The Kino in Lion Street could not have had a better 2017 au revoir on December 31, showing the live concert beamed over from the Philharmonie Berlin with Sir Simon Rattle as conductor and mezzo-soprano Joyce Didonato. The Berliner Philharmoniker (Orchestra) lived up to its reputation especially under Rattle’s wonderful direction. He was born in 1955 in England and rose to international prominence in the 1980’s and 1990’s, taking over the Orchestra in 2002 as conductor. He has now decided to return to London which is no doubt a loss to Berlin and our gain.
The music programme was a treat and included works by Antonin Dvorak, Igor Stravinski, Dmitri Shostakovich and Richard Strauss. We also had the pleasure of hearing Joyce Didonato whose beautiful voice was described by the Berlin press in 2015, when she made her debut in this magnificent hall, as ” ravishingly nuanced and angelic”. I can only agree especially when she sang the emotional “Wiegenlied” by Richard Strauss.
Apart from the music feast it was interesting to see the architectural feat of Hans Scharoun who designed the concert hall to replace the Berliner Philharmonie, which was destroyed by British bombers in January 1944. It is a singular building, asymmetric and tent like with the main performance hall in the shape of a pentagon. The whole experience was a gem and listening to the audience afterwards it appeared they thought so too.
Photos: library images