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Charmed by the Unknown, Day 132

October 7, 2010

Image by Paul Sottnik

Throughout the course of Wednesday, I rode my bike to and from Carnegie Hall mostly on the Westside Greenway Path, fifteen miles roundtrip, somehow managing to make it home to 183rd Street in only forty-five minutes despite five steep hill climbs from the northern end of the path to my street (panting fairly heavily, of course). During my break after rehearsal before the Ulysses concert, I donated a cart full of items to a church thrift store, dropped off items to my local cobbler, waited in the interminable line at our lovely post office for a package, bought some apartment necessities for my roommate’s stay when I leave for Washington, arranged a zipcar and meeting to pickup a new table and chairs tomorrow, complained to FedEx, showered, and ate a very hurried dinner before dressing for an evening concert and jumping on the subway to return to Carnegie.

Needless to say, tonight’s concert required some caffeine and concentration, both of which I fortunately had by the start of our first piece by Othmar Schoeck. Although I haven’t the energy now to elaborate on the masterfully crafted program for tonight, feel free to check out Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim’s article in the Wall Street Journal, which insightfully explores James Joyce from the perspective of a “Portrait of the Artist as a Music Fan.” I will say, however, that at the end of a tiring day and a somewhat lengthy concert, I did not want it to end. As our premiere of Ulysses in particular came to a close, I wished wholeheartedly for a longer version of the work, several more performances, or at the very least some sort of promise that I might have the extreme pleasure of singing this challenging and exciting piece again.

Thank you, Leon Botstein, the American Symphony Orchestra, Collegiate Chorale, and Carnegie Hall, for providing an outlet for so many underperformed works of art. I never knew Ulysses by Mátyás Seiber existed, did you? Stunningly forgotten. Until once more we have the incredible fortune of experiencing Ulysses in symphonic form, art continues to evolve, and James Joyce lives on through the work and study of so many inspired artists. If you have time tomorrow, you can get an insiders view of the creation of the new comic Ulysses Seen with its founders and artists at the Irish Arts Center at 7:30pm. Either way, find some time to pick up the challenging book never read, to listen to a strange and unusual musical work (perhaps even by Seiber), and to allow yourself to believe that somehow you might even learn to appreciate the unknown. Congratulations to everyone who attended and participated in this magical performance at Carnegie Hall and did just that.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Donna permalink
    October 7, 2010 12:16 pm

    Can I please buy some of your energy? It certainly sounds like you had a busy, but successful day!

    • October 8, 2010 12:27 am

      Oh, how I wish I had some right now – another crazy day, this time moving in a new dining room table. Next week is coming too fast!!!

  2. October 9, 2010 8:15 am

    Sounds amazing, Abby. I’m now even sorrier that I wasn’t able to be there. If there’s video of it, I’d love to see it. Thanks for plugging our panel discussion, which also went very well and was a lot of fun. I’m sure there will be more of these types of things in the future, and hopefully we’ll be able to coordinate a bit better next time.

    Also, if you’re interested in singing music that actually appears in ULYSSES, I can probably hook you up with the Rosenbach Museum and Library here in Philadelphia. They have a lineup of opera singers every year for their Bloomsday celebration in June. Rob has also become friendly with the people who do Bloomsday on Broadway in NYC, and I’m sure they do the same thing. Bloomsday happens on June 16th every year, so you’ve got some time to think about it.

    • October 9, 2010 12:53 pm

      Sounds fantastic, Josh – I’d love to talk with you and Rob about that! I don’t have any gigs on the docket for June yet, and of course the early opportunity gets the singer!

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