Review: Pink Martini – Symphonique, Royal Albert Hall

Editor’s Rating
Rating

I’m not ashamed to say that I first found about the music of Pink Martini when a song of theirs was featured in a Citroën car advert. The song was Sympathique:

Je ne veux pas travailler
Je ne veux pas déjeuner
Je veux seulement oublier
Et puis, je fume

A rough translation in English: “I don’t wanna work, I don’t wanna eat, I just wanna forget. So I’m havin’ a fag.” Not exactly the typical backdrop to a car advert, but it was enough for more to seek out the band’s first album (also titled Sympathique) – and my love affair with Thomas Lauderdale’s band and China Forbes’s vocals had begun.

For those who don’t know Pink Martini, they are a twelve-piece jazz orchestra which appropriates songs and styles from all over the world. As I described to The Prompt blog back in June:

I suppose you might classify them as light jazz, but they absorb influences from around the world like musical magpies – you never know whether their next track is a Japanese folk song, a twisted take on the great American songbook or inspired by a traditional Hebrew prayer. They’re constantly surprising and I can’t wait to see them live at the Royal Albert Hall in October.

Well, October is here, and last night I got my first taste of Pink Martini live – in the Royal Albert Hall, backed by the BBC Concert Orchestra.

And now I can’t wait to see them again.

Continue reading “Review: Pink Martini – Symphonique, Royal Albert Hall”

Review: Pink Martini – Symphonique, Royal Albert Hall5Scott Matthewman2012-09-11 22:30:22I’m not ashamed to say that I first found about the music of Pink Martini when a song of theirs was featured in a Citroën car advert. The song was Sy…

Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary, Aylesbury Waterside (via the Royal Albert Hall)

Editor’s Rating
Rating

Last night I went to the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, where the venue’s small studio area, the SecondSpace, had been converted into a big-screen cinema for a live relay of The Phantom of the Opera’s 25th anniversary gala at the Royal Albert Hall. It’s the first time I’ve been in the SecondSpace when it’s been in use as a performance area: the ingenious, adaptable design allows the seating to retract fully away into the walls and for a partition to be removed, making for a large open-plan bar area which was used for drinks receptions at the venue’s grand opening and at the gala night for last year’s pantomime.

Because of the retractible nature of the seating, I had expected that they wouldn’t be quite as comfortable as the luscious, generously proportioned seats in the main auditorium. And they’re not – but they are far better than I’d imagined, even if the fidgety old couple at the end of our row did cause the whole bank of seats to vibrate every time they shuffled around.

I wasn’t there to review the seats, though, but to see a transmission of the souvenir performance marking 25 years since The Phantom of the Opera blasted onto the West End stage (the actual anniversary is next weekend). A specially constructed set in the Albert Hall took over the whole of the choir and organ end of the auditorium. The upper level boxes were cleverly extended round to include Box Number Five, which the “Opera Ghost” demands is kept for his sole use. The main stage space saw the orchestra perched atop a series of ornate archways, with a lighting rig doubling as a faux proscenium arch that occasionally descended to show activity in the ‘fly tower’ above.

Continue reading “Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary, Aylesbury Waterside (via the Royal Albert Hall)”

Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary, Aylesbury Waterside (via the Royal Albert Hall)4Scott Matthewman2011-10-03 11:26:45Last night I went to the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, where the venue’s small studio area, the SecondSpace, had been converted into a big-screen cinem…