Concert day in Ouro Preto

Trip Start Jul 01, 2009
1
6
9
Trip End Jul 12, 2009


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Flag of Brazil  , State of Minas Gerais,
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our concert hall for Ouro Preto was the Municipal Teatro, the oldest performance hall in continuous use in the world, with the exception of our own Walnut Theater in Philadelphia.  Seating only 300 chairs set-up on three balconies and a small orchestra section downstairs, this room has a unique sense of historical intimacy - like a large living room where you can touch everyone there in the audience in that moment while also imagining that you can touch the many people who have attended performances there over the last 2+ centuries - there was a different music, dance, or theater performance at the Teatro every night in July!

Like the two stages before this one, the "rake" of the stage (tilting downward from the back) was considerable, and took some adjustment (especially after the wife of one of the conductors voiced some concern that her spouse might be lost to the orchestra pit if he didn't stay put!)

The sound of the choir was warm and wonderful in the hall, and the audience was even more so.  One of the highlights of this concert was the one performance of the bossa nova numbers "Desafinado" and "Meditacao" by our combined chamber choir, with Jeff B at the piano.  It went more smoothly than we had any right to expect, and was very well received, most especially because of Jeff's particularly inspired accompaniment at the piano, setting just the right mood for this elusive and seductive style, in the perfect room for its haunting melodies.

The concert ended again with "Hallelujah, Salvation, and Glory," with this audience even more ready to "rock and roll" than the previous ones.  

The concert began with a brief performance by the local university choir.  They performed admirably for having been going for only one year, but one of the biggest surprises for me on this trip was how weak the tradition of choral singing is in Brazil, on the college, school, community, and professional levels, compared to other Latin American countries, like Venezuela and Cuba, where it it is much more established.  This makes it all the more remarkable that our touring company, ACFEA, was able to turn out such large and enthusiastic audiences for our concerts. - TL
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