“We open our doors to the public for an evening concert as part of the Fieldlab Experience. The Residentie Orkest The Hague, conducted by Richard Egarr, will play a beautiful program for a full house. During this concert, research is done on how the 1.5-meter social distance rule can be released safely. All visitors, staff, and musicians will be tested before and after the concert.”

When I read the above news, sometime in late April, my heart almost skipped a beat… The very last live concert we have attended took place almost 14 months ago. On March 8 back in 2020, we enjoyed Jean-Yves Thibaudet performing Ravel’s beautiful piano concert in a sold-out Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

We love high-end audio, we really do. During the challenging, rough months of uncertainty and fear, missing so many of the joyful things in life, we often found comfort in listening – and playing – music. Sometimes, in the background during cooking or in the car. At other times, while conducting listening tests or just for the pleasure of listening to music. Every so often, we experienced the touching power of a beautiful composition or an amazing performance; even got goosebumps at certain moments.

But reading the announcement of a real live concert, with a real audience in a real concert hall, felt like butterflies in your stomach…

On May 14, after staying in a long line – at a 1.5-meter distance – for the pre-test, we were excited to wait until we could orderly enter the hall. A special feeling – like a first date. We rather would have skipped the coffee and the polite talks, find our seats, and let the concert start…

Finally, the lights went off and the magic began. Monteverdi, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Beethoven – it felt like coming home. The music was everywhere, literally touching our body and heart – this was beyond the goosebumps you get when you listen to really good music by really good high-end equipment.

It was euphoric; a magical, one-time experience, followed by a standing ovation, almost like a pop concert. I bet Beethoven’s 5th never got this reaction before – it felt like pure joy, relief, and hope.

We went back home feeling thankful and content, certain about the fact that live music will make our lives more joyful, emotional, and complete again.

Image: Fieldlab Event: Residentie Orkest plays Beethoven 5 and Mozart. Source: zuiderstrandtheater.nl