Our first Symphony

July 6th- 

I bought two front row balcony seats to the Ruse Opera House playing Brams symphony # 3 and Tchaikovsky's symphony # 4 at 7:00 PM. I was still waiting to metamorphosize my Chinese food into my own symphony # 2 when Alisa said, we're going to be late, let's go. 

We walked a short 15 minutes to the opera house. The doors were locked and no one was around. We thought maybe the doors opened at seven and we were just being punctual Americans. So we took a seat on a stone platform and just waited. 

Ruse recently introduced Lime scooters to the city. I read an article about it while doing some research. I figured I'd download the app and create an account just to be ready. There were several parked scooters in front of us in the plaza. I made one close to us ring and was going to have some fun with people walking by. This guy came up and asked a question in Bulgarian. I asked if he spoke English, he did. He asked if I was the guy to rent scooters from. I told him about the app and how much they cost. He asked where we were from and gave me the same look I have been getting when I reply. I told him he has a beautiful city and he thanked me and left. I felt like I lost a customer. Then another guy asked as well. While we waited, I turned into the Lime representative guy as Alisa laughed and snapped photos every time someone would come up. 

OK it's 7:01, this was getting ridiculous. At least open the doors. I asked Alisa if this was all a ruse... Get it? We walked around the side of the building and found a door. I walked in and politely shoved my phone into an old guy's face asking about the concert. He didn't speak English and pointed at a guy outside. I broke into his conversation with the grace of a water buffalo and asked him what was going on with the concert. He said it's the right day and time but wrong venue. The concert was playing at the Philharmonic Hall, a 15 walk minute away and only five a five minute walk from our house. Alisa's wearing a little black dress and sandals and I'm in jeans and boots. Off we go, questioning whether they'll even let us in  late. We finally arrived and showed the QR code to the doorman, who passed us off to an usher, who led us to the bottom floor and motioned us to go in. So no balcony front row seats I guess. We took the seats in the far back left corner. It was nice not having people behind us to see the dripping sweat and constant wiping and fanning.

This was the first symphony either one of us had been to so we weren't sure what to expect. A few minutes in the music came to an end and we both brought our hands up to clap. Again, glad we were sitting in the back. Who knew you waited until the end to clap? 

At intermission we went outside to get some air and cool off. Brams symphony #3 was nice but I really wanted to hear Tchaikovsky. His music takes me back to Saturday mornings of my childhood at the Cummings' household. My mom would put on a CD and blast it, starting the beginning of the mandatory "Cleaning Day". One by one, we would trudge out of bed and fight for the bathroom thinking of reasons to get out of doing chores. This was also the time of bartering between siblings. "I'll do this if you do that" kind of thing. I'd put on my cheap knock-off version of a Walkman to play "real" music but every once in a while I'll admit I hesitated to turn the tape over and just listened to Tchaikovsky blaring. It was beautiful then and it sounds so much better today. 

We went back inside and upstairs to find our purchased seats. It was considerably hotter upstairs than down. Guess what? No seat 21 or 19. They didn't even have odd number seats. We took seats 20 and 22 and sat there while people came in. I wasn't about to go through the whole train seat fiasco again and got up to see if we were in the wrong row or something. Nope they all were even numbered seats. Why Bulgaria why? We finally just sat down after Alisa said, I'll throw down this time, I'm not moving. Sure enough a guy comes up and starts speaking Bulgarian. I stand up and say, I can't understand you, twice, the second time slowly for emphasis. I'm working up a sweat by now. I'm pretty sure it's going to blows. He switches to English and informs me it's a lot cooler downstairs. Thanks. I sat back down. I knew Alisa wasn't moving but I asked if she wanted to go back downstairs anyway. Nope. 

Then the music started. Wow, the sound from the semi-center front balcony was amazing. You could see and hear the music switch from left to right and front then to the back. It was mesmerizing. Sometimes I closed my eyes and raised my head and just listened. I'll pretend it was to dull the other senses and take in the music only by sound. Truth be told, I had a head cold and my nose was running faster than the sweat dripping down my back. I kept waiting for cymbals to crash to sniff the river flowing from my nose. 

But all that aside, the music was absolutely spectacular. Later I learned the last part, our favorite was included in the opening of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" recorded from a car stereo. 

I still want to attend a symphony where Overture 1812 is performed. Maybe soon. In the meantime if you're looking for information on Lime scooters or just want your picture taken with the only bald guy from California in Ruse Bulgaria, I know a guy. 


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