Monday, 14 March 2011

That was the week that was.

The eight days between March 6th and 13th were filled with riches.

Sunday 6th saw me presiding at St. Boniface’s 9:00 a.m. Eucharist -  a joy and honour for me!  

In the afternoon I was at the Sarasota Opera for a performance of Verdi’s “I Lombardi Alla Prima Crociarta” (The Lombards on the First Crusade).  It’s one of Verdi’s early operas.  The musicians were excellent, but it’s not much of an opera!  Nonetheless, I was so happy to be able to “dress up and get out”.

On Shrove Tuesday our wonderful English parishioner M-riel Qu-nn hosted a lovely feast in her home.  The company was good and the food was excellent. As a bonus we were treated to some live after dinner music from a pianist and a cellist.

I was back at St. Boniface’s for the early (7:30 a.m.) Ash Wednesday service -  which led me into a peaceful. meditative and quiet day.

By Thursday I was ready for dinner with my Pittsfield friends J-ack and P-t Mc.Laughl-n.  They now live in New Hampshire, and come here every year for a three week visit. After my liver and onions (yummy!), we were off to Sarasota’s Van Wezel Performing Arts Centre for a superb all Beethoven Concert.

The music included his Leonore Overture # 2 -  always a crowd pleaser (and memory tells me that it was one of Dad’s  particular favourites.  

Then we were delighted by the twenty one year old Russian pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, the very fine soloist for the Beethoven Piano Concerto #3.   

After the intermission we (all three of us) were spellbound by a performance of  the Symphony # 3, (The Eroica - [Heroic]).

This  is the symphony which Beethoven originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte. When the composer heard that “Old Boney” had declared himself Emperor, he tore the title page in half -  filled with disgust that Bonaparte had betrayed egalitarian and democratic ideals.

To be at a concert produces a different affect than that when music is heard on the radio or from a recording.  What struck me last Thursday is that the flute is a rather small instrument, yet without the flute bit’s the entire symphony would have been dead in the water.  Yeah for flautists -  or as they are now called - flutists.

Saturday saw me on the Boniface Eco-Stewardship Teams’ sponsored boat trip on Sarasota Bay.  I learned a lot from the Mote Marine Laboratory biologist who was on board to give his commentary.  (I posted some pics of this tour the other day).

Sunday 13th was  “dress up all day”.  

I was back at Church in the a.m.  (and grateful to be sitting in the pew with my friends Adrian and Anno and their adult son Ken).

Then it was off to the Opera again -  my final visit this season.  

We heard a 20th Century Opera “The Crucible” which was first performed in 1961. The composer, Robert Ward, it still alive and had attended the first night of this Opera in Sarasota.  The libretto by Bernard Stambler is based on Arthur Miller’s famous play of the same name.  It deals with the horrendous “witch trials” in Salem, MA in the 1690’s.

I am sometime timid about modern classical music and opera, but yesterday’s performance was stunningly wonderful.   Oh, how good it felt to get out of myself, and into something new.

The eight days ended with dinner out on Longboat Key with my friends (The Revd) Fred Emrich and his wife, Diana Emrich.  Fred and I were colleagues in Massachusetts, and some of you will remember that I two summers ago visited the Emrich’s on the island called North Haven in Maine’s Penobscot Bay.

Fred and Diana love my dog Penne  (in fact they were guests at my house just a couple of days after I’d adopted Penne in March 2009).   So Penne was able to come along for the ride -  and she enjoyed the dinner party as much as I did -  or so she told me this morning!

All this was in a week in which Gadhafi unleashed the guns of war            against his own people, and the earthquake/tsunami wrought unbelievable death and destruction in Japan.

As I set those “events” (and many other under-reported world tragedies) against my own life, I realise yet again that I have so many privileges, freedoms and joys.  

I am grateful.

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