The other day, the International Geneva Competition was held in Geneva, Switzerland. This time, I would like to report on “Victoria Hall”, the stage of the final!
Victoria Hall has a long history of more than 100 years, and the beautiful auditorium with its gorgeous interiors is very charming! It was a gorgeous concert hall suitable for the final stage!
※This article was written before the virus scandal. This will be updated.
Location of Victoria Hall
Victoria Hall is located in the heart of Geneva, Switzerland. It is located about 1km south of the central station (Cornavin).
The historic hall was built between 1891 and 1894, but a large portion was destroyed by fire in 1984. It is said that the current one was rebuilt after that. In contrast to the façade, which is only about 20 meters long, the building is more than 3 times as deep.
The entrance of the hall is on the east side of the building. It’s on the opposite side of the main street, so I got lost at first!
Entrance hall and champagne bar
When you enter the entrance, there is an entrance hall, which has a ticket booth and cloakroom as well as a general reception. It’s a very small space, so it’s packed with people waiting to enter the auditorium before the opening!
There are two cloaks on both sides of the wall. A franc tip is required for each piece of baggage.
In addition, there was a special champagne bar in the entrance hall. Is it supposed to rain for free? I thought so, but unfortunately it costs money.
Price: 16 francs for 1 cup. The brand name is Moechean’s Brut, which is so dry that it hits your throat, but the taste seems to be suitable for cooking.
There was a bar at the back of the entrance hall, and it was open from the opening time to the end of the performance as well as the break time. Since this is the only bar in this hall, we are packed with ladies and gentlemen during the break time!
Regarding the bar menu, it seems that they have a variety of alcoholic drinks such as champagne, red and white wine, coffee and soft drinks such as Coca-Cola. Prices range from 5 francs for wine to around 3 ~ 4 francs for soft drinks.
Most of the light meals are sandwiches, but if you look at the menu in the showcase, it’s a very simple menu with only cheese and ham between bread! I can’t even see the vegetables in it.
Other than sandwiches, I found a slightly sweet menu, so I decided to try it. This is an apple tart with a reasonable price of 4 francs, but despite its low price, the pie crust is not dry and the apple is just sweet. It has plenty of volume and is quite reasonable!
I think it is much more cost-effective than eating a sandwich.
To the gorgeous auditorium!
By the way, the curtain of this final was at 19 o’clock, and 30 minutes before that, the stairs to the audience seats were opened and the hall opened. The auditorium has a 3-layer structure with a flat earth floor “Parterre” and a 2-layer balcony “Galerie”.
When I entered the auditorium, the interior was gorgeous! It has a lot of gold decorations, but it looks more solemn and heavy than flashy.
The ceiling is gorgeous, but the modern design with music as the theme is impressive instead of the fresco paintings in halls in other countries. It’s surrounded by an oval frame with no paintings, but it could have been painted before it was destroyed by fire in 84.
There is a magnificent pipe organ on the back of the stage. This is a fairly new one built in 1993, and it seems that the previous generation was destroyed by fire.
a slightly odd wooden seat
The seat is a wooden backrest with a mesh seat surface. This seat is made of straw like material and has a tatami like smell.
Aisle side is an auxiliary seat, so be careful when reserving a seat! But in this final, perhaps because there were some vacant seats, none of the auxiliary seats were used.
Also, there is a balcony overhang on the upper floor in the flat floor seats on the first floor, so I think the box seats at the back and on both sides have a very limited sound and view. If you want to immerse yourself in the music while looking at the beautiful interior, you should definitely reserve a seat in the center.
The balcony on the second floor sounds good.
Also, my seat this time was on the 2nd floor (1st Galerie), but here the foot space is a little small. The sheet width is not wide, so I don’t think it’s good for the environment.
As for the view, if you sit in the center, you can enjoy a symmetrical view centered around the pipe organ. However, it is quite difficult to see the stage from the balconies on both sides, and some people lean over to watch.
It may be similar to the Opera City Concert Hall in Tokyo.
But the sound is good! The orchestra can listen to stringed and wind instruments in a balanced manner, and the reverberation time is just right. It’s hard to deny that the sound of the piano goes through the ceiling a little, but even a small sound can jump into your ear and you can see the subtle changes in nuance.
“audience award” ballot
The final of the Geneva International Competition was held in Victoria Hall with such luxurious interior. The article “result announcement” talks about the performance of the 3 players, but one of the 3 players who received the most cheers was Dmitry Shishkin, who played a concerto from Prokofiev.
As his cheers said, he won the 1st prize and also “audience award”! Since he won the 6th prize in the 2015 Chopin International Competition, it was noticed even before the competition, but his mechanical performance was amazing!
To vote for the Audience Award, you write the candidate’s name on the ballot form in the program that will be distributed on the day and put it in the ballot box after the performance. Personally, I won over Théo Fouchenneret, who played Bartok, but I have no complaints because he is the first in the group.
This is the end of the 11 day Geneva International Competition for the Piano, but it’s worth hearing the 120% performance that the young contestant plays rather than the 70% performance by the masters!
The Geneva International Competition is held every year, but is the next piano section 3 years from now? Four years? I would like to visit again if I have a chance.
♪Click here for a List of articles on “Opera House & Concert Hall around the world“