My Most Verbose Backgrounds
When I was a child, I have always been keen on going to live classical music concerts, especially the ones performed by symphony orchestras. The cities I have spent the most time are all small cities (Hefei, Huainan and Adelaide). There hasn’t been much opportunities for a proper-sized or decent such concerts.
I moved to Sydney in 2019 due to work, but it was soon followed by the notorious 3-year COVID-19. I haven’t experienced much in Sydney (and I also didn’t write much as you might have noticed). Since last year, lots of famous artists announced their world tours, and most of them announced Sydney which made me really excited. Early this year, I went to the Jay Chou’s live concert. It was really enjoyable to finally see the artist who I followed since primary school, especially that I have listened to all Jay Chou’s songs for uncountable times during COVID. This was also my first time being to live concert, which was really exciting. However notably, I failed to secure a ticket for Taylor Swift’s Era Tour. 😭😭
On my bucket list, I’m still keeping eyes on Joe Hisaishi and Hans Zimmer’s original soundtrack concerts. I find that lots of orchestras like to use their names in the performance names because they are playing their pieces. As you might guess, what I am really looking for was kinda like a comfort from paying back to my childhood stars whose works have influenced my whole life.
A few months back, I went to a live orchestra concert called Candlelight: Best of Joe Hisaishi at the Sydney Town Hall.
Candlelight was actually a pretty famous symphony orchestra.
No wonder this became my first time attending a live (maybe) contemporary music concert.
That was my first time realizing they actually didn’t need any speakers or any artificial amplifiers.
The experience was superb, and OMG I started liking Sydney.
Below was the live photo taken during the initial preparation
last piece - Departures (from Movie Departures 2008) at Tier 2 seat:
Knowing Hayato Sumino (角野 隼斗 / Cateen / かてぃん)
Interestingly at the very beginning, I didn’t know Hayato Sumino at all, until one day (early this year) YouTube started feeding me the same video from him repetitively. That video also instantly drew my attention which I couldn’t ignore. I couldn’t recall which video it was. It might be Suzume (Piano Ver.).
Suzume was a movie from Makoto Shinkai released on April 13th in Australia this year. I was a big fan of Your Name. (which I probably haven’t mentioned that I watched this anime for 20+ times), so I have already watched the first day’s session before seeing that video. Plus, that video has a really nice edit that shows two words inside and outside the piano.
After watching that video, I started watching more fed videos from him.
His videos always shows great happiness and passions when he plays the piano.
It is really satisfying watching as an audience.
Apart from that, I also quite like his logo and net name - Cateen because I’m a big fan of cat as well.
My net name - MewX is actually from
Cat + X.
I also found that he studied IT in Tokyo University. It was the same industry with me, and we were in similar age, so I thought that was really impressive to have such great skill in piano performance.
When I accidentally heard he was going to perform in Sydney for the first time ever, it was already Sept 5. The ticket was on public sale a month before that day, and the early bird sale had ended. The good seats were all taken, and I really didn’t want to seat at the back if possible based on my experience for the Candlelight concert (same venue). After a few refreshes, I saw there were exactly two SVIP (highest tier) tickets left.
From the Eventbrite website, here are the differences between the two types of VIP tickets:
- SVIP Tickets include a group photo with Mr Hayato
- EACH VIP Ticket includes an autographed merchandise
and the ticket prices are (when I purchased, and the prices did reduce slightly later):
- SVIP: A$209.29
- VIP: ~A$176 (couldn’t find any references)
- Tier 1: A$146.51
- Tier 2: A$115.13
- Tier 3: A$83.74
- Tier 4: A$56.64
- Disabled: A$62.82
I’m okay with VIP tickets. However, there’s not much good spots left. Since it’s my first time, I decided to get the best seat. So, SVIP it is! 😁 I had to say the SVIP tier ticket was higher than most top tier concert tickets.
Turned out that the
group photo above was actually
individual photo! Definitely worthed the price!
After buying the ticket, I also noticed Yundi Li would perform in the Sydney Opera House. I was kinda tempted to buy tickets for that as well because I had never been seated in the Opera House yet. 😂 However, I ended up thinking twice because I’m not really a big fan of Yundi tbh.
Before the Recital
The organizer sent all SVIPs & VIPs an email about how it’s going to work for the merchandises and photography session. They specifically mentioned we should arrive 30min in advance and they wrote down 19:30 in the email. That really confused me because the ticket said 19:00 - 21:30 were the show time. So, I assumed 19:00 should be the time and I should arrive before that.
Then, that was two days ago (Nov 5, 2023), a cloudy Sunday with a bit showering. Since I live in the T4 train line, I took the train to Town Hall station pretty easily. There were full of people in front of the Town Hall building and there wasn’t any VIP entry. 😂 As you can might not see from the picture, there are 20 meters long queue hidden inside the picture.
Given my experience for the Candlelight performance, there will always be many people not queueing. I become one of them this time with my SVIP hat on. 🤠
There were lots of Japanese people around me and I almost spoke out こんにちは to them. 👻 First time knowing such many Japanese people in Sydney actually. After around 15 minutes, I squeezed into the entry corridor, and the Steinway & Sons piano is right in the center and visible from outside:
Here’s the biggest poster in the foyer. A fun story is that people who went to Yundi Li’s recital a few days ago saw the same flower baskets. So, it might be indeed reused. 💐
The whole process did not verify tickets at all, which means anyone can sneak in. Actually, there was one lady sneaked into the SVIP seat. 🥲 Inside the Town Hall, it was still quite empty.
Here’s the close look at the STEINWAY & SONS D-274 piano (MSRP of US$175,700). It’s noticeably big! Excited for the sounds! 😛
During the Recital
The performance officially started at 19:30, which meant it took 30 more minutes for audiences to be seated. Even after the recital began, I still saw some people entering (including SVIPs), which could really distract the performer IMO. There were also 5 missing seats in SVIP area. I can’t really blame those rich guys because I was able to switch seats in the second session. 😛 Overall, this should be on the organizer. 🤦
Here’s the list of pieces:
- Chopin: Scherzo in B Minor, Op. 20, No. 1
- Chopin: Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48, No. 1
- Sumino: Recollection
- Sumino: New Birth
- Sumino: Big Cat Waltz
- Chopin: Waltz in E-flat Major, Op. 18, No. 1
- Chopin: Polonaise in A-flat Major, Op. 53, No. 6
- J.S. Bach: Italian Concerto BWV 971
- Gershwin: 3 Preludes
- Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
All those piece picks are really classical! They are very pleasant to listen to!
Here are some live photos during the two sections. You can always feel joys from his performance!
This feels like me when I’m coding XD
This one was during the Rhapsody in Blue. Nice atmosphere with blue lights.
After the two sessions, the staff presented bouquet on the stage. Hayato Sumino didn’t seem to know that was staff, and tried to dodge the bouquet. 😂 After that, he also had three encores because audiences kept clapping!
- Kapustin’s Eight Concert Etudes Op. 40 No. 3 - “Toccatina”
- His Big Cat Waltz
- His 7 levels of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
For the 4th encore, he closed the piano lid as the end! 😂😂😂 OMG this is definitely a meme!
After and After-Story
After the play, SVIPs (yes that’s me!) got the chance to take photo with Hayato Sumino, which was really nice! OMG but I forgot to request for a signature. Next time I will! 😭
Even two days later, I still hear the lingering piano sounds from his performance from time to time. It was so unforgettable! I also kept searching for other audiences’ reviews on 小红书, and I saw so many comparison reviews with Yundi’s recital a few days before.
People complained a lot about flash lights, long-time recording, speakings/talkings/coughings, etc. in Yundi’s performance. The organizer had to use laser lights to stop them. LOL After the first session, the organizer had to announce taking photos/videos were not allowed.
During Sumino’s performance, there wasn’t any requirements on photos/videos during the performance. Since it’s my first time attending recitals, I’m not sure what are not allowed. So, my personal guidelines was just not distracting others & not distracting the performer.
Later I realized there might be copyright issue for recording videos. So, I wouldn’t share any videos during the two main sessions.
I guess other reasons why the audience etiquette for Hayato Sumino’s is better than Yundi’s are:
- More Japanese audiences than Chinese audiences 😂
- Smaller hall (~1000 seats) compared with 2700 seats for Yundi’s
Top Tier: Hayato Sumino’s (~A$210) is more expensive than Yundi’s (~A$200)
Lowest Tier: Hayato’s is cheaper than Yundi’s.
The Opera House is definitely better. I hope one day I can go to Hayato’s live performance there! The Sydney Town Hall doesn’t really have good seats that have proper view on the performer’s hands unfortunately.
As I watched lots of videos from him, looking at hand performance was also very satisfying. For example, this Rhapsody in Blue official recording.
Concerto (协奏曲) and Sonata (奏鸣曲)
Surprisingly he performed both Concerto and Sonata. 😛😛 That reminded me to re-learn music foundations.
His real Concerto performance - (Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11) was also very impressive.
The Organizer and Other Performances
After looking at the organizer - Harmonie International’s YouTube channel, I realized the composer of River Flows in You - Yiruma (이루마 / 李閏珉 / 李闰珉) also would have a live recital in the Sydney Opera House on Dec 3rd this year (i.e. next month). Honestly speaking, I didn’t recognize his English name initially. I quickly went to the official website trying to get a ticket or two, but none was left. Thinking of Yundi Li’s ticketing experience, I might still be lucky to get tickets when the performance is approaching. I’ll make sure to refresh the website multiple times a day to make sure I won’t miss that.
Note that initially I thought Yiruma was the reason I joined Jpopsuki when I was looking for a complete lossless album containing River Flows in You. Then, I realized the album covers didn’t match my memory.
After further searches and recalls, I found it was from July (줄라이) - Beyond the Memory. Here’s the cover of the first album I downloaded from PT world (I should probably write another post about it 👻):
Got a shopping bag (quality is pretty good) and a poster (fully of black ink). 😂 I also laminated the printed-out tickets for my collection.
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