Have you ever been to Hamer Hall? It's fantastic, the sound is brilliant and no matter how far you sit back in the audience, you can hear everything, including the audience chatting amongst themselves (I know it doesn't make sense to pay to hear something, only to hear talk over the top of it! A few pointed stares however seemed to solve the problem).
I'll be upfront - I know nothing about classical music, but people rave about it, so I decided to see if I would like it - so the $99 package seemed to be the way to go. Last Friday night was my first concert and I did enjoy the music, although it's not quite what I'm used to.
I went straight from work to make the 8pm showing a little rushed, as everyone was coming out of the city by train, while I was trying to go in - so I watched the first train whizz pass without stopping which didn't help. Once in, I met my friend at Flinders Street Station, under the clocks of course! We had quick bite to eat at the South Bank Food Court and then headed straight to the Hamer Hall.
After a bit of confusion, as we were directed to the wrong door by one of the ushers, we finally made it to our seats. The seats were very plush and comfortable, and we had no trouble hearing or seeing from our 3rd level location. Although the music sounded foreign to my ears, it was quite enjoyable. According to Arts Centre website the "venue seats 2464 people over three levels", so as you can imagine there were lots of people, but the venue is well designed so you didn't get the impression that the place was over crowded, just busy, which was nice.
A few things struck me during the concert; the amount of coughing and throat clearing the audience seemed to do between music sets - it was as though people were holding their breath during the performance and only dared clear their throats once their was a break between the music scores.
The second thing that surprised me was the amount of clapping - it seemed to go on for a long time, and the conductor bowed left of the stage, came back bowed etc and the audience kept clapping - I think there would have been a lot of sore hands the next day.
There was a lot of passion or so it seemed amongst the members of the orchestra; the pianist was very theatrical in his gestures and swayed exaggeratedly when he played and seemed completely oblivious to the audience. A beautiful opera soloist also sang a couple of songs; her voice harmonising beautifully with the orchestra, it wasn't in English but then neither are any of the instruments, so it didn't seem to matter.
Program & Tickets for a night at the MSO
If you haven't been you should go at least 3 times for $99.00, which is much more affordable than the single tickets that are available.