Survivor and Humanist, Celebrating con Brio
WAVES of laughter rolled out from the Barbican Hall, but it wasn't a stand-up comic working the room. It was Mstislav Rostropovich taking the London Symphony Orchestra through a rehearsal of Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet."
He was blowing kisses at the brass for hitting an entrance precisely, rising from his chair at heady string lines as if levitated and bringing his whirling baton sharply back to rest with a scowl and a full-bodied shrug at the slightest sound of imperfection.
He pranced about the podium, miming the ballet steps reflected in the score — swan's wings, tutu, tiara, toe shoes and all — and told the players a funny story about the time he dressed in drag and crashed a tribute concert for Isaac Stern.