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Concert in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

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Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 839
Location: Staffordshire Moorlands

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:31 am    Post subject: Concert in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Reply with quote

Las Palmas Concert, June 27 2008

As soon as I saw Bjorg’s post last August 5th with the link to the announcement of this Concert featuring Bryn in Las Palmas, I hoped that Gran Canaria, and Las Palmas in particular, would be the venue for a short holiday for Ivan and me at the end of June, 2008. So, in due course, first the holiday was booked, then the tickets for the Concert were booked when they became available at the beginning of March. Laughing

The magnificent Alfredo Kraus Auditorium in Las Palmas is situated at the southern end of the Playa de las Canteras, a two mile stretch of beautiful, fine sand, with a landscaped promenade the whole length of it and leading to the Auditorium. From a distance it looks almost like a sand coloured fortress in a cubic shape and with a huge lantern construction on the roof. It was opened in December 1997 and its name pays tribute to the celebrated tenor of that name who was born in Las Palmas in September 1927 and who died in September 1999. He is also honoured with a massive bronze statue on the approach to the Auditorium. There are two Halls, the Symphonic Hall and the Chamber Hall holding frequent Concerts both classical and modern including the eight week Annual Canary Islands Music Festival each spring, also Jazz and Guitar Festivals. It is also a Centre where regular Conventions, Congresses and international gatherings are held.

The Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria was formed in 1845 and is Spain’s premier Philharmonic Orchestra and the oldest private concert organization in the country. (Once, Camille Saint-Saens was its President, and there is another Hall, in the Perez Galdos Theatre in Las Palmas, named after him.) The Orchestra regularly holds seasons of Concerts in the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium under its Director, the 37 year old Pedro Halffter. According to their website the programme this evening was to be all Wagner. It had been eagerly anticipated, as the spokesperson from the Philharmonic Orchestra had said in her first email to me – just after Christmas 2007 - that, “It is a pleasure to have Mr Terfel performing with our Orchestra. He is an outstanding singer”. Laughing !!!!

We entered the Symphonic Hall at 8.00pm for the Concert at 8.30 and for a while, some of the members of the Orchestra were on the stage tuning up. We were struck by the amazing modern architecture and the innovative features such as the huge, arched, glass area behind the stage affording natural lighting in addition to that from the decorative, glazed lantern in the roof. To our right was a huge pipe organ. The sloping setting of the seats within the Auditorium, in a semi circle with three principal tiers, affords a good view from all parts, the seats being arranged with even numbers on one side of the central aisle, and odd numbers on the other side. So our Stalls tickets, Row 2 Nos. 10 and 12 were together!!
The seats gradually filled up and at about 8.29 bells rang and an announcement was made in Spanish, which I’m afraid we could not understand, but which we assumed was requesting everyone to be in their seats as the Concert was about to begin. The Orchestra members returned to the stage closely followed by their leader, to great applause and the final tuning up commenced. Pedro Halffter himself then entered and took his bow.
The programme, as I’ve said, was to be all Wagner. That would be an immense delight, but although the original announcement on the Orchestra’s website included music from The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, this was missing from the printed, complimentary programmes.

The programme opened with the Overture to The Flying Dutchman, amazingly and resoundingly performed by this wonderful Orchestra under their most energetic conductor.
After a great reception from the audience for this, Pedro Halffter left the stage and returned, ushering in Bryn, smiling broadly, and sporting his Welsh daffodil pin on his black, high-necked jacket. Laughing He received a great, welcoming ovation and his first item was the emotional “Wie Todesahnung Dammrung deckt die Lande…O du, mein moldes Abendstern” – the Hymn to the Evening Star from Tannhauser and one of my personal favourites, in which Wolfram compares Elizabeth to the evening star and which Bryn sang so tenderly and with such feeling. He left the stage to huge applause and returned to even greater, for a further acknowledgement. Laughing
Then the Orchestra treated us to a rousing performance of the Prelude to Act lll of Lohengrin, all sections playing with great energy and enthusiasm.
After its enthusiastic reception from the audience, Bryn was brought back to sing The Flying Dutchman’s monologue, welcomed by even greater applause. He faced the Orchestra, his back to the auditorium, as they played the introduction, then turned to face his audience to sing “Die Frist ist Um” – detailing the Dutchman’s misery, condemned to a restless existence, in league with the devil and having to sail the seven seas eternally, allowed to go ashore only once every seven years and hoping for release and redemption by the love unto death of a woman. Bryn sang with such power and feeling, such intensity of expression both vocally and facially, as the tormented soul. The response from the audience and the Orchestra members was tumultuous applause, cheers and foot-stamping! Bryn shook hands with the conductor and expressed his appreciation to Orchestra and audience, then left the stage with the conductor, returning alone to an even bigger ovation. Laughing He left and returned with the conductor as the ovation continued. Then they left the stage together, followed by the orchestra as that emotional aria had concluded the first part of the Concert.

As there as to be no music from The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, the whole of the second part was devoted to Die Walkure.
Bryn entered with Pedro Halffter and was seated as the powerful grandeur, yet sometimes somber, strains of the Introduction to Act l, then the Introduction to Act lll - the Ride of the Valkyries - filled the Auditorium. When the applause for these had subsided, Bryn stood to sing Wotan’s Farewell, sublimely, magnificently with power yet utter tenderness, gentleness and feeling, showing the deep love of Wotan for Brunhilde, and the mighty god reduced to a powerless human unable to change the fate of his beloved child. It was a towering performance and after the Magic Fire Music died away there was a renewed, rousing ovation, more cheers and foot stamping, acknowledged by Bryn, who then turned to thank the conductor and Orchestra. He left the stage with Pedro Halffter who returned alone to take a bow with his Orchestra. He left the stage and Bryn returned unaccompanied to more cheers, foot stamping and claps, leaving then returning once more with the conductor for a final salutation. Laughing

Sadly, that was the end of this wonderful Concert. Sad There were to be no encores, no song in Welsh. It had been a Wagnerian Evening after all. We had all experienced magnificent music and glorious singing, and it had been appreciated to the full by the Las Palmas Concert-goers who had welcomed and given their guest performer well-earned, immense and rapturous ovations.
We left the Auditorium with that amazing music and singing still ringing in our ears to make our way, through the balmy breezes of a Las Palmas evening, back to our Hotel. It had been a fantastic, memorable experience. Smile Smile

Gillian Cooper,
Staffordshire Moorlands.
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 1330
Location: Dallas, TX

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:17 pm    Post subject: Gran Canaria Concert Reply with quote

Thanks so much, Gillian,

...for that wonderful review of the concert. It sounds like Bryn was magnificent as usual and that the whole concert was beautiful!

Phyllis Smile
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Joined: 30 Oct 2004
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Location: Norway

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Gillian

Thank you for the lovely review. It sounds like you did have a great time. Wotan’s Farewell in this fabulous auditorium must have been something special.
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