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Update 6 August at 9am

Due to the Victorian lockdown, these performances will not proceed as scheduled. The MSO Box Office will contact all ticket holders with more information.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.


Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Benjamin Northey conductor
Li-Wei Qin


Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations
Elgar Enigma Variations

About this performance

Composers have long used the idea of variations to extend and play with their own (and others’) musical ideas – there are recorded instances of this technique from as early as 1538! This program explores two of the best-loved ‘variations’ examples – Tchaikovsky’s Rococo and Elgar’s Enigma.

  • Tchaikovsky was going through a period of depression when he wrote this work, but used his compositional practice to improve his mood. He told the cellist (and the dedicatee of the Rococo Variations) Wilhelm Fitzenhagen that Rococo meant “a carefree feeling of well-being.”
  • Elgar’s beloved Enigma Variations represent his friends, an idea that came to him as he was noodling at the piano when his wife interrupted to tell him she quite liked the tune! He did not know what he had been improvising, and thus the Enigma theme was born. The other fourteen variations are named for friends and colleagues.

COVIDSafe information

Important venue information:

  • Masks are required for entry
  • QR code registration via a mobile device is required on arrival. We encourage you to download the Service Victoria app prior to your visit to ensure a faster check-in time
  • Hamer Hall foyer bars will be subject to guidelines in place at the time of the event and may not be open
  • Personal water bottles will be permitted inside and filtered tap water will be available for self-service at the foyer bars
  • No Cloak Room
  • No Box Office sales or transactions, only available for trouble shooting or ticket collection

Orchestra safety on stage
The safety of our musicians, staff and audience remain the highest priority as we return to the post-COVID concert hall. In conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria and Arts Centre Melbourne, the MSO has begun rapid-result, asymptomatic testing for all members of the Orchestra and on-stage production staff. As such, you may notice that our musicians are not wearing masks while performing, and that they may be spaced more closely together than previously, where allowed.

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