Withering Glance: 2 thumbs up for Orchestra Hall 2.0

  • Article by: RICK NELSON and CLAUDE PECK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 14, 2014 - 2:03 PM

Conductor Laureate Stanislaw Skrowaczewski on Feb. 7 led the first Minnesota Orchestra concert at Orchestra Hall following the settlement of a labor lockout that dragged on for 16 months. At right is principal cellist Anthony Ross.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


RN: Stanislaw Skrowaczewski is my new role model.


CP: That nonagenarian, who led the Minnesota Orchestra in the 1960s and ’70s, is a marvel. Stan the Angular Man appears to have sprung directly from the pages of a Tim Burton storyboard.


RN: He’s nearly twice my age, and yet he seems to possess four times my energy.


CP: At last weekend’s opening concert, I loved Beethoven’s “Eroica” symphony, but nothing showed off the Minnesota Orchestra’s sections quite so well as Stan’s orchestration of that Bach Toccata and Fugue. Hear now the xylophone!


RN: Absolutely. The only missing element was a Moog synthesizer. It was the first piece performed when Orchestra Hall debuted in 1974, so it seems fitting that it played that same role for last weekend’s reopening.


CP: Which brings me to my central query. Whadja think of the new hall at 1111 Nicollet Mall?


RN: So happy to see the cubes again. I’m still not sold on the gray balconies and black chairs. Elegant, yes, but maybe a tad somber for the room’s electric pulse.


CP: Just as a medium brown shoe works with a dark gray pant, the new color scheme inside the hall is growing on me. At first, I was shocked and angry to lose all the burnt orange, which reminded me of my mom’s two-door Nova in the early 1970s. Now I’m at peace.


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