I didn't hear/see the Philadelphia Orchestra's presentation last night of The Rite of Spring in a talk-as-you-go format called Beyond the Score. Hosted by Gerard McBurney, the concert was divided into two parts: an illustrated explainer, and then a complete performance of the piece.
But ArtsWatch friend Elaine Wilner did attend, and offered this review:
I am not particularly fond of a lot of explanation for music. Although, I thought the format was interesting, I didn't really need to be marched through the whole "Rite of Spring" from start to finish--Russian folk tune by Russian folk tune. I got the idea in the first 10 minutes.
It didn't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. I liked the "Rite of Spring" before I had all this additional information. Actually, I think it would have been more interesting to talk about the cultural context. Stravinsky wasn't the only musician in this period looking back towards primitive roots.
We sat in a Tier 1 box--straight back. I have never heard the Orchestra so loud.
The really interesting thing was the audience. It was exactly the subscription audience upside down. Seventy plus folks were a definite minority. There were some high schoolers there on a field trip, but a considerable % of audience was people in their 30's, 40's and 50's. (A bit more casually dressed, but I've seen a lot worse at regular concerts). The fact that they didn't pass out audience surveys was a real missed opportunity. I would have loved to know who these folks were, what prompted their decision to attend, where they came from, was it the 7 o'clock start time? was it the lower ticket price? etc. What do they have to do to get these people back more often?
The orchestra has one more Beyond the Score presentation this season - this concerning Pictures at an Exhibition, on June 3.