A classical music concert. Not necessarily the first thing you might think of when pondering what to do with your toddler on a sunny/muggy/rainy Sunday in late July. But, it was exactly what Richmond Daddy and I took Allegra to last Sunday and to great success! She loved it!
Admittedly it was a classical music concert with a difference, given that we’d been lucky enough to have been offered 3 complimentary tickets to attend the wonderful Prom 20, family prom – Wallace & Gromit Prom: Musical Marvels! Yet despite the odd showing of some newly created and bespoke Wallace and Gromit scenes, shot specifically for the occasion to make them look as though they were backstage at the Royal Albert Hall (where the event was staged), and the film shown through the second half – which was then beautifully accompanied by the orchestra playing a live soundtrack – the main thrust of the concert was piece after piece of stunningly played classical music. So it wasn’t like we were taking Allegra to see Peppa Pig the Musical (does that even exist?!? If not, it totally should!) or anything.
We weren’t sure how it would go down, but we needn’t have worried: she totally and thoroughly loved and enjoyed it! She was fascinated by all the people packed into the beautiful Royal Albert Hall, captivated by the music and shouted “more” as each piece finished (so cultured! I must teach her the words “bravo, encore” for next time!), and loved joining in with the mass clapping at every opportunity!
Sure, there were times when her attention waned and she became absorbed with playing with her own shoes over and above appreciating the fine set of musicians performing. But she was as good as gold throughout and genuinely seemed to love the whole experience.
Let me tell you some more about the concert itself… Essentially it was the world premiere of a new show, featuring classical favourites chosen to appeal to all the family, with music by John Adams, Debussy and Shostakovich all featuring on the programme. Plus, specially filmed new Wallace & Gromit animations, featuring the dynamic duo’s backstage exploits as they prepared for the first performance of Wallace’s brand-new Proms commission, My Concerto in Ee, Lad. And A Matter of Loaf and Death, which was screened for the first time with a live orchestral soundtrack, which was brilliant!
The whole thing from start to finish was so enjoyable that it’s hard to pick out a favourite moment, but I think a special highlight for me was when they played Debussy’s (arr. A. Caplet) Clair de lune as they screened a montage of Wallace & Gromit clips all centred around Wallace’s romantic endeavours and disasters. It was funny and beautiful all at the same time, lovely.
The whole performance was delivered by the Aurora Orchestra, expertly conducted by Nicholas Collon, who also doubled up as an entertaining presenter/host. And if you’d like to take a listen to some excerpts from the concert, you can click here and enjoy.