- Musical: FREEZE FRAME… Stop the Madness. (Directed by Debbie Allen). The Kennedy Center. October 29, 2016.
- Jazz: Cécile McLorin Salvant concert. The Washington Performing Arts Center. October 30, 2016.
- Classical: Symphony No. 5 in C minor by Ludwig van Beethoven (played by the National Symphony Orchestra). The Kennedy Center. November 13, 2016.
- Opera: The Daughter of the Regiment by Gaetano Donizetti (Washington National Opera). The Kennedy Center. November 16, 2016.
Nowadays, it would prove rather impossible to find many people not appreciative of music in one way or another. The reason for this is that the activity of listening to music has always been deemed as an integral part of one’s upbringing – something that in its turn is best explained by the societal function of music.
While exposed to a particular musical piece, people are not only able to experience the sensation of aesthetic pleasure, but also to strengthen the emotional link between themselves and the currently prevalent socio-cultural discourse.
Therefore, there indeed can be only a few doubts about the full validity of the idea that one’s ability to appreciate music is highly reflective of the concerned individual’s value as the society’s productive member. This alone highlights the importance of appreciating music. By leading the lifestyle of a ‘musically minded’ person, one will be much likelier to realize its full existential potential.
Essentially the same can be said about the activity of attending music concerts. While with other people who enjoy being exposed to the onstage musical performance, an individual is impelled to experience the sensation of ‘oneness’ with the surrounding social environment.
Because the representatives of the Homo Sapiens species are highly socialized beings, this naturally makes it possible for them to derive much pleasure from going to the concerts as something that has the value of a ‘thing in itself’.
Apparently, while enjoying a concert one can also take much delight in socializing with others. Consequently, this helps to restore mental equilibrium inside his or her mind – something that explains why listening to music/attending music concerts has always been considered psychologically therapeutic.
Musical: FREEZE FRAME… Stop the Madness. (Directed by Debbie Allen). The Kennedy Center. October 29, 2016.
The staging of Allen’s musical is largely responsive to the recent escalation of police violence against African-Americans. By exposing the audience to the musical’s themes and motifs, the director strived to enlighten viewers about the sheer inappropriateness of the practice of racial profiling (by the police), which despite having been banned officially continues to define the realities of a ‘ghetto-living’ in this country.
Most visitors at the performance consisted of the young-aged representatives of racial minorities. At the same time, however, there were quite a few White youths among them also. The fact that the attending audience could be described as anything but racially homogeneous stands out as yet another indication that there is indeed much universal appeal to the musical’s message.
Even though I did appreciate the applied performing effort, on the actors’ part, I did not find the musical’s message convincing enough. After all, the musical is clearly concerned with promoting the idea that education is the key to increasing the level of interracial tolerance within American society. This idea, however, has been proven somewhat outdated long time ago.
I would probably not be willing to attend the performance of FREEZE FRAME… Stop the Madness again. The reason for this is that the concerned musical does not provide many practically valuable clues, as to why young African-Americans continue to be discriminated against by the police.
Although I am far from being considered this musical’s fan, I still recognize the overall progressive sounding of many of the themes and motifs, explored in FREEZE FRAME… Stop the Madness. In its turn, this implies that by attending the theatrical performance of this particular musical one should still be able to broaden its intellectual horizons in one way or another.
Jazz: Cécile McLorin Salvant concert. The Washington Performing Arts Center. October 30, 2016.
This concert took place as a part of the jazz vocalist’s effort to commemorate her debut in 2013. One of the reasons why Salvant decided to perform in the Washington Performing Arts Center is that she had received many requests from her locally based fans to consider giving a concert in DC.
The audience consisted of mainly older people. There were mostly Whites in the audience. However, the number of African-American attendees proved rather substantial as well. My most memorable observation, with respect to the audience, had to do with the tendency of many of its members to cheer the performer orally.
The experience of having attended Salvant’s concert did result in prompting me to appreciate the phenomenal subtleties of jazz even more. In particular, I was able to confirm the validity of my belief that playing jazz is not about improvising with different musical chords alone. What jazzmen do is channeling what they sense to be some already ‘prewritten’ music (lingering the air) to the audiences.
I would definitely like to attend the concert again. Probably main the reason for this is that while at the concert, I had a certain ‘epiphany’ – it occurred to me that jazz can indeed be referred to in terms of America’s ‘soul’. I found this occurrence aesthetically pleasurable.
Overall, my impression of Salvant’s concert proved strongly positive. Even though I am not particularly fond of the singer’s ‘bald’ haircut, there can be only a few doubts that she does have what it takes to be aspiring for the fame of a jazz sensation. I also enjoyed the atmosphere of peace and civility surrounding the audience.
Classical: Symphony No. 5 in C minor by Ludwig van Beethoven (played by the National Symphony Orchestra). The Kennedy Center. November 13, 2016.
The concerned musical performance took place as a part of the Center’s effort to promote classical music on a daily basis. The National Symphony Orchestra considered it a charitable undertaking to an extent – something that explains why there were many substantial discounts provided on entry tickets.
The audience’s largest segment accounted for older people in their forties and fifties. At the same time, however, there were also seen quite a few middle-aged individuals and even adolescents among the attendees. The appearance of many visitors had a certain ‘nerdish’ quality to it (not very athletic, wearing glasses, etc.).
I did enjoy very much being in the audience. Probably the foremost reason for this is that I have always considered Beethoven to be my favorite classical composer. Moreover, while at the concert I could not help growing ever more fascinated by the Orchestra’s virtuoso performance – this contributed rather substantially towards intensifying the sensation of aesthetic satisfaction in me.
I would certainly choose to attend the concert again if provided with the opportunity. This simply could not be otherwise – my first-time experience with the Orchestra proved extremely enjoyable.
My overall view of the discussed concert is strongly favorable. Because of my decision to attend it, I ended up admiring Beethoven’s genius within the proper acoustic settings for a change.
Opera: The Daughter of the Regiment by Gaetano Donizetti (Washington National Opera). The Kennedy Center. November 16, 2016.
The staging of this opera was meant to commemorate the creative legacy of Gaetano Donizetti – an Italian composer (the opera’s author). The opera is performed in French. However, for the audience’s convenience English subtitles were being projected to the backdrop’s upper part, throughout the entirety of the musical performance in question.
A good half of the attending audience consisted of older people. Judging from remarks that they used to exchange among themselves, most of the concerned attendees were opera aficionados with the extensive knowledge of what account for the genre’s classical conventions. I was also able to spot a few spectators in their teens.
Being provided with the opportunity to observe the opera’s live production affected me in a number of different ways. In particular, I ended up utterly impressed by the opera’s ability to capture the full attention of the audience. Partially, this can be explained by the fact that Donizetti’s masterpiece is both – highly entertaining and humanistically sounding.
I did enjoy the performance very much, and I would like to come to see it again at some point. The main rationale behind this suggestion is that I found Donizetti’s opera extremely educational. While following the plot’s developments, I learned quite a bit about what used to be the conventions of a ‘proper living’ in Napoleonic Europe.
Overall, I never felt sorry for having decided to attend the production of The Daughter of the Regiment at the Kennedy Center. As a result of my experience, in this regard, I became much more appreciative of the musical genre opera, in general, and of its sub-genre opéra comique, in particular.