Thursday, 15 March 2012

JULY 2011

On 9/7/11 we saw Rinaldo at Glyndebourne. No unprompted memory whatever. Consulting the website I see it was set (by Robert Carsen) in a school (which I do now recall) where the pupils and teachers took on the characters of the opera. There was some mime to the overture at the start, I think, and then the boys invaded the girls' classroom and the set broke apart. Good singing, as you'd expect, and appreciated rather too vociferously by the audience, one of whom insisted in bursting into applause before the singer had finished her big number, forcing everyone else to join in and drowning out the last few notes: I remember being very cross about that.

On 12/7/11 D saw Dr Faustus at Shakespeare's Globe. Which is why I can't remember anything about it. It was, apparently, very good.

On 14/7/11 we saw The Marriage of Figaro at Holland Park Opera. Some unprompted memories -- of a rather unsatisfactory staging on an immensely wide stage (that wide, I think, because it incorporates to garden terrace of the old Holland House), around a central staircase, and some unconvincingly symmetrical and choreographed moves, possibly with a 1920s motif. In other respects I recall it was perfectly well-sung.

On 20/7/11 we saw A Woman Killed with Kindness at the National. I can remember nothing about this, a production of the 1603 play by Thomas Heywood updated to the early 20th century by Katie Mitchell. The production photos on the National website look vaguely familiar. But did I actually see it?? Reading Billington's review (here I realise I did: it's the mention of the split stage, one house on one side, the other on the other, and the dreadful treatment meted out to the two women, one expected to marry against her will for her brother's financial benefit, the other thrown out of her house and forbidden to see her children for adultery. It was impressive; the updating worked well; and in general I think the performances were strong -- I remember being moved especially by the grief of the woman deprived of her kids. There was also a great deal of wonderful Mitchell choreography involving servants and doors and stairs and so on: the Holland Park Figaro could have benefitted from her attentions.

On 23/7/11 we saw Siegfried at Longborough. Pocket-sized Ring. Musically astonishingly good, despite the fact that the orchestra is by most Wagnerian standards tiny (though the pit does go back a long way under the stage). And well-sung and acted, especially by Alberich (??). Let down by the staging. Hard to do on a budget, one accepts, but there were some black-dressed mime-type women who seemed surplus to requirements.

On 25/7/11 D went to a Prom. I was in Bristol.

On 28/7/11 D saw The Village Bike at the Royal Court Upstairs. Also good, she says. Starred Romola Garai as a bored, pregnant country housewife whose husband is more interested in the baby manuals than sex. There was also a plumber. By Penelope Skinner, whose Fucked we saw and admired at Edinburgh and whose Eigengrau (the one with the blowjob) we saw at the Bush.

On 30/7/11 we went to a Prom.

On 31/7/11 we saw Peggy Seeger at Sidmouth Folk Festival. A feminist legend, still going strong in her late 70s or early 80s. Quiet delivery, dry humour but feisty. A look back at her life as much as a musical event. Really glad to have seen her.

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