Thursday night I went to the PIFA Opening Gala. With tickets at $700 a pop (and $250 for under 40’s — for any “young friends” out there!) for the concert, cocktails before and dinner afterwards, it was quite an affair, and the place was PACKED! I was at the Orchestra gala in September and the turnout was not the same — though this was a specially timed gala – so go Kimmel Center and go Philly Orchestra and PA BAllet. I was lucky to get a press ticket in the front row…
Maestro Milanov takes the stage to perform Stravinsky’s arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner, which began the gala performance.
Here is a link to video taken for
I enjoyed the concert very much, but I was disappointed by the all-white costumes of the dancers. With a packed house, I imagine many of the people there were not familiar with the Ballet Russes so they would have enjoyed getting a taste of the incredible colors of the original costumes and sets (see my earlier blog for pics). There were also video screens at the concert but they were underutilized in my opinion. The stage was surrounded by eight colored cylinders with the musicians at the back and the dancers at the front. 
The Kimmel Center is packed for PIFA!
It seemed to me that the choreography was an expression of the communications of relationships between male and female, and within a group of both sexes. There were four men and four women, which put both genders on an equal playing field. One of the couples was particularly attached, and I’m not sure if they ever found their way to true balance after their separation and the woman’s isolation that was portrayed during the show. 
Still, I thought it was a good chance to see the Ballet and Orchestra together, and the crowd seemed to love it, whooping and some even giving it a standing ovation.
The party beforehand, with French 77’s being served and servers in period dress, was a success and got everyone mingling in the Kimmel Center lobby. People were in the mood to enjoy the show. After the concert and during dinner there was a light show on the Eiffel Tower which was a lot of fun, and will be repeated every night of PIFA. So come to the lobby of the Kimmel Center and grab some street food and see the light show!
The tower light show in the Kimmel Center
Tomorrow I’m off to see the Lyric Festival at the at the First Presbyterian Church in Philly at 3pm. The performance includes vocal works, poetry, music and live commentary and explores the allure of all things “other” in Paris in the first years of the 20th century: Exoticism, Orientalism, American jazz influences, animal songs, and the Forbidden. For more info visit and for an interview with their baritone Randall Scarlata visit
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