“The Rest is Noise” Strauss at the Southbank Centre

Jan 20, 13 “The Rest is Noise” Strauss at the Southbank Centre

Posted by in Lifestyle, New Zealand wine

I was invited to a performance by the London Philharmonic Orchestra last night to hear a performance of Strauss which was a part of “The Rest is Noise” year long music festival. There are great views of the London Eye and Big Ben from the top of the Centre which is where the Beecham Bar, the members bar of the Southbank Centre is located. Villa Maria is a major sponsor of the LPO and prior to the performance we were invited to sip on Villa Maria’s pinot noir, sauvignon blanc and rosé along with some tasty canapes in the bar. One of the best things about the event was the chance to speak to members of the orchestra during the interval, when we all returned to the Bar for more wine and canapes. The performance itself was a great show. I must confess that I’m not all that familiar with Strauss’ music other than ‘Also sprach Zaruthustra’ which opened the performance,  but watching the orchestra play is an experience in itself: the intense concentration on the players faces, the ramrod straight posture of the violinists and the entire orchestra swaying to the music they were playing. Ok, maybe I did get carried away by the music but it’s hard not to be when the melodies wash over you. Unusually for an orchestral performance, the conductor, Vladimir Jurowski spoke to the audience about each piece of work before it was performed and even had the American baritone, Thomas Hampson, join in on the conversation. It was definitely helpful from a novice’s point of view to have a bit of background about each piece of music. There were two singers that evening, Hampson who performed Notturno, Op.44 No.1 and Finnish soprano, Karita Mattila who sang the ‘Dance of the Seven Veils and the final scene from the, then shocking, opera Salome. Last night’s performance was part of the “Rest is Noise” festival which is based on the eponymous book by Alex Ross, music critic of The New Yorker. The book and the festival focus...

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Villa Maria wines and the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Oct 16, 11 Villa Maria wines and the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Posted by in New Zealand wine

I went to a performance of the  London  Philharmonic Orchestra the other night as a guest of Villa Maria wines. I remember Villa Maria from my days at Oddbins but haven’t really had an opportunity to try their wines. I see them occasionally in the supermarket but that’s about it. Villa Maria has been supporting the London Philharmonic Orchestra for the past 4 years and lays on a hospitality bar for the LPO, when they perform at the Southbank  Royal Festival Hall.  It was a civilized way to start the evening, mingling with members of the orchestra and other guests, nibbling on canapes and sipping on Villa Maria wines.There were a variety of wines on tasting including the rose, the sauvingon blanc and the 2009 Private Bin Hawkes Bay Merlot/Cabernet, a Bordeaux blend. The 2009 was an easy going, very drinkable red wine and perfect as an aperitif, although at 13.5%, you do have to be careful you don’t drink too much of it with canapes. We were there to hear Yannick Nezet-Seguin from Montreal conduct the orchestra. I do enjoy attending such events and one of the highlights has to be the 87 year old pianist, Aldo Ciccolini. He was amazing, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K466 with such energy. I hope I have even a 10th of Aldo’s pizzazz when I’m in my 80’s. I thinks it’s great that Villa Maria supports the arts, especially in light of the recent budget cuts. A big thank you to Villa Maria for inviting me to the performance. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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