Spoleto officially opened today! Andrew Maggio, bass, went to the opening ceremonies where the mayor of Charleston declared that the festival has officially begun. The tenor in Kepler, Gregory Schmidt, kicked off the party with the national anthem.
Kepler was dark today – time to rest the voices for opening night! Well, maybe for the principals, but no rest for the choir. We had a three-hour rehearsal in the afternoon with Dr. Flummerfelt, and it was truly inspiring. We sang Verdi’s Stabat Mater first, and the way Dr. Flummerfelt spoke about the music – mixing abstract ideas with concrete musical examples together with stories of his life and communicative gestures elicited a warm and earthy sound from the choir. We are spoiled musicians – daily we are inspired by the teaching and artistry of Dr. Miller in such a way that when we are presented with the opportunity to be artistic vessels for another, we are able to give ourselves completely over to the experience. We spent time working on the Durufle Requiem, and there were quite a few teary faces during the sweeping loveliness of the Kyrie. We ended the rehearsal with Verdi’s Ave Maria and Mozart’s Ave Verum. To share such art with people that you love is truly heaven on earth.
When the rehearsal ended, we had an evening free – wonderful! A large percentage of the choir headed down to East Bay to Pearlz Oyster Bar for the happy hour specials ($7.95 for a dozen fresh oysters! Oh yes.) Kang Noh Park, tenor, put us all to shame with an order of fried oysters, a dozen raw oysters, and a half dozen of the Pearlz version of oysters Rockafeller. It was a pretty grand sight to see him put that amount of food away!
After our oyster feast, a number of choir members went to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Gaillard Auditorium. As performers in the festival, we can see any show that is not sold out for free – amazing! I imagine that many of the next posts will include the mentions of many other productions – I am going to pack them in like Kang Noh’s oysters.
Later in the evening, Cécile McLorin Salvant and the Aaron Diehl Trio performed a jazz concert at the Cistern – a beautiful outdoor venue with old growth trees and historic architecture in the middle of the city. The weather was perfect and the music sublime – I can’t imagine a more perfect way to end an evening at Spoleto.