A friend rang to tell me he had wasted most of Saturday morning trying to book for the Dudamel concert at the Proms this year: by the time he got through, it was sold out. Simon Rattle was once regarded by the critics as Dudamel is now, but barely a couple of handfuls were all that turned up to Cineworld, Cheltenham last evening for his appearance in the world's first 3D HD symphony concert film. My photograph shows what it's like being at a 3D performance without special glasses; though I'm bound to say wearing them gave me as much of a headache as taking them off. (The sound was brilliant.)
The snapshot shows a conductor, now 56, who used to be a familiar figure in Cheltenham Town Hall when half his present age and in charge of the CBSO. Then the hair was black, there was a lot more of it - and, dare I say, the shoulders were less hunched.
The concert - Mahler and Rachmaninov - is filmed in Singapore's amazing Esplanade concert hall: the way the first part is presented puts the audience in the passenger seat on a test drive with Sebastian Vettel - an audience, that is, which normally prefers the comfort of a sedately-driven saloon car. Things improve with the Rachmaninov, where we are treated to something of a Singaporean travelogue. Very beautiful too.
Would I go again? Yes, I think so, depending on the make-up of the programme: last night, the Cineworld website gave us not a clue as to what was in store! But I'm not sure the 3D adds much.