August 28, 2011, was date of the 18th Annual Theater District Open House in Downtown Houston.
The first and by far the most important thing that would shock and surprise the public arriving for the Theater District Open House and choosing to park in the underground parking structure, was that it was the very first day that credit cards and debit cards were accepted for the flat-rate $7 (currently) ‘Event Parking’ fee, which has previously been only payable in cash. A decidedly major technology and convenience advance, for event attendees at all Theater District performances.
The Houston Symphony participated in the Theater District Open House by having an Open House of Jones Hall, which included information booths about the Houston Symphony’s and the Society for the Performing Arts’ many activities and subscription opportunities, plus a guided tour of the backstage areas at Jones Hall including a Music Library Tour (article), followed by a Free Public Concert by the Houston Symphony.
Last year the Free Public Concert was so popular and filled to capacity that knotmove.com was unable to even get into the theater! Scandalous! So this season knotmove.com made it a point to get to Jones Hall extra early, take advantage of the backstage and Music Library Tour (article), and obtain a good, early seat at the Concert.
Vittoria alla Determinato!
For the General Public, this is sometimes their only opportunity to see a Houston Symphony concert in its home venue of Jones Hall, or to be able to bring the entire family along for the experience, as they are otherwise used to being able to do during the Free Concerts at Miller Outdoor Theatre. As a result, the enthusiastic symphony fans streamed into Jones Hall and took full advantage of the one-day open-seating policy to find the seats of their choice, and excitedly anticipate the concert to begin.
They did not have to wait long, as soon the new Associate Conductor Robert Franz stepped onstage and began the concert, and then stopped between each piece to explain the program selections for the day, and describe what was coming next. The Program consisted of: Flight to Neverland from Hook, by John Williams; Corian Overture by Beethoven; the ‘Storm’ Music from the opera Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten; Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14, by Sergei Rachmaninoff; Introduction to Act 4, Scene 2 (‘The Three Wonders’) from the opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; the Second and Third Movements of ‘Summer,’ from The Four Seasons, by Antonio Vivaldi, featuring Violin Soloist Associate Concertmaster Eric Halen; and ‘Viva Puccini,’ an arrangement of great Puccini themes by Robert Wendel.
Robert Franz was a good, informative, entertaining and humorous host of the festivities, and the attending families and public members enjoyed the diverse music selection, and excellent performance of the Houston Symphony.
Another Free Public Concert was in the books, and a happy audience applauded, and then began departing Jones Hall, content as another Theater District Open House had drawn to an entertaining close.
Everybody come back again next year!
Contact Gary at: [email protected]