Before the start of the Early May Bank Holiday concert, Sir Tony Pappano explained that it was his dream to elevate the Royal Opera House orchestra from the orchestra pit to the main stage. This will be a yearly event, to celebrate the talent of the musicians who are usually accompanying opera and ballet.
Ah, the joys of buying nosebleed seats: nosebleed seats are the home of selfies, impromptu picnics with crackling paper bags, talking during the performance pretending to be on Gogglebox and “let’s take off our shoes like we do on long-haul flights” behaviours.
Visual and sound distractions aside, Sir Pappano’s concert programme was innovative as he picked pieces that don’t get to be performed very often.
The programme included:
– ‘Une Barque sur l’océan’ and ‘Alborada del gracioso’, Miroirs by Maurice Ravel: with its signature castanets’ accents, the music was vibrant and full of nuances;
– Poème de l’amour et de la mer by Ernest Chausson, a melancholic poem sang beautifully by soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci;
– Fancy Free by Leonard Bernstein, with alternating themes of cabaret and circus;
– Le Poème de l’extase by Alexander Skryabin, an invigorating and thrilling tour de force for both conductor and musicians.
A fabulous evening of music celebrating the Royal Opera House orchestra: from working at the coal face to being the star of the show.
With Pappano’s quiet revolution, it was clearly a case of “May the 4th Be With You”.
Picture credits: Paola Bassanese
I could not help myself and had to take a picture of these opera fans.