VSO

While living on the west coast, I struck something from my bucket list. I had always wanted to attend the symphony and the VSO is an orchestra of Canadian renown. I bought a package of tickets to three performances and looked forward to what I had been told by one friend would be an exhilarating evening for any music lover, even one unfamiliar with classical music. Another friend raised an eyebrow and wondered if I’d asked for the senior’s discount. I ignored her.

The Orpheum Theatre in downtown Vancouver is an ageing beauty dressed in cream and gold and deep red velvet, still lovely in the soft light of her chandeliers and wall sconces. Oil paintings and memorial plaques adorn the walls and there are comfortable chairs and sofas scattered about the halls and foyers. It’s easy to imagine the early Vancouver upper crust in gowns and tuxedos gathering in the orchestra lobby or climbing the stately staircases to the Dress Circle. Inside the auditorium, the decorative painted ceiling and the sculpted backdrop complete the effect.

The first half of that night’s performance was by a visiting pianist. The music was marvellous and when the audience stood to give him a standing ovation and a curtain call, I joined them. At intermission I bought a glass of wine and took a stroll around the theatre. I was quite pleased with my choice in entertainment. The music, the building and the ambiance provided an entirely pleasing experience. I looked forward to the next performance in my package.

Back at my seat, I took off my jacket. The balcony was warm in the late summer evening and the AC seemed to be struggling. The next musical pieces were described in the program as stirring and I settled back to enjoy them. The first was pleasant but I thought “stirring” was a bit generous. And it was long. The final work started with even less melodic flair and seemed to be entirely about the violins.

I awoke with the first burst of applause. Embarrassed, I jumped to my feet and joined the audience in a stirring round of appreciation. I didn’t tell either friend about my nap. ©

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