If you missed the first part of Claire goes Classical you should definitely catch up with that before you proceed any further. Back already? Nice to see you again. So now you know all about the rules and how glad I was that I attended with Love Middlesbrough dad. This time, as we attended the Magic of Vienna, I was completely prepared for how I needed to behave. Arms firmly glued to my sides and sitting on my hands to avoid any applauding in the wrong place… 

Turned out that preparation was definitely not needed. If the first one was the classical concert with ALL the rules, this one was the concert with none! There were several things that gave this away:

  • Balloons were dropped from the ceiling
  • The audience were encouraged to clap along 
  • There was heckling from the circle! To the orchestra! Asking them to speak up! Actual heckling! My dad is still in awe! 
  • Oh, did I mention that there was speaking in between each piece? 
  • And waltzing?
  • And comedy bits where the accordion player tip-toed around the stage with a red rose between his teeth, choosing who he would give it to next? 

Oh Toto, we were definitely not in Kansas anymore! 

the magic of vienna

We were instead very much in informal, upbeat, dare I say ‘fun’ classical music land! If you’re curious about trying out classical music but are feeling a little bit intimidated by it, The Magic of Vienna would be an excellent place to start. You might even recognise some of the programme – I definitely did, and was delighted each time! There’s even a chance that you might tap your foot and sway a little in your seat when they play Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker Suite (Tchaikovsky) and The Blue Danube (Johann Strauss II). If you’re feeling really brave you can clap along and bop the balloons about and over the edge of the circle (cheeky!) to really get into the spirit of the evening…


I think spirit is a really good word to run with because it really did feel like a very high-spirited evening! The music was easy to listen to and accessible, and the informal nature of Adam Summerhayes and his Orchestra made it even more so. With his dapper velvet frock coat and purple scarf, Adam led the audience from one interesting fact to another in between pieces before a slight nod to his orchestra to start all over again. 

It was obvious to everyone that as well as the music being fun, the orchestra were definitely enjoying themselves. The joy and pleasure that they got from playing the music and engaging with the audience was very easy to see and really did add even more to the informal and approachable feel of the evening overall. 

I saw a few reviews before I went to the show that used lots of words and phrases I would also use, so I’m going to borrow a couple of them now. “Delightful” is the first word. “Happy satisfaction from the audience” was another phrase. “Everyone was smiling as they left”… I can absolutely agree with that last one. The Love Middlesbrough crew had big smiles on our faces as we left to make our way back to the car. 

If this has got you interested in classical music, you’re in luck as there’s a few concerts coming soon. Royal Northern Sinfonia is in February, the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra is in March and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra is in April!

Middlesbrough Theatre is a fantastic venue to start out your classical music adventure and if you can I would definitely recommend booking a seat in row A of the circle – the music rises to your ears and you have the best seats in the house looking out over the whole stage and theatre below you. I’m two concerts in and I already can’t wait to experience more. I think it’s safe to say classical has a new fan!