For a purpose of research for my manuscript, I took a trip to Hyde Park, after taking some photos and strolled into Royal Albert House.
Knowing it’s the annual Prom season, and knowing the tickets are very in demand, I randomly asked what’s the performance for the evening, and being told it would be a night of music for Beethoven, and the staff said something surprised me: “There is a 2nd boxes tier ticket available, the best I had.”
“Real!” My day trip was for writing in the park, nothing else, but the unexpected information grabbed my attention. Thought that I could do a few hours writing in the park and come back for the unplanned evening, considering that myself lucky, I bought the ticket with a huge gusto off and cuff, and left.
Returning to Hyde Park, I strolled through Hyde Park and found some chairs for hair on the lawn, I booked a 4 hour’s chair and sitting under the lush tree, against a remind from the guy who gave me the ticket of the chair: ‘don’t sit under the tree, there are something dropping from the trees, and it will irritate skin.’
After two hours, I finally found myself in the receiving end of that guy’s warning tone, neck felt irritated by some winged insects and dropping leaves, so I gave the ticket of the reminding 2 hours for a couple who sat on the glasses, then rushed back home for a quick shower and returned to Royal Albert Hall, still had a full hour left before the concert began.
Sitting on a beach, I chatted with a couple who were classical music lovers, and it was their second time attending Prom this year. I asked light-heartedly: “It’s just started, with more than 6 weeks to go before the Prom season finishes, how many more times you will come for the prom?” They said while having their snacks, touched on lightly: “I don’t know, we live in London, it’s a lovely day out, so, as many as we can find the tickets.” “Cool!”
Filled with a sense of elation, I walked into the Royal Albert Hall half an hour earlier. A staff member guided me to my seat, and I was stunned. It’s a 5-seat box, with two seats in a row, the first two rows on the outside of the box door, the fifth seat behind the two rows was within the door, meaning one could only see from behind the open-curtains, and that unlucky fifth one was my seat number! And the price of the tickets for the box of five was unmistakably the same. Should the staff mention it, I would definitely not give it a thought.
I went straight back to the ticket desk and asked if I could upgrade the seat. A friendly staff member checked his computer system and apologised: “I am sorry, it sold out, your seat in a box is good.”
I nearly flared up: “But not good enough to see the panorama!”
He apologised again and I found it’d be ridiculous to let him feel as if it was his fault. I swiftly adapted the reality and asked for a whole Prom timetable, thinking one should follow the traditional way of booking a concert in advance, not in improvise, and quickly browsed through it.
“Ok, can I book a ticket for the last night of the proms of this year on 09/09/2023?” With more than 6 weeks to go, I could choose the best ticket.
“Sorry, it all sorted out.”
“Yes, long ago.” He puffed up while saying in an apologetic tone.
“Oh!” It made me feel somewhat better for my unsatisfying ticket. If I didn’t go to Hyde Park for my writing, I could have missed the whole Prom season all together. Just as I felt relieved and about to return to that seat behind the box door, he came back from the next desk and gave me another ticket: “Here is one, but it hasn’t been screened, let me see if someone already has it.” And he did, and I got it!
“Where is this seat?” I asked without looking at it.
“It’s the Stalls Row Seat.”
“What does that mean?”
“Meaning ten times better! You can see the panorama from the centre, not the side view, without anyone blocking your view.”
I went to the seat, and sat down in high spirits
There were three performances for the night: Sergey Rachmaninov. Orch. Ottorino Respighi; Samuel Coleridge - Taylor, violin concerto in G minor, Op. 80; and finally, Beethoven’s Symphony No 5, in C minor, Op. 67. The first two performances, especially the violin concerto, were classical BBC editions, the reproduction of the past few years’ fascinations in new clothes.
Beethoven’s famous Symphony No. 5 in C minor was performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with Nick Whiting as the leader, and Tadaaki Otaka as the conductor. A wonderful performance of the night.
Beethoven’s famous Symphony No. 5 in C minor was a marvel, too big for words. But whatever descriptions about it being said over and over again in different along the past two hundred years since its birth, I think that Anton Schindler, Beethoven’s secretary, vivid words claim ‘that the opening ‘da-da-da-dah’ motto represents “Fate knocking at the door” (Rf 1) was the best stirring deduction.
An impressive and pleasant night with Prom at Royal Albert Hall.