A broken string and a cheeky page-turner, by Megan Brand:
Nicola Benedetti, photography by SWNS
I had anticipated Nicola Benedetti: Vibrations as being the flashiest performance of #BRISTOLPROMS, given her reputation for being technically accomplished and, of course, stunningly attractive. This made the warmth and genuine humanity of this evening even more enjoyable. Choosing not to speak to the audience until halfway through the first half because she “had a lot of notes to play” instantly demonstrated that there needn’t be any kind of Benedetti myth – she is a perfectly ordinary human being who just happens to be an extremely talented violinist, capable of making sounds on the violin that seemed utterly impossible. Self-deprecating and charming, the entire audience was taken in by her, especially when she openly expressed her interest and excitement about the digital experiment being conducted behind and around her by danceroom Spectroscopy.
The second half of the evening was Tchaikovsky’s Trio in A minor for violin, cello and piano, a piece I’d never heard but that was joyfully communicated by Benedetti and her two fellow musicians – one of whom she had been playing with since she was ten years old. The camaraderie between them, but particularly between Benedetti and the cellist, was lovely to watch. I felt like I was sitting with them in their living room while they rehearsed.
This feeling was helped along by the cellist’s string snapping just as the Finale was underway. He calmly left the stage to change it, and Benedetti let the audience into the secret that he had asked to change the string in the rehearsal earlier that day and she’d said no… Benedetti and the pianist left the stage to check on the cellist, leaving behind a sheepish looking page-turner. He smiled and offered a thumbs up to the audience, who cheered for him to play the piano. Showing great courage – or perhaps pure cheekiness – he perched on the piano stool and played the opening of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata to the absolute delight of the audience.
New string fitted, the Trio was resumed, the crowd even more invested in the performance than before, and an evening of overwhelmingly genuine music came to a glorious end.
Megan is a full-time evangelist for the arts and borderline-obsessive proof-reader. As Marketing Officer at Bristol Old Vic it is her mission to make sure people hear about – and come along to – the huge spectrum of performances that take place in the various spaces.
For more information about #BRISTOLPROMS, please click here.