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Queen Mary 2

A Very Musical Transatlantic Crossing on Queen Mary 2

September 10, 2009

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Mary 2


It’s been a busy first week back on Queen Victoria, settling back in to the job as well as catching up with all the news – and there’s always plenty of that. Thank you again for all the comments and to answer Christian’s question about Maureen Ryan writing a book about her fascinating career; I entirely agree and will keep trying to convince her! In the meantime she has another installment coming up in the next few weeks. While Queen Victoria is enjoying a fantastic Mediterranean voyage, Queen Mary 2 had a particularly musical Transatlantic Crossing, but before we get to that here’s “This week in Cunard’s History” for the week, 11 to the 17 September:


September 13 2008


Queen Victoria makes her maiden call to the Greek Island of Samos.


September 15 2007


QE2 began her 40th Anniversary voyage around Britain, including Liverpool and Clydebank where she was launched 40 years before.


It’s great to be back on Queen Victoria, and I’m not just saying it! As seafarers, it sometimes feels like you lead a double life, between the contracts spent amoungst friends and colleagues on board and then leave periods spent with friends and family at home. Mind you, returning to Queen Victoria, did feel like coming home with so many familiar and friendly faces on board. I have also met many guests who have sailed with me before, and some who have been following this Blog, including Andy Fitzsimmons who comments regularly. It was great to put a face to the name and I think our Bloggers meeting this voyage is going to be a busy one!


Many of you will know the name Anthony Inglis, as the Grammy nominated artist who has featured more times at London’s Royal Albert Hall than anyone else in the building’s history, and has been described in the UK press as “one of Britain’s most popular conductors” (Manchester Evening News). He leads a busy international career, appearing with some of the greatest orchestras in concert halls from New Zealand to Scotland via Japan and The East. These orchestras include the four main London independent orchestras: London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestras, all the British independent and most BBC orchestras, the Melbourne, Syd­ney, Gothenburg, Singapore symphony orchestras and the Warsaw and Israel philharmonic orchestras. For 15 years he was well known as the conductor of Classical Spectacular and he is currently Music Director of The National Symphony Orchestra in London, the Welsh mezzo Katherine Jenkins and the Music Consultant for Phantom of The Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre.



At Cunard we were particularly proud when he was able to conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the naming ceremony for Queen Mary 2 as well as the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Naming Ceremony of Queen Victoria.


Anthony Inglis was educated on a Music Scholarship at Marlborough College, and at the Royal College of Music where he won many conducting prizes. During his college years he supplemented his student grant conducting West End shows and being on the staff for two of Ken Russell’s composer films.


His studio, TV and concert recordings have been broadcast in the UK, Australia, Scandinavia, Europe and The Far East. Amoungst his recent DVD recordings is one with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and two with Katherine Jenkins and the National Symphony. He has recorded numerous CD’s with some of the world’s most renowned orchestras and in 2005 he conducted the Royal Philharmonicat the largest regular live TV show in Europe called Wetten Dass.


He lives by the banks of the River Thames in Kingston Surrey, with his wife and three children.  


So there was great excitement from guests when they boarded Queen Mary 2 recently in Southampton to find  Anthony Inglis and 26 members of the National Symphony Orchestra on board. What a fabulous picture this is in front of Queen Mary 2’s bridge.



Some of you may have met Cunard’s new Entertainment Director, Paul O’Loughlin who is currently on Queen Mary 2. I’ll be interviewing him over the next few weeks so you can get to know him, but in the meantime he was kind enough to tell me about the exciting events that unfolded during the crossing.


On the first day invited guests were invited to sign up to be in the chorus for the concert on the final night of the crossing. Anthony Inglis and Paul were in the Royal Court Theatre at 2.15pm waiting and wondering if anyone would turn up. Well turn up they did; in fact 150 Guests signed up, and were then divided into 2 choirs, one for each dinner sitting. Amoungst the talented guests was a wealth of choral experience, and a good balance of Baritones, Tenors, Altos and Sopranos. There were two chorus rehearsals and then a full rehearsal with the orchestra prior to the evening performance on the last night.


One evening the orchestra presented “The First Night of the Cunard Proms” featuring an evening of American composers. Paul told me that guests thoroughly enjoyed the programme, which included pieces from Gershwin, Sousa, McDowell, Irving Berlin as well as Rodgers and Hammerstein. Rehearsals then continued, leading up to the “Last Night of the Cunard Proms”. Anthony Inglis worked the choir hard, and their performance even included a four part harmony piece, Handel’s Largo.


On the evening before New York, Queen Mary 2’s Royal Court Theatre was transformed into the Royal Albert Hall. The Theatre was full for both concerts as the audience, with programmes and flags in their hands, waited in anticipation for a magical night.  Paul told me that Anthony Inglis was masterful and with all his experience, as the most featured Conductor in the Royal Albert Hall, he led a programme of traditional pieces including the “Yeoman of the Guard Overture”, Elgar’s “Nimrod”, as Henry Wood’s “Sea Songs”. Then the orchestra, chorus and audience then raised the roof with Rule Britannia, Jerusalem and of course Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. As you can see from these photos the atmosphere was outstanding.



And here Paul O’Loughlin thanks Anthony Inglis on behalf of all the guests for such a memorable night.



Anthony Inglis is planning to return to Queen Mary 2 on the round Britain voyage in October 2009 with a concert featuring the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra while the ship is alongside in Liverpool, which will be a great evening celebrating the history of Cunard Line. In the meantime if you would like further information on his work and future plans you can look at his website; http://www.anthonyinglis.com/


I’d like to thank Paul for telling us about this amazing event and as promised I’ll post an interview with him soon. Thursday the 10th of September is a special one for us on Queen Victoria as we return to Venice for the first time this year. As well as being one of the most impressive ports of call in the world, it is also next to the ship yard where Queen Victoria was constructed, and sailed from the first time on the 30th of November 2007. Yes doesn’t time fly!


During our visit this time I’ll be taking the hour long journey to Monfalcone to see the progress of Queen Elizabeth so look forward to sharing news of our return to Venice as well as our new Queen over the next week or so. Cheers for now Alastair.

  1. Dave Meineck says:

    Thanks for the news that Anthony Inglis will be on board QM2 in october on the round britain trip, so will we.
    It will be nice to meet him again since the Liverpool concert he produced on the last round Britain QE2 trip.
    Dave M.

  2. Claire Moody says:

    What a wonderful idea to allow passengers to take part in the entertainment on the final night. I would love to be able to do this when I am aboard next time. Nice to see a new face in Paul O’Loughlin, but where has Warren Smith gone?

  3. Dear Fellow Cunarders

    To pick up on what Alastair mentioned earlier about Venice, I have to agree that this is certainly impressive and ranks in my view at least, among the greatest port calls. The last time I was here, we berthed in Trieste and had to travel in by train so this was my first experience of a Venetian Sailaway and what an experience it was!

    If you haven’t experienced this yet then I certainly recommend it. Sailing serenly past St Mark’s Square with the setting sun astern and seeing the crowds both on the water and ashore, was truly amazing and the atmosphere that evening aboard Queen Victoria was something that shall remain with me and no doubt my fellow passengers on this Mediterranean Adventure, for a very long time indeed.



  4. David Newcombe says:

    I was on-board for the Presidential Transatlantic crossing and joined the choir for the last night at the Proms. It was a fantastic experience to be on the stage behind the NSO with Anthony Inglis conducting. Well worth 1 old penny. Rule Britannia.

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