Monday, March 20, 2006

Mozart at Saint-Eustache

Despite living only a block from the Eglise Saint-Eustache for six weeks, today was the first day I entered it. My task: to get tickets for the night's performance of the Mozart Requiem.

Later, arriving ten minutes before the concert, I was lucky to secure a single seat in the front-half of the audience. The evening began with the Ave Marias of Schubert & Gounod, a round of Hebrew chorusing a la Verdi, and Beethoven's Ode to Joy (sans soloists).

While the 43m ceilings have hovered over Lully, Liszt, Rameau, Berlioz, Franck and others in concert, the acoustics were not ideal for the Beethoven. It seemed at times as if a couple of spent syllables were chasing around the outer chapels. However, when the central work began, it was as if the heavens were bending in to hear Mozart. This seemed appropriate, given that the funeral of his mother was held here.

A small but committed choir and a fine soprano were some of the highlights, although the former had some raggedy moments. The tenor seemed overripe at first and I wandered if he could find the entrance to a gazebo, but he improved markedly in the second half.

Walking around the outer chapels after the concert, I was surprised to find a triptych "La vie du Christ" by Keith Haring!

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