14 December 2018
In our 2018 European Tour, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will perform 12 concerts in seven countries in some of the most magnificent halls in the world. Emma Dunch, CEO, is on the road with the orchestra and writes to us from our ninth stop, Frankfurt.
We were up bright and early to catch the 9.06am TGV train from Paris to Frankfurt, which raced through northern France at phenomenal speeds. With this in mind, it was amusing to hear the conductor apologising for the train arriving ten minutes late! We thought about our local public transport back home, reflecting on European efficiency and the well-stocked café carriage which offered much-needed hot coffee and sandwiches.
In Frankfurt, we performed at the landmark Alte Oper, a beautiful building famously rebuilt after World War II, sitting in a beautiful park in the middle of the city. The outside is a stunning 19th century façade — but the inside looks very different. After playing in a series of modern concert halls built “in the round” on our tour, the Alte Oper is a traditional shoebox shape, with a high ceiling and panelled entirely in rich brown wood. The auditorium is dominated by a massive art deco pipe organ inlaid into the back wall, which we all wished we could have heard.
There was not much time between arriving and rehearsal. Chief Conductor and Artistic Director David Robertson and the musicians zoomed down to the hall to get underway, while I made my way with a few of our colleagues to a special reception held by Austrade and the German Australian Business Council in our honour. Once again, the value of cultural ambassadorship for Australia was highlighted, with Senior Trade Commissioner for Austrade Steve Rank and Sabine Pittrof, Chair of the German Australian Business Council emphasising the value of our presence in the city.
A few of our donors had joined us for a special tour, finishing up in Hamburg, but Sydney Symphony Orchestra Trombone Chair Patron Audrey Blunden enjoyed herself so much that she opted to stay on in Europe and attend our Frankfurt concert as well! We were all delighted to see Audrey’s smiling face in the audience, and to host her at a dinner with her “brass boys” after the concert. Former Sydney Symphony Orchestra Trombone Fellow Andrew Nissan, now a Hamburg resident, also joined us at the concert which featured another well-received performance of Prokofiev‘s Symphony No. 5 and other works.
Photo Credit: Paul Sklorz