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When concert disasters strike: 'Frankenstein' turns into horror show

18

January

hk.gruber.jpg

"The H.K. Gruber solo at the Straz was one of the most inept and embaarrassing moments we have experiened in our decades with our excellent orchestra."

So stated reader Bruce Houghton in an e-mail to the St. Petersburg Times regarding Friday's performance by the Florida Orchestra and Austrian composer Gruber (above), during which a technical screw-up muted a microphone during the avant-garde spoken-word piece Frankenstein!!. The result: 

As he spoke and the orchestra played, the audience could barely make out that he was speaking, much less appreciate the comic nuances of the poetic text, which took up five pages in the playbill. ... Gruber and music director Stefan Sanderling, who was on the podium, apparently were unaware of the problem, because they plowed through the half-hour piece without a stop. Compounding the disorienting experience, the piece features a lot of zany toy instrument-playing by the orchestra. ... Audience members were at first baffled, then annoyed, and at least one couple walked out.

This wasn't exactly the Stones at Altamont, but still: Hooboy. What on earth went wrong? John Fleming has the scoop.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 1:18pm]

    

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