Saturday, October 30, 2010

No Boo's At The Season's Scariest Symphony

Cruella Deville walked in with her leashed, well-mannered Dalmation.  Frankenstein was in attendance, and on his cell phone most of the evening.  A trio of bugs sat behind us, and a cute little strawberry was in front of us.  A platter of sushi paraded among the guests.  And, of course, some wore spandex who {ahem} shouldn't have.
The top of the orchestra section in Salt Lake City's Abravanel Hall was an excellent vista for spotting the many princesses, super heroes, and goblins who came to hear a menu of Halloween treats from the Utah Symphony.  Conductor David Cho took to the stage but not before a ghoulish sounding Frank Oden appeared and gave stern warnings about cell phones and other misbehaviors.

The Symphony put together a delicious array of thirteen haunted classics, laced with ongoing antics and narrative from Oden between songs.  When I saw the program, I immediately ooohed over Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" and Bizet's "Suite No. 1 from Carmen,"  but there were some that seemed new to me such as "The Ride of the Valkyries" from Die Walkure by Wagner and "Witches Sabbath," by Berlioz.

At the end of the evening, after all the prizes for best costumes were delivered, the Symphony got yet another standing ovation from the audience.  This is standard Utah operating style so no big surprise.  People either want to stand up after sitting so long or they are amazed every time, or both, depending.  The best and most sincere standing ovation I ever heard at Abravanel Hall was a couple years ago when they played Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Not only standing but cheering, thunderously loud clapping, and whistles that went on forever. It was a few days before my birthday, so I accepted their breathtaking performance that evening as a gift.  And yes, their performances are always excellent, so the Haunted Symphony was no exception.
But then there were the screaming children.  The little strawberry was well behaved, but there were some monsters in the upper sections.  The wails I heard sounded like teething.  I thought that the fine print on the Symphony's website said children should be at least eight, but maybe the little pumpkins got a waiver just this once.  When my kids were little, we lived in Boston and did many a Boston Pops concert, outside, I might add, where the screaming could be absorbed by other outside noises such as honking from crazy Boston drivers.  Or in the alternative, we played classical music right along with Sesame Street in our tiny Cambridge apartment.  Regardless, I hope the concert was as memorable for all the little ghouls as it was for us.

Disclosure: Ticket price for this event was $18. I received NO compensation for this review.

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