Sunday, May 19, 2013

Meeting Up With Mozart

Those of us who watched the movie Amadeus 29 years ago (yes, it has been 29 years) cannot forget the beauty of it. The sets, costumes and of course the music of Mozart featured throughout.

Amadeus was awarded eight Oscars: Best Picture, Actor (Abraham), Director, Costume Design, Adapted Screen Play, Art Direction, Makeup and Sound. The American Film Institute has ranked Amadeus 53rd in its 100 Years...100 Movies list.

The Colonel and I like classical music and Mozart has always been our favorite classical composer.

The Colonel was poking around on-line and saw that the Florida Orchestra was performing Mozart's Requiem & Ave verum corpus. The orchestra was accompanied by The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. The concert was going to be held within the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. We couldn't pass up this wonderful opportunity to listen to Mozart's music live.

I did some poking on-line and found a hotel within walking distance of the Mahaffey Theater. It was the Ponce de Leon Boutique Hotel.

The hotel was built in 1922 and was the first major hotel to be built along St. Petersburg's waterfront. It was constructed during Florida's land boom and when St. Petersburg was becoming a much visited resort city.

We thought staying at the historic hotel could add nothing but charm to our little musical getaway and it did.

We opened our room's door and entered the room through a long hallway and at the end of that hall was our very yellow bathroom (The Colonel and I thought it reminded us of a few of the bathrooms we had in some of the base houses we lived in).

A turn left at the end of the hallway brought us into our little room.

We found the room cozy and charming. We had a few hours to fill before the Mozart concert that evening so we checked out the surrounding area.

There were many little shops, restaurants and bars within the blocks surrounding the hotel. Our hotel was just a block from the waterfront so we took a stroll there too.

We decided to have our dinner at the restaurant called Cerviche. It was a tapas restaurant and it was next door to our hotel. The food was delicious.

After dinner we went back to our room to get dressed for the concert (we had looked on line to see if there was a dress code for the concert, but could not find any. The Colonel dressed in black pants with a shirt and tie and I dressed in black slacks, a pretty top and my pearls. When we got to the concert we saw some people dressed in ball gowns and others in blue jeans).

The Mahaffey Theater was a short walk along the waterfront from our hotel and one hour before the concert was to begin there was a Pre-Concert Conversation scheduled.

Two gentlemen, one being the music and artistic director, were on stage and gave a history of Mozart, his Requiem and Ave verum corpus. They pointed out that the Lacrymosa of the Requiem was the last piece of music Mozart wrote before he died on the morning of December 5, 1791. Franz Xaver Sussmayr finished the remainder of the Requiem using instructions left by Mozart. During the concert, the change in composers was evident, as the music following the Lacrymosa did not have that decidedly "Mozart-ish-ness" about it and sounded different, heavier and darker.

We could sit where we wanted during the pre-concert conversation, so The Colonel and I sat on the side of the stage. Our seats during the concert would be in the dress box area, that is to say, middle level, left of center. Below is a view of the stage from our seats just after intermission.

Listening to Mozart's music played live is a memorable, pleasant experience. Watching the conductor wave the baton, the musicians draw their bows and the singers form the words adds another layer of appreciation to the experience. Seeing these actions and hearing the beautiful music simultaneously is magically entertaining. The energy used to create the music is palatable.

The Colonel and I had an excellent mini vacation. It reminded us of our college days when we would listen to the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra (free because we were students) and the concert featuring the Royal Canadians conducted by Guy Lombardo Jr. (not free but affordable to students).

1 comment:

  1. Sounded like you had a good time.-Your brother Michael.