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Well, we had a rather eventful evening last night at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Most of the evening ran very smoothly – pre-concert talk, 7pm concert, Night Shift concert. Then, after The Night Shift, just as we were all at last relaxing with a drink and enjoying Nick Luscombe’s set we were rudely interrupted by Southbank Security rushing into the building. It was only then we noticed the flames licking at the windows of the Queen

Fire engines arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Fire engines arrive at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Elizabeth Hall foyer! We and the rest of the audience were swiftly evacuated from the building and it wasn’t very long before an impressive number of fire trucks and firemen arrived (the latter much to the excitement of certain members of OAE staff). Luckily it was quite a balmy evening so we weren’t too cold and the fire was quickly put out. Our film crew who were filming a promo film about The Night Shift seemed unfazed and continued to interview audience members outside! We were let back in shortly before 12, so luckily we didn’t have to stay any longer than usual. But it definitely made it an evening to remember! Hopefully at the next Night Shift the drama will be limited to the music…

William Norris, Marketing Director

We talked a while back about the photoshoot for our new brochure. Well we’re now busy designing said brochure, but we thought you’d like a sneak peak at one of pics. Pictured (l-r) are Catherine Ford, Philip Bainbridge (and his dog), Katherine Hart, Neil McLaren and Jenny Bullock. The2009-2010-season-image new season at Southbank Centre has just gone on sale – in a future post we’ll talk about what we’re all looking forward to most, but to just pick out a few obvious highlights we’ve got a complete run of Beethoven Symphonies, a very rare OAE venture into Elgar with The Dream of Gerontius, Donizetti’s opera Maria di Rohan (a collaboration with Opera Rara)  and a concert unpicking Mozart’s Symphony No.40 with the brilliant Marin Alsop.  You can look (and book, should you feel so inclined) at all the concerts here, and we’ll let you know when a downloadable brochure is ready. Happy browsing!

William, Marketing Director

It was an early start to the day, with half of the Orchestra arriving at Heathrow at 06:30 and that after not finishing a stunning performance in the Royal Festival Hall the night before until 10:30pm! But the OAE have grown used to this. International touring might sound glamorous but the reality of early morning check-ins and hotel rooms not being ready for you when you arrive are all par for the course!

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A few more reviews from the London performance of the St Matthew Passion.

The Times
Independent
Classical Source

As our tour this far has not included much time for sight-seeing, we took the opportunity on Tuesday night after the concert, in the form ofbikes cycling around Paris. In Paris they have a brilliant city bike network system; the city is sprinkled with racks of bikes, for people to hire at any time of day for any amount of time. Our nocturnal cycling team consisted of three flute players; myself, Katy Bircher and Brinley Yare, countered by organist James Johnstone, who possibly has more notes to play in the Matthew Passion than all us flutes put together.

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Well it’s a couple of days since we got back from Spain now but I thought I would write a few lines about the second concert we did there in Valladolid. We had a very quick turn around after our mammoth coach journey and as soon as we had got off the bus, it felt like we were back on it and on our way to the concert venue. The Centro Cultural Miguel Delibes was very impressive, it is part of a new development on the outskirts of the city and the inside of the hall was almost completely made of wood and the audience seating seemed to go on forever. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a review in The Guardian from the Bristol performance of the St Matthew Passion.

It was very quiet on the coach yesterday afternoon. After a 5.30am start for most we had arrived in Madrid and were on our way to Cuenca for the next performance on the St Matthew Passion tour. The Orchestra have pretty gruelling schedule for the next fortnight or so, they have already done performances in Bristol and Amsterdam which for the foreign dates involves flying out on the morning of the concert, rehearsing in the afternoon, doing the concert in the evening and flying back the following morning. Very tiring and not as glamorous as it might seem! Read the rest of this entry »

The second leg of our tour took us to Amsterdam. This date of the tour was unusual in that it was only actually confirmed a few months ago. Usually tours like this are planned up to 2 years ahead. In this case the orchestra originally booked to perform at the Concertgebouw was unable to perform, so we were asked if we would be free, and luckily we were, although with the exception of mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotjin, who was replaced at this performance by Anna Stephany. Read the rest of this entry »

Monday was the first concert in our long St Matthew Passion tour around Europe in time for Easter, which saw the OAE journey to the west of England to St George’s Bristol. As I’m sure the St Matthew Passion is going to gain plenty of coverage in the blog in the next few weeks or so, I’d like to blog about the pre-concert event.  The title of the event was ‘The OAE’s look at the development of the Passion’ and we decided to do something a little bit different by combining a film showing of an Education project that had taken place in Bristol earlier in the Spring, with an insightful introduction from Mark Padmore about how he with the OAE has approached the performance of the Passion this time round, and the challenges of being without a conductor. Read the rest of this entry »

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