Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Amsterdam -- The Music!

There were two things we wanted to do in Amsterdam.
I wanted to see the Anne Frank house.Rick wanted to attend a concert at the Concertgebouw.
Considered one of the finest concert halls in the world, the Concertgebouw was completed in 1888 and in renowned for its acoustics.
On the day we were in Amsterdam, there were three concerts scheduled. We chose to attend one at 11:30 a.m. This alone amazed us -- that a concert hall could fill up three times a day, as early as before noon.
What we discovered, after we left our tram and approached the building, is that there are many concerts held there -- each and every single day. In fact, nearly 900 concerts are presented here each year. Perhaps more.
We didn't have tickets, but the website said tickets were available, so we headed first to the box office. As we were getting in line, a couple, perhaps in their 60s or maybe their 70s, asked if we were looking for tickets. 
We expected them to be scalpers, but they were season ticket holders whose friends couldn't attend. This very charming couple sold us the extra tickets for face value and then asked us to join them for a before-show coffee in the hall's bar. (We never would have found this without them.)
It was simply delightful to chat with them about their country and the differences in our two countries. When we went to sit together in the auditorium, we felt like friends.
The concert was broadcast on Radio 4 and we enjoyed a program that included music by Stravinsky, Debussy, Rimski-Korsakov and Dukas, with soloist Ronald Brautigam.The conductor, Mark Elder,  seemed quite young to us (from our fifth row seats!). 
After, we wandered about, taking photos of the hall and rich in the euphoria of hearing wonderful music, beautifully played and in a concert hall that did it justice. 
And we had one of those serendipitous encounters that make any experience richer.
Travel Tips

1) Online reservations -- it all depends. We learned that if one is on a tight time frame and really wants to do something (like the Anne Frank House), they are mandatory. If you are willing to take a chance, you, too, may have the kind of encounter we enjoyed.

2) If you're not familiar with a venue, ask if there is a spot to enjoy refreshments before the show. The bar in the Concertgebouw was not obvious and had it not been for our Fairy God-Dutch friends, we never would have found this delightful spot.


Joanne Huffman said...

There's always a balance to be made between planning and spontinaity. It looks like you did very well.

Jeanie said...

What an incredible experience, both the concert and enjoying it in such good seats with your new friends. How remarkable that the concert hall fills up three times a day.

Barb said...

Serendipity! Those were great seats! Love the photos of the grand concert hall.

Arti said...

You've shown so vividly why I love Europe... and, how much I'd missed in previous trips. And you're so fortunate to be able to make impromptu friendship, not to mention tickets and food. What a wonderful encounter, Jeanie. I'm sure the music was as beautiful, elegant and classy as the venue.

Tara Bradford said...

Once again, unable to leave comments via Google - they just vanished! As I was saying, you were lucky to meet the Dutch couple and get the tickets. You were also lucky there were extra performances as part of Queen's Day celebrations. So glad you enjoyed the experience!

Leann said...

Well how lucky for you to have Fairy Dutch parents! We had that luck one day when at a folk fest and someone actually just gave us the tickets.

The kindness of others is wonderful!


Tracy said...

Oh, how wonderful that you were able to see/hear a concert at the famed Concertgebouw!! That's a dream of ours too. The kindness and helpfulness of others and even strangers can lift an experience abroad. :o) LOVE love all these highlights from your trip, Jeanie! Happy Days ((HUGS))

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Oh wow - what a serendipitous experience to meet a cool couple that sold you great seats at a fair price! Fun! And you got to interact with the locals which is always a treat! Sounds like such a fun experience. I love taking in live music while traveling!

joyce said...

I've been waiting with anticipation for your Amsterdam posts....I'd love to go there again and have been looking forward to your experiences (by your comment on my blog, you got another cat....enjoy him/her!

Introverted Art said...

gorgeous photos, absolutely gorgeous.

~*~Patty S said...

ooo you are stirring my wanderlust again dear Jeanie

Wonderful post!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I love hearing about your travels and seeing those gorgeous pictures, Jeanie! Your travel tips are also so valuable.

Marilyn said...

Isn't traveling made more special by such encounters as this one. Truly a treat and a memory you will never forget.

Retired English Teacher said...

Wow. This is a great story. I loved reading about these people who took a liking to you and Rick, and who wouldn't, and invited to sit with them after they sold you the tickets. Isn't it neat how some things just really work out beyond our wildest dreams?

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I fell in love with Amsterdam just from your pictures...! What a beautiful beautiful city!!!
Such a great trip, my dear.
And what a lovely experience to meet these sweet people...! "Culture" in other country's seems so much a part of daily living---I Love That!

Jennifer Richardson said...

amazing...i imagine the grand sound
was something like a slice
of heaven.
I hope you'll share a bit
about the Anne Frank house...i'd
love, love, love to
see and hear more.

Relyn Lawson said...

You have the most excellent adventures!

shoreacres said...

One of the most wonderful things about your posts is that you introduce me to so many things I've never heard of. The "famed" Concertgebouw"? Brand new to me, even with its gorgeous architecture and 900 concerts per year!

The little detail of the hall I really enjoyed was the name of Ravel and Puper (sp?) there on the balcony. I'm guessing that Mozart, et al have their names there, too.

Do they have the equivalent of a "house orchestra", or are the concerts presented by visiting groups. Both, probably. Wouldn't it be wonderful if our concert halls were so well utilized?

Janet said...

How fun to be able to attend a concert just about any time you want. And what a nice gesture to have those people offer you tickets and befriend you.

jet1960 said...

Beautiful building! Imagine that the music was magical in such a setting!

Barefoot from Heaven said...

Shame on me I never ever been there. Although A'dam is one of my fav cities. Dagmar
ps gladd you met this couple and had soooo much fun.

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