Three operas and an interview

I’m still out breath. We saw Flight by Jonathan Dove at Opera Holland Park, including a delightful interview with Dove beforehand. This opera is a rare thing, a modern, English, comic opera. We saw it once, more than ten years ago, and it was so funny we bought the libretto. It is set in an airport, with a cast of very real types that you might meet in such a place. Each of these has a story, and, in spite of many laughs and farcical lift/elevator passages, their stories are very touching with an element of tragedy thrown in – the music’s good too! (Screenshot from Opera Holland Park website).Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 22.26.09 For opera two we were guests at Glyndebourne for Donizetti’s Poliuto – so obscure an opera that it is unlisted in our edition of Kobbé. This is about early Christian martyrs (set in Sarajevo in the 1990s (??)), but actually it is a classical tragedy with love, honour and duty fighting it out. The music is stunning and it is clear that Verdi rifled through it at some stage. This is my kind of opera, moving, full of dramatic emotional music, beautifully sung and acted. I loved every minute of this performance and I have never (over many years) heard such wild enthusiasm from a Glyndebourne audience. (Screenshot from Glyndebourne website).Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 23.07.53 Opera three, also at Glydebourne, was all about the event. We were guests of my youngest brother and wife to celebrate, with my oldest brother and wife (middle brother and wife not able to join us), what would have been our father’s 100th birthday. Oh yes, the opera! This was Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Mozart (shame on me) is a bit repetitive and, um, tinkly (?) for me, but this was a very lively and funny performance, beautifully sung, and I loved the sets. (Screenshots from the Glyndebourne website). EDIT I meant to mention that the highlight of the story was that the ‘bad’ guy, the Turkish Pasha, turned into the magnanimous hero at the end. Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 23.14.31 Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 22.07.44 Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 22.06.52And finally the bonus interview. When we were standing around our picnic table BBC Radio 4 appeared and asked to interview the person who had created the table and the picnic. We happily pushed forward my sister-in-law, Susie, who answered their unexpected questions clearly and coherently. Our menu included lobster tart, lamb cutlets on couscous and peach and raspberry trifle (not to mention olives, salmon sandwiches, cold meats and cheese). We couldn’t wait.  DSCN7802 DSCN7810DSCN7819 A wonderful time was had by all and we raised glasses to our father and mother.

29 thoughts on “Three operas and an interview

  1. Totally agree with you re Mozartian opera, HCG !!!
    But am unable to be enthusiastic about any modern opera.
    I’m a luddite regarding that musical oeuvre …

    • In Britain it’s a lottery. A few years ago we took my younger brother for his 60th Birthday, and it rained cats and dogs. We ate our elaborate picnic in the marquee provided and splashed through the puddles to the theatre.

  2. What a lovely time you have had. I am I confess a Mozart fan but I will overlook the minor slight :-))

    The idea of celebrating parental 100th birthdays seems to be catching on. We attended one recently. I have contemplated doing something for my father in 2021 so I have a little time. He was a big classical music lover but (whisper it quietly) he called opera ‘uproar’ and had unkind things to say about Mr. Wagner. He drooled over Chopin and Liszt though.

    • I revere Mozart really, I just don’t love him. What was great about this opera (which I meant to put in the post) was that the moral of the tale was that the apparent villain, the Turkish Pasha, was the hero, showing mercy and magnanimity to the son of his old enemy, an enemy who had slaughtered his first love.

  3. Hilary, it was super hearing about the different operas, but climaxed with your celebration of your father’s birthday. What a wonderful idea! Looks really special. ❤ ❤

  4. How wonderful, I’d love to go to Glydebourne, I read a positive review of The Flight in the Telegraph, I like contemporary works. I’ve been working on some new Mozart. Your picnic sounds super 😊

    • You will get to Glyndebourne one day… maybe even as a singer? Then we can come and hover at the stage door. The singer I interviewed when writing Unseen Unsung (Olivia Ray – mezzo) sang with Opera Holland Park for several seasons.

  5. That all looks like something out of a movie, Hilary! What a wonderful way to ‘do’ opera. As regards modern opera I’m still scarred from a show I saw a couple of years ago where people sang the IKEA catalogue in what was supposed to be an exploration of relationships in small spaces. I thought it’d be witty, but it was all concept and no pleasure. Worst music I’ve ever heard. I’m breaking into a sweat just thinking about it.

    • Hmm, the IKEA catalogue? It ought to have been hilarious, but I suspect you had the screech and bang school of composition. Opera should be a pleasure or there’s no point. Only a few moderns work for me. Andrew Lovett has written a couple in which the voices are a pleasure to listen to, they started all around us as we waited in the foyer to go in – but most are very testing (and I frankly prefer Italian romantic).

      • I prefer anything that actually sounds like music. This was just utterly random discordant stuff which sounded like cows in a bleat-off with some very angry sheep. And a disgruntled farmer in the background, whacking all his machinery with a cattle prod. AND I’d brought visitors from abroad with me because I thought it’d be funny. Traumatic, I tell you.

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