Saturday 8 December 2007

Too hot for Scandinavians

It had to happen in Hong Kong. I had been walking all afternoon and wanted to have something to nibble on. Not many coffee shop on the main avenue I was. 
Then I spotted this Delicatessen Corner.
Suddenly I was beamed into the Twilight Zone: Smoked ham and cheese, whole grain German bread, Sacher Torte... The waitresses were dressed like Snow White and yodeling music was playing in the background.
I went to the Sibelius concert with Errol, since Fred was in Taipei and couldn’t come. I guess he didn’t miss much. The program included the Violin Concerto, the 6th symphony, as well as Karelia and Finlandia. I thought Edo de Waart was to conduct but we had replaced by a second-best substitute, David Atherton - diplomatically tagged ‘laureate chief conductor’. Atherton had all the manner(ism)s of a maestro, but not the means to master Sibelius’ music. He struggled through the symphony, almost seeming relieved at the end of each movement, while his accompaniment to the violin concerto was barely adequate as the poor soloist, Viviane Hagner bravely tried to inflate some life and emotion into the music.
The sound of the orchestra was unbalanced. The brass section was excellent, while the strings sounded weak. I could imagine how well they’d play under the direction of any talented conductor. But the concert was underwhelming.
A mere glance at the program pictures and you’d know: Edo de Waart looks confident and fiery, his eyes full of passion and generosity, David Atherton just strikes a pose and tries hard to look interesting.

My upcoming trip to Vietnam doesn’t yet have any reality to me. I mention it, talk about it, but cannot emotionally get engaged in it. Yet I’ll be there in a little more than one week. After seventeen years!
I don’t even know when or how I’ll come back to Hong Kong.
The idea of meeting my father there delights me and moves me; I had wished that the whole family could come - the four of us would together in our country for the first time. But they didn’t seem to catch grasp the importance of it, or didn‘t want to view it that way, bringing out all possible reasons not to, the money issue, my brother getting married soon, winter not being the right season, etc...
Maybe I’m being too romanesque, but I was picturing the whole family getting rejuvenated, connected by this first visit in our homeland. A intimate celebration that bears more meaning than any Christmas celebration or any wedding.

I have the vague intention to come back to Paris to celebrate Chinese New Year but I’d rather stay in Hong Kong now and experience my first Chinese New Year in Asia! 
Learning to live without them...

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