I just saw Yuja Wang in Albany last night. Her fingers, her music, were mesmerizing. And the program couldn't have been more up my alley. First half was a selection of Scriabin works which i loved and a Prokofiev sonata (#6) that I didn't know but was happy to hear for the first time. Stirring, even disturbing, stuff. However the second half was the huge Liszt B-Minor Sonata which is a real favorite and Yuja didn't disappoint. Fireworks. Jaws were being picked up all over the concert hall when she finished. She played 2 encores and looked emotionally and physically exhausted when they were through. I wouldn't doubt it.
She was going to be signing copies of her cd's after the show but as it was late and I had a 3 hour drive back to Boston ahead of me I hit the road, which now of course I'm thoroughly regretting because it would have been so cool to meet her after.
She was incredibly gorgeous as always, of course. In the first half she looked stunning in a black floor-length gown with bare arms and shoulders and something like four-inch heels. After intermission, when she came out to play the Liszt she had on a similar dress but in bright red. There was a collective gasp of admiration from the crowd. "Oh, my God, would you just look at that" someone near me was heard to say. Oh, yes, we were looking.
(As an aside, I think traditionalists that let the idea of personal beauty get in the way of the pure appreciation for the music are just being silly. If you're beautiful, why would you not want to be beautiful-er on stage? On the one hand, if you play like Alfred Brendel and also *look* like Alfred Brendel, chances are people are still going to want to see and hear you play your instrument. On the other, if you look like the most gorgeous supermodel and are dressed to kill and someone plunks you down in front of a Steinway and all you can do is haltingly plink out the notes of Chopsticks, no one is going to care to listen or watch or know about it. This is of course all a massive truism. I guess the question is: Do young people with the gift of physical charms have the unfair advantage over their less comely but equally talented peers? Well, I dunno about that. I just think it makes people like me only want to practice the harder. I know I'm fired up to get back to the guitar today. Maybe I should stop typing now.)
One other thing I wanted to mention is that according to her website (yujawang.com), she's apparently playing nearly everywhere every night. She must be a bundle of energy to do as many shows as she has lined up. For some reason she's not playing in the Boston area (I don't blame her for this but instead I think there's something wrong with the state of classical music programming in the Boston area...or I'm just not paying attention enough. The latter is probably the case.). My point is, if she's playing near you GO!