Tuning Up for Philharmonics in the Park

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Roseanne Colletti takes us inside the preparation for the free symphonic concerts.

    Get ready for a little of Ravel's  "Bolero," Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and Bernstein's "West Side Story."

    And although you don't have to buy a ticket, you may have to get there early because the seats in Central Park's Great Lawn will go fast.

    The premiere performance of the New York Philharmonic's Concerts in the Parks begins Tuesday at 8 p.m., under guest conductor Andrey Boreyko. Fifty thousand spectators are expected to stake out a prime piece of Terra Firma and even those at the far South end of the Great Lawn will get an earful thanks to an elaborate amplification system. 
     
    The natural acoustics of musical instruments would diminish over the lawn's vast expanse -- a stretch of six city blocks from 79th Street to 85th. But strategically placed amplifiers will ensure everyone hears every note and nuance the same way and at the same time. 
     
    The amplification system is not a first, but it is the first time in the series' 46-year history, the philharmonic will share the stage with another orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony. The back-to-back performances are to celebrate Expo 2010 being held in the Shanghai, China.

    And while romance is not on the official program, but free fireworks are following the concert.
     
    "All the single people are getting together looking for love at the philharmonic," quipped chef Donna Sonkin, when we spotted her taking in some sun on the Great Lawn and asked about her plans to attend the two-hour concert.
     
    The NY Philharmonic will play the Great Lawn again on Wednesday night with free performances in other boroughs scheduled later in the week.

    "It's just fun to make great music," said Zarin Mehta, President and Executive Director of the NY Philharmonic.