An elegant sufficiency

Friday, August 17, 2007

The reason why we came

Today is why we are here in Vietnam at all. It's the opening night of the Autumn Melodies season at the Saigon Opera House and the Piano Concerto by Joachim Raff is on the programme, played by a delightful and talented Vietnamese pianist, Nguyen Tra, who lives and works in London.

Perhaps you already know of Mark's involvement with the work of Joachim Raff? If so, it'll come as no surprise to find that's why we are here.

Anyway, we heard the rehearsal this morning and all sounds as though it's going to be a splendid evening across the road there at the opera house. Tra is a superb musician and is sure to do the work justice - it will be quite an occasion, for it's the first time it will have been heard live in over 100 years. Hopefully it won't be so long before it's played again though - Tra is going to do a recording in England, soon.

Well, since I wrote the first part of this blog entry, the concert has been and gone and it was a total triumph for both Tra and for Raff! The Opera House was full and the audience loved it - nearly as much as we did. Sitting with Tra's family was a privilege and we enjoyed sharing their delight in watching such an accomplished musician bring this forgotten piece of music to life again.

We smiled as the "no photography" sign was ignored as the cameras clicked away. At one point we counted seven movie cameras (it was broadcast live on Vietnam TV) and eleven people with cameras in the aisle or on the front row. At one point it seemed as though every person in the audience had a camera or videophone held high to capture the moment - the organisers are losing the battle to prevent such recordings, we think.

Tra well deserved the rapturous applause at the end of the evening - we enjoyed seeing the pride on her mother's face as one person after another came to share their praise of her daughters performance. It was quite an evening.
You can read a full review here



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