36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 073: Two concerts, two decades, too good


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 73 — Two concerts, two decades, too good
14-October-1971 (Thur.)

2007 Oleg Chmyr and Ukrainian opera singers


Typical day again. Practice, business, and concert.

Saw the Romeros—guitarists. A father and 3 sons. Another fantastic concert. All excellent players. Things I noticed: (1) Aaron Shearer straight-wrist playing. Extremely fast, clean, etc. (2) Had cruddy footstools, like my green one. The music was really enjoyable. They did 5 encores. By the 5th encore, I was on the stage, right besides them. Afterwards, I got all their autographs on the program. (They knew English.) And I just stood there with my mouth open. Duh! It’s amazing how 4 of the same family could end up really good. I will mail the autographs to Don F. He’ll really appreciate it.

There was flamenco music, also. And in the encores, they went wild—stamping their feet, talking, hitting the guitars, and the typical strum.

I also had a seat (one of my rare moments), but when you have a good one it can really help you to enjoy that music. For 70s [70 schillings, $2.80], I was in the first row balcony—“even” with them on the stage, except up one flight. Actually, I was a little behind—but it was fantastic. I could see them and even see the way they played (wrist). It was like looking over their shoulders.

Just think—[my family surname] could have had a routine like that, except we would probably fight with each other on stage.


Two great concerts in two separate decades. The opening photo is from today’s 2007 concert—L-R: David Maiullo, Laura Zupa D’avella, a wonderful tenor [name to come], Oleg Chmyr, and Oksana Krovytska. For concert detail, see below.

1971—The Romeros. As I state in the journal, this concert was incredible. The Romeros, world-famous guitar performers, were a family of performers—a father, and three sons. I had never seen such an ensemble play, and it was great. Watching flamenco-style performance on guitar is exciting. A lot of strumming. The musical style itself is exciting with lots of rhythm, motion, foot stamping, and of course, vigorous strumming.

I say here that my seat was 70 schillings and about $2.80. I know my numbers are off (in my mind’s eye) because I keep thinking that standing room at the opera is 10s which is about $1. I’m beginning to think that standing room was about 24 schillings and $1. Help me out here, Austria.

5 encores—I’m on stage with the Romeros! I have these incredible seats and I’m right on top of the stage, in the balcony, so I can see everything. (Remember, I took one year of classical guitar at Montclair. That makes me an expert on their footstools and hand positions.) It’s fun to watch them play. Then—I totally forgot this—I end up on stage with them. How in the world did that happen? And I get their autographs! How cool is all of that? I mean, it wasn’t like I stormed the mosh pit or anything. Regardless, it was obviously a lot of fun.

I send the autographs to my friend, Don F., who was an amazing classical guitarist at Montclair State and quite a performer. He gave a “senior” recital every year. Don was a freshman when I was a senior. We knew each other through our classical guitar lessons. Guess what? I’m best friends with Don, today. We lost touch for a decade or so but then ran into each other. It just shows you that, not only is the world small, but the time-space-continuum thingy is ever present. Yesterday and today are often in same exact moment, in our thoughts. Ponder that for a while.

Brothers on stage. For a brief moment, I fantasize about my brothers and I being the Romeros. So, we would fight amoung ourselves. That what brothers do. As I have already mentioned, there are five of us boys. My poor mother.

On to exciting 2007.

Oleg Chmyr and Oksana Krovytska
2007 concert—Oleg Chmyr & friends. I’m following my advice of yesterday—I took the day off from work (Sunday), and went to a concert with my wife Olga. This tribute concert, “Ukrainian Stars in America,” celebrated 25 years of operatic performance by Ukrainian baritone, Oleg Chmyr (left). Chmyr has performed internationally with leading roles in opera houses in Ukraine, Russia, Poland, and Germany. He was accompanied by Ukrainian and American opera singers—soprano Oksana Krovytska of the New York City Opera (left), soprano Laura Zupa D’avella of the New Jersey State Opera (below right), and a terrific tenor [name to come] who filled in for a scheduled performer who was ill (below right).

Davella and tenor
Arias and duets. Chmyr and friends performed opera duets and arias by Mozart, Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi, and Skoryk. The most famous aria was the popular duet, pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-Papageno from The Magic Flute. No, I wasn’t stuttering. Happy The concert was under the music direction of David Maiullo, who accompanied on piano.

Leontovych String Quartet
Leontovych String Quartet. Interspersed with the arias, the Leontovych String Quartet gave wonderful performances of Mozart, Rossini, and Skoryk. The group performs widely in Ukraine, Russia, and eastern Europe. (I wrote a string quartet for my graduate recital—not at the same level of Mozart.)

The singing and performances at this concert were wonderful. It was an enjoyable afternoon of music. The venue was in beautiful Drew University in New Jersey—I never saw so many “solid, steadfast, and tall” oak trees. We were in a brand new concert hall, packed full with 200+ in attendance. A great afternoon.

Live music is great. Attend. Attend. Attend.


- - - -