Passion and Excellence

There's something inspiring about watching people execute their crafts with utmost passion and excellence. It makes you want to break out from a life brimming with apathy and mediocrity. It makes you want to break into a life exuding so much more.

My friends and I went to a concert at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP), home of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), this Sunday, September 8. It was our first time there and I am sure it wouldn't be our last.

The show was entitled "The Art of the Countertenor" and featured British countertenor Robin Blaze. Boy, did he surprise us with his voice. Countertenors are those male singers having the vocal range of female contraltos. I associate myself to being a contralto (it's supposed to be the lowest female voice type) but his range is even higher than mine! His falsetto is so clean, his breathing control is so astounding, and if you had your eyes closed the whole time, you would have thought it was a woman singing.

Here's a YT vid I found of him. You know, so you wouldn't have to keep imagining.

My mouth must have been half-open throughout his entire performance. He was amazing. And he had this cheerful countenance. I like how he felt every emotion of the music, how he kept in tune with the conductor and the rest of the orchestra.

THE CONDUCTOR AND THE ORCHESTRA. How can I even begin to explain all the emotions I felt while watching them do their thing onstage? One moment I was smiling. Another moment I was gaping. The next moment I was smiling again.

It was fun watching the individual players put all their passion into playing their songs. Some played with brows furrowed in deep concentration. Others played smiling, their eyes twinkling like the lights that shone on us from the ceiling (sorry, photography wasn't allowed inside the hall). Others played expressively with an eyebrow arching from time to time, with a lip twitching in amusement every now and then. They made me want to try my hand at the violin again. But on second thought - nah. How could my skills even begin to compare with theirs?

Did I say we were seated in the second front row seats? With nobody sitting in the row before us? We were so close to the stage we could see the drops of perspiration forming on the conductor's face.

Oh the conductor! He was, of course, wonderful. So. Expressive. I'm sure most conductors are. But it was my first time to see a real conductor onstage and this man, Bernard Labadie, was amazing. He was very energetic and appreciative. I liked the way he embraced and shook hands with Robin Blaze at the end.

Watching a conductor conduct was something. Somehow, I could imagine how creation must have played out, seeing the maestro bring each instrument to life with a gesture from his hand and with a stroke from his baton.

Our ticket envelope said, "We wish you a memorable concert experience." Indeed, ours was a very noteworthy one. Who wants to come here with us next time?