life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Carnegie Part 2

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?


An old joke, but a revered institution.

So how come the only times I've been inside those hallowed halls involve humor?

Seriously, the first time I saw a performance at Carnegie Hall, it was PDQ Bach, Peter Schickele's wonderful parody of classical music. That has to have been 25 years ago. Drew is a big fan ...

And here we are, years later, attending an oratorio called "Not the Messiah" by a relatively unknown composer named Eric Idle. Two nights only, we saw it on Tuesday night.

I apparently had a deprived youth, because I was not Monty Python fan until recently, and I've never seen Life of Brian.  I'm sure I missed a lot, but I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. 

I mean, you're in Carnegie Hall, there is a full orchestra, the women in black formals, the men in white tie and tails. There is a huge chorus, the men in tuxedos, the women in black. The first violin tunes the orchestra, the conductor takes the stage ...and then you hear the familiar strains of the Monty Python theme song. You just know it's going to be an interesting evening. Four soloists (from Broadway and/or opera backgrounds) join Idle on the stage, and for the next two hours you are treated to a mixture of pop, rock, flamenco, Gilbert & Sullivan ... as the story unfolds.

Some of the best moments --

-- a girl dressed as a Judean shepherd takes the stage with three "sheep" (puppets) as Idle sings some naughty lyrics about sheep.

-- Idle's song about wanting to be a girl is hysterical.

-- at the end of the first act, the entire company is singing about how Brian is "the One". Several people are waving candles. The shepherd shows up, waving a Chanukah menorah (well, it was the first night of Chanukah!)

-- Idle's Dylan impression is spot on.

-- Brian and Judith have a very, interesting, duet.

-- Loved the hats on the mariachi band.

Of course, the evening ends with "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life", which becomes an audience participation number.

Guess I have to find a DVD of the movie now.

Just as an aside -- Carnegie Hall contains a small museum with exhibits describing how it was built, how it was almost demolished when Lincoln Center was built, how Isaac Stern convinced the powers that be to preserve such an important site, and all the famous folk who performed at Carnegie Hall. Not a very elaborate museum, the entire display fits in one room, but very interesting.

If you want to read more about the oratorio, here is the  NY Times review.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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