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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 101

Date:- 31 May 2003

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Culture Exposure?

ON Monday 26th May, Liverpool’s Pier Head reverberated to the sound of music. Several hundred people took advantage of fine weather to gather in the open air, on the greensward, before a giant screen, to enjoy, for free, the ballet ‘Manon’ by Massenet, choreographed and directed by Kenneth McMillan. It was relayed from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden by satellite to Liverpool and simultaneously to Sheffield. The special broadcast, sponsored by BP was part of Liverpool’s bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2008.

The performance was fascinating. Perhaps not as immediate as attending a theatre but the compensation of following it, whilst the world went about its business, was rewarding. The ambience, derived from stately buildings, seagulls, ships gliding by and the IOM boat nuzzling into its nearby mooring, added greatly to the appeal.

Those in the audience were variously accommodated in stands, seated on the grass or walls, or, as befits such events, well equipped with garden chairs, blankets and thermos flasks to brave whatever the elements might have in store. Casual passers-by swelled the ranks and some became engrossed. Two workmen, who initially stopped to smile at the ‘men in tights’ stayed a while then crept up to take a programme to read up the story line. If RBC’s idea is to capture new faces, then this was a good example. 

A striking feature was the age range of the audience, from pensioners to families with a fair number of well behaved young children who seemed just as mesmerised as the rest of us.

As if the enjoyable and talented performance and exhilarating music from the Royal Opera House was not sufficient, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir was on hand to begin the proceedings and performed their customary magic. Also, for our delectation, the mellifluous tones of two young singers, Lesley Smith and ‘Voice of Liverpool’ Rachael Russell rang out during the final interval, ably accompanied by Paul Goulden, treating us to 4 well known operatic favourites.#

What a wonderful evening!

Competently run, no rowdy behaviour – thanks to Liverpool City Council and all involved in producing and running the event. (Oh, and a special personal thanks to St John’s for the tasty sarnie.)

Look out for similar events in the near future including ‘Opera Pops’ and ‘Sing-A-Long’ at St George’s Hall, on Saturday 21st June at 7.30pm.

Plus, ‘Waterfront Classics’, an orchestral extravaganza from the RLPO and special Guests along with Fireworks and Lasers, to be held on Saturday 20th September.
(Further details 0151 233 1359 .) 

Photographs by Patrick Trollope

Liverpool is indeed a ‘happening’ place.

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Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.