Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Spotting the expat

It becomes a bit weird when we, as the expats, begin to spot the Georgian expats in the concerts. We Western expats are highly visible, and we tend to spot each other, though it's rather naff to speak to someone just because they are also foreigners. You might have (and frequently you don't) nothing in common.

But at today's concert in the Opera House, 'Baroque in the Opera' with the tiny chamber orchestra 'Mon Plaisir' consisting of one each of each instrument, it was very obvious who was the Georgian expat in the band. People who live abroad for a long time become like the people of the country they live in. (What does that make me??). This soloist reminded me of David Geringas, the Lithuanian cellist, who like Giorgi Kobulashvili lives in Germany. Both look fairly prosperous compared to their former fellow countrymen; it's the better cut and fabric of clothes (though exceeding that is quite difficult in Lithuania these days), the squareness of solidity of weight, the German haircut, the shiny polished skin, and the aura of command. So here your soloist, the oboist, sometimes sitting at the back of the band, was conducting the orchestra. The founder of the band is a bassoonist; forget him for conducting. The leader of the band totally lacks confidence.

So it was an evening of two Vivaldi concerti, a baroque overture (containing a tierce de Picardie!!! - well-spotted), and a Bach cantata where I failed to understand a single word sung by Nino Chachua, in German, I assume. It was fun, though there were plenty of iffy moments, including a very inaccurate cello obbligato in the back (though it was also at breakneck speed), the oboe solo in one of the Vivaldi concerti missed a few notes, and in the slow movement ran out of puff a few times in a way that our wonderful Robertas Beinaris in Vilnius would not have done, and then in the bassoon/oboe concerto the bassoonist ran out of notes, having put the wrong pages on his music stand. But it was all good fun!

We met a delightful couple from the US; his family went back to Latvia 100 years ago, and had got to the US via South Africa and Glasgow. They were over 80 and on a two month tour of Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, and the five -stans. A pair of tough old birds! We were lucky to arrive at the hall with them, before it was opened. The security guards felt sorry for the elderly couple and let us in, too! Also met the girls from Latvia and Germany we had met in Kazbegi a few weeks ago; they were in Tbilisi for a few days of well deserved R&R. A great night out, and the concert was fun - not the best concert, but fun. The violist had a lovely case for his instrument which looked like a baby cello case! He hated it, he said...