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The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela made an exciting return to Royal Festival Hall with their charismatic conductor Gustavo Dudamel as part of the Southbank Centre's Sounds Venezuela
The sensational Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela with their charismatic conductor Gustavo Dudamel performed their first of two concerts as part of Southbank Centre's Sounds Venezuela on Saturday night. They played their final concert on Tuesday 26 June.
The Sounds Venezuela residency saw Southbank Centre turned into an El Sistema nucleo - a teaching centre - offering four days of free events including open rehearsals, performances, workshops and installations.
The 10-day event involved youth ensemble the Sistema-inspired In Harmony Lambeth scheme, and Southbank Centre’s Resident Orchestras, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Dudamel and his orchestra are passionate champions of music by South American composers.
But they have also incorporated the European classical repertoire into their live performances, adding their own unique touch.
The two concerts mark the culmination of a ten-day residency.
The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra Of Venezuela in rehearsal for their Southbank Centre's last Saturday night.
On Saturday night, Dudamel and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra Of Venezuela treated the audience to a spirited performance of Beethoven's Eroica.
They also played Egmont Overture and Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.
Fourteen double-basses brought the beating heart to Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra during the performance at the Royal Festival Hall.
As an encore the orchestra played Elgar's Nimrod as a tribute to a London audience, Dudamel said, that is now part of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra Of Venezuela's history.
The second concert took place on Tuesday 25 June as part of the Shell Classic International series.
The orchestra began with Esteban Benzecry's Rituales Amerindios.
In the second half, Dudamel directed his orchestra through an immense performance of Strauss's Alpine Symphony.
Bryn Terfel was a surprise guest during the encore at Tuesday night's concert at the Royal Festival Hall.
Terfel delivered Abendlich Strahlt from Wagner's Das Rheingold.
Bryn was dressed as a warrior, complete with fur cloak, horned hat, eyepatch and spear.
The much-loved Terfel was given a standing ovation following his powerful performance.
Dudamel conducted the performance without a score.
Like Dudamel became music director El Sistema in 1999, aged only 18.
El Sistema was founded by José Antonio Abreu, a 73-year-old Venezuelan economist, musician and educator.
Dudamel and José Antonio Abreu backstage at the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra Of Venezuela's concert at the Royal Festival Hall. Abreu was given a standing by the crowd when he was introduced.