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The Royal Albert Hall in London will be 150 in 2021

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The Royal Albert Hall in London  has a capacity of over 2000 people. Initially, it could accommodate over 9,000 people, but modern security measures have prevented any overcrowding. 

In 2021 it turns 150 and pandemic or not, there are several big events in sight. Among the things not to miss we will have: Matthew Bourne, returns to the Royal Albert Hall to create a spectacular new staging of The Car Man, his acclaimed interpretation of Bizet’s opera, Carmen. (June 17-27) Shows by famous musicians such as Patti Smith, Jon Hopkins, Gregory Porter, Tinie, Brian Wilson, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel and Alfie Boe.

Nitin Sawhney, will curate Journeys – 150 Years of Immigration, a week-long festival that celebrates the life and contribution of immigrants over the past 150 years. The season will include a main show with a new piece by Sawhney: an oratorio for strings and choir. (29 September-6 October 2021).

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the orchestra associated with the Royal Albert Hall, will present a series of concerts that celebrate the concert hall’s important birthday and its own 75th anniversary.

For International Women’s Day, the hall will host the famous WOW – Women of the World Festival. This special show will also be streamed online (March 8, 2021)

Nile Rodgers will compose an anniversary anthem, featuring an entire orchestra and singers.

It was meant to be called the Central Hall of Arts and Sciences, but with the death of Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, it was decided to dedicate it to him.

The idea for the Hall came from Prince Albert who had organized the Great Exhibition of 1851. He wanted to create a permanent temple for the sciences and the arts. The Royal Albert Hall was to be a part of what was nicknamed “Albertopolis” and which also includes the three great museums of South Kensington. #

His initial design was to include space for lectures and conferences, libraries and exhibition space and would be funded from the profits from the Great Exhibition. The prince died in 1861 before the project began.

After the Prince’s death, the project was approved and Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone in 1867 and the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington opened on March 29, 1871. When the scaffolding was removed, it was feared that the dome would not hold up, but as you can see still now everything was fine.

What no one had foreseen, however, was that the dome created an unpleasant echo and  until 1969 the music was heard twice. The echo was only discovered at the opening ceremony when the amen of the bishop of London for the blessing was clearly heard twice.

. It was said at the time that the price of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall was very affordable, since you had the opportunity to hear the music twice! In 1969 they placed the famous ‘mushrooms’ on the ceiling to improve the acoustics. Recently the room had a two million pound sonic refurbishment which transformed the sound.

The installation work was done at night and no concerts were canceled and everything was done practically in secret. It was a challenge given the number of cables and amplifiers to be placed in a building that was also protected. 

The structure of the building was inspired by the old amphitheaters. It is surrounded by a mosaic illustrating the triumphs of the arts and sciences. The organ built in 1871 was then the largest in the world. The Royal Albert Hall in Kensington was initially lit by gas lights, but in 1888 it had electric lights.

Since 1941 the Royal Albert Hall has hosted the orchestral part of The Proms every year which are eight weeks of classical and chamber music concerts. Chamber music concerts are held at Cadogan Hall.

Not everyone knows that the Proms were held at Queen’s Hall until May 10, 1941. But on that night for five hours, the Luftwaffe ferociously bombed London leaving 1,436 dead and 1,792 wounded. The House of Commons, the House of Lords, Westminster Abbey, the British Museum, the Mint, the Mansion House, St James’s Palace and the Tower of London were all affected. The Queen’s Hall was completely destroyed. The Royal Albert Hall was the only concert hall in the capital not destroyed or damaged, this is how the Proms began.

While prominent classical musicians such as Wagner (as orchestra conductor during The Wagner Festival in 1877) or Rachmaninov have played at the Hall in the past, in recent years the Hall has hosted different types of shows. From a Eurovision competition final to ATP Champions Tour Masters tennis matches. Many of the great names of pop and rock music have played or sung here from Pink Floyd to Bob Dylan, from Janet Jackson to Kylie Minogue.

If you like anecdotes you should know that the Royal Albert Hall in London was the only place where The Beatles and The Rolling Stones played at the same concert.

In addition to concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington, charity events, choir concerts, award ceremonies, graduation ceremonies for Imperial College students and much more are also held. Royal dances were also held for the coronation of various monarchs and boxing tournaments.

Until 1985 those who worked at the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington were volunteers and were not paid, they were given free tickets instead.

Worked in many sectors including recruitment and marketing. Lucky to have found a soulmate who was then taken far too soon. No intention of moving on and definitely not moving to Thailand for the foreseeable future. Might move forward. Owned by a cat.

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Music

Dua Lipa, the most listened to artist in the UK in 2020

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The latest album by Dua Lipa won many awards but was also the most listened to in 2020 It took the title from Ed Sheeran who is the most listened to artist in the UK in 2017, 2018 and 2019 However Sheeran ranks second followed by Ariana Grande and Sam Smith .

 Dua Lipa’s album was the soundtrack of many people’s pandemic, with its enthusiastic disco anthems providing the perfect antidote to isolation. The album was released just four days after the first lockdown in England. .

 Dua Lipa is a British singer born in London of Kosovo parents, known for her song” New Rules “, her first to reach the top of the charts. It is not just her music that makes her famous, but the lyrics that writes to accompany her. The father period singer and guitarist of a rock group in Albania.

Lipa’s debut album “Dua Lipa” was released on June 2nd 2017 and reached number one in the UK.

 

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Books

Book Review: All for You by Louise Jensen

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Louise Jensen is by now a fairly well-known author in the psychological thriller/domestic noir thriller genre but I think this was her first book I read. It is about a family of four, Ellen the mother an orthopaedic surgeon who is currently not working, Aidan the father a vet and the two boys Connor and Kieron. Kieron has some rare possibly terminal disease while Connor is a sensitive 17 years old. In the picture, there are also two of Connor’s good friends: Ryan and Tyler. We know that something happened to Connor’s girlfriend Hailey’s but we don’t know what. First Tyler then Ryan disappear and everyone fears that Connor might be the next as the three were always together and they were together the night something happened to Hailey.

Connor disappears as well but it is not what it seems. It’s a complex thriller with several punchy twists, I couldn’t work out who could be the kidnapper and the ending was genuinely surprising although a bit far fetched and very dark. You can tell that Jensen is a bit more accomplished in writing thrilling plots than other authors. Overall it took me a while to get into this book but then I was engrossed in it and read it late at night. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery with lots of family secrets. I was given a free copy of this book by NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This book will be out in October but you can pre-order it now. 

All For You: don’t miss the next thrilling and shocking psychological thriller from best selling author of The Date and The Sister in 2021!
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Jensen, Louise (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 10/28/2021 (Publication Date) - HQ (Publisher)

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Exhibition

Large retrospective exhibition of Georgia O’Keeffe in Madrid

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The exhibition, currently underway at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, traces the long career of the American painter, through 90 works that reflect O’Keeffe’s research and style, an elegant and mysterious combination of figuration and abstraction.

Georgia O’Keeffe is widely regarded as one of the most important American artists of the 20th century and one of the greatest artists in history. She is famous for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers, and close-up shots of animals.

O’Keeffe was born in 1887 in a remote part of Wisconsin and then moved to Texas as a child. After graduating from high school, she took art classes at Art Students League in New York City. In 1912 O’Keeffe moved to New York City and began studying with famed artist William Merrit Chase. She became an active participant in the “American modernism” movement that originated in Europe earlier that century.

Ninety works have been selected for the exhibition, the first ever in Spain at the ThyssenBornemisza National Museum.  After Madrid will also touch th the exhibition will go to Paris and Basel.

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