Virtuosity and Charm

Reviewer: Mark DeWolf-Ott

Venue: The Temple Theatre

An Evening with Itzhak Perlman was presented by The Temple Theatre, Thursday, April,11, 2024 at 7:30 p.m.

It was a great night of humor (because it was raining, Perlman said we should be glad that the show was not held at the Jolt Event Park), tragedy (He contracted Polio was he was 4 years old), love (his wife, Toby, of 57 years asked him to marry her) and lovely violin music.

The show was peppered with still photos, vintage film, and recordings. In between all of that was some of the sweetest and most sophisticated violin playing that you have ever heard. He was accompanied by Rohan DeSilva, a very accomplished musician on his own with a resume of many world performances, accolades, and accomplishments.

Perlman became interested in the violin after hearing a radio segment by Jascha Heifitz. He grew up in a poor family in Tel Aviv where there were two things ”food and music”, Perlman reminisced. He started playing the violin at the age of 3 and a half.

The evening was like sitting down with your grandpa at the Thanksgiving dinner table. He was telling stories of the good old days. How he began with humble beginnings and ended up playing for Presidents and Queens. His American debut was on the Ed Sullivan Show at the age of 13. At age 17, he was playing Carnegie Hall.

In the summer of 1994, along with her husband Itzhak, Toby established The Perlman Music Program which tutors students of string instruments. Itzhak said he tells the kids there “Never miss an opportunity to teach. When you teach others, you teach yourself.”

The climax of the show was a story of how movie music composer, John Williams, called and asked him to work on a film with Stephen Spielberg called “Schindler’s List”. Perlman said he told John, “He’d have to think about it”. Then he played the theme from the movie. It was followed by a standing ovation.

Perlman said, “Pretend that I stood here for 20 bows and thank you’s and then I’ll just play the encore”. He has used a mobility cart since 2018. He is 78 years old.

For an encore he played a cheery Brahms Hungarian folk dance followed by another standing ovation.

Itzhak Perlman has played at all of the great halls of the world and now he has played The Temple Theatre of Saginaw.

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