On the first day of the New Year

The New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is exclusive. For me, it brings the nostalgia and the joy of the childhood. The concert was broadcast by National Television when I was a child and every year on Ist January I watched it with my sister. The orchestra was world-class, the conductor was an international distinguish conductor and the venue – Musikverein – was outstanding. 
People say, the first day of the year indicates how the year will go. The New Year’s concert in Vienna and the joyful music of the Strauss Dynasty always brought hope and a sense of a vie est rose. 
I have not watched the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra concert for ages. 4 years ago I attempted to re-create the euphoria by attending a New Year’s Day concert in the Lighthouse in Poole. The concert was a disappointment which I kept to myself in order not to discourage my husband from joining me in my musical adventures. 
A new opportunity arose recently. The Barbican Centre in London offered an afternoon New Year concert performed by the London Concert Orchestra. 
First impressions – the Barbican Centre building is ugly. Its architectural style is called brutalist as it emphasises the raw materials (concrete) to the detriment of fine finishes and decorations. The foyer is full of mature people holding glasses of wine in their hands. Later I was enlightened  that  every ticket holder was entitled to a free glass of wine – a great marketing trick to ensure attendance and a jolly mood in the concert hall. The cafes and the restaurant are unappealing with long queues in all of them. 

The actual concert hall is huge. There are nearly 2000 seats spread on three levels and they are all  taken. The orchestra musicians seemed tired to me, their shirts and jackets creased and no smiles on their faces. The conductor explained that the orchestra played in Birmingham the night before and travelled to London in the morning.

The concert begins, beautiful music fills the air and everything changes. Musicians are good.The conductor Anthony Ingles is the master of the ceremony. He not only skilfully conducts the orchestra but his dry sense of humour appeals to the audience.
Suddenly Nicole Kidman enters the stage. Wait a minute, she is not Nicole Kidman, she is soprano Sky Ingram. Like Nicole Kidman, Sky is Australian, she is tall, slim with beautiful curly hair. Sky has an amazing voice. She is accompanied by the tenor Robyn Lyn Evans who brought the audience  to their feet with his performance of Nessun Dorma. 
Some tricks to engaging the audience (from The Proms) follow – we are led by the conductor to perform specific moves, to sing as a choir and to clap to the rhythm of the music. The tricks work very well. 2000 people are clapping, moving, laughing and enjoying themselves. The mood is uplifted. It is a real delight to watch the sea of smiley faces. 
And that is great because Adrian, our friends Catherine and Paul and I are going again to the Barbican centre on 22nd April to watch Gustavo Dudamel conducting the orchestra of Opera National de Paris. Cannot wait. 

1 Comment

  1. Bravo Nina! Looking forward to April xx

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