I got to see the very modern diva Idina Menzel in concert! Kaelikat got us box seats almost in the center - they were perfect for watching the orchestra and the singing/stage. We could see everything clearly and watch the whole orchestra without bobbing and weaving to look through the strings to see the pianist or anything like that. The sound was a little unbalanced at times, with the orchestra overpowering Menzel, but not too bad. Actually, the problem was more that the sound system sounded "fuzzy" and it was hard to distinguish her words. But for me, the worst part was that the guy (gal) on the spotlight was asleep at the switch a few times, and had to swing to catch up to Menzel when she moved across the stage. Boooo.
But the good stuff...
The concert started with a short "half" that was just the NSO. During that part, we heard Celebration Fanfare by Steven Reineke, selections from the musical Gypsy, and a medley of three Diana Ross songs. We were encouraged to sing along, and the conductor even called up the audience for part of "Stop! in the Name of Love." (The other two songs were "Touch Me in the Morning" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough.")
The second half was all Menzel. The set list was: Over the Rainbow/The Wizard and I, Love for Sale/Roxanne, Both Sides (Joni Mitchell), Don't Rain on My Parade, It Was I (original composition), Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For/Your Eyes, Take Me or Leave Me (from Rent), and No Day But Today. The first encore was Defying Gravity. The second encore was Learn to Live Without (written by a friend of hers), For Good, and Someday.
Menzel spent a lot of time talking about her experiences at school, working on the original production of Rent, and how she came to be barefoot on stage in concert (back problems). I had not realized - or, more likely, remembered - that Menzel was the original Maureen from Rent's broadway debut.
Menzel turned Take Me or Leave Me into an audience participation, calling up ladies in the audience and challenging them to sing either Maureen or Joanne. I commented "pop quiz!" at that one. Menzel was firm that she wanted someone who really knew the parts. The two ladies who were eventually called up were as good as they claimed, and carried the duet with only minimal help from Menzel. It was a moment to be proud-ta-know-ya for those two ladies' friends, I'm sure. I was certainly impressed, especially with the first one who sang Maureen.
I bought the Barefoot at the Symphony live album to listen to afterward. I'm glad I hadn't heard it before the show, because it had some of the same stories as she told to us at Wolf Trap, and they wouldn't have been as fun if i had already known the punchlines.
On Sunday, we had 2 PM seats for the Golden Dragon Acrobats. This wasn't just the happybirthdaymonth continued, but this was my last Christmas present being exercised. CK got these tickes - quite literally - months ago. He got us second row center seats. They were amazing seats, and we could see everything including where the acrobats' makeup was running. Because... it was 98 degrees outside. blargh!
The opening routine was five women (girls?) doing various contortion and stacking strength moves. Then there was one woman balancing a stack of shot glasses full of water on her foot. Then it went into group gymnastics, hoop jumping, etc. The acrobats did everything I might have wanted to see, and some things I didn't conceive of doing before I saw it, like tumbling while on unicycles. Juggling on unicycles, I can see. But jumps and dives? They did jump rope routines on unicycles, too. They juggled hats, balls, clubs (briefly), parisols... They did flips and turns over hoops, lassos, flags, and assuredly each other. One guy did his balancing act on a stack of chairs twenty feet high.
If you do an image search on Golden Dragon Acrobats, you'll get a big screen of stuff. We did not see the human hoops, or anyone juggling plates. They juggled (or spun) just about everything else, though, including a table!
Here are a few public posted pictures of what we saw:
My favorite routine was two guys doing balanced strength gymnastics on and with each other. They didn't try to make it cute or funny. They did it slowly, with straight faces and almost stern composture. It was nearly an erotic experience in art, but unfortunately they did it to the techno version of "Mea Culpa." Eh? That was a bit too weird for my brain.
And the music was Way Too Loud. My ears were ringing for an hour after we left.
I'm happy we went, though. Don't get that wrong. It was an amazing show!
From Wolf Trap, Achaosofkittens dropped me off for a dinner date at a friend's house.