When I went: 14 January 2016
Location: Royal Festival Hall, London
Performers: Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela
Creative team: Stravinsky (composer of the music for the ballets), Gustavo Dudamel (conductor)
Approximate price: £65
Special points: Dark fairytale background
Best bit: Start of Rite of Spring / Firebird encore
If I could change one thing: Firebird rather than Petrushka
Stravinsky famously spent several years in Paris working with Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes in the early 20th century. His ballets from this period, including the Rite of Spring, Petrushka and the Firebird, are all acclaimed in classical music circles, especially the Rite for its innovative harmonies and orchestration. They all have tribal or dark fairytale themes which come through clearly in the spiky melodic ideas and liberal use of percussion.
This was an orchestral concert rather than a ballet performance set to Stravinsky’s music, which gave us a chance to really appreciate the music itself. The programme was originally supposed to include the Rite of Spring and the Firebird, but close to the time of the concert it was announced that at the request of the orchestra, they would be playing Petrushka instead. However, they included part of the Firebird as the encore which was beautiful and epic.
I really enjoyed this concert and would like to see the ballets themselves.