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Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Philadelphia Orchestra's Sheherazade (10/4/2015)

Last Sunday I met up with Claire in Philadelphia to see The Philadelphia Orchestra perform Rimsky-Korsakov's Sheherazade. I woke up rather late, at 7 AM -- I say it was late because I was going to catch the NHSL at 8:48 AM. I woke up, checked my e-mail really quickly and then proceeded to get ready. It didn't take as long as I had anticipated. Getting dressed up, putting up my hair, doing my make-up, and brushing my teeth only took 45 minutes. I was ready to go at 8:15 AM.

I arrived in Philadelphia at 9:15 and had breakfast at Starbucks. While I was walking to Starbucks, I noticed the fountain at LOVE Park was dyed pink for breast cancer awareness month. There was a run for the Komen Foundation, then the Polish and Puerto Rican Day parades. It was pretty crowded.

I met Claire close to 11. We met at Suburban Station and we walked to the el to go to 5th Street Station. We wanted to go to Cedars on 2nd and South, but I noticed that Cedars didn't open until 1 PM. We decided to go to Kabobeesh. We took a cab from 5th and Market to 2nd and South Street. I really wanted to check to see if  Google was wrong about Cedar's opening time, but they weren't. The Arabic bookshop I love going to was closed as well, but I showed Claire anyway. We took pictures in front of the sign. I told her one Saturday we should meet up and I could show her that bookshop.

We then trekked the two short blocks to Kabobeesh. The service was a bit slow at Kabobeesh, but it was still good. Claire enjoyed the lamb and I enjoyed my Imam Fainted, which is eggplant stuffed with couscous and vegetables.

Although the service was meh and the waitress didn't bring us our Turkish tea, we did meet some nice older people in the restaurant. They were eating before they were off to see their show. Claire talked to them more as she is the music performance expert. :) They offered to drive us to the Kimmel Center, but we took a cab instead.

The Kimmel Center was HUGE! That was my first time ever. After our mishap of losing one ticket and fortunately someone found the ticket and turned it into the Will Call clerks, we were led to our seats above the orchestra. We had amazing seats. Claire and I talked for a bit and we were discussing the story about Sheherazade. She asked me what a fikir was; I wasn't sure as I never learned that word. I said, "Well, it almost sounds like kafir and it might be in the same class because that's how Arabic words are grouped. A kafir is not a very nice term, so I would guess a fakir is a beggar. Looking at the context of the story, the nobleman was disguised - so he was probably poor or a merchant." (I looked it up, a fakir is a Muslim (or Hindu) ascetic who solely lives on alms. I guess I wasn't far off!) We discussed One Thousand and One Nights and how I translated that story when I was taking Arabic. We both love it.

THEN! Then, the lights dimmed and the orchestra began to play Ravel and Rachmanioff. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I was so moved by the music, I seemed entranced. Then Daniil Trifonov came to the stage and lit the piano on fire with how fast and furious he was playing. He came from Russia and has been performing in various American symphonies. His playing brought me to some tears; it was just so amazing.

After an intermission, the Philadelphia Orchestra began playing Rimsky-Korsakov's Sherherazade. I LOVED that! The music was just so beautiful. I began to move my head and hum softly along with the music. I then closed my eyes and pictured the beauty of Baghdad back in the middle ages. There was just something magical about it. I really want to buy the CD. I just loved it and I loved how it made me feel joy. It also soothed me.

After I walked Claire back to the train, as I was waiting for the bus my aunt texted me. They were in the city visiting my cousin and invited me for dinner. We went to a place called Little Nonna's. It was okay, but since I don't eat pork anymore - the menu was limited for vegans, vegetarians, and people who don't eat pork. I ordered an eggplant parmesaen. It wasn't bad. It was nice seeing my aunt, uncle, and cousin though! We caught up and I found out my cousin loves Moroccan food. I said we should meet up, go to Fez one night and see the belly dancers. She thought that sounded like a good plan. She's going to med school and I'm sure that would be a good break for her. I want to plan something soon!

I took this photo of Love Park with my phone before meeting up with my aunt, uncle, and cousin.

It was just a nice day out. :) I want to see another symphony soon! Today I'm heading to Philadelphia just to walk around, go to FYE, go to Old City, South Street, and maybe I'll go to Cedars!


  1. Oh, that was the el you've told me about? Oh. How about that.

    Eventually we should see the bookshop! I'm overwhelmed right now, but maybe before you move.

    That couple we met at the restaurant was going to an opera, weren't they?
    My, I am not that much of a performance expert! I just have been one of the members of the orchestra people've paid money to hear in the past.

    Those are the seats I request every performance so that I can see the conductor from the front like when I normally play - I didn't think they were that amazing.

    This is what Wikipedia says about that word: فقیر‎
    It has something to do with poverty, but in a nice way.

    Rachmaninoff! I insist since that gentleman is hugely important in both music and Russian history.

    My father was so astonished that you are related to Peg - he kept telling me that if she had known, then she would have driven us, but then we would not have had the chance to eat and otherwise wander around Philly, so I am glad that things turned out as they had.

    So it was nice to comment on your recollections of that day!

    1. Yep, we took the el to 5th and Market, then the Broad Street Line to Suburban Station.

      Today I went to Cedars and it was AWESOME! You'd love it! Cedars is the restaurant next to the Arabic bookshop. My waiter was cute. We talked about football and travel the whole time. He bought me dessert! And he took a selfie with me. :D I'm on cloud 9 right now... HAHA.

      Now that I think about it, I think they were going to see an opera. I don't remember which one! I'm not too big on opera. I love classical, it helps me relax.

      I've never sat in the back of performers before, so it was something new and neat. I liked seeing the audience look at me like I was there performing. It was cool.

      That's true! Philadelphia is a neat place to explore. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and I hope I didn't exhaust you too much!

  2. Hi, dear Jessica Marie! You looked sensational in your outfit and I felt your joy as you described your outing with Claire.


    That pink fountain is spectacular. The meal you had - eggplant stuffed with couscous and vegetables - is just my kinda thing. I would stick to a vegetarian diet all year 'round if my doctor and Mrs. Shady didn't constantly harp at me to eat meat. You are absolutely right - the Kimmel Center is immense - and you have many great pictures to prove it. I'm sure I would have been moved to tears by the piano playing and the flourishes of the orchestra. It makes me happy to see your smiling face and to know you had a great experience.

    Have a wonderful work week, dear Jessica!

    1. Hi dear friend Shady!

      Why thank you! I love that dress and it's now getting dry cleaned. I can't wait to wear it again - maybe to work? :)

      The eggplant dish was wonderful as usual! It takes about two hours to make - I made it once and I want to make it again... one of these days. I love vegetables myself, but because of thyroid issues, lactose intolerance, and because I don't eat pork anymore for spiritual reasons, I need to eat other meats for proteins as well. But, eggplant and mushrooms always seem to be hearty!

      I'm going to be working on more poems about my experience. I went into Philadelphia again today and bought a polaroid camera (I forgot my digital camera). I'll be working on some poems from that too. I just can't wait to get this book done, haha. It's amazing to see all the travels I've been on and the experiences I've had - I never realized it entirely until I started this book.

      Thank you, Shady! The county is closed tomorrow for Columbus Day, but the library is opened. I'll only be working the library tomorrow. No rest for the weary I like to say. :D The rest of the week will be two jobs (except for Friday).

      I hope you have a wonderful week, Shady!

  3. I love Sheherazade. Sounds like a great day!

    1. It totally was! Today when I went to FYE, I bought the CD. :)

    2. Did you ever watch the TV show Leverage? It was one of our family favorites while it lasted. They had an excellent episode featuring the piece meaningfully.

    3. I haven't, but I'll have to see if the library owns it on DVD because I'd like to see it!

  4. I love Philly! It sounds like you had a great day in the city. Also, your dress is pretty.

    1. We did! And we were thankful the hurricane passed by us! A perfect celebration for life in general. I started my new full time job the next day.