Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pro Arte on a lovely Sunday afternoon

At 11:45 Sunday morning, I received a text message from Nate informing me that he had an extra ticket to the Pro Arte Concert that afternoon at Harvard's Sanders Theater. Was I interested in attending? Yes! As many concerts are quite expensive, and I am a "starving student" (and artist), I jumped at the chance to attend. The last orchestra concert I saw was the Longy Orchestra concert last year. It had been a while.

My husband and I have often driven past Quincy Street and wondered what the purpose of the large red building on the corner was. There were no signs to give us clues, but today I have discovered it! The building is Harvard's Sanders Theater. Upon entering, I was taken by the sheer size of the space. I do not know what I was expecting, but I was not disappointed. Upon entering the concert hall (my tickets were on the side of the top balcony), I was taken by the beautiful wood and the light from the windows. Not often are there windows in concert halls, at least in my experience.

Before the concert began, the artistic director emerged, welcoming the audience to the concert. She acknowledged that concert attendance was down according to statistics (I am unsure as to what source she was specifically referring) and she was pleased with the size of Sunday's audience.

The concert began with the overture to Rossinni's Barber of Seville. (I was first introduced to this opera as a child through Looney Tunes: http://tinyurl.com/69hcdr4.) The second work was Strauss' Serenade for Winds from his Opus 7. I only recently discovered Strauss' orchestral abilities, specifically when I began to study the Lieder "Amor" from his Opus 68 which is orchestrated.

My first observation about the concert audience was the fairly wide range of ages. Though the majority of concert attendees were between the ages of 40 and 70, there were several younger audience members including a number of remarkably well behaved children.

After the Rossini, the conductor turned and welcomed the audience. His first request: if you were a first time attendee of one of their concerts, please raise your hand. He then had the audience give themselves a round of applause. I was pleasantly surprised! One of the first things I noticed upon his entrance was that he wore a suit rather than the usual tuxedo. His suit and friendly address of the audience made for a welcoming environment for the audience which I greatly appreciated.

As we have discussed in our class sessions, concerts are often stuffy and can be awkward to those who are not within the "inner circle." If this concert is any indication of what Pro Arte's concerts are like, this orchestra is indeed working hard to break down the barriers that have been erected within the classical music realm. Bravo!

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