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Ooops. We’re running a little behind here on the OAE Blog. Leaves online, or something… Anyway, here’s a speed interview with Barnard Labadie who conducted us last week at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and on tour as well.

What/when was your big breakthrough?
Conducting Messiah with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1999 led to a series of invitations with most of the great American orchestras within a few years.

What do you fear the most?
Like many of my colleagues in our business: not having enough rehearsal time!

Which mobile number do you call the most?
I live without one and so do many of my friends, so I honestly don’t know!

What – or where – is perfection?
In a glass of Brunello di Montalcino 1997.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Miles in the movie “Sideways”.  Nobody can talk about Pinot Noir like him.

What’s your favourite ritual?
Everything Christmas. Read the rest of this entry »

Lots of positive comments after our performance on Wednesday, what did you think of the concert?

1 Conductor, Opera
2 Types of currency
3 Flights, Acts, narrators, countries, languages (4, if you include the Catalan translation in the Valencia programme)
4 Concert halls (5 if you include a rehearsal in the RFH), hotels
5 Singers, Cities visited
6 Pieces of outsized luggage
7 hours from Toulouse to Tarragona (including lunch and loo breaks!)
8 1st violins
9 Players getting up at an ungodly hour to get back to London for an Education session on the last day of tour.
10 Bottles of wine, consumed on the coach after the last concert…ahem

Ceri Jones, Projects Director

There’s been a distinct lack of cooking going on in the office this month 😦 so it was a real treat when Clare Norburn (our Deputy Director of Development) cooked up a huge batch of Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic soup with crusty rolls for our lunch last Tuesday:

Clare's Butternut Squash soup

I know it’s not cake, but it was delicious and very welcome, considering how arctic it is outside at the moment!

We’ve got a few more entries to go (maybe with a Christmassy theme?) so we’ll be posting them soon, before deciding on the winner.

We’re also thinking of posting the recipes for each of our bake-offs on the blog…is this something you’d like to see?  Let us know by commenting!

A re-run of something we did a year or so back that in the end came up trumps.

We give each concert in our Southbank Centre concert season a title – a way of summing up the evening in a few words. They’re (ideally) pithy, witty, perhaps a little irreverant, and should be a good way of grabbing the attention of someone who is skim-reading our brochure or website.

Last year, with your help, we came up with Papa Haydn and Sister Act for our 21 June 2011 concert with Sir Simon Rattle, the Labeque Sisters, Mozart and Haydn. So we’re turning to you again for ideas for this concert which features in our 2011-2012 season – just post your ideas as comments. And if there’s anything super-amazing there may well be a little prize in it…

The concert:

Weber Overture Der Freischutz
Mozart Piano Concerto No.23
Mendelssohn Symphony No.3, Scottish

So put those thinking caps on and get inventive…

This week, we speak to William Norris in the OAE office…

William NorrisWhat’s your role in the OAE office?

I’m the Communications Director. At a basic level it’s my job to make sure that we maximise ticket sales for our concerts in London. But really it’s about a lot more than this – looking after the ‘brand’ of the orchestra, enhancing the audiences experience, attracting different kinds of audience, and thinking about the orchestras public profile and press coverage.

What does your typical day involve?

There’s no typical day which is one of the reasons I enjoy my job. But an average day might include preparing sales figures, coordinating mailings, working with our designer, booking adverts, trying to avoid sales calls, writing copy, working on our social networking sites, commissioning programme notes, and adding to the large piles of paper which cover my desk.

Which mobile number do you call the most?

I think you’re supposed to say your partners/children’s but since I have neither no one number springs to mind…These question are getting very personal suddenly! I quite often call my own so I can find my phone…

What – or where – is perfection?

I’m not sure there is such a thing. A glass of wine outside on a balmy summers evening comes pretty close though.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

I’m really not sure I have one. I usually like the underdog. Like the cute but rather hapless aliens in Toy Story. Read the rest of this entry »

We’ve been in the press quite a bit in the past few days,  talking about Méhul’s lost symphony, which we’re performing this evening at the Queen Elizabeth Hall:

Today Programme



Whilst we were browsing for pictures of Méhul for our story, one of the office team commented on how much he looked like the English actor, Oliver Reed.  What do you think?!

MehulOliver Reed

In advance of our concert with him at the Queen Elizabeth Hall tomorrow night, Enrique answers our burning questions…

What/when was your big breakthrough?
It was in 2002, when I discovered my house in Tuscany. I left Milan behind and with it the big city routine, and found a completely new way of life: countryside, nature, starry skies, fields…

What do you fear the most?
I fear a future of misunderstanding between people, religions and politics that may lead to wars. I fear a lack of communication.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
The one of my personal angel…

What – or where – is perfection?
Perfection is nowhere. We are the kingdom of the imperfection – and it’s great!

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
I love Neo from the movie The Matrix – a figure who tries to explain the drama of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”. He comes pretty close I think! Read the rest of this entry »

The man without whom we may never have been able to hear it, Professor David Charlton, musicologist and discoverer of the lost 4th Symphony by Etienne Mehul is the author of a rather large thick book containing manuscripts of 3 Mehul Symphonies which until the time of Charlton’s discovery had been lost to obscurity since Mehul’s death in 1817.  The link below will lead you to the chapter in the book specifically about Mehul’s 4th Symphony which the OAE will be playing on Tuesday next week at QEH.  Be warned, it’s fairly high-brow..

Mehul Symphony No.4

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November 2010

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