The Victoria Hall is mainly used for classical music concerts but also hosts some of the greates names from the world of song, jazz and world music.
Life-size and completely naked, the statue of "Harmony" on the facade of the Victoria Hall conceals nothing of her charms. When it was unveiled in 1894, this allegory attracted much ribald comment : such calm immodesty right next to the Grütli primary school did not go unnoticed. The work of Joseph Massarotti (after a model by the Parisian sculptor Jean Coulon), this well-rounded, curvaceous figure still invites us to push open the door to the building, the promise of beautiful harmonies.
The Victoria Hall owes its construction to the wealth of one man and the savoir-faire of another. Daniel Barton, the extremely rich British consul was a great friend of the architect John Camoletti. Both members of the Geneva Nautical Society, they shared a passion for sailing and music. Together they decided to provide Geneva with an acoustically superior concert hall.
Decorating the French "Beaux-Arts" style facade, the coats of arms of the Barton and Peel families (Peel was Mrs Barton’s maiden name) surmount the entrance. Above, a false loggia in Pompeian red with imposing Ionic columns sets off the allegory of Harmony. The more austere lateral sections are treated like massive corner towers, on which are engraved the names of sixteen symphonic composers of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Inside, after passing through the sobriety of the foyer and up the staircases, you come to the auditorium decorated in red and gold with neo-Baroque and Rococo stucco work and with a monumental organ (dating from 1993) as a backdrop.
Given to the City of Geneva in 1901, this concert hall, named after the Queen of England (and no doubt after Victoria-Alexandrina-Julia Peel Barton), was home to a wind symphony orchestra (the "Harmonie Nautique") until 1976, as well as symphonic orchestras such as the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (under the direction of Ernest Ansermet). Partly destroyed by arson in 1984 and since then carefully restored, the hall has been added to the cantonal list of heritage buildings.
Article modifié le 25.09.2020 à 17:05