A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

In concert with the Queen

For a change to pop music I enjoy going to classical concerts. Thus when another student of my college proposed to go to see a performance of her father´s choir where we could get tickets for only 10 Euros I was happy to join. I did not expect something special because I did not inform myself beforehand about what we were going to see. However on Friday she wrote everyone a message to dress up a bit fancy as she expected it to be quite formal.

The concert was on Saturday evening while we had our college´s Halloween Party on Friday. So the first problem was to get all the fake blood of my face and hair on Saturday morning and that was quite a challenge. However I managed to look decent by Saturday night. We went together to the big theater next to Den Haag´s city hall and the scene was quite different of what I had expected: there was a large queue in front of the theatre waiting to get in and photographers were standing next to the red carpet in the freezing wind.

The theatre from outside

I was quite surprised by the size of the event, but then the others told me that it was really special. It was the first time that the three parts of the “Residentie Bach Ensembles” would perform together, meaning that it was a joint performance of “The dream of Gerontius” of two orchestras and a choir. The whole Royal Family was supposed to come what also explained the red carpet and the photographers.

Picture by Pieter Musterd

So everybody was supposed to go into the theatre and take their seats. The hall was really beautiful: whereas in Germany most classical performances are in antique buildings, this theatre was very modern. The walls were covered in a projection of red leaves, the seats were of blood red velvet and the whole atmosphere quite special. First there were some speeches and then just before the concert started everybody suddenly stood up and the Queen entered with the rest of her family to take their seats in the front row of the balcony. I have never seen a Queen or a King before and yes, it is only a person as everybody else, but still it is nice to see and the musicians felt really honored.

The Royal Family

The concert took about two hours and it was nice, but I felt that the performance was only technically really good. However they did not put enough passion in it so the music only moved me in the beginning. It was still beautiful to listen to, but it was not the case that we were incredibly impressed by the concert as I was from some others I have seen. To make up for this, there was a nice reception afterwards with free drinks and how could you say no to this as a student?

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