(carnegiehall) In our desperate (and belated) efforts to get seats to hear Evgeny Kissin play at Carnegie Hall, we wound up with one good seat (parquet) and two less good seats (balcony) at a premium price from Stubhub. Don’t do this if you don’t have to. But we had to; you understand.
(latimes) We arrived at CH early and sold our –hold on to your hats–$188 balcony ticket to a young medical student from Germany for $50 (who happened to have the same name as my son), avoiding all the rapacious resellers hanging around in front who would have given us more, but no way.
We agreed I would sit in the good seat in the Stern Auditorium, named for the incomparable and much-missed violist Isaac Stern who saved Carnegie Hall(azquotes), for the first half and Rory for the second half. As I sat listening to the chat around me, I heard one man, who would only give his name as Richard, say he was giving up his seat for the second half, not liking Scriabin. I asked if I could purchase his parquet seat and he refused all payment and all thanks, including his email address. As it turned out, his Row O was the best seat in the house because it was raked and I could not only hear perfectly but could see over the deBlasio-heighted gentleman in front of me. So thanks, Richard, and thanks, friend Robin, for proving once again that New Yorkers are the nicest people.
Oh, and the concert. Stupendous of course although I confess to loving Kissin in his Rachmaninoff/Prokofiev mode, but you can’t blame the guy for wanting to play something different. His first three Chopin Nocturnes were a little too strictly rhythmic for me, but then he played Schumann Piano Sonata #3, with which I was not familiar, and seemed at home with this difficult-to-understand work. The second half, with me in my perfect seat and Rory up front, was made up of Debussy Preludes–exquisite,mysterious music. Kissin was right at home here, ranking with the best.
He finished up with Scriabin’s Sonata #4, also hitherto incomprehensible to me, a wash of sound that made me willing to rethink my stolid old ways. He gave the standing audience three encores, two easy ones and the final one a vaulting Chopin Grande Valse Brillante before they let him go. (I would have loved to hear him play his own sensational jazzy Toccata: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6F62Yl5Gs8&list=RDdqpbDVepLww&index=17) Rory calls it Horowitz-like. As he stood there, smiling at his doting audience, I considered all the hours, days and years he had put in to reach this place and thought, he had clearly found it worth it. So did we.
BTW folks, please get your tickets in advance for these stars (as we did not) ; it’s much cheaper and less stressful.