CINCINNATI’S EMERY THEATRE REQUIEM PROJECT HITS RIGHT NOTE

Last evening, after visiting my mom at the hospital, I was undecided as to whether I had the energy to absorb a performance. Thursday night when I returned from her room at Christ Hospital, where she is recuperating at age 93 from a broken hip and experiencing some significant mental issues at this point, I was at a pretty low point. However, I managed to clean up all the dishes that had accumulated and then decided to visit MOTR bar, my around the corner go-to lately for live music almost every night and fun recreation (pinball, about which passtime more will be written someday soon).

Amazingly, rather than loud rock-and-roll, frequently the musical menu du jour,  I arrived just in time to hear Eric Bachman (of Crooked Fingers) sing a few songs. They were beautifully performed and very moving, The man is an artist. I went downstairs and set the top score on my favorite machine, and went home for some well-deserved rest after well over 40 hours awake.

But this afternoon was much more grim at the hospital. My mom’s post surgical euphoria changed into full-blown hallucinations and combative behavior, so much so that she needed to be put in restraints.  It is hard to know where we will go from here, but I am trying to be hopeful that something will change and allow her to go on living a life where she enjoys small pleasures and family visits. I know it will not be easy, and not even likely.*11/12/11 update – I saw Mom around 1 am today and she was resting peacefully. Later, there was enough improvement in her behavior that the hospital staff were able to stop using restraints. Still an uphill battle, but, to quote a cliche, every little bit helps.

However, around 7:30 pm, I decided not to cave in to self-pity and try to go on, at least for the performance I had so been looking forward to seeing.

Once again, I was amazed at how conveniently our house on Orchard Street is located. Within less than ten minutes of easy walking, I arrived at the theater.

It’s hard to write much more tonight, I am well and truly exhausted. But, I am so glad I went. I saw a full house of people excited and happy to be at the revival of the historic venue. Gala benefit deals tend to be bombastic and one-note events.

Not in this case. The “Allegro” from Mozart’s String Quartet in G minor was inescapably lovely as performed by musicians from the CSO. Over the Rhine (with Tropicoso’s Nick on percussion) started their Act I set with “Ohio,” a another beautiful and somewhat sad ballad.

The sound quality was wonderful. Apparently the acoustics of the space are ranked on the level of Carnegie Hall and the Boston Symphony Hall. For me the sound was somewhat marred by the fan set up to cool the sound board a few rows behind, and obviously something that can be corrected. I am not sure if everyone in the theater could hear the interference as much as I did.

One clear benefit of the Emery’s size and accompanying acoustic capability is that the sound of live music from the stage seems preturnaturally present, in both detail and dynamic range. There is somehow less of a sense of amplification (when needed) than in some spaces  I have experienced.

I did have a pretty good seat location, so I’m not sure of the other areas, but I had an excellent sight line. The 1600-some seat space fills a real artistic need, between the Arnoff’s Jarson Kaplen Theater and the Procter and Gamble Hall – some 400 seats against some 2,000. Sorry I’m not great on the exact numbers here.

Also included were accompanying dances, presented in front of the band, which was slightly elevated on an upstage platform.  Exhale Dance Tribe members (with music from Over the Rhine) performed, as well as  dancers David Donnelly and Samantha Pille from Cincinnati Ballet in choreography by Heather Britt with music and violin from Peter Adams, which closed the act and drew strong applause.

Act II’s Arvo Part selection performed by four cellos from concert:nova was subtle, and also thoughtful and poignant, performed under video projections of clouds and sun. Then came the return of Over the Rhine.

The final selection (of about five) was “Latter Days,” performed with Exhale Dance Tribe founders and directors Missy Lay Zimmer and Andrew Hubbard. This may have been the highlight of the evening. The two managed to connect to the lyrics and emotion of the song gorgeously, and won for their efforts one of those standing ovations that are not dutiful but meant from the heart. That was my reading, at least.

One encore from the band followed.

A lovely evening. I noticed in one of the front spaces where a bar had been set up a framed photo of Anna Pavlova, which I snapped.

My mother had always told me she had seen a wonderful dancer in her younger years. She thought it might have been Anna Pavlova when I mentioned some names. I kind of though she might be mistaken, but lo and behold, Pavlova was at the Emery (I read this definitively in the playbill).

Go figure.

OVER THE RHINE: VALINKAT CONSIDERS THE MUSIC OF THE BAND BEFORE CINCINNATI BALLET’S MOST RECENT NEW WORKS*

April 29, 2011

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One Response to “CINCINNATI’S EMERY THEATRE REQUIEM PROJECT HITS RIGHT NOTE”

  1. Liz Hubbard Says:

    Hi Kathy-
    So sorry to hear about your mom. It is so difficult when they are older. However – I can tell you from experience, it WILL get better!!! All the medication does not help, either, but when Ned’s mom did this last year, there was huge improvement in just a short time.

    What a wonderful review for the show! We were so sorry to miss it, I am regretting that we didn’t come! It sounds just wonderful! Missed sitting with you, too.

    Thinking of you and your mom. And Happy Thanksgiving!

    Best-
    Liz

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