4 January 2015
Reviewed by Norman Totton
On Sunday 4th January 2015 at 3pm, I took myself along to the wonderful Grade II Listed building that is St. George’s Hall in Bradford. Built of ashlar sandstone masonry in neoclassical style, the building was opened on 29 August 1853 and the venue has hosted many of the world’s top performers over the years including Charles Dickens, Metallica, Free, David Bowie, Genesis, INXS, Bon Jovi and Kiss to name just a few.
St George’s Hall is situated in Bradford city centre and getting to it is easy however you choose to arrive there. If you are driving, Bradford Theatres have an exclusive offer with NCP Hall Ings (BD1 5SD) or NCP Southgate (BD1 2AP). Park at either site and only pay £3.80 for 4 hours (parking voucher needed but is subject to availability – ask a member of the very, very helpful staff on arrival at the venue).
My reason for going was to see the world renowned Halle Orchestra as they performed a New Year Celebration Viennese concert and I’m so very pleased I went. Many words have been written in praise of The Halle and based on the performance I saw were very well justified. They were simply stunning, from the gentlest notes of the start of the concert to the rousing finale, I and the rest of the audience were transfixed by the sheer quality of the music emanating from the stage.
Given that it was a concert celebrating Viennese music, it should be no surprise that members of the Strauss family featured heavily on the ‘play list’, together with music by Carl Zellar, Franz Lehar, Joseph Lanner and Carl Millocker. We were treated to a number of very well-known pieces, amongst which were ‘On the Beautiful Blue Danube’ and ‘The Hunt’ both composed by Johann Strauss II, and given this was a New Year Concert, the aptly named ‘New Year Galop’ by Joseph Lanner.
The Halle had to have a stand-in soprano in place of the very talented award winning Rebecca Bottone as she was suffering from a very bad dose of laryngitis, however, her replacement Jenifer France, herself a multiple prize and award winner for her superb vocals.
The conductor was the internationally renowned Stephen Bell who is not only widely recognised as a superb conductor but also for his easy manner and his aptitude for communicating with his audiences.
All-in-all, the concert was extremely enjoyable and I would not hesitate to recommend that you see for yourself to see why I am awarding 5 out of 5 for the performance and the same for the wonderfully helpful staff.
St George’s Hall. Bridge St, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1JT | 01274 432000