Well, the true luxury of having a season ticket to a classical concert series at Victoria Hall, is that if you are not in the mood you do not have to go. Those two hard little chairs with the fat lady’s knees wiggling into your back simply remain noble, empty and silent.
And we have learned that if you have the slightest of coughs or colds you really should not go. We were present some years back when Sir John Eliot Gardiner stopped his musicians, turned around, spotted the white-haired old dear who was hopelessly hacking into her handkerchief, and told her that, for the good of everyone involved, she should leave at once. The tapping of her solitary little shoes in a dead-silent concert hall still rings in my ears.
Of course, you have to deal with your own guilt and lack of moral purpose, but that is a deeper issue that possibly needs professional help.
However, yesterday evening, we were primed for the very last concert—an A+ production by the Vienna Philharmonic. Very last concerts are also extremely satisfactory, as you can wish everyone a nice summer and breathe a sigh of relief that you don’t have to deal with those clowns or Dvorak for the next few months.
The program looked not too exhausting (only 75 minutes) and Strauss was featured. Don Quixote was the first set and having seen the Stratford production of The Man of La Mancha recently, I was wondering if I could hum along with Richard’s Opus 35 variations. The second bit was A Hero’s Life which also sounded somewhat familiar after a weekend baby-sitting stint with a hale and healthy 2-year-old.
At 5pm I put a raspberry pie in the oven. It was a huge success when it came out at 5:40. Then there was the soaking of mushrooms and chopping of onions for a post-concert supper. Then there was the bath to remove mountain grass stains and dried blood (don’t ask). Then there was the donning of the fresh linen dress and the ploughman’s preconcert supper (you just add a pickle to bread and cheese) with a chilled glass of white wine. Then there was the blow drying of hair and lipstick was applied. Shortly after 7, we drove into town and witnessed the miracle of a convenient parking place.
As we were a little early, we sat on a park bench in front of a bronze reclining lady fountain at Planpalais. We noted the groups of people coming and going as the pigeons swooped over our heads. We commented on the diversity of the Geneva population and the lovely breeze swooping down on us from the Salève.
We got to Victoria Hall at 7:50, and there was no crowd bubbling in the foyer. The concert had, exceptionally, begun at 6 pm and was just finishing. The nice young man was very sorry.
Fighting windmills, we drove back home.