfeier. He was telling us about it in good detail, and then after speaking about it a bit, the craziest thiang happened, that I wasn't expecting---he said "Chantal, are you here?"
Yeah, that's right. Mario Venzago asked, from the stage, while talking about the Mahler, if I was there. I was (and still am) flabbergasted. Not so flabbergasted that I couldn't wave furiously while uttering a loud "HI!!!!!" after he asked if I was there. I know he has read my blog before, and knows how much of a Mahler fan I am. I didn't expect to hear my name though! It was incredibly touching. How cool was that? I got a shout out, from my favorite conductor! When has that ever happened before???? Simply amazing.
The concert was also amazing, to say the least. It was like Venzago never left, honestly. You could feel the connection between he and the orchestra, and it was beautiful.
I had the fortune of attending the after party, where his portrait was unveiled. It was a joyous occasion, just like the concert was, complete with champagne flowing. We toasted to Mario, as he so richly deserved, and celebrated his return.
I managed to speak to him a couple times, and it was lovely. I didn't feel the years it has been since I last spoke to him. That's one of the many wonderful things about Venzago---there's such familiarity and warmth when he speaks to you. So, we chatted about various things, and if I could, I would have chatted with him all night---but the line to chat with him was long. I managed to get a few pictures, this one being my favorite:
Sigh.....what a night! What a performance, and what an incredible conductor, musician, and man Mario Venzago is! And he and the ISO together are such a potent combination. It was a beautiful, touching, delightful, compelling, and perfect evening.
I can't wait for him to return again.....the sooner, the better.