The venue staff was on hand as the Pittsburgh Symphony buses pulled onto the Festival Lanaudiere property in Joliette, Quebec yesterday for the first of two concerts here. This first night was all-Beethoven: Coriolan Overture, the 5th Piano Concerto with soloist Valentine Lisitsa, and the 7th Symphony.
The amphitheater, with its modern lines and cool colors, nestles with surprising grace into a well-manicured, bucolic setting. Even the common Ailanthus trees have been nursed into attractive works of art. Holders of Lawn Seating tickets have arrived early to stake claim on good vantage points just outside the amphitheater roof line…
…while Orchestra members begin setting up for the acoustic rehearsal which will precede the concert this first night. Logos of major sponsors for the event can be seen projected on the wings flanking the stage.
It has been a grey day, and the air finally cannot contain the humidity. Il pleut. It rains. The lawn patrons are prepared. Umbrellas go up in a flash!
The hardy umbrella bunch forms a steadfast clutch as Orchestra members arrive on stage, changed into summer white dress for the concert. General Manager Marcie Solomon and Personnel Manager Kelvin Hill confer at the front of the stage near members of the second violin section.
Finally the auditorium has opened for indoor seating and seems completely filled with concert goers. The sun has left the sky, bowing before the steady rain, but the encampment of umbrellas has grown, with a fair number now on the back ridges. By concert’s end the listeners on the lawn were still there and joined in the enthusiastic ovation, to which the Orchestra replied with two encores.