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Geoff

The "new" Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

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Something I found myself wondering while wandering around on the ROH's website this evening: why do they list the concert master as well as the conductor for all forthcoming ballet performances? For Romeo & Juliet, for instance, is would surely be far more useful to know who will be dancing Mercutio, Tybalt, etc. but that information isn't given. I find it hard to belive that anyone - apart perhaps from the leader's friends & relations, who could find out privately from them - ever books a ballet performance based on who will be leading the first violins! Also every time I read it it slightly irritates me that the ROH uses "concert master", which seems like an Americanism, rather than "leader".

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10 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

Something I found myself wondering while wandering around on the ROH's website this evening: why do they list the concert master as well as the conductor for all forthcoming ballet performances? For Romeo & Juliet, for instance, is would surely be far more useful to know who will be dancing Mercutio, Tybalt, etc. but that information isn't given. I find it hard to belive that anyone - apart perhaps from the leader's friends & relations, who could find out privately from them - ever books a ballet performance based on who will be leading the first violins! Also every time I read it it slightly irritates me that the ROH uses "concert master", which seems like an Americanism, rather than "leader".

 

Maybe it's a Musicians' Union thing? (If so, all the leading dancers should surely have the same right?).

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23 minutes ago, bridiem said:

Maybe it's a Musicians' Union thing? (If so, all the leading dancers should surely have the same right?).

 

That's got me checking the other major UK opera & ballet companies' websites but none of them have a concert master/leader listed, just the conductor. If it was a Union demand then I'm guessing it would apply to all the companies?

 

Maybe it's a hint that I should pay more attention to orchestras. I confess that quite frequently I find myself seeing the conductor entering the ROH pit & realise that, while I know exactly who is going to be singing that night, I have no idea who the conductor is!

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40 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

Something I found myself wondering while wandering around on the ROH's website this evening: why do they list the concert master as well as the conductor for all forthcoming ballet performances? 

 

And list them sometimes before the dancers.......

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I suppose it's because the ROH orchestra (unusually) has more than one leader - and maybe that's why their title is concert master?

 

Still, though I can understand listing them when there are significant violin solos, such as with Swan Lake, I expect very few people book on the basis of who'll be playing them.

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3 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

Also every time I read it it slightly irritates me that the ROH uses "concert master", which seems like an Americanism, rather than "leader".

 

European orchestras had a concert master before America even had an orchestra!

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17 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

European orchestras had a concert master before America even had an orchestra!

It seems the etymology is more usually from the German ‘Meister’ predating the UK or US terms.

 

the roles of this person can be found in the wiki page too.

 

From Wikipedia :https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concertmaster

 

The concertmaster (from the GermanKonzertmeister) in the U.S. and Canada is the leader of the first violin section in an orchestra (or clarinet in a concert band) and the instrument-playing leader of the orchestra. After the conductor, the concertmaster is the second-most significant leader in an orchestrasymphonic band or other musical ensemble. Another common term in the U.S. is "First Chair." In the U.K., Australia and elsewhere in the English-speaking world, the term commonly used is "leader."

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In my experience, first chair or leader of a section is described as such, and the term "concert master" is applied to the individual leading the first violins at each performance. So you might have the concert master today being the first chair, but tomorrow he's playing a concerto with another orchestra so the other first desk player will be concert master.

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