In my "Year of Living Theatrically" I will occasionally toss in a curve ball. The past Sunday's Washington Choral Society's performances would certainly qualify. I was draw to this by the Berlioz Requiem, which I knew was a major work of Choral and Orchestral significance. I had also heard that the staging would include satellite clusters of Brass players to replicate the original performance in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Many venues do not allow for such an opportunity.
Going on line to buy my ticket, I went through the usual hoops on the Kennedy Center website and was thrilled to have the last seat smack dab in the center of the 1st tier balcony! How perfect, eh?
As fate would have it a very charming woman sat down next to me and we had a delightful time chatting. She was very put together, very energetic, maybe ten years my senior. She told me about her first European tour after college and how as fate would have it, upon returning the Kennedy Center was being inaugurated with a premiere performance of Bernstein's Requiem on her birthday! Beside herself, she just showed up without a ticket, and in the lobby someone approached her and asked her if she was looking for a ticket. She said yes, and the gentlemen gave her his and disappeared. I never mind going to the Theater alone--something interesting always happens.
We discussed the problem of our seating and at intermission she bid me farewell for a better option somewhere else. I remained for a time and then realized that she was spot on. So I also left (as did most of the people sitting in our section). I went out to the 1 tier lobby and asked an usher to help me. She was so accommodating and soon I was sitting next to my new friend again!
En toto, I would have to say that the first two pieces: 1) the "Wir setzen uno bit Tränen nieder" from the St. Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach and the "Take Him, Earth" requiem by Steven Stucky were amazing and well done. The Berlioz Requiem was both enthralling and annoying. Even at our distance the blast of music from the brass distracted and influenced the quality of my experience in a very negative way. I honestly felt cheated by what else seemed like a magnificent performance.