One of the most famous and iconic auditoriums in the world, the Royal Albert Hall, London, reopened its doors to celebrate and put soundtrack to its 150 years of history.
The London concert hall revisited its century and a half of life at the hands of the British composer David Arnold (James Bond, Sherlock), who presented his Circle of Music, specially designed for the occasion, accompanied by the National Youth Choir and the Albert’s Orchestra.
Building, inspired by the ancient Roman Colosseums and considered by many Brits as “the hall of the nation“, takes its name in honor of Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, and was inaugurated on March 29, 1871.
One hundred and fifty years later, last March the Royal Albert Hall celebrated its anniversary with its empty seats and the Covid-19 pandemic forced close its doors for the first time since World War II for almost a year and a half.
Royal Albert Hall. The iconic London hall celebrated 150 years. Photo REUTERS.
How was the gala
But this July 19, the same day in the one that UK said goodbye to social restrictions due to the health emergency, a packed Royal Albert Hall experienced a journey in time of two and a quarter hours, in which there was emotion, laughter, dancing and applause, as before the pandemic.
The body percussion of the youth choir emulated the construction of the building while the instrumentation of the orchestra put the epic touch to the evening, and a screen recalled some of the iconic moments in the history of the Royal Albert Hall, as well as its protagonists.
The Circle of MusiArnold’s c, divided into ten parts, recalled the different facets of the building: the origin, its charitable work, its sporting, historical and musical part, as well as the future and the new generations.
The Royal Albert Hall is “a place of firsts”, according to boxer Nicola Adams, first woman to box in that auditorium that also hosted the first world bodybuilding championships and ping pong, among others.
Nicholas Dodd conducts the Royal Albert Hall Orchestra during the 150th anniversary celebration of the London auditorium. Photo REUTERS
It is that cultural sanctuary in which the classical arts gave way to pop, those who visit it feel like gods, according to another of the guests of the ceremony, the member of the Spice Girls Melanie C, to paraphrase the former Beatle Paul McCartney.
British actress Jemma Redgrave She wore a wardrobe like that of the suffragettes who once took over the Royal Albert Hall, to star in one of the most vindictive moments of the night: Redgrave delivered one of the most famous speeches by activist Emmeline Pankhurst: “They will have to choose between giving us freedom or giving us death“, scream.
A shiny disco ball set the beat and made dance to the audience in the part dedicated to dance; while a sea of floating stars blown by the theremin (one of the first electronic musical instruments) flooded the auditorium with the voice of the late Stephen Hawkins in the background, in the piece dedicated to science.
The director, Nicholas Dodd, encouraged the audience to clap to the beat of the music in an instant that reminded of the mythical Radetsky March of the Vienna New Year’s Concert.
The author of Coraline, Neil Gaiman, wrote the final speech, delivered by the actor from Twilight, Michael Sheen, and he remembered all those ghosts that hovered around the Royal Albert Hall, a place where “every now is only a then away“.
With a standing ovation from the entire auditorium and a rain of colored balloons to the rhythm of Happy BirthdaY, the Royal Albert Hall put the finishing touch to its long-awaited anniversary, hoping to celebrate, at least, many more years with people in the room.