Ottawa’s new summer festival, titled above, opened with an octogenarian pianist who put us all to shame, a string quartet at the peak of its powers, a big soprano on the comeback trail and this hardworking writer in keynote lectures on three successive days.
If you want to know what really happened, go to the Emerson Quartet’s lively blog.
Here’s a sample:
Finding dinner proved an enormous challenge as nothing was arranged for us again, like Ravinia. Although Menahem (Pressler)’s page turner called ahead, the place she sent us to turned out to be closed, and we wound up at an un-airconditioned, noisy place where we dined on dried-up burgers and soggy French fries. But the meal mattered not: what was really extraordinary was to listen to Norman Lebrecht – whom we had invited to join us – ask Menahem about his teachers and mentors. Lebrecht: “Did you know anyone who knew Brahms?” Pressler: “But of course!” And the conversation went on like that into the wee hours and would have continued had I not reminded Menahem of his impending concert the next day.