The ‘Last Night of the Proms with the Sydney Symphony’ at the Sydney Opera House was billed as a Royal Celebration. On the Eve of Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding, the audience was obviously of monarchistic persuasion.
I was simply a guest of an old friend, Randy Trull, whom I knew in New York in the 70’s and who has been threatening to visit me in Sydney for the past twenty years. We had a great night. I really didn’t expect to be clapping and singing when I left home.
It was billed as a ‘Royal Celebration’ but made ‘populist’ by conductor/compere Guy Noble. The performance of the Sydney Symphony was wonderful.
The Opera House grand organ boomed with the Toccata moment from Vidor’s famous symphony; Jeremiah Clark’s Trumpet Voluntary rang clear as a bell through the auditorium. Gustav Holst’s Jupiter used every instrument in the orchestra, enveloping us in glorious sound, while Mozart’s celebratory ‘Alleluja’ from the motet ‘Exsultante, jubilate’ showed the soprano voice in all its glory with just one word to the lyric ‘Allelujah!’
Edward Elgar’s Nimrod “enigma’ variations soothed with such sensitivity, as did the harp and a pair of flutes in Ralph Vaughan Williams ‘Fantasia on ‘Greensleeves’.
My favourite piece perhaps was the Crown Imperial Coronation March by Sit William Walton, which we heard performed in ‘The King’s Speech’ and I believe we are going to hear again at Will and Kate’s Wedding tomorrow. Mendelssohn’s Wedding March from A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a crowd pleaser of course, and again we hear the organist on the wonderful Opera House organ in full flight high above the stage.
The evening would not be complete (or British) without the brass of a march tune. ‘Spitfire Prelude’ from Sir William Walton’s 1942 movie about the role of the Spitfire plane in the Battle of Britain provided the first hit. How Eric Coates’ Dambusters March made it to the royal evening remains a mystery.
Pomp and Circumstance was de rigeur and I loved it when the lights came up and I could look down on so many heads of grey, white and balding, all waving Aussie flags; Union Jacks of all sizes, and even a couple with Will and Kate in the centre. These swaying heads looked like rows and rows of iced cup cakes with flickering red, white and blue candles, with the odd plastic tiara or Union Jack bowler hat. Of course, we all join in to ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ with gusto as the streamers fly throughout the Concert Hall..
The real icing on the cake, was the display of Gerhard’s floral handiwork across the whole front of the stage with red roses, white gerberas, and big heads of purple kale.
Thank you, Randy!
28 April 2011