Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yo! Yo Ma(ma)'s so sexy, he...

On Tuesday night Mr. Insomniac headed to the Hollywood Bowl for what may be our last concert there of the summer. The concert started at 8pm which gave us plenty of time to get to our seats and eat a leisurely dinner.


This time I decided to do picnic foods. Chicken salad from Trader Joe's...


And along the way to the Hollywood Bowl, we picked up selection of salads from Lemonade which is conveniently located in West Hollywood.

I forgot to take a picture before we dug into them, but they were a mushroom couscous salad with truffle oil, chicken salad with butternut squash, and spinach with strawberries and blue cheese.



To drink we had an Acacia chardonnay which paired nicely and was ideal for a perfect Los Angeles summer evening.


Our seats were great, save one glaring vibrant detail. Somehow, someone's stuck a glowing cross over the Hollywood Bowl. It annoyed me to no end.


As the night wore on, it got even more irritating.


Fortunately when the music started, I got distracted (most of the time).

On the program was Dvorak Cello Concerto in B minor and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5.
Plácido Domingo premiered as the conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and he did a great job to my unrefined ears.


Yo-Yo Ma was exquisite. I have never heard him live, but own a few of his recordings. The Unaccompanied Bach Cello Concertos are one of the few CDs that I've uploaded to my work computer. It had a beautiful melodic structure, but it's complex enough to hold your focus. Very meditative, very relaxing - I love it.

The cello concerto was beyond compare - and so amazing that you start thinking in superlatives. Like the pianissimo moments create such exquisite tension you fear that your heart will burst... that kind of thing.

Watching him play is so strange. You can tell that he is enraptured by music by the passion in his playing, and by his body movement and expression. At times he would look like he wasn't actually present - like he was in another world. Or high. I started to wonder if Yo Yo experiences things differently than us mere mortals - what does music sound like to him? What does food taste like to him? How does he feel when he is playing? What I wouldn't give to inhabit his body for a performance. I swear to God, he looked like playing the Adagio was 10 times better than sex. It fact, and I was instantly embarrassed to even have such a perverse thought, watching him play that on the big screen was like watching someone have an extended orgasm for 12 minutes. It almost feels intrusive, to watch someone experiencing such joy. And slightly voyeuristic.

I couldn't take many pictures, because the *click* of my camera lens was insanely loud in the hushed amphitheater. I tried to time a couple with the tympani.


After the cello concerto, the crowd went wild. Two curtain calls later, Yo-Yo played an unaccompanied encore, a beautiful haunting piece with elements of a Mongolian melody. The entire audience was entranced - the only sound was the faint murmuring of crickets from the surrounding trees. It was another Hollywood Bowl experience.

I harnessed all my internet sleuthing power to see if he's recorded this anywhere, but I came up with nada... weak sauce.

And then (and then!) Domingo walks out. He's going to sing! And Yo-Yo's going to provide the only accompaniment! I die. He sings (what I discover from my internet prowess) Élégie by Jules Massenet and it is tender and heartbreaking and the pathos just exudes all over.

The audience takes a breather during the intermission and we settle down to listen to the rest of the concert.

This picture is a tribute to my steady cam hands lol. I didn't use a flash and I think the shutter speed was like 1/4 of a second or something. This is the only one that came out halfway decent.


We make our way to the car - ah the joys of stacked parking - where I discover that I don't have my iphone. Crap.


Back to the Bowl we go, fighting the throngs of people heading to their cars. We speak with a woman standing at a lectern at the entrance, she walkie talkies to someone, and lo and behold, it was found in the box. A couple of minutes later, it's back in my hands and I'm getting everyone's name to write the best laudatory letter in the world.

Great night. :)


{grace} said...

Wow. The video gave me chills…just amazing. I haven’t seen him perform live, but hope to someday. I loved your review and I’m so happy (and jealous) that you got to see him live!

Oh, and to have Placido Domingo perform too? Good God. I die as well.

I’m glad you found your phone! Yay Hollywood Bowl staff.

Anonymous said...

I am so jealous! I really wish I had known about this concert. I LOVE Yo-Yo Ma (I've actually met him before when he played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra)---and I love that Dvorak symphony. Darn!

weezermonkey said...

The only thing more amazing than your steady hand is that you got your iPhone back.

As great as Yo-Yo Ma is, I am more amazed by these two things.

dapotato said...

nice picnic food.

wonderful description of the experience--sounds amazing.

yay for iphone found!

amber said...

What a fabulous night! I'm really glad that you got your iphone back - that is amazing.

SinoSoul said...

man.. I really wanted to catch this concert... watching Lang Lang and Herbie Hancock do Rhapsody in Blue with a gazillion solos was cool, but Yo-Yo Ma and Placido might just be cooler. Also saw him live (couple of times) w/ the CSO. That is a lovely concert hall right there. And good job not using flash!

SinoSoul said...

sorry, back. Just noticed you use a 270mm lens? How did you sneak an SLR w/ such a big tele lens into the Bowl? I've seen guys w/ camera bags get denied entrance due to SLR. It's a Bowl rule, I believe.

Insomniac said...

I think you're right SinoSoul - they made me pull out my camera out of the bag, but I had a 50mm lens on it and they waved me through. They didn't notice I had a 270mm in a compartment of my camera bag... Oops.