Wales Millennium Centre

 

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I went to my first opera aged 24 and I was convinced I would hate it (I’d already produced some student performances and played in some orchestras, but this was my first audience experience). I was studying for a postgrad in performance at music college and our very sensible tutors were very keen on us developing ‘portfolios’ just in case those careers as professional musicians didn’t quite work out. One of our tasks was to have a go at writing reviews, but being a poor student meant I wanted to find the cheapest event possible. With a friend we discovered £5 tickets for Welsh National Opera, so we toddled over to the Wales Millennium Centre to settle in for a performance of Puccini’s ToscaContinue reading

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Vienna’s Musikverein

IMG_4967In my teens and twenties, you would know exactly where to find me every 1st January – in front of the TV watching the New Year’s concert from the Musikverein in Vienna. My family would always get together on the first day of the year (whatever our post-New-Year state) to toast the new year, have a roast dinner, and most certainly not do any laundry (I think it’s bad luck?) My grandad loved to watch the concert, and as the musical grandchild (one sister is a wordsmith, the other an artist), I was the one to sit and watch it with him. Although hours of Strauss waltzes isn’t the sort of thing I’d choose to listen to, it was nice to watch it with him and it became something of a tradition. Continue reading

Birmingham Symphony Hall

Symphony-Hall-credit-Craig-Holmes-med-res-23ch1111-216.jpgAt the end of my first year exams at uni I treated myself to a ticket to see Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto at Birmingham Symphony Hall (the treat was the time, not the money. It wasn’t very expensive at all – £4). And I completely fell in love with the place. I went straight to the info desk and asked how I could get a job there.  Continue reading

Swan Lake, Shostakovich and the Soviets

IMG_5826.JPG2017 is a pretty big year. Both me and Russia are marking big anniversaries. I celebrated a significant birthday, and Russia marked the centenary of the 1917 Revolution. So, you know, basically the same. I decided, ‘why not “celebrate” both’?! St Petersburg and Moscow were both places I’ve always wanted to visit, but they’re both a little more special (and distant) than a typical European city break / weekend-away, so it seemed ideal to combine the two anniversaries!

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