David Bailey Exhibition and Sir Pappano at Royal Festival Hall

Weekends are there for catching up with some art.


David Bailey at the National Portrait Gallery


IMG_9427As the David Bailey exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery ends on 1st June 2014, I had to go see it before it’s too late.


We are all “photography experts” now since we created our instagram accounts – and we put our own spin on what makes a good photograph. So there I was, critiquing Bailey’s pictures without any professional credentials to speak of (“the light is too harsh”, “he should have used a light diffuser for the flash”). Let’s say that it makes the whole experience of going to these exhibitions more enjoyable.


Bailey’s career spans 50 years and he rubbed shoulders with the rich, glamorous and famous; he also had a keen interest in anthropology and went to different countries to study local cultures. He was particularly shocked at the poverty and hunger crisis in Sudan: his pictures are hard to watch with starving children and families, death and dirt.


The curators juxtaposed the extreme glamour with the extreme glum.


The room displaying Bailey’s camera pictures had a democratic feel about it – the pictures look fresh, almost amateurish, bulging with colour.


Sir Tony Pappano at Royal Festival Hall


IMG_9455It was then time to head over to the South Bank for a good dose of Sir Tony Pappano and the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia.


The programme started with Beethoven’s Fidelio, then segued into Dallapiccola’s Il Prigioniero, with an uplifting finale with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.


Sir Pappano introduced the evening explaining his choices for the programme: the theme was the war.


Personally I did not enjoy Il Prigioniero and its post-modernist style. On twitter it got good reviews but I could see a lot of shuffling in the audience, whereas Beethoven’s Ninth was welcomed by complete and utter silence and stillness to capture every note.


It was in fact the Ninth Symphony that granted the orchestra a long standing ovation.