BWW Review: CONCERT AT THE PRINCE'S PALACE at Palais De Monaco - A Royal Treat Under The Stars
It is not every day one is able to enjoy a concert in the magnificent palace of Monaco. Nevertheless, for a few days in summer, the palace opens its doors for the Palace Concerts, featuring the Philharmonic Orchestra of Monte-Carlo with guest conductors and soloists from all over the world, making an evening in the open courtyard of the royal residence even more enchanting.
On the 12th of July 2018, the chosen Romantic-period program could not have fitted the scene any better. Under the direction of conductor Gianluigi Gelmetti, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Monte-Carlo would perform Robert Schumann, Piano Concerto 54 with pianist Beatrice Rana, followed by Franz Schubert's Rosamunde, Opus 26, D. 797, extract from the 3rd act, and closing with Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony N°4, Opus 90, Italian.
As people slowly walk through the palace gates at this jacket and tie event, flowers, ornaments, and golden angels look down from the beautiful decorations on the walls. Seeing such beauty and meticulously shined marble balls, one can only imagine what splendor and mysteries happen within these walls. A palace member of staff peeks through one of the upper floor windows while the orchestra warms up behind the stage. People are gracefully led to their seats, giving the prospective audience a chance to cool down from this sultry sunny day.
As the doors to the palace close for remaining of the concert, the orchestra takes its place and a grand welcome applause explodes for conductor Gianluigi Gelmetti and soloist Beatrice Rana on the piano. Silence takes over the scene, and under the darkening night sky with no cloud in sight, the conductor opens the concert with the electrifying first notes of Robert Schumann's Piano Concerto, opus 54.
At only 25, Beatrice Rana has made her imprint on the international classical music scene and is received with admiration and interest by concert presenters, critics, conductors and audiences all over the world. Born into a family of musicians in Italy, Rana started playing the piano at the age of four, resulting in her orchestral debut at nine, performing Bach Concerto in F minor. She received her Piano Degree at the Nino Rota Conservatory in Monopoli, where she also studied composition with Marco della Sciucca, and continued her studies at the Hochschule fur Musik in Hannover.
The most recent "Gramophone Classical Music Award 2017, Young Artist of the Year," is only one of the many awards this young pianist has in her name. With a fine touch, Rana's fingers glide over the piano, playing Robert Schumann's only piano concerto, which premiered in Dresden,1845, with his wife Clara Schumann on the piano. Especially conscious of the delicate sections of the music, Rana shows her exquisite talent, where it seems she does not only play the notes, but also the silences in between. Unfortunately, as can happen in an open-air concert, for a brief moment the music and silences were overshadowed by an old airplane. As normal in a professional performance, the music nonetheless played on and did not take Rana or any other members from the orchestra out of concentration, though understandably a little discontentment was detected (if not by the audience members).
Despite this little impromptu, a wonderful play between Gianluigi Gelmetti and Rana unfolds. For 35 minutes, Gelmetti and Rana ensure a precise symbiosis between the piano and the orchestra. Having said that, it is not the first time for Gelmetti to be invited to Monaco and to work with the philharmonic orchestra of the principality.
Born in Rome in 1945, Gelmetti first started conducting when he was 16 in Sienna. After studying conducting with Ferrara, Celibidache, and Swarowsky, his career took off. Since his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Italian conductor and composer regularly appears on stage of the world's most important opera houses and festivals. Gelmetti frequently has been invited to work in Monaco, resulting in his title as honorary conductor of the OPMC. Today, Gelmetti is revered as one of the most prestigious conductors and was named "Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" in France and "Cavaliere di Gran Croce" by Italy's President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.
And it is obvious why. With such gracious movement which is not only seen by his constant gentle smile and elegant way of conducting, he makes the music resemble the wind playing with a bed of roses, elevates the dramatic impact of the musical piece, yet is not hesitant to instantly step back, and let the beautifully executed solo of a clarinet or hobo contrast the silence. His style and alluring charisma match the Romantic pieces of the composers gracefully. Even though at times members of the orchestra seemed to forget they were on stage, the perfect symbiosis of their exquisite talents with Gelmetti's artistry was palpable throughout the whole concert.
Thus a romantic magical evening ends in the palace of Monaco under the beautiful dark skies with twinkling stars - a royal treat for the eyes and ears.
The palace concerts start at 21:30 every Thursday and Sunday till the 5th of August. Prices range from €20 - €100, recommended seating would be category 1 and 2. For tickets, please visit: www.opmc.mc. Please note, jacket and tie are mandatory for men.
Photo credit: OPMC