Sunday, November 27, 2005

It's culture, eh?

Last night, N and I went to the Filharmonia Narodowa to listen to the Concerto for Orchestra and 'Cello by Prokofiev and a Tchaikovski symphonia. We've been to the Opera Narodowa plenty last year to watch ballet, but it was our first time at the Filharmonia. I found the building small and the seating limited, but it was really beautiful inside. A mixture of socialist pseudo-grandeur and a nostalgia for the original building, it has not aged well in certain areas. However, the marble stairs and the high ceilings were wonderful, as were the comfortable seats.

Our tickets cost us 25zl each. I am always amazed at the affordability (is there such a word?) of cultural events in Warsaw. True, our seats weren't amazing (2nd row on the extreme left), but we came to hear music not to watch it being played. Twenty-five zlotych is about 5 pounds and I cannot imagine being able to go and see a classical music concert for that sum of money in London. Unless you're a student and don't mind standing in the back behind some support column.

I realise that such low ticket prices come at a cost, the orchestras and symphonias are very poorly paid (but that's no different to those playing in professional orchestras in London) and the buildings sometimes need a bit more care. But it does allow people, all kinds of people, to come and listen and watch.

Not that they do, really. Last night's audience was seriously geriatric. But, still, the possibility is there.

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