Review: Pictures at an Exhibition by Sydney Symphony Orchestra
March 11, 2023 was a special night.
Attending a performance by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at Concert Hall in the Sydney Opera House is a one-of-a-kind experience and it’s something that should be on everyone’s bucket list. They are one of the biggest orchestras in the world, performing in one of the most iconic global landmarks.
The Sydney Opera House is exceptional and getting to watch any concert or show there is humbling. There’s very few places in the world that match the atmosphere inside and can replicate the beauty of the architecture outside.
The Sydney Symphony Orchestra performed “Pictures at an Exhibition,” on March 11, their final performance after three other showings throughout the week. The show is inspired by artworks from Victor Hartmann and the music was created by Modest Mussorgsky.
I knew this was going to be a unique performance when I first sat down and arrived minutes before the concert started. The orchestra performers had already taken their seats on stage and had their instruments with them, rather than walking out immediately before they started playing.
Concert Hall is an amazing venue and the petal-shaped reflectors in the ceiling make the place look even more top notch.
The show began just after 8 p.m. with Mihhail Gerts walking out on stage and he conducted a flawless show. Gerts is making his debut with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for the 2022-2023 season.
It was beautiful getting to witness the entire orchestra playing simultaneously and the music was peaceful, soothing and lively. It was amazing listening to the violins, cellos, flutes, clarinets, horns, drums and all the other instruments in sync, especially during “Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks.”
There were also many individual performances throughout the nearly two hour show that stood out to me including the 24-year-old pianist Marie-Ange Nguci. She’s a rising star and Le Figaro labeled her as “one (of) the most promising talents of her generation.”
The generational talent was on full display at the Opera House Saturday night.
Her piano performance “Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No.2” was off the charts and has been described as “reflective and melancholic, sometimes fiery and dramatic.” It really was a perfect mix between a gloomy and spirited melody.
I also loved how each instrument group had their own solos, from the drummers in the back row to the violinists on the side of the stage.
The second act of the show was just as amazing. The orchestra played from the ending of intermission to the conclusion of the entire show. It was nonstop composing from Gerts for nearly an hour straight and you can see how much energy and emphasis he shows for every song. The orchestra could have gone on for another hour if they wanted to, that’s how focused and talented they are.
This show had everything from a world-renowned orchestra, to an ultra-talented composer and a rising star on the piano.
This was quite a show and I am so grateful that I got to watch the brilliance of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra on display inside this charming building. Thank you to the Sydney Opera House for an unforgettable night and for hosting a classy show.