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.
RN: After several decades of elbow-to-elbow intermissions, the new lobby — which looks like a super-deluxe Westin — is impressively roomy.
CP: It’s all about circulation, and the KPMB-designed lobby seemed to accommodate opening-night’s capacity crowd with room to spare.
RN: The layout isn’t remarkably different from Orchestra Hall 1.0, it’s just way better. The people-watching opportunities are much improved. When I spied a full-length winter-white fur coat from my balcony perch, that’s when I knew for certain that the orchestra was back in business.
CP: I know the guy with that coat. I pledge never to stand ’neath the lights that bathe the lobby’s Marquette Avenue side in a garish fluorescent glow.
RN: Considering the audience’s median age is about 102, you’d think that every light bulb would be covered in a soft pink gel.
CP: I know. The oldsters are paying the tab: They should get the flattering light. The concert hall itself is beautifully lit, and very different. The undersides of the tumbling dice are bathed in a bluish, D-minor shade that had me thinking, “What evildoer lurks in the basement?”
RN: That lighting took me right back to the Moog. A female friend shared a major improvement. She said every gal in the restroom was in shock — happily — about the elimination of the dreaded ladies’ room line, thanks to the addition of so many toilets.
CP: With so many new bars sprinkled about, who wants to waste their entire entr’acte queuing for the loo?
Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib