Tuning the Concert

Gold Arts Award Portfolio

The Journey so far: form and communicate a view July 6, 2010

I’ve been mainly researching the current state of the music scene in London. See research from Unit 1C.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many alternative and innovative events are being organised in and around London. It has been hard trying to fit them all into my diary, as especially the family concerts seem to be on the same date. Being in London also has increased the number of free events that I can attend.

I personally was not aware of some of these new innovative events before I started searching. Some of the schemes are relatively new while others have been running for years. However, if you were not looking to attend a classical concert you would probably not hear about these events, as they do seem to appeal to a specialist audience (though a more youthful one).

While people are re-assessing the way classical music is presented it will take a lot longer for the negative perceptions of classical music to change. It will never be the norm to go to a concert on a Friday evening, but perhaps the challenge is to make the concert something every Tom, Dick and Harry would consider attending once in a while.


An Alternative Way: Open air live screening June 9, 2010

Filed under: 1C: Reviews — concerttuning @ 4:54 pm
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Last night I attended a FREE screening of Carmen at Trafalgar Square broadcasted from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. This screening as well as those in cinemas across the country are an example of an alternative way to present classical music.

This was my third year running to attend these events and I took the opportunity to bring friends along. As their website  (http://www.roh.org.uk/whatson/bpbigscreens/index.aspx) says:

“The BP Summer Big Screens are the perfect way to introduce friends and family to the Royal Opera House and to world-class opera and ballet.”

The experience is very different from that of attending an opera in the auditorium. While the screen looked pixellated at times, if sitting at the back of the Opera House, you wouldn’t be able to see these details anyway.

  • Flexibility of length – though the opera is very long you could choose how much you watched. My friend came only for the first half, as she had to go back to revision.
  • You can have a picnic during the performance
  • You are in the open air (for better or worse!). Lends a bit of risk and uncertainly to the event.
  • There is a community feel amongst the audience – especially helped by the mass choir sing-a-long beforehand.
  • Presenter and behind the scenes footage about the Royal Opera House.
  • Informal seating  – you can come in any size party and don’t have to book beforehand.

Gareth Malone, noted the rapture of the audience. It was surprising how entranced everyone sat watching the opera with very few people chatting throughout the opera. Perhaps we have a better attention span than thought or was the audience used to watching opera? There were certainly some good singers amongst us!