September 17, 2009

"We raised the roof:" Nic talks about conducting Messiah at BBC Proms

Nicholas McGegan just returned from England in time to conduct PBO's 29th Season premier last week. What was he doing in his home country? We'll let him explain:

"I’m just back from a month of conducting in Europe, which ended with a performance of Messiah at London’s Promenade Concerts, featuring a large chorus comprising several youth choirs from across the United Kingdom.

"Conducting in the Royal Albert Hall is a unique situation – it is a vast, awe-inspiring space. And then, to have 300 kids singing, it fills the hall. The RAH has great acoustics, so you can play or sing very very softly OR raise the roof. We raised the roof at the end, using their titanic organ with a 64-foot pipe, and that was amazing.

"The other thing that is great about performing at the London Proms is that it contradicts the notion that classical music is only for the rich. Anyone can get in, with tickets as low as $5.00 for standing room on the floor (standing room at the Proms is right in front of the stage, not at the very back of the hall). And anyone can listen for free on the radio or the web, live and for a week afterwards. It is less exclusive, and cheaper, than a baseball game. Messiah was sold out, weeks in advance of the performance, and it was an unforgettable experience."

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