This evening at 6 PM saw the first of many concerts on this tour. The group performed Mozart’s Requiem in d minor in St. Nicholas Church in Prague. There was much consternation after the rehearsal yesterday because the hired Czech orchestra appeared weak in the strings section and was a tad surly overall about the director’s instructions.

MD went with the group an hour and a half early to prepare. I drifted in 30 minutes before the concert and snagged a phenomenal seat slightly to the right and near the front. I was glad to have gotten there early because by the time the concert began every seat was taken. The Czechs love music, especially Mozart’s, and are pretty knowledgeable and harsh critics. I think the troupe was a little surprised at the turnout, which intensified their trepidation about the orchestra.

I can say without reservation that the performance was stunning. The entire group sang brilliantly, the soprano soloist, Tamara Bevard, was nothing short of spectacular, and the fears vanished as the orchestra more than rose to the occasion.

I had an especially wonderful time. It was a little chilly in the church, and the place I happened to be sitting was, within a few minutes of the concert’s starting, bathed in light from one of the clerestory windows. I basked in the warmth in the magnificent 18th century church, and through the medium of the gifted singers and musicians the genius of Mozart washed over me. It was truly a magical evening. (It didn’t hurt that I had tippled a little absinthe before leaving for the concert.)

As the Requiem closed and as the final notes dissolved (St. Nicholas has remarkable acoustics and the sound goes on for a moment after the music stops) the crowd began applauding madly. Jo Anne Wasserman, the conductor, made four trips to the podium before the clapping finally trailed off. She looked a little sheepish, and was obviously surprised (not to mention greatly pleased) at the force and length of the ovation.

All in all it was a great success. I am looking forward to the concerts to come.

I’ll keep you posted.

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