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Curious about best bang for buck with seating arrangements in Theatre des Champs-Elysees

Curious about best bang for buck with seating arrangements in Theatre des Champs-Elysees

Old Nov 24th, 2004, 06:48 AM
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Curious about best bang for buck with seating arrangements in Theatre des Champs-Elysees

Hi, does someone know this hall? What would be a good seat for a piano recital?

I took a look at the seating arrangement online, and the options include

--Fond bagnoire cour/jardin
--Corbeille cour/jardin
--1er Balcon cour/jardin
--2eme Balcon cour/jardin
--Galerie cour/jardin

I don't know what the prices are for each category exactly, but the price range is from 20-61 Euros.

There're also cheaper tickets with obstructed view, I think.

Any ideas? Thanks.
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Old Nov 24th, 2004, 11:51 AM
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That is a beautiful and very famous theatre, with a lot of history behind it (Josephine Baker, Nijinsky, etc). I've always wanted to go to a concert or recital there, but never found the right thing for my dates.

I don't know what the "galerie" is in that list, I didn't see any section called that on their seating chart. If that's the order, it's obviously on the roof or something or not even real seats. The corbeille is the midsection between orchestra and balcony. It depends on what you want to spend. I don't scrimp on special performances like that because if I go to something live, I pay for the best seats.

I'm not sure about the bagnoire, think that may be box seats, but "fond bagnoire" may be the back seats in them and the view could be obstructed. Or it could be the position of the box seat. I don't know, but the web site has a cool interactive reservation system that shows you exactly where the seats are available, did you see that?

I'd go for corbeille if not far to the side in either direction (same for any seat). For a pianist, the visuals aren't quite as important as some other things, so you have some leeway.
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Old Nov 24th, 2004, 11:52 AM
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(continued)
Generally, stage right (which is "jardin" in this theater) is preferred. Those seats will go first, so a "cour" seat that isn't too far to the side will be okay. I play the piano and like to sit so I can see the fingering and pedaling technique for tips or out of interest, but that isn't important to those who can't play so much. However, with a pianist, far stage left still isn't desirable because of the way the pianist sits and the raised lid of the piano.

This theater isn't real small, about 2000 seats, so I wouldn't go for the top balcony and never obstructed seats. One might think that isn't so important for just listening, but in that theater, those seats look really high up.

Is that the Leif Andsnes recital? I've heard him live, he is an excellent Norwegian pianist and that is a good program.
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Old Nov 24th, 2004, 12:03 PM
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Wow, thanks, Christina. I'm going to read the post more carefully. You're probably right that more expensive is usually better, so that's a reason to splurge.

Yes, I'm thinking about the Andsnes recital. I've never been to a "real" classical music performance in Paris, so I thought that this would be a nice thing to do.

I heard Andsnes live once about two years ago (?) in Carnegie Hall -- he played some Chopin (Sonata #3, Fantasie in F minor, if memory serves) and some Debussy ("L'Isle Joyeuse" and some Etudes, I think -- I can't remember which ones though) and something else.

Actually I wasn't all that impressed by the recital, but the Times critic (Tommasini reviewed it, if I remember correctly) liked it a lot. He's had a lot of good reviews. I'm more interested in seeing the hall though. As you say, it has a lot of history. It's also the place where Stravinsky's "Rite" premiered and incited a riot.

Where did you hear Andsnes? He's running a Perspectives Series in Carnegie Hall this year, which means that he gets to organize a series of concerts with a specific theme, so he's playing here a lot this season.
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Old Nov 24th, 2004, 12:05 PM
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In case people are curious, the program can be found here:

http://www.theatrechampselysees.fr/h.../recital7.html

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Old Nov 24th, 2004, 12:07 PM
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Funny -- now that I'm looking at this again, the prices after you click "Pour Reserver" are a couple of euros higher than the ones listed on the webpage whose link I gave.

It must be the reservation fee or something.
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Old Nov 24th, 2004, 12:26 PM
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By the way, I'm going to sound really clueless, but, why not? I'm anonymous.

You write that stage right (from Webster "the right part of a stage from the viewpoint of one who faces the audience ")is usually preferred, which I guess is the same as the keyboard side -- are there cases when the keyboard side is stage left? I can't think of any cases, but I'm curious.

And have you heard that the sound in the non-keyboard side can be better? I find this curious and interesting:

http://www.musicweb.uk.net/SandH/200...cernepiano.htm

Search for the word "keyboard" to find the relevant quote. It's the first time I've heard of such a thing.

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Old Nov 24th, 2004, 07:37 PM
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hi, I'm going to Mexico tomorrow so killing time as I can't sleep before a trip.

I heard him where I live, in Washington DC. As with any pianist, what you like makes the difference, however. There are certainly well-known pianists with good reviews that leave me rather cold.
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Old Nov 24th, 2004, 07:38 PM
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Stage right is always the keyboard side. I've never been to a recital in my entire life where it was the opposite. I hope I have that term correct (I"m not in theater), it's the left side of the stage as you look at it from the audience. I don't think any place would reverse it as it is so customary that those who buy seats would get really annoyed if they found out the piano was reversed. There is another good reason for the whole thing, which is why I don't think that would ever happen -- when you open the lid of a grand piano to enliven the acoustics and the sound, it will always be opened with the hinges on the left. That's the way pianos are made and can't be reversed due to the shape of the soundboard and plate, which are determined by the length of the strings. Bass strings are the longest and treble strings the shortest. With the lid open, the open side must face the audience, and that can only happen with the keyboard at the left.

No, I've never heard that stage left is superior in sound. I can't think of any logical reason why it would be. If anything, center should be because that is the most direct sound from the piano. I don't think the sound is superior from the left, it's just a better view of the pianist. If that isn't super important to you, the center is fine. If I can't get stage right, I often get center or occasionally stage left if the seat isn't way on the side. For a good pianist and good acoustics, all of those should be enjoyable. I've read the acoustics in that theater are good for that type of performance, or vocal, but maybe not the best for orchestral. Maybe that is picky, the National Orchestra of France plays there regularly, I think (or one of those biggies).

I'll be interested in reading that article when I get back, but I'm afraid I don't have time right now.
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Old Nov 24th, 2004, 07:39 PM
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fodors is acting up again, you can't post long posts
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Old Nov 26th, 2004, 05:35 AM
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Interesting. I hope the trip went well.

I'll think about booking when it gets closer and if I'm going (but the concert will probably sell out by then).

Among the big-name pianists whom I've heard live, Mitsuko Uchida must have been the most disappointing. I heard her live in Beethoven's Opp. 109-111, and I've no desire to hear her again. Pollini has been uneven, and I've not heard him in a year or two. I guess I've heard most of the big-name pianists live at one point or another, except for Perahia. I once heard Argerich in a recital with Gitlis, but I've never heard her perform a solo recital as it's become a rare occurrence for her (her Carnegie Hall recital a few years ago was the first solo recital in over 20 years, if I recall, and I wasn't in NYC then). For a while, I was quite interested in Pletnev, as I was really mesmerized by his Carnegie Hall debut, and I went to a couple of his solo recitals. In one of the concerts he played "Pictures," which Andsnes is scheduled to play. It'll be interesting, but it's hard to imagine a better performance of this than what Richter accomplished in the 1958 Sofia recital.
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Old Nov 26th, 2004, 05:57 AM
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Strictly speaking, I should be posting this to the Asian board, but this discussion brought to mind the famous review of the "Bangkok Recital".

If you haven't yet read it , it can be found at http://charon.sfsu.edu/disaster/humid.html
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Old Nov 26th, 2004, 06:00 AM
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I've not checked the link yet, but this must be the famous report of a recital where the pianist chops the piano into pieces?

Somehow I don't believe it -- it sounds like an urban legend.

There're a lot of fun stories out there. I heard one about Alfred Brendel, who stopped once in a middle of a recital to face the audience and said, "I can hear you; can you hear me?"
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Old Nov 26th, 2004, 06:19 AM
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I misquoted Brendel a little -- it's "I can hear you, but you can't hear me."

Source:

http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/2192/essays5.html
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Old Nov 26th, 2004, 06:21 AM
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It is indeed an urban legend, and has been around for nearly 40 years since it first appeared as a humourous essay. It is hilarious nonetheless.
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Old Nov 26th, 2004, 05:27 PM
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hi, I am in mexico. the weather sucks big time it is raining every day a lot. Not what you want for a Mexican beach vacation. anyway, this keyboard is bizarre also but Ill try...

Ive heard Brendel, Pogorelich, Barenboim, Ashkenazy, Argerich,Brendel, Radu Lupu, Perahia, and a couple others Im forgetting live. I really like all of them which is why I went... now Brendel maybe is a little too refined I was thinking late and he does something that surprised me given his general reputation and playing style, he makes faces while he plays which is really distracting and disturbing to me, it kind of ruins the music unless you close your eyes. Some classical pianists develop neurotic habits like that or vocalizing... making humming or other noise while they play as Glenn Gould used to do. Martha Argerich is one of my favorites, Im a real groupie, and heard her live twice last year ... once in Wash DC and then I went to London because she played at the BBC Proms, also. I plan to go to her piano competition next September in Argentina, also. I heard Uchido also makes faces when she plays. Ive wanted to hear Pletnev live but never have. Perahia was very good, I hávent heard him since he had that hand injury which Im sure a psychiatrist could analyze if you know what happened. He had some minor injury but wouldnt go to a doctor and it eventually got really bad or something, some major infection. I dont believe that was random for a professonal pianist to not go to the doctor and make his hand worse.
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Old Nov 29th, 2004, 04:35 AM
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Interesting. Of this list I've not heard Pogo, Ashkenazy and Barenboim. I want to hear Pogo, despite the Chopin Preludes snippets I heard which I found bizarre (and the reviews of the seemingly disastrous Rach 2 a few years ago, with bizarre tempi). He canceled his scheduled Met Museum recital last year (supposedly also the first in NYC in a number of years).

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