I know, it’s an old, tired joke, but I like it!  Besides, there’s another way to get to Carnegie Hall–buy a ticket.  (Did you know that tickets cost $1 and $2 for the opening night on May 8, 1891?} And, it was an auspicious beginning with Peter Tchaikovsky on the program conducting his “Festival Coronation March“. ( Did you know that Tchaikovsky was so superstitious that he would hold his head on when he conducted afraid it might topple off.  Honest!!!)

Last week I used my fourth and final ticket in an International Orchestra Series I had purchased.  This one was the St. Petersburg  Philharmonic.  They featured a marvelous pianist named Nikolai Lugansky in the Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2 in C Minor.   It was an encore performance.  (Did you know that in 1909 this same concerto was performed on that very stage by Rachmaninoff, himself, and the Boston Symphony?)

A sense of wonder struck me as the musicians entered.  Here I was, a girl from Augusta, Arkansas, sitting in this famed Music Hall, watching a performance by accomplished musicians from t he beautiful city of St. Petersburg. Who would have ever thought it!!

I remember a few years back when I had been struck with the same wonder.  My cousin, Martha, and I had gone to the Metropolitan Museum for a  Van Gogh show and had walked down to the Plaza Hotel for lunch–on the way we had casually passed Al Pacino walking the other way.  (I had a hard time acting  nonchalant.)  At lunch,  I said, looking under the table and seeing a plug,  “Used to, when you had a call, they’d bring the phone right over to the table and plug it in,  Now, I believe they use cordless. . . . . . . . Did you ever think we’d be sitting at a table in the Plaza having lunch.”

“No, and I don’t have the slightest idea what to do with this,” she replied, holding up a fish knife.

The Plaza has changed a lot and so has Al Pacino, but the Met and Carnegie Hall remain constant.   St. Petersburg is the ‘Venice of the North’ and the  St. Petersburg Philharmonic is a proud Russian institution.

But you don’t see many fish knives around anymore.

Leave me a comment or just say ‘Hi’.  I’d love to hear from you!