Hungary to Japan in a weekend

Wonderful couple of days. Small but international poetry meeting with the theme ‘dwelling’ very freely interpreted. Poems ranged from the romantic to the starkly tragic, with English, Hungarian, Czech, Polish and Bengali contributions, most read in both English and the original. For bonus we had two singers – one operatically trained (who indulged me and delighted us all with the Handel aria Did You Not Hear My Lady unaccompanied), the other a charming cabaret/folk story-teller singing in (?) Turkish. We all regretted that these meetings are so very rare.

Yesterday we went to the Holland Park Opera for Madame Butterfly. The best interpretation and staging of this that I have ever seen. A story of its period, but no longer silly. Anne Sophie Duprels made us believe in Butterfly’s moral outlook, her dilemma and her ultimate choice. She brought out a strangely modern problem – that of the cultural immigrant who accepts a country’s hype at face value, and is fatally damaged as a consequence. Strong stuff, cleanly and simply staged.

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