On Saturday to the Sydney Town Hall for the SSO’s performance of Mahler’s Symphony No 2, conducted by David Robertson.  That’s my blurry mobile-phone snap taken on the way in.

First comparison: a picture from the SSO’s archives which I first thought was of the occasion of their first performance of the symphony in 1950 under the baton of Otto Klemperer but which (see comment) is in fact of a 1953 performance of the Messiah (which explains the smaller orchestra and four vocal soloists):


Judging from the elevation, that picture was taken from the East Gallery.

Second comparison: the view from my seat when the bows were being taken. It’s fairly representative of my view of the orchestra throughout the performance.


In the event that the SSO returns to the Sydney Town Hall, as well it might in a couple of years when the SOH Concert Hall is to be renovated, there’s an obvious lesson to be learnt.

Meanwhile, the 19503 picture confirms my recollection that when the SSO played at the Town Hall it occupied at least some of the risers to the back of the stage. That would have given the groundlings in the stalls a slightly better view, and also increased the seating capacity in comparison to Saturday, when the front row was row M.

I’m also pretty sure that in days of yore you were able to leave at the end of the concert by the side porticos as well as the George Street front one. That’s definitely a tradition worth reviving.

One Response to “Resurrection”

  1. wanderer Says:

    I think the archived photo is the Messiah 1953 (ref programme notes) but your point stands.

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