In response to Deborah Hobson’s question as to what the artists like to do after a performance, I would have to say that, most often, they like to eat and unwind. Many musicians don’t eat very much before they go on stage, so if it’s an evening concert it means a late night supper for them (which can be challenging to find restaurants that stay open late) or, if it’s an afternoon concert, they generally eat a largish breakfast and then wait until dinner time. We’ve only ever presented one performer who expected supper before the concert (which was quite a shock, I can tell you. He was staying with me and my husband and kids, and I was completely unprepared, so he ended up making his own supper!). Sometimes musicians attend sponsor events following their performances and we always request that something fairly substantial is put in front of them. Most of our performers are very gracious that way.
Remember that iPod Touch that I confessed to stealing from my husband? Well, now that I’m back in the swing of things, I barely get time to listen to it…and in any case, I’ve been listening to Murray Perahia practising in my living room for the past few days. Murray and I have exchanged quite a few stories (I told him he should write a book when he retires) and one of the items of conversation that came up was concerts in Italy. So, I told him the story of an Italian pianist who played on our series a number of years ago. She is one of my favourites and I loaded this iPod with her recording of Scarlatti Sonatas, which is think is one of the very best. If you know your Scarlatti, you may know whom I’m talking about! In any case, she performed on our series at the Vancouver Playhouse, and she insisted on being paid in cash at intermission. This was generally the custom in the country from which she originated.
It was not an insignificant amount of cash, and I asked her manager from Columbia Artists, who was traveling with her, to come with me to the bank to collect the cash. At intermission, both of us went backstage at the Playhouse to deliver the money. I told her that I was very nervous about giving her the money, because even though we could lock the door to her dressing room, I felt that it still wasn’t safe to leave cash like that lying around. “Oh no”, she said “you don’t understand!” Pulling open the front of her blouse, she stuffed the money in her bra and played the second half of the concert with the money on her person, as it were.