About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Orpheum Theatre and the VSO

The Orpheum Theatre first opened on November 7, 1927 as a vaudeville house and was the largest and most opulent theatre on the Pacific Coast. The City of Vancouver purchased the theatre on March 19, 1974 and undertook a complete restoration of its interior. The Orpheum reopened on April 2, 1977 as the permanent home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and a restored concert hall that hosts a variety of pop, classical, choral, and chamber recitals.

As a young girl, I would go to the Orpheum to see movies and I felt so small as I climbed all the burgundy carpeted steps to enter the theatre. Coming down the stairs, I felt like a princess descending the palace stairs to greet my subjects.

Now as an adult, I attend the Orpheum to admire the VSO and appreciate classical music. I've always been rather ignorant of classical music and didn't know a piece by Rachmaninoff from a piece by Mozart. However, since attending the "Classically Speaking" series this year, I've found a new regard for classical music.

Tonight we heard pieces by Sybelius (Finnish) and Grieg (Norwegian). I didn't think I'd know any of the music so wasn't particularly excited about going and almost cancelled out. Wow, I'm sure glad I didn't! Even though I didn't recognize the names of the pieces, I did recognize the music! And it was fantastic! First came Sibelius' "Legends: The Swan of Tuonela" which soared in its beauty. Later, the orchestra played his "Karelia Suite" which was equally as good. My favourite tonight was Grieg's "Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1" which I recognized but had never realized that was what it was.

The Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra joined the VSO for the 2nd half of the concert and I gave up counting how many musicians were on stage after I reached 60 and that wasn't even half! The VSO's conductor, Bramwell Tovey, treated the audience to an encore tonight as it was the last evening of the series. To our utter delight the orchestras played "Finlandia." There was an electricity in the air with that many violins, cellos, oboes, French horns, trumpets, trombones, etc. playing such a thrilling piece. The audience was practically screaming with delight! What a wonderful evening!

Visitors to the city of Vancouver should definitely take the tour of the Orpheum Theatre to hear about its history and to admire the ceiling of the concert hall. Your mouth will be gaping open at the architecture.


patterns of ink said...

Beautiful place. In our area we have the Fraunthal Theater which was refurbished about ten years ago. It's the kind of setting that makes the wait for the curtain part of the show. There's so much to see as you look around.

Donnetta Lee said...

I haven't had the pleasure of visiting Canada since we moved from upstate New York when I was a little girl. But, if I get to back, I will positively visit this theatre! Sounds just beautiful.

jmb said...

What a lovely post Leslie. The Orpheum is special and I have been on a tour of it twice. I belong to a group called the Heritage Group and we have done it twice. You have to be fit to climb all those stairs.

This post also takes me back to concerts when my daughter was in the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra. She's 40 now. She played the flute and spent some wonderful years in it.

We are classical music aficionados but don't currently have tickets. I should get them again.

Janice Thomson said...

It sounds like you had a marvelous time Leslie! I haven't been to the Orpheum but plan to someday. I love classical music - it's about all I listen to so the pieces you mentioned were most familiar. Grieg is one of my favorite composers especially his Peer Gynt Suites. Did they play Morning Mood? Glad to hear you're now enjoying this kind of music. Wait till you get a taste of Tchaikovsky! LOL

leslie said...

They DID play "Morning Mood" and I recognized it immediately (just hadn't known what it was before). Also, when they played "In the Hall of the Mountain King" I realized that it was the same music in Fantasia where Micky Mouse couldn't keep up with all the water. I'd seen it as a 6-year-old and that music scared the **** out of me! I do like Tchaikovsky as I remember my parents playing it a lot.
If you look carefully at the photo I posted, you can see where our seats were for this past season. In the Dress Circle just left of center on the aisle.

Josie said...
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Morning Glory said...

I'm always happy to hear when someone gains an appreciation for classical music and attending the symphony. We love going. This sounds like it was a beautiful concert and I'd love to see the theatre some day.

Smalltown RN said...

Oh I loved the Orhpeum theatre...like you I loved to go and watch movies there...it was all so grand...it made me feel so very special....

What a great post..thank you

pekka said...

I am a bit late here with my comment. However, I couldn't resist due to the fact that I have been exposed to Grieg and Sibelius since the day one, maybe even in my mama's belly.

I am glad that you took the trouble and attended the concert even if these composers didn't ring any of your bells. They are both considered very, very highly even if they might not be widely known in North America. I also really have a soft spot for Grieg.

This brings me to the subject that I truly like to point out. For some reason, classical music in North America seems to be a rich man's entertainment and considered as a highbrow, almost ridiculously noninclusive and passe. I think I might have found the main reason for this. In Europe, arts are heavily subsidized by the governments in order to get the hoi poloi in, where as in North America orchestras have to more or less earn their way thus necessitating high ticket prices. My home town has perhaps about sixty thousand inhabitants but it still has a full time, professional sinfonietta playing for full houses. Ten of your dollars would buy tickets for you and the sweetie providing you are not too discriminating as to where you like to sit.

Chances are, that European cabbies can strike a conversation with you about how little Chopin had effect on Bela Bartok, or was Glenn Gould nearly as good as Vladimir Horowitch.

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