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Old 04-09-2010, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
4 posts, read 28,579 times
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I am moving from Dallas to Seattle and would like opinions on Seattle's orchestra. I was a subscriber to Dallas' orchestra and the Meyerson Center is a gem - great acoustics. Can the same be said about Benaroya Hall? What's the atmosphere like on a Saturday evening at Benaroya before the concert?

Thanks
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:11 PM
 
3,698 posts, read 10,577,476 times
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Benaroya has outstanding acoustics, and the Seattle Symphony is a pretty good orchestra. I can't speak to the atmosphere on Saturday nights, but the times that I've been the lobby is busy with lots of people chatting.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:24 PM
 
Location: rain city
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The Meyerson is indeed a gem. Benaroya, although built at about the same time the Meyerson was constructed, is a lump of coal. In fact I would call it the ugliest symphony building I have ever been in. I actually cried the first time I went there.

The patron concourse with cafe and gift shop etc. is exactly like an airport terminal waiting area. A long ugly hallway with amenities on one side and airport lounge tables on the other. Lots of shiny flooring and brushed aluminum walls.

The interior atrium is more attractive but dull. The auditorium is brown. Brown brown brown. The carpets, walls, seat fabric, decor--it's all brown.

Acoustics are good. Tickets are expensive. The orchestra is ok, usual and competent but not overwhelming. I believe the Seattle symphony is currently looking for a new maestro. I hope they find someone with a little zip and tear. They need it.

However, the Seattle symphony is the only game in town. There is just the one symphony. You want symphony you're going to Benaroya. Gotta take what you can get around here.
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:23 PM
 
260 posts, read 696,526 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azoria View Post
The Meyerson is indeed a gem. Benaroya, although built at about the same time the Meyerson was constructed, is a lump of coal. In fact I would call it the ugliest symphony building I have ever been in. I actually cried the first time I went there.

The patron concourse with cafe and gift shop etc. is exactly like an airport terminal waiting area. A long ugly hallway with amenities on one side and airport lounge tables on the other. Lots of shiny flooring and brushed aluminum walls.

The interior atrium is more attractive but dull. The auditorium is brown. Brown brown brown. The carpets, walls, seat fabric, decor--it's all brown.

Acoustics are good. Tickets are expensive. The orchestra is ok, usual and competent but not overwhelming. I believe the Seattle symphony is currently looking for a new maestro. I hope they find someone with a little zip and tear. They need it.

However, the Seattle symphony is the only game in town. There is just the one symphony. You want symphony you're going to Benaroya. Gotta take what you can get around here.
Wow, that is harsh. There are things here that are true, but it's not as bad as you make it seem. Beneroya Hall is said to have some of the best acoustics in the world, and I actually quite like the interior and the Boeing Gallery. I think it's very simple, yes, but less is more. Tickets are expensive everywhere because most orchestras are hurting financially. The orchestra is way better than okay. Unfortunatly, the orchestra does not like Gerard Schwarz, the maestro, and they are pretty bland under his baton, but when they have a guest conductor, it's a whole new orchestra. The look like they enjoy themselves, and play with the utmost passion and fire. There is a reason that the Seattle Symphony is one of the world's most recorded orchestras. And what you said about how the orchestra is the only game in town, that is completely untrue. There is the Seattle Philharmonic, the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, the Northwest Sinfonia, and you have the Seattle Youth Symphonies which are actually really quite terrific. Mind you, this is an opinion, but so is azaria's.
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
4 posts, read 28,579 times
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I will be sure to lookup the conductor for each concert when purchasing my 2010-2011 season package. Hopefully Schwarz will not be conducting the compositions I want to hear.

Thanks
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Old 04-09-2010, 11:23 PM
 
52 posts, read 235,681 times
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Benaroya is a huge improvement over the old Opera House, which had inferior acoustics and a bad seating arrangement. I'm not a subscriber, but I try to make room for a couple of concerts a year. It is usually fairly busy before concerts in the lobby, but not overwhelming.

One major downside is that the 3rd Avenue side of Benaroya is next to a major Metro bus stop that unfortunately attracts all sorts of crazies, particularly at night. Getting acosted by a drunk guy who threatens to kill you is a bad way to end a nice evening out (that only happened once to me, and it was kind of funny afterwards, but not at all at the moment).

Some people are embarrasingly casual in their dress (I've seen jeans, flip flops, athletic shoes, etc.). The audience can be prone to frequent excessive & inappropriate applause and I've noticed a tendency to give ridiculously long standing ovations for nice, but ordinary performances.
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Old 04-12-2010, 12:36 PM
 
3,698 posts, read 10,577,476 times
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Yeah, Seattle audiences leap to their feet for pretty much every performance they see. I can't remember the last time I went to the theater or the symphony and didn't see a standing ovation.

As far as the dress code, this is Seattle. Anyone who dresses up too much is obviously a transplant.
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Old 04-12-2010, 05:02 PM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,837,187 times
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Well then this "obvious transplant" will show Seattle how it dress for a symphony evening without dirty sneakers and a wet hoodie.

I'll be there April 24 for Beethoven's fifth. Meet me in the main terminal.
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
4 posts, read 28,579 times
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I arrived in Seattle yesterday morning – it’s nice. Last night I heard Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto 2 performed at Benaroya Hall. It's true that patrons dress casually - I saw jeans, Nike shoes, and a man wearing a kilt. They sure do keep it real. But I sensed an appreciation for the art and that's what matters. The brief lecture before the concert was very insightful. Benaroya's acoustics are not as subtle as I expected but that can be good thing if you're sitting in the third tier (as I usually do). Overall, I enjoyed the evening and look forward to the 2010-2011 season.
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:37 AM
 
260 posts, read 696,526 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aranderson22 View Post
I arrived in Seattle yesterday morning – it’s nice. Last night I heard Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto 2 performed at Benaroya Hall. It's true that patrons dress casually - I saw jeans, Nike shoes, and a man wearing a kilt. They sure do keep it real. But I sensed an appreciation for the art and that's what matters. The brief lecture before the concert was very insightful. Benaroya's acoustics are not as subtle as I expected but that can be good thing if you're sitting in the third tier (as I usually do). Overall, I enjoyed the evening and look forward to the 2010-2011 season.
That was a great concert. Robert Spano really knows how to work with the orchestra
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