The view from stage at the San Francisco Symphony, right before we performed Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, together with 3000 people, who 90 minutes later leapt to their feet. I’ve shared this view before, but each time it’s new—and ephemeral, like high art itself.
I cannot sufficiently express the transcendent joy I experience singing onstage with the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus. Though you’re making the music, producing the sound with your body, there is no ‘you’ in the chord, just this incredible harmony reverberating in perfect precision, up and away, a ship of air carrying beyond earthly static, hostility and strife, to the vastness of the Spheres—place of infinite joy and creative imagination. And so I love to sing—especially with MTT a perfectly tuned Missa solemnis, which Beethoven inscribed ‘from the heart, may it go to the heart.’ From mine to yours, these shows I sang.
Maestro Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) collaborated with Tony-winner Finn Ross to present Beethoven’s great masterwork in an entirely new way—semi-staged, with video imagery and movement designed to tease out the density of the music, make it accessible to the listener by providing visual cues, literally shining light onto the motifs, themes and expositions. Music this challenging—Beethoven at his most pathological, but also his most loving—demands program notes. MTT, in the following short video, shares his artistic reasoning, with accompaniment by Beethoven.
For more on this production, see reviews in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times. And now the season is over until September, when I look forward to returning again to this gorgeous hall, and to smiling back at you from stage, ready for take-off.