It would take a lifetime to be able to understand the political, historical, social and cultural complexities of this part of the world. We don't even have time to skim the surface. But it was interesting to note the difference in reactions from the Czech and Slovak audiences. There are about one million Hungarians in Slovakia, which was very apparent in the lusty response to our Ligeti piece in Hungarian. ( Not usually a piece which elicits shouts of approval..unless there are Hungarian-speakers in the audience.)
We didn't actually give you the complete story of the reception in Bratislava last night. Just before the American representative had compared us, as distinguished products of San Francisco culture, to Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane, the Intendant of the Slovakian National Opera welcomed us to the theater, saying ( through a translator) that they had had apertifs by"a Rossini, appetizers by Donizetti, main courses from Verdi and Puccini, and NOW, thanks to us, a spectacular desert featuring "all the musical fruits." Being compared to Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia and fruit in one evening - who could ask for anything more!