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A visit to the Royal Academy of Music Museum 

10th February 2023


Aldersgate Ward Club visit to the Royal Academy of Music.

Friday February 10th 2023.

20 of our members enjoyed a delightful day together visiting the rather grand premises of the Royal Academy of Music, who are currently celebrating their Bicentenary.

We started the day in the warm friendly Café surrounded by students.

We were then guided to the Strings Gallery of the Museum – a treasure house of old instruments such as a Renaissance lute and including beautifully crafted instruments by famous 17th and early18th century luthiers such as Stradivari, Amati and Rugeri. Our first “live” treat was a recital on two lovely viols by students Lucy and Nathan. We were astonished at the versatility of the instruments and players, as Lucy sang an Armenian folk song before moving to 17th century France and finally the gentle Irish “Give Me Your Hand”.

It was hard to tear ourselves away and move upstairs to the Piano Gallery. However, there was our next delight. Dr Elena Vorotko, a pianist, lecturer and researcher in the field of historical performance on keyboard instruments, took us on a memorable trip from an early 17th century virginal, then a harpsichord to an early piano of the 18th century. She then explained the piano’s blossoming to full grand piano sound in the 19th century. We were spellbound as she played them all for us, matching the music to the instrument with consummate skill.

We all enjoyed a convivial lunch at Cote Brasserie, just off Marylebone High Street.

Then it was time to return to the Academy and their splendid Susie Sainsbury Theatre for a student performance of Opera Scenes, showcasing their very impressive talents not just as singers, but in acting and stagecraft.  The scenes ran the full gamut of operatic emotion Thus we experienced scenes from Britten’s “The Rape of Lucretia”, Ravel’s “L’enfant et les sortileges”, Handel’s “Tamerlano”, Offenbach’s “La Périchole”, Mozart’s “La clemenza di tito” and Massenet’s “Manon”. Finally, a delightful scene from Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” brought the whole ensemble together for some richly deserved applause from the highly appreciative audience, including some of their fellow students.

What a wonderful day! Our thanks go to the Master for an unforgettable visit. For sure the timeless joy of music is alive and well in that elegant site on Marylebone Road.

Win Eyles

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