Where do you like to sit?
Our subscription seats to the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra are orchestra centre, first two seats on the left aisle, 6 rows back. Perfect for watching the hands and profile of pianists, very good for everything else.
But watching this performance of the Verdi Requiem, led by Gustavo Dudamel, I would have loved to be in sitting on stage behind the orchestra:
I find Dudamel's boyish love of the music they are creating absolutely irresistible. It's almost like he's surprised by the wondrousness of the music.
Where do you like to sit for concerts? And does it change depending on the program, venue, performers, conductor?
Back in the days when I used to go to the Proms in the Albert Hall I used to love going up in the Gallery where there's plenty of room to move around .... they are "promenade" concerts after all. I have especially warm memories of hearing choral concerts from up there (B minor Mass, Harmoniemesse, Verdi Requiem). On the other hand, for the annual Glyndebourne opera performances (acted but without scenery), the place to be was down in the Arena. I also remember one year when there were a few "prom" performances where we could stand in the Stalls area in Covent Garden. Perfect.
I used to go to prom concerts at the Sydney Town Hall, in all its Victorian splendour. Rather than follow the Brits and exert energy promenading, most people sat or lay on the floor. Listening to Shostakovich No. 10 while staring at the splendid, over-the-top ceiling, and feeling the sound shake the floor beneath my body, is one of my fondest early classical memories.
I too am a fan of promenading in and around the gallery of the Albert Hall for big works and, even more so, standing in the auditorium, a few rows back. It’s hard to imagine being more involved in or focussed on the music!
Sadly, these days, I’d likely be more focussed on my knees if I stood through a concert…
So today, for large scale concerts, I’m likely to choose the choir stalls.
But best of all, are the small, intimate venues, where the acoustic is surprisingly wonderful, and where it is a delight to sit anywhere, immersed in the music.