A Weekend Of Cultural Activities

I had my girls over this weekend, and that was the most cultural activities we ever had in one and a half days!

We went to the CSO for Kids concert, which was the first time for Kira. Straight from there, we went to the Art Institute and saw the Dali exhibit (Nadia actually liked it, and even Kira showed some interest). Fortunately, the Art Institute recently reopened its cafe, so we had lunch there and then headed to the Ryan educational center, where Nadia made a collage on the Salvador Dali theme. As always, we spent a really long time there and started to head out only when they were about to close.

We then walked to the Bean and then to the Chicago Cultural Center and stopped there to see a Tiffany Dome.

On Sunday, Nadia and I went to Joffrey Ballet to see “The Little Mermaid,” a ballet composed by Lera Auerbach. Everything about this piece is amazing: the music, the choreography, the instruments, the costumes, and most importantly, how the fairy tale is interpreted.

I read the synopsis to Nadia while we were waiting for the train, and while I was reading, I thought: well, this does not look like a ballet for kids. When I finished reading and said: so that’s a very sad story, Nadia asked: why is it sad? And then I thought that probably she is right because at the end, both the Poet and the Little Mermaid found new meaning in their lives.

I found a very interesting link where Lera Auerbach talks about the score and how she chose the instrument for the Mermaid’s voice.

Here are a couple of pictures I found. I do not think they convey how amazing this ballet is, but it is at least something!

This promotional video gives at least some impression of how it feels – imagine 2.5 hours of such intensity!

And imagine Nadia sitting through it, watching!

Anne-Sophie Mutter

I went to her concert on Sunday – it was a matinee performance, so I took mom with me. It is always hit or miss (I never know whether she will enjoy a performance or start critiquing random things). This time, it was a miss – she said that the music didn’t engage her and then proceeded to criticize the musician’s clothes and other unrelated stuff. But enough about that.

Anne-Sophie Mutter is one of those artists who are so well-known that it feels like they “always were around,” and you might be unsure whether they are still alive. It was almost the case this time: I knew that she was the most famous violinist for the past twenty five years. The program mentioned her “forty seven years of performing.” So when you see her coming to stage in a bright pink strapless ball gown, it feels surreal :).

She is great. The concert lasted for two hours, and she was on stage all the time, and then did three encores!

The second part of the concert was “The Four Seasons,” and it was as great as on this video:

Grant Park Music Festival End of Season

The last concert will take place on Saturday, but for me, Wednesday was the last one I attend this season. It was a beautiful event, and as usual, Carlos Kalmar was amazing!

The concert theme was “Fairy tales,” starting with Tchaikovsky’s “The Sleeping Beauty,” and the orchestra and the conductor were projected onto a big screen.

Also, the weather was perfect for the concert – not too cold, not too hot, and that was the only time during this season that I was able to take mom to the concert.

Friday Off

I had to work for the past two “Wellness Fridays” for half-day, and today, I took a Friday off to compensate for these two halves. It was the only day off I took during Boris’ visit, and we had plans.

The first and the most important thing we did – we went kayaking! There are many kayaking opportunities in Chicago, and I knew that Boris wanted to try it. However, I was more than scared to try, and the reason I finally gave in was the offer from the Shedd Aquarium: they run “Kayaking for conservation” tours, where they show the conservation and restoration efforts on the Chicago RIver. I chose a tour “for people with no experience” and signed us up.

Boris really enjoyed it. As for me, I am happy that I overcame my fears, although it was not easy. Perhaps if I would practice more, I would start to enjoy it. Today it was mostly “I made it!”

Continue reading “Friday Off”

Summer Music In Helsinki

During my unplanned stay in Helsinki earlier this week, we went to two concerts. One was a short lunchtime concert at Suomenlinna Church (yes, we went there again :)).

Very short, but very pleasant

Then on Wednesday, we went to the concert of Finnish Baroque Orchestra in the Saksalainen Church in Helsinki. Boris is a part of their “friends circle”, and I never attended their concerts.

They are really-really-really good! Performing “here and now”, enjoying what they do, and giving the distinct feeling of “making the music”.

Saksalainen Church