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Loc: New York City
What would be on your list? I'm talking mostly about the architectural qualities/beauty/significance of the space and not the acoustic qualities and hoping you'll add a YouTube video or picture showing the hall.
I've been to Carnegie Hall countless times including for a performance of the Mahler Symphony of a Thousand, but that hall seems far less spectacular then the Royal Albert Hall in London. Some would say that Carnegie makes up for its relative lack of size by its immense historical significance.
The Royal Albert Hall is definitely the most impressive concert venue I've ever been in (with a cavernous acoustic to boot), but I haven't been in some other impressive European venues like the Großer Musikvereinssaal, Vienna, or the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, or the Großer Saal, Berliner Philharmonie - though none of them can compare in size to the RAH.
I'd always say "Carnegie" for #1 because I find it impossible to separate out its history from other details. BTW I'm surprised you'd characterize it as having a "relative lack of size." I guess that's a huger criterion (no pun intended) for you than for me, and our standards are very different. I think Carnegie is plenty big, and moreover, I hardly consider size a criterion at all for what you asked about.
In fact, as my runner-up to Carnegie, I'd give a nod to the Monte-Carlo Opera House, which is pretty small. I don't know if they have piano recitals, but why not....
Loc: Seattle area, WA
I've been to quite a few in the States, but for me, the "spectacular" ones were the outdoor venues like Tanglewood, the Sheep Meadow in New York City and Millenium Park in Chicago. The combined ambiance of city lights, good food and wine, sparkling stars and snuggling next to someone special tops all the indoor venues. (Hearing the 1812 Overture with the sound and smell of real cannons at Tanglewood was memorable to say the least!)
....for me, the "spectacular" ones were the outdoor venues like Tanglewood, the Sheep Meadow in New York City and Millenium Park in Chicago. The combined ambiance of city lights, good food and wine, sparkling stars and snuggling next to someone special tops all the indoor venues....
There's much to be said for that. I've been to a couple of the ones you mentioned and I didn't experience them quite that way, but at a similar thing in Milwaukee (of all places!), in their annual "Summerfest," hearing Van Cliburn play the Grieg Concerto amidst the open country space, with country lights and with city lights in the background, and the rest of what you said, I'd have to say it beat Carnegie Hall and the Monte Carlo Opera House.
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
[...]In fact, as my runner-up to Carnegie, I'd give a nod to the Monte-Carlo Opera House, which is pretty small. I don't know if they have piano recitals, but why not....
Torna a Surriento, a Neapolitan song by Ernesto de Curtis, written in 1902, sung in this video by Luciano Pavarotti
Vide'o mare quant’è bello, spira tantu sentimento, Comme tu a chi tiene a' mente, Ca scetato 'o faie sunnà. Guarda gua' chistu ciardino; Siente, siente sciure arance: Nu profumo accussi fino Dinto 'o core se ne va… E tu dice: "I’ parto, addio!" T’alluntane da stu core… Da sta terra de l’ammore… Tiene 'o core 'e nun turnà? Ma nun me lassà, Nun darme stu turmiento! Torna a Surriento, famme campà!
Vide'o mare de Surriento, che tesoro tene nfunno: chi ha girato tutto 'o munno nun l'ha visto comm'a ccà. Guarda attuorno sti Serene, ca te guardano 'ncantate, e te vonno tantu bene... Te vulessero vasà. E tu dice: "I' parto, addio!" T'alluntane da stu core Da la terra de l'ammore Tiene 'o core 'e nun turnà? Ma nun me lassà, Nun darme stu turmiento! Torna a Surriento, Famme campà!
BruceD - - - - - Estonia 190
Loc: United States
Though I can't say I've been to many, Royal Albert is the very definition of astonishing. It was so amazingly magical inside; I didn't want to leave.
Currently working on: 1) Chopin Etudes Op. 10; Scherzo Op. 54 2) Beethoven Sonata Op. 53 3) Prokofiev Sonata Op. 83 4) Bach Prelude and Fugue in f# minor, WTC II 5) Beethoven Concerto No. 4
The theatre at the Usupov palace is my pick. It is small enough for a piano recital . It has a C. Bechstein concert grand in white that goes vwry well with all the gold leaf. If you would like to see it , go to . youtube .Rene Fleming and Demitri Hvorostovsky at the Usupov Palace. They are not bad singers.
Generally I don't like the big-loud stuff so much. It very quickly get muddy, only the very best orchestras with extremely good timing and relatively dry hall can make it work for me. And without trumpets please, once they set in I need my ear plugs and that really does not help what I hear.
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I am not sure it is really one of the best venues in terms of acoustics (well, definitely not), but it certainly is beautiful... When I lived in Sydney sometimes they organized night concerts with the stage on water (Sydney Harbour), and it looked magnificent with the reflections of the light on the water around the stage etc.
Including this additional video from the Royal Albert Hall mostly for the thrilling musical sequence. After a rousing rendition of Jerusalem similar to the one in the first post, the conductor quiets the enthusiastic audience(at 3:00) to utter silence and begins a pp a capella rendition(reminds me of the Mahler 8th)of God Save the Queen which then crescendos to ff on the second verse.
It was sometimes called the "eighth wonder of the world". The very large building, located at Wabash and East Congress Parkway, is now then home of Roosevelt University (which also owns the building). Design and Construction supervision was done by Denkmar Alder and Louis Sullivan. It is about to celebrate its 125th anniversary. (Frank Llyod Wright was also working as a draftsman in their office at this time, and he may have made some contributions to the design and/or decorations.)
It is not Sullivan's most influential work, (just look at any "Skyscraper"; Sullivan invented them). The building's exterior is fairly dull, not as memorable as the partners' greatest large-scale builidngs. But the auditorium itself is an incredible, outstanding realization of early "Prairie School" architectury, using stone arches and traditional decoration (ears of corn, waves of grain, and etc.) in ways which soon became nearly definitive of "early Prairie School" buildings.
It is restored to it's original splendor (mostly, restoration still proceeds.) This incudes old-style incandescent lighting, using carbon filaments. (I understand it to have been the first large building to be lit using ONLY electrical-incandescent technology, without any gas or oil fixtures.)
It was also the World's first large building with central Air Conditioning, which seems to have been nothing more than a temporary fad ) Air conditioning was done using electrical blowers over huge blocks of ice.
It's still in use, but not for it's original intended tenants: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera abandoned the building, because the amount of seating was just too large for their potential audience. (Chicago's Auditorium Theater can seat an audience of well over 4000 people, while Chicago's Orchestra Hall seats barely 2500. Royal Albert Hall is about 1200 seats larger than the Auditorium Theater, but has vast areas of poor sound and sight among those seats.)
Unfortunately (for the finances of the artistic organizations), attendees quickly figured out that the sound quality is nearly identical, nearly perfect, from almost any seat in the hall (and so are the sight lines). It became nearly impossible to charge a great deal more money for the "good" seats, because all the seats were (and are) VERY good. The public didn't buy the "premium seats" at premium prices. And there was nearly always A LOT of empty space available for concert goers who watched their wallets carefully, and waited for last minute "public rush" seating at deep discount prices.
In a rather extreme turn-around from the usual situation, "box seats" were added to the Auditorium as an afterthought, and (IMO) constitute the WORST seats in the Hall.
So, the CSO moved to a much smaller hall a few blocks away (Orchestra Hall on Michigan Avenue). It has only about 2500 seats, and IMO, concerts in Orchestra Hall sound much worse, from many of the "cheap" seats, than they would sound for an audience seated in the Auditorium. But sellouts in Orchestra Hall are quite frequent, suporting higher ticket prices in general; and centered main floor seats do sound a lot better than the cheap seats in the upper side balconies, supporting a big "premium" in pricing according to the specific seating area.
The Auditorium has no permanent resident Orchestra, and hosts a variety of performances - most of them by artists using big, nasty PA systems with "studio" microphones. They aren't necessary, except when Rock Bands (and similar) want to play in competition with a lot of simultaneous audience screaming. A Steinway Model D, alone or with Orchestra, would sound fantastic - even if the hall were completely filled with patrons who chose to drag along their winter clothing.
The hall is absolutely beautiful, both in large scale design and in tiny details. If you are ever in Chicago and have a couple of hours available, you should take one of the public tours. I'm serious, this is one of the World's most amazing (and pretty much neglected) venues.
So they say, well, I equally prefer the Wiener in the Musikverein, or the Berliner in their "Circus Karanjani", or the KCG in the MV or the B.Ph. in the C.K. or the W.PH. in the C.G, they all are fantastic, orchestras and venues.
Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
... It's still in use, but not for it's original intended tenants: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera abandoned the building, because the amount of seating was just too large for their potential audience. (Chicago's Auditorium Theater can seat an audience of well over 4000 people, while Chicago's Orchestra Hall seats barely 2500. Royal Albert Hall is about 1200 seats larger than the Auditorium Theater, but has vast areas of poor sound and sight among those seats.) ...
Now we know how many souls it takes to fill the Albert Hall.