December 21st was not only the beginning of summer here in Brazil, it was also a very special music day and I was happy to be able to celebrate this day with classic music on the beach. It reminded me of Fete de la musique in Berlin, even though it was only a coincidence that OSESP’s concert in Santos fell on the longest day this year. I didn’t mind.

OSESP is the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (homepage) and one of the largest and best known orchestras of South America, and it is touring the world and Brazil quite extensively. Traditionally they end their year and their itinerary before Christmas with a free concert at the beach close to Gonzaga (Canal 3) here in Santos. This year they had a short homage to Brazilian composer Dorival Caymmi and after this the Carmina Burana from Carl Orff to present. The dome-structure, which was erected on the beach to protect the orchestra, choir and the singers from wind and rain was very impressive, but luckily the crazy rain which flooded some parts of Santos came 24 hours later and we had a beautiful and very relaxed evening at the beach.

Contrary to the big open-air concerts I know – like the annual Classic Open Air on Gendarmenmarkt, one of the most beautiful places in Berlin – the concert in Santos was free. There was a giant stage, a sound system, chairs but despite all of this the concert didn’t cost anything. Most people brought their own beach chairs and blankets, sat down in the beach in front of the stage and chilled in the sand. Kids playing in the bacground, feet in the sand and OSESP playing Carmina Burana has been an awesome experience and very contrary to the classical concerts I attended when I was a teenager – deeply serious and stiff events with a strict dress-code and no reason to have fun, only to take pleasure in the music. The OSESP concert in Santos was almost the exact opposite: people in shorts, havaianas and many of them without a shirt (the day had been 34 degrees hot) chilling at the beach, feet in the sand and a sunset in the bacl. It has been an amazing final to this year indeed.

Another small and interesting difference to Germany: OSESP has a blog about its itinerary concerts with pictures (like the one above) in high resolution to download and use – something very hard to find in Germany, where you are not even allowed to take pictures of artworks in many public museums. Did I say stiff? Not arrived in the 21st century I should add.

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