In a nod to our recently hax0red Tamara Mellon, OC strapped on a pair of four-inch black leather Jimmy Choo stilettos and built the outfit around our martyred, well-heeled saint of cranky (ex)-husbands: my B-fly vintage Levi's 505s, pale tan Chloe ruffle blouse and a sheer RL tan tank underneath, a Chloe black Paddington for the swag, and a Rogan lightweight cashmere black cardigan for the chills (didn’t need it...i'm so hardcore rawr).
First of all, if you missed the show and are (luckily) in Italy, the performance will be rebroadcast on La7 Sunday, May 13.
The auditorium was less full than it was for the night of Gergiev only a week ago, but again that confusing “sold-out” message glared in red on the front placards. hmmmm.
Bobby McFerrin was looking almost as elegant as Opera Chic (but not quite) in a black suit, the jacket which he later removed, revealing a black t-shirt underneath. The man stormed on stage, stepping lightly, radiating his joviality and excitement, twirling and bouncing the baton in his hands.
When you go to a show with McFerrin leading the orchestra, you know you are in for a different type of entertainment, so it’s really unfair to judge the actual conducting dexterity and to hold him up to Giulini or Abbado. That’s why I’ll say nothing specific about his Candide, or how he managed to transport the overture to that of the exact sound coming from a high school marching band. It was, um…dare I say...incredible?!
Fauré’s Pavane opus 50 was next up. McFerrin put the baton behind his ear, picked-up a microphone, and stamped his imprint of the next hour of the concert. Using his voice as an instrument, he implemented his spirito musicale as part of the composition, form of a capella singing. At times it didn’t work, and was as incongruent as Glenn Gould’s humming. But mostly it did, and the arch of his voice intertwined deftly with the instruments he was conducting. He continued this device for the next piece, the Vivaldi Concerto for two cellos in G Minor, and voiced over the stings in harmony with Laffranchini's cello solo.
Between sets, McFerrin was jovial, loquacious, and engaging. He would interact with the audience via microphone, toasting his glass of water in honor of the crowds, and making his very distinctly McFerrin noises in small freestyles…like a musical Hightower. omg who didn’t love Hightower?!!
After the Vivaldi, he launched into about six or seven songs, all enacted with his voice alone as the instrument. Save one, which was a jazz ensemble, between a snare drum and a double bass played pizzicato where McFerrin “played” HA HA GET IT the trumpet. Most other pieces were done in his patented style of singing over his own beat-boxing. He also did a sweet little sing-a-long where he split the audience stage right from stage left, and made them his little puppets, signaling cues during his song.
The audience loved it, and that’s really all that mattered tonight. After la pausa, Mendelssohn’s Symphony 4, Opus 90 wasn't conducted as horribly as the Candide piece would have foreshadowed. As an encore, he did a passage from one of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, wwinter sprang simmer phall whatevs. It was sweet. In a hilarious interview with Corriere della Sera, he explained how his favorite composer is "Joe Green" (aka Giuseppe Verdi) and he'd really like to conduct Rigoletto some day (!!!???).
I was on the line with this one, not sure if I should waste a Monday night stuck inside Piermarini or out enjoying the mild early summer night…but I’m glad I choose the former and dissed my friends with the latter. La Scala chilled the f**k out tonight, and Milan is all the better for not taking itself too seriously. For once. GAWD.