The main purpose of my recent trip to London was to “concert tour”. On this day, I listened to the performance of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at “Royal Festival Hall” in the South Bank Center!
There are other similar names in London called “Royal Albert Hall” but they are completely different and I have to be careful not to make any mistakes.
By the way, “Albert Hall” is the venue where the famous “BBC Proms” is held every summer, and it is a mammoth hall which boasts a capacity of 8,000 people. I would like to go and listen to it sometime, but it seems that it is not specialized in classical music these days. …。
※This article was written before the virus scandal. This will be updated.
Access to Waterloo Station
The South Bank Center is not far from the “Westminster” where the “Big Ben” is, but beyond the Thames. This time, I decided to head from Waterloo station which is thought to be “nearest”.
Take the Bakerloo subway line. It was an old and narrow train car, but I was surprised that there was a home door at Waterloo station! However, the Bakerloo line was very inconvenient during my stay in London as it passed through Paddington Station, the airport terminal.
It’s so crowded when I get off at the station! It can’t be helped because it’s rush hour in the evening on weekdays. Waterloo Station is also a terminal for trains heading to southern London, so this area is the same as Ikebukuro.
The station isn’t very London. Is the red bus the only proof?
It was closer from Embankment station …
Also, the access from Waterloo station was a failure in a way. That’s because it’s not very far to the hall, but there are only crosswalks along the highway. I can’t walk smoothly because it takes time to wait for a traffic light and it is crowded. I found it easier to get there from Embankment Station across the Thames.
Finally arrived! The exterior of the hall does not have any specially decorated decorations, giving it a chic impression.
The entire building of the South Bank Center was a large facility with many small shops. There seem to be many people who come not only for the purpose of watching the concert.
interior that doesn’t sound like a concert hall
Inside is a cafe with a bar counter? It feels like. It is quite different from the entrance of a general concert hall as we know it. …。
However, as you go further inside, the feeling of the hole increases. There seems to be no clear line between public places and concert halls.
At the counter in one corner, they sold bottled water and chocolate as well as a performance program.
£3.5 for the program. Today’s program and the list of performers were not included in a separate sheet, but were all included in the booklet.
Today’s main program is Mendelssohn’s Vn. Concerto in C minor. It is a famous masterpiece that is also famous as one of the “Three Great Vn Concertos”, and it is a work that I am so attached to that I arranged 3 movements to a piano solo. Charles Dutoit, a famous French conductor, has been doing this for months.
The stage seen from the seat of £40
Now, if you go up the stairs from the entrance, it is already the entrance of the hall seats. Strangely, the first ticket check was done in front of this door. In other words, anyone can come to this door without a ticket. This looseness can be realized only in England, a country of gentlemen.
Capacity is 2,900. Although it was a weekday, it was full as far as I saw. The balcony overhang design on the upper floor is novel and wonderful! Unlike the lobby, the jacket rate for men seemed to be over 50%, but I think many people go home from work because it’s a weekday.
The seats I reserved on the day of the ticket sale were on the aisle side of the fifth row from the front of the flat floor. That’s £40 and it’s a real bargain!
Visibility is super good! You can see the woodwind instrument at the back of the stage even though you are at the same level as the conductor and the soloist, and the front of the field of view is on the aisle side so the head of the customer in front of you won’t bother you at all.
As for the important performance, the sound is not so clear, but it is refined and well organized. All three movements of “men-con” are performed by the attackers. It’s good that it has momentum, but I’d like it to be a little more sharp, and the climax at the end of …。 was not so good.
However, the female soloist’s skill was good, and even though the tempo was faster than any of the several CDs I usually listen to, she was fascinated by the perfect mechanic and her wide range of expressiveness. The reason this violin sounds like a dead song may be because it is close to the performer.
Well, it’s time for a break. In European concert halls, “adult social scene” is a familiar sight, but in this hall, the atmosphere is limited. The process of ordering at the Bar counter is the same as other places, but …
Everywhere I look, I feel like “chatting casually in a cafe”. That must be true. It may be because the place other than the audience seats is an exchange space where anyone can enter.
Moreover, the inside of the building is very spacious, so if I get away from the bar, it will be quiet and I might forget the starting time. For the people who relax here, it may be like reading a book at a community center.
When I was wandering around the building, I found a rack displaying flyers for performances.
I found a pamphlet with a performance guide of the South Bank Center in it.
When I looked inside, I found the performance guide of the Italian master Maurizzo Polini! I was surprised that the ticket price was cheap from £65 to £10! It’s amazing to hear Mr. Polini play for over £10.
When I was a student, Mr. Pollini’s performance in Japan was the cheapest at \9,000, so I understand how inexpensive and profitable classical concerts are in London.
It was a very satisfying concert with only £40 tickets!
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