Saturday, April 10, 2010

Philharmonic rehearsal

I went to the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center to watch a rehearsal for "A Tribute to Lenny" conducted by Andrew Lane. In the lounge there was a younger crowd than usual having sandwiches and drinks prior to the rehearsal. I thought I was going to an event that is usually attended by board members, where the board members are invited to sit on stage right next to the performers. I quickly made my way onstage. I was surprised to find none of the other patrons back stage. I got a chair but when I sat down, I couldn't see over the whole orchestra. I decided I had to sketch standing up.
This concert was a tribute to Leonard Bernstein, with selections from Candide, On the Town, and West Side Story. I love the overture to Candide and it helped me relax as I blocked in the sketch.
Soprano Angela Mortellaro was standing right behind me as I worked. I started feeling self conscious thinking I might get kicked out of the wings when Union stage hands realized I was in the way. I even thought Angela might ask me what I was doing and ask me to leave. When she walked onstage to sing Glitter and be Gay from Candide, she turned to me and smiled as she walked by. I realized she had much more important things on her mind. Her performance was stunning she has a range that the music fully put to the test. The song left me felling joy and excitement mixed with a deep sadness.
As is typical in a rehearsal there were many stops and starts. The harp player didn't play for the longest time. I had planned to sketch her playing but instead she sat through most of the rehearsal reading a magazine. I patiently waited to catch her performing and then I sketched frantically thinking she might stop before I finished. The same was true for the string players who would remove the instruments from their chins and hide it in their laps. I was just about finished with my sketch when half the program had been performed. The orchestra went on a break and I put down my final washes and packed up. I decided this sketch was enough for one night. I planned to see the concert the following evening with my wife.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


firstharp said...

Hi Tom: What a gift to be able to draw like that! You should have stayed for the second half of the rehearsal where there were lots of parts for the harp! Hope you enjoyed the concert. The matinee and evening performances went well from our perspective. We will miss maestro Andrew Lane's leadership and warm personality more than we can ever say.

Thor said...

Thanks so much for stopping in Firstharp.