Interlude: Country, Video Games & Marvin

This is an “NSO Triple” weekend, and because of the Ampersand Part of my Job, I’m surrounded by music of the nonoperatic type. And even though it’s tough to multitask during the busy summer season, there are always new perspectives gained by taking a step away across the toll road.

Country Hospitality

Thursday night was LeAnn Rimes. Symphonic pops of the country music variety. She’s a pretty fabulous singer, and I learned a lot from watching her touring “machine.”

I don’t spend a lot of time around country music, so I didn’t really understand the fan culture. Suffice it to say that country singers and their entourages could teach us classical folk a few things about respecting the hands that feed us. Their approach to the fans and the care that was taken during their Meet & Greet was refreshing. Most artists do it, but often begrudgingly and randomly. And fans sense that. But Ms. Rimes and her handlers were like a well-oiled machine – warm, welcoming, and appreciative to the fans who were invited backstage.

Face it folks – if people didn’t leave their houses, brave traffic and pay for tickets to see us perform, we’d be doing something else for a living.

Castlemania and Mario

Friday night was Video Games Live. I didn’t work this show (my colleague and I take turns handling opera & symphony during these weekends, and VGL was hers), but I was embroiled in it up to the day of the show. I also did a USA Today interview yesterday, so we’ll see if I didn’t manage to get quoted as saying something stupid… Even though I don’t believe that symphonic pops will serve (or ever has served) to create more “legit” music patrons, it’s clear that video game soundtracks can be a significant stream of whatever the next generation of pops might be.

I spent all Friday evening on the new @NSO@WolfTrap twitter account, tracking and following everyone who was tweeting about the show. My favorite shout-out tweet of the evening went something like this: “Good social networking managment – not even in my seat and the NSO/Wolftrap twitter account is following me due to my couple of posts.”

A Life in Music

Tonight’s audience skews toward the grandparents of last night’s. But what’s happening onstage is no less compelling.

It’s easy to take someone as iconic as Marvin Hamlisch for granted. But tonight Marvin is giving us an entertaining and self-effacing tour through his career – the highs and the lows – from his surprisingly recognizable score to The Swimmer (which, according to the quick poll he took of the audience, predictably few people ever saw…) to the movie scores from the ’80s that are part of our DNA now, to the magic that is Chorus Line.


And since I’m in an orchestral mood, some food for thought about Ravinia’s new screen installation here and here.

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