The Christmas Concert of the French Classical Radio
In December, I took part in a great production : the Christmas Concert of “Radio Classique”
This concert is done every year in a great concert room in Paris. The French classical radio wants to make it as famous as the New Year’s Eve concert of Vienna. They create a very classical and popular program with arias and pieces known by everyone.
This year, my choir was selected to sing the children’s part ; with the choir of the French army and the Republican Guard Orchestra and it was really an honor to meet those great musicians. The conductor was the colonel Francois Boulanger who is very energetic, precise and funny ! They were all kinds and we spent a great time working with them.
The concert was in the Philharmonie of Paris (Manon already made an article about a concert in this room) and the acoustic is stunning. All the places were sold out (2400 people!) but fortunately my parents could buy some tickets.
We rehearsed all Friday long and we had a concert on Friday evening and another one on Saturday morning. Both were amazing and we had lots of compliments. It was great because the personal of the radio station gave us some food in our dressing room which was really comfortable. We were in a huge auditorium, just for us , to rehearse before meeting the Orchestra.
Then, we did the dress rehearsal. There were a few journalists in the audience but they were only a dozen. We discovered that between our parts, a great organist would improvise, based on what he had heard, with his organ. And it was astonishing! I’ve never heard anything like that. He wasn’t planning anything and indeed, he made some very different melodies during the two concerts. We could hear some beautiful things in the middle of the orchestra, like a Gerschwin medley with the symphonic orchestra and a battery ( it was funny because the colonel was dancing while conducting), or Thaïs’s meditation from the opera Thais by Massenet with a wonderful solo from the violin.
We sang some traditionnal Christmas arias like “O Christmas Tree”, “Il est né le divin enfant” or “Les Anges dans nos campagnes”. The part I liked most was the French Can Can by Offenbach with the orchestra. This really was a great moment of the concert.
The great final of the concert was the Hallelujah from the Messiah by Haendel. In both concerts, the audience did a standing ovation, and I must admit it was pretty cool.
You can find the audio of the concert right here :