A Quiet Place
The Tanglewood Vocal Fellows singing Bernstein made a marvelous display of fine technique, verbal intensity, and general cooperation that wowed me. I have always heard A Quiet Place with a sense of bewilderment, sometimes wondering where the opera came from. An adventure in newness, one must listen to it carefully, repeatedly, to find its inside. Let me say at this point that there was spectacular vocalism, particularly by soprano Elaine Daiber as Dede, whose golden voice roamed from below the staff to atmospheric heights with ease. My friend from years ago, Beverly Morgan (Dede in Leonard Bernstein’s original recording), warned me that this piece may have its detractors. The marvelous Tanglewood Fellows, guided by their conductor Stefan Asbury, showed me at the very outset that this would not be so. Just listening to these adept young singers who made his language their own, showed the superb level that our finest young vocalists have achieved. I am not sure I completely understand how the opera progresses, or, in a sense, how it is formed. One thing I am sure of is that a huge amount of work produced a remarkable performance, and once again shows the greatness of the Tanglewood Music Center.
A Very Quiet Place
She walked down the street, just behind her parents, her dress blowing, the occasional smile, and then the performance hall. The first sounds she heard were those of a pompous usher who seeing an eight-year old girl, decided she had better sit in the back. I decided we should sit in the front, and we did. There was a concentration before a note was played. The wonderful John Gibbons walked out slowly, as is his way, and began to play the Goldberg Variations. If you have never seen a little girl concentrate, you should try it sometime. There was a communication that was visible. Visible silence, right out of “Silent Noon.” After all the variations were splendidly given to us, we started back through the central aisle. This time she walked differently. It was a kind of ordinary walk that seemed slow. Something had happened. She heard something. She knew something. We walked down the sidewalk. We went home. No words. The little girl was my daughter.