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With so much dance these days performed to recorded music, and two orchestras locked out in labor disputes, it was huge to have the University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra in the pit at the Orpheum Theatre Tuesday, playing live for the visiting Joffrey Ballet. Overflowing the pit, is more like it. Mark Russell Smith, UMSO conductor, insisted on a full force for Stravinsky’s bracing “Rite of Spring,” which meant 80 musicians. So many, in fact, that the basses, gongs, timpani and other percussionists were arrayed along the wall on either side of the sunken orchestra area. There, in full view of the nearly sold-out audience members, the young musicians must have felt the pressure: It’s tough to hide a hammered drum or a banged gong. They did a great job, adding to a stellar evening.
Eggers on our face
Here at I.W. we hate to take anything back, but this time we have to. Last week in this space, we told you that Dave Eggers, author of “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” and the National Book Award finalist “A Hologram for the King” was coming to town. Well, last week that was the plan. But now he’s canceled. A scheduling conflict, we hear. You still might want to make plans to go to Magers & Quinn or Micawber’s Bookstore on March 9, because bookstores are a fine place to hang out, but just don’t expect to run into Eggers there. Even staggering geniuses can’t be in two places at once.