Back in the mid-90’s, there was an unusual, minor, mid-summer hurricane that hit Newport. Actually it was more of a really bad storm, although the winds did howl and reach hurricane speeds and knocked out most of Newport’s power for the night. I had tickets to a midnight performance at Marble House of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The piece was written to be performed late at night and Marble House seemed like the perfect setting. When the storm hit and I heard the power was out in Newport, I wondered: is this concert still happening? It can’t be. But I decided to go anyway (this was before we could check things on the internet) and took my chances and drove down. It was almost midnight and the streets were deserted, with few lights on anywhere and that weird tropical breeze that comes with a storm. As I drove up to the gates of Marble House, a guy with a flashlight waved my car in. The small group of us all sat in almost complete darkness, save some candles – in a room filled with black marble sculptures and scenes of Bacchus. When the pianist sat down at the stroke of midnight and played those first few notes, it was like a dream. Like magic. If you know the Goldberg Variations you’ll know what I mean. It was almost 25 years before I again set foot in Marble House and in that room, and it was for this welcome dinner. As always, it was nothing short of magical.
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