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LIFE ON THE CIRCUIT

Rushin' In, Out at Reception for Soviets

October 06, 1989|PAMELA MARIN

The Scene

Post-concert hob-nob in the Center Club following Tuesday's performance by the Moscow Virtuosi at the Performing Arts Center. Members of the Soviet chamber orchestra--whose classical selections inaugurated the Orange County Philharmonic Society's 36th season--mingled with 100 or so OCPS subscribers. Briefly. Call it school-night syndrome: The well-heeled locals arrived just before 10 p.m., and all but a few were gone an hour later. After changing from their tuxes, the Soviets arrived late and stayed later--until finally (not even midnight yet!) the only signs of life in that paneled corner of the plush club were a dozen Russians seated at two candle-lit tables, smoking, drinking, talking among themselves.

The Buzz:

Lost in the translation. "The concert was incredible, but I didn't understand what the conductor was saying before the encores," said Margaret Martin, who attended the performance and party with Melissa Brandl. After a few strained exchanges with one of the Muscovites, Pat Krone shook her head and went back to her champagne. "I asked him why they didn't have any women in the group," said Krone. "I'm a product of the women's movement and that's the first thing I saw when they came out on stage--all men. Why don't they have any women musicians? He said they can't because they travel so much." Krone laughed. "I wanted to tell him women know how to pack, too." Off in a corner, business partners Daniel Ibarra and Mario Schelfi discussed the Virtuosi's virtuosity. "More perfect," said Schelfi. "Exactly," agreed Ibarra. "For me," said Schelfi, "the American sound is more commercial and (the Moscow Virtuosi) are less, how do you say this?" Schelfi turned to Ibarra, who translated a few words about the Soviets from Argentine Spanish into English. "They are the least re-touched," said Ibarra, taking a bite of cheese.

The Food

Three buffets. The first (tucked in a corner by the grand piano) held cheeses and fruit--raspberries and strawberries and grapes spilling down piles of purple kale. The second (deeper in the dark room) was loaded with chicken and cheese enchiladas. Third and most dangerous (against the far wall, under oil paintings of sun on the water or fire and clouds--who can tell?) offered a silver tureen of creamy chocolate fondue and hunks of fruit. Servers skimmed through the crowd bearing trays of champagne and Chardonnay. What, no wodka ?

Who Was There

ErichVollmer, executive director of OCPS, who noted the Virtuosi's popularity here (this was their second visit and the season-opener, no less). "They play as if there were only three people up there (on stage)," said Vollmer, plucking a glass of bubbly water from a passing tray. "It's rare to hear such unanimity of artistic purpose." Conductor and soloist Vladimir Spivakov, who was much in demand for party talk (and led briskly around the room, from one tony couple to another). Edra Brophy of Palm Desert, who sat with son William Gillespie and their guests, Richard and Frances Gadbois III. (This series of concerts is dedicated to Brophy, who put $1.2 million in a charitable trust with OCPS as beneficiary.) Fred and Eva Schneider, party chairwoman. Marianne and Gary Hollander. Elaine and Bill Redfield. Joann and Ed Halvajian, OCPS president. The Halvajians tete-a-teted with Spivakov about relief efforts in the Soviet region of Armenia, which was devastated by an earthquake last December. (Ed Halvajian and Spivakov are both Armenian and had heard through the grapevine about each other's participation in Armenian relief, Halvajian said.)

Overheard:

"One of them said they were getting on an Aeroflot plane for Moscow tomorrow, and another one said they were going to Pasadena. What did you hear?"

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