Nov 06 2012

Ooh La La! Pittsburgh in Paris

Published by at 6:55 pm under PSO 2012 European Tour

Manfred Honeck and Nikolai Znaider

Manfred Honeck and Nikolai Znaider

Parisians at the Salle Pleyel seemed to say “Ooh La La!” – asking for two encores and applauding in rhythm after the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Dvorak New World Symphony. The presenter of the concert, the Directeur de la Production Emmanuel Hondre, was over the top with praise. So was Pittsburgh Symphony Board Chair Richard P.  Simmons, with his wife Ginny, Kitty and Ed Clarke, Jon and Carol Walton, Bernita Buncher, and Bill Fetter. It was a great evening — except for being dunned by an usher for trying to get some photos for you. I had similar scolding the last time I was on the scene. I spoke with blogger Sabine Pena Garcia, who asked for my help in reaching Noah Bendix-Balgley for an interview that will appear on the classiquenews.com website, which is connected with classiquetv.com.

Electric-car sharing service autolib'

Electric-car sharing service autolib'

Today was the last free day of the tour and it was chilly, but blue sky for the vast hordes of tourists in Paris on a Tuesday.

I took photos of the Parisian electric rental cars with their chargers and rental bicycles.

QED 89.3 volunteer and Pittsburgh Youth Symphony board member Antoinette Tuma, who also serves on the Board of the Pittsburgh Concert Society, was in Paris for the concert. She organized a group to visit one of the oldest Parisian cafes, Bofinger, where Francois Mitterrand had his election night victory party and Woody Allen has been a regular. The English-language menu suggested that children should begin to develop their taste buds with the proper sampling of the menu. Sauerkraut, or “choucroute,” was prominent on the menu which details the Alsatian family history of the founder.

At the Louvre

At the Louvre

The Eiffel Tower sparkles at night on the hour for three minutes with showers of high-intensity flashes. It is a wonderful light show.

The 6:00 pm mass at Notre Dame included a massive incense burning. The organ is being restored for the 850th anniversary of Notre Dame, and there will be World Organ Day in May with 850 events already scheduled. Do we have any in Pittsburgh?

I took a Seine river tour at 7:00 pm, which was very crowded sailing past the Louvre. I visited the famous art museum yesterday to look at the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa along with thousands of other tourists. Several members of the orchestra said they gave up on visiting the Musée d’Orsay today because of the long lines caused by the Louvre’s Tuesday closing. The admission at the Louvre was 11 Euros, and 5 more if you want to see the Raphael special exhibition.

Mona Lisa, rock star of the Louvre

Mona Lisa, rock star of the Louvre

Peter Sullivan told me he enjoyed an evening with composer Roger Boutry. The get-together was organized by PSO trombonist Rebecca Cherian, who has just made a Boutry recording.

Do you know where I can get physalis in Pittsburgh? It’s the plant known as the Chinese lantern or sometimes called a gooseberry. They are served as a garnish on many desserts in both Paris and Austria. Very tart yellow-orange, with a bit of the leaf still attached.

 

Eiffel Tower at Night

Eiffel Tower at Night

At lunch, Ruth Ann Daily recommended the book Cold Mountain. Ruth is the Post-Gazette columnist who has been seen on WQED-TV 13 a number of times. She is married to percussionist Andrew Reamer, a passionate biking enthusiast on tour.

In Austria, I enjoyed listening to the Austrian traditional tunes the broadcaster ORF plays till 9:00 am while showing temperatures and conditions on the Austrian alps. I heard Manfred Honeck’s brother play Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto with great style and energy. Something odd happened during the concert. Someone fainted, and was carried out from the middle of the hall. Six ushers hustled quietly and quickly removing the unfortunate concertgoer as if on a stretcher.