Better late than never, I am BACK and BETTER than ever.
As I awoke from my grad-school induced coma in early January, I finally had the time to blog again. So... how did I dive into my blogging adventures of 2018?
Well, over the last week and a half I had the opportunity to attend not one but two really inspiring performances! I held off on blogging about them until now, because I really wanted to think about what the connection was (for me) with these two events. While both involved classical music, one was an opera and the other a concert of chamber music. To add to the mystery of these two organizations (although that mystery will be shattered in a moment) one is a well known performing institution of Houston and the other is a rather new innovative startup that hit our music scene in #HTX a few years ago.
Any guesses as to what I am talking about yet?
This young chamber music organization I am speaking of is no other than
Here’s the run down on Kinetic:
Mission: To enrich the musical vibrancy of Houston's cultural landscape through live performances,
distinct programming, and interactive learning experiences.
“Formed in 2015, KINETIC is a collective of 16 passionate and diverse chamber musicians who thrive on collaboration to create high energy, innovative, and world-class live performances throughout the city of Houston. Led by founder & Artistic Director, Natalie Lin, the ensemble can be seen performing in various traditional & nontraditional spaces around town like at MATCH (Midtown Arts & Theater Center), in art galleries, schools, and hospitals.”
Concert I attended: Inner Voices
Edward Elgar: Introduction & Allegro
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Nocturne & Scherzo for String Quintet
Anna Clyne: Prince of Clouds
Benjamin Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings
Sunday, January 21st. at MATCH in Midtown Houston
Photo Credit: Ben Doyle
My introduction to Kinetic was through a Strategic Planning project this time last year.
Overall, these guys and gals are talented, unique, and really quite engaging.
Artistic Director and Founder, Natalie Lin, is a master of putting on fun and friendly concerts while maintaining a high level of artistic integrity.
In addition, the following week I attended a production of Elektra, by Richard Strauss at the Houston Grand Opera. Now as many of you are aware, this Houston music institution was hit HARD by Hurricane Harvey, forcing them out of the Wortham center for their entire season. Currently, they reside in a makeshift space at the George R. Brown convention center of Houston. Lovingly named “The Resilience Theater”
…and in case you are not familiar, here is a bit about Houston Grand Opera
“The Vision and Mission of Houston Grand Opera:
Houston Grand Opera’s vision is to inspire opera’s future. Our mission is to advance the operatic art to serve an ever-evolving audience. We will produce great operatic works that create and sustain a new American art form and fuse them with historical repertoire to inspire the next generations of opera lovers—both in our own community and globally through technology.”
Another fun fact, HGO was founded in 1955 by German-born impresario Walter Herbert
and Houstonians Elva Lobit, Edward Bing, and Charles Cockrell
Concert I attended: Elektra by Richard Strauss
Full cast and creative team can be found here.
(Side note: CG is one of my favorite voices. She dazzled me in HGO’s production of Sigfried last year
and completely outdid herself with the mad portrayal of Elektra, simply stunning. BRAVA DIVA!)
Saturday, January 27th at The Resilience Theater
So, what is the real connection between these two evenings?
While these two concerts represent completely different examples of the classical music canon, I got to experience them both with the same similarity…. With classical music novices!!!
I had the pleasure of seeing the Inner Voices concert with a former co-worker, her young daughter, and husband, and I saw Elektra with a current classmate of mine who had never experienced classical music in its best form, LIVE!
So, I had the unique opportunity to introduce these two groups of people to the world of classical music. Which, is easier said than done.
Let’s do a quick exercise here: I want you to think of opera in a very stereotypical fashion (which is easy to do by most) and give me three descriptive words or phrases or images that come to mind…
How about…. BORING! LONG! and A PLETHORA OF LARGE VIKINGS!
Yep, that pretty much sums up the general notion of what non-opera goers think of opera.
Now, I want you to think of a chamber ensemble performance in the same way, what are a few thoughts that come to mind?
“Wait, when do I clap???” , “This is one really long song” (an actual quote I heard from an audience member), or BORING.
…. So, I wanted to be strategic about how I was going to get these classical music newbies to enjoy themselves.
For my co-worker and her family I chose to go with something a bit light-hearted. Sure, I had invited them to concerts before, but I figured Kinetic was a cool introduction into an often not-so-thought-of cool art form.
For my classmate, it was the easy choice, because she invited me! However, I did my homework and made sure it was appropriate for someone’s first opera. Once I did, I knew this one act tragedy would provide just enough drama and beauty any music listener could appreciate, and it’s only one act… so there is that.
Now, as I report to you after the fact, I am happy to say I was quite successful, with all involved parties ending the night with phrases like:
“That was so cool, I love experiencing new things like that”
“Who knew I would ever like classical music?”
“WOW that was so dramatic and fun!”
…and while we have yet to set a date for a follow-up concert or opera, I am sure I have at least a few classical music converts on my hands, AND lucky for me, this beautiful year is just beginning!
You thought I forgot about cocktails huh?
Well, I did, in fact, enjoy a delightful glass of prosecco at the new Holmann Draft Hall in Midtown Houston before the HGO production. Interestingly enough, they keep many of their wines tapped in order to ensure optimal drinking temperature for flavor (I think I got that right!).
I recommend it to all as your pre-opera drink. After all, you cannot go wrong with bubbles before opera.