The Proms at the Royal Albert Hall
If were were having coffee today I would tell you of this incident some years ago!
In a few weeks my husband and I am celebrating his sister’s birthday by inviting her for a concert in the northern part of Denmark. They have got a new fine concert hall in the city of Aalborg. I had forgotten what we were going to see. We looked it up and it was The Royal Danish Orchestra, I think the world’s oldest orchestra from 1448, on a guest tour to Aalborg. They are playing the ballet music “Daphnis and Chloé” by Debussy and Ravel’s piano Concerto in G major. Both are some of my favorite pieces of music in the French impressionistic style.
That reminded me of a similar situation in London:
In August 2009 we came to the Royal Albert Hall for the Proms for the first time. I am very familiar with classical music as I listen to a variety of many styles every day. My husband and I had booked months in advance and just the week before I had been in Boston and Washington D.C. also for the first time. That journey had consumed me so much that I even wrote a poem after returning come to Denmark. It was the concentrated amount of history in those two cities that touched me so much and the adventure of finally managing to arrive in the States.
We hurried to London the week after and on the day of the concert at the The Royal Albert Hall we thought we could manage to go to Hampton Court where Henry the Eight lived south of London centuries before. I think we took the train to the palace in Surrey. On the way back we arrived in London and just needed a bus to the Royal Albert Hall. We found one with Kensington on the sign, but didn’t think that the word “Circle” C1 meant anything in particular.
The bus started at The Victoria Station and went on a big circular tour south of Kensington High Street where the concert hall is situated just in front of Kensington Gardens. I think we got off at least three bus stops away from the hall and had to get on another bus to reach the venue.
We arrived at our places just minutes before the concert started. We didn’t get a program and I didn’t reach the ladies room either. I was glad we came just in time, but sad that I hadn’t been able to look around and feel the atmosphere at the famous place.
I knew we were going to hear the violinist Joshua Bell , but I had forgotten what he was going to play.
I asked the man sitting next to me about the program!
He gave me a very odd look and answered me in an irritated tone of voice.
Today I looked every where but I could not find it though I keep ALL programs from concerts, ballets and operas we see. But then I “Googled” the Proms program from 2009 and found it:
The lesson learnt in London was : don’t squeeze too much program into a day before a big event like coming to the Proms. Half of the joy is to arrive in good time, look around, find the seats without stress.
By the way bus number 52 from Victoria Station take you to the Royal Albert Hall in maximum 20 minutes.
In the interval we got the program, and looked at the famous “promers” who stand in the middle during the whole concert but who during the interval were lying at the floor to rest. I really enjoy this English style of taking it easy and that they still keep all these traditions from more than a hundred years of having the proms at that place.
A big thank you Diana for hosting the #WeekendCoffeeShare at your blog Parttimemonster