20 Nov 2017

The Hallé in Concert at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

We may not have had formal training, but music has always been a big part of our lives. M and I are fond of classical music and there was a time before parenthood when we routinely attended live concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and the Sage. 

We had heard wonderful things about the Bridgewater Hall after moving to Manchester, but never had the opportunity to visit. Until now.

The Hallé has been Manchester’s orchestra for more than 150 years. We were privileged to watch the choir and orchestra perform at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. If you are planning a visit, here are things you need to know before you go.

Hallé has been Manchester’s orchestra for more than 150 years. A few weeks ago, I entered a Facebook competition, as you do, to watch the Hallé perform. I wasn’t expecting much because I never win anything. Surprise, surprise, I won! The prize was a pair of tickets to see the Hallé in concert at the Bridgewater Hall.  We were offered a selection of concerts to choose from. We opted for the Four Sacred Pieces, a concert featuring the Hallé choir alongside the Hallé orchestra.

If you, like us, are visiting the Bridgewater Hall for the first time, here are a few things to know before you go:

  • You can buy tickets online on the Bridgewater Hall website, on the phone, by post or in person at the box office. Booking fees are charged on most transactions except when buying at the box office using cash or cheque.
  • The Bridgewater Hall is only a short walk away from St. Peter’s Square tram station. We found that getting the tram in was the easiest, cheapest and perhaps the quickest way to get here.
  • There are new security checks in place at the Bridgewater Hall. So make sure you arrive in plenty of time to allow for these.
  • Do get there on time, for you won’t be allowed in if the performance has started. You will have to wait for an interlude or break to get to your seats. (This is not just hearsay. We saw at least 3 people miss the first piece because they were late. Another gentleman was shown in as the conductor, Sir Mark Elder, was taking the opening applause. He had to wait for this person to be seated before he could begin. Not nice!)
  • You can always use the time to grab something to eat or a drink at the restaurant or bar before heading in to the Hall.
  • You can buy a concert programme at the Hallé welcome desk before the concert begins. Or you can pick one up during the interval.
  • Ice-creams are sold during the interval. I can highly recommend the ginger, it was delicious!
  • The Bridgewater Hall houses a souvenir shop that offers a selection of cards, CDs, jewellery and the like.
  • The venue and the acoustics are truly magnificent, so you are in for a treat.

The Bridgewater Hall was twinkling with fairy lights as we made our way in. The Hallé orchestra was  warming up on stage. The sight of the enormous pipe organ, burnished metal pipes glistening in the light, was breathtaking. I had to marvel at the stunning, modern interior design and the tiered seating of this venue.

It was a joy and privilege to hear the Hallé choir and orchestra perform. The two orchestral pieces by Wagner and Strauss were sensual, intense and dramatic. The choir performing Verdi’s Four Sacred Verses, religious, but by no means sedate, was a riveting contrast.

It was the perfect way to begin what I hope will be our enduring association with the Hallé and the Bridgewater Hall.

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