From Sport to Sport They Hurry Me

Dear Reader,

In the three evenings of Thursday May 26 to Saturday May 28 I was at three concerts, which made me feel intellectually and emotionally stimulated, but also hugely pressed for time. 

Three days, three concerts: Argentine tango for violin and piano; guitarist Al di Meola and my daughters end-of-year ballet performance at the Sofia Opera. :)
Three days, three concerts: 1. Argentine tango for violin and piano; 2. guitarist Al di Meola and 3. my daughter’s end-of-year ballet performance at the Sofia opera house. 🙂

If you were wondering about the post title – I saw a vague similarity between my concert-hopping and a poem excerpt, which I read a long time ago in a book by one of my all-time favorite authors – P.G. Wodehouse. It goes like this:

“From sport to sport they hurry me,
to stifle my regret,
and when they win a smile from me,
They think that I forget.”

It was a quotation from a song I believe, of the kind that Bertie Wooster sings to the silent disapproval of his valet Jeeves. 🙂 I went to these concerts voluntarily, no one has hurried me there, but the “from sport to sport” part does strike a chord. 🙂 

View from the second row. I had the best place - near the stage - and I could see the faces of the musicians. I bought the tickets to this concert at Christmas, when May seemed so far away, but I did not regret this - the concert was sold out and great.
View from the second row. I had the best place – near the stage – and I could see the faces of the musicians. I bought the tickets to this concert before Christmas, when May seemed so far away, but I did not regret this – the concert was sold out and was great.
At the concert I also bought the duo's new CD which contained the same performances as the concert programme. Now I have great music to listen to in my car. It was about time too, as I was getting bored with the music I already have there.
At the concert I also bought the duo’s new CD, which contained the same performances as the concert programme. Now I have great new music to listen to in my car.
Concert repertoire. Oblivion you already know, from a previous post :) Another performance that stood out for me was Alfonsina y el Mar.
Concert repertoire. Oblivion you already know, from a previous post 🙂 Another performance that stood out for me was Alfonsina y el Mar.
The musicians were signing their CDs after the concert so I got two autographs too. :)
The musicians were signing CDs after the concert so I got their autographs too. 🙂 The violinist signed his name in English which somewhat irritated me, I have to say. But anyway, maybe I am unjust.
During the entracte, concert visitors could see a photographic exhibition from Barcelona. This picture was titled The Doors of Barcelona.
During the entr’acte, concert visitors could enjoy a photographic exhibition from Barcelona. The picture above was titled The Doors of Barcelona.
One more Barcelona door :)
Two more doors of Barcelona 🙂
This is a Stara Zagora door, photographed by me :) I visited the city last Friday and liked this door which was in between a clothing shop and a pharmacy, which, of course, in their facades, have not preserved the old-time look of the building. Too bad.
This is a door of Stara Zagora, photographed by me 🙂 I visited the town last Friday and liked this door which was in between a clothing shop and a pharmacy, which, of course, in their facades, have not preserved the old-time look of the building. Too bad.
Same place, Bulgaria Concert Hall in Sofia, but at the Al Di Meola concert. This time I was at the very last row of the second balcony (tickets were expensive), hence the bird's eye view. But the sound was great. The hall is build very smartly, so that your view is not blocked regardless of the distance or the height of those sitting in front of you.
Same place, the Bulgaria Concert Hall in Sofia, but at the Al Di Meola concert on Friday. This time I was at the very last row of the second balcony (tickets were expensive), hence the bird’s eye view. But the sound was great. The hall is build very smartly, so that your view is not blocked, regardless of the distance or the height of those sitting in front of you. At the end of the show, Al di Meola ran backstage to fetch his phone and take a picture of the standing ovation of the audience. 🙂
This cartoon, called The First Row, is by Bulgarian-born pianist Alexis Weissenberg (1929-2012). Who knows how we, the audience, appear to the musicians on stage...! Judging by this, the image may not be very flattering :P
This cartoon, called The First Row, is by Bulgarian-born pianist Alexis Weissenberg (1929-2012). Who knows how we, the audience, appear to the musicians on stage…! Judging by this, the image may not be very flattering 😛

One of the lobbies of the Bulgaria Concert Hall contains a permanent exhibition of cartoons and personal belongings of Alexis Weissenberg, donated by him a short time before his death. I am very proud of this Bulgarian pianist, who achieved international fame but never stopped saying he was Bulgarian in spirit and mentality. Weissenberg’s family fled Bulgaria during World War II and never returned. The pianist is often labelled the epitome of technical perfection, but is also criticised for being unemotional and even aggressive in his playing. 

Pianist Alexis Weissenberg in 1947. He looks much like Tom Ripley, the character of Matt Damon in film the Talented Mr. Ripley, which I wholeheartedly urge you to see if you have not. It is remarkable for many things - plot, setting, actor play; and also for the fact that it is I believe one of the few movies based on a book which are better than the book :). Book author was famous U.S. misanthrope Patricia Highsmith. Source:
Pianist Alexis Weissenberg in 1947. He looks much like Tom Ripley, the character of Matt Damon in film the Talented Mr. Ripley, which I wholeheartedly urge you to see if you have not. The movie opens with Damon’s character playing a baby grand in a garden, exactly like Weissenberg in the picture. The film is remarkable for many things – plot, setting, actor play; and also for the fact that it is I believe one of the few movies based on a book which are actually better than the book :). Book author was famous U.S. misanthrope Patricia Highsmith. Source: Click here.

For a variety of reasons, I happened to attend the Al di Meola concert alone, which I really enjoyed. There were other art exhibitions in the concert hall lobbies, apart from the Barcelona one, and I liked looking at the pictures all by myself. I had also a book – Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, which I read while seated and waiting for the lights to come out.

What a book…I finished it and felt as if someone had kicked me in the stomach. I hope to be able to gather my thoughts sufficiently to write a post on it. But do read it, dear Reader, it is slightly above 100 pages but so powerful. If the story somehow relates to you, you will find it most disturbing and revealing, I promise. 

I also enjoyed looking at the beautifully lit buildings and liked hearing the sound of my steps in the quiet streets as I walked to where my car was parked. 

The Sofia Opera and Ballet from the inside. My daughter's ballet school gives great end-of-year performances also featuring professional dancers. The hall was packed.
The Sofia Opera and Ballet house from the inside on Saturday. My daughter’s ballet school gives great end-of-year performances also featuring professional dancers. The hall was packed.
Look how beautiful the ornaments are :).
Look how exquisite the ceiling ornaments are :).
This beautifully lighted ceiling is right above the orchestra pit. The ballet school performance did not have an orchestra though, the music was a recording.
This elegantly lighted ceiling is right above the orchestra pit. The ballet school performance did not have an orchestra though, the music was a recording.
During this first year of my daughter's ballet training, I have become an expert in making up-dos for seconds and with hairpins only. No doughnuts or other support, it's unprofessional :P
Getting ready for the final dress rehearsal on Saturday morning. During this first year of my daughter’s ballet training, I have become an expert in making up-dos in seconds and with hairpins only. No doughnuts or other support, it’s unprofessional 😛
The up-do has to remain in place after hours of running and hopping.
The up-do has to remain in place after hours of running and hopping.
Needless to say, my baby is the prettiest ballerina of all! :) She is the third from left to right.
Needless to say, my baby is the prettiest ballerina of all! 🙂 She is the third from left to right. The girl to her left had a birthday and is holding a box of chocolates. Of course, we had a chocolate stain on our yellow maillot after the rehearsal and had to wash it for the evening performance :). Thank God we had a sufficient supply of new tights. 🙂

I like how surreal the picture above turned out. Just look at these tiny pretty girls in their fairy-tale gowns! They played parrots and came on stage right after the monkeys. 🙂

The picture was taken at the end of the dress rehearsal, at the opera house’s back entrance. The girls are waiting for their parents to pick them up. The shop window behind them reflects the buildings on the other side of the street and a passing tram. Also look at the beaten-up pavement, the cigarette stub and the empty coffee cup.

To me, it looks like a picture from a fashion magazine, where models are photographed on the backdrop of dilapidated buildings. Or something more philosophical like the juxtaposition of youth, innocence and dreams on one side, and the prowling and elusive city on the other.

Anyway, I took my child by the hand and walked her to the car in these clothes. Many passers-by smiled at the colourful butterfly that she was. She was very happy. I drove a total three times to that opera house on Saturday. 🙂

Now, a video of the parrots’ dance, from the rehearsal. Honestly, I think the children’s steps were too simple, my daughter knows way more. The girls going away were the monkeys and those appearing from the backstage in the pale pink dresses played macaroons. 🙂