Sunday, December 20, 2009

Transported to heaven

But on the wings of a heart attack induced by the very, very long slog up the Basilica steps, then up the two stories of steep steps into the side balcony, where you also had to step up onto the sloped platform on which the pews were placed. Whew. But it was worth the effort.

The Basilica of St. Josaphat is where we were for the concert this afternoon. If you have a chance (and can read the tiny, yellow on red type), take a look at the photo gallery. The virtual tour is vertigo-inducing, but the photos are priceless, particularly the ones of the original construction. It fascinates me that they put up the framework for the stained glass windows first. The artistry of the paintings and ornamental work is incredible (and believe me, from our seats we had an excellent view of the upper reaches of the dome).

I don't, however, recommend sitting right next to the gorgeous, original Tyrolean- crafted stained glass windows, at least not on a cold winter night. Brrr.

The music, of course, was superb. The tenor could have been louder - he was consistently overshadowed by the orchestra; the soprano had a bit of a mush-mouth (although, in fairness, it could simply be the acoustics, as it seemed all higher range voice and orchestra passages were a little mooshy and blurred). But our orchestra and chorus could hold their own against that of any major city.

The audience seemed well behaved, except for one couple, who sat down in front of Pam and I about ten minutes into the concert. Late forties, well dressed, but she came in on a noxious cloud of perfume (it was nice perfume, but she had used half a bottle), they whispered to one another incessantly and she simply could not stop moving. The other people in front of us rejoiced with us when they appeared to leave at intermission - only to see the couple return for part two, five minutes late.

Meh. We could see neither orchestra nor chorus from our seats, so I simply kept my eyes shut, took shallow breaths and listened to the music.

Prophecy, birth, rejection, death, resurrection and return in glory.

Christmas is just the beginning of the story.

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