Saturday, July 23, 2011

The good and the bad (no ugly so far)

Last Saturday afternoon I went to Covent Garden for a performance of Massenet's take on the Cinderella story, Cendrillon. The production was by Laurent Pelly (I have a couple of his productions on DVD, notably Rameau's Platée, which I love) and was a straightforward telling of the story, with a great deal of humour, aided hugely by the wonderful sets and outrageous costumes.

The glorious mezzo, Joyce DiDonato, sang the title role with Alice Coote as a rather believable Prince Charmant. The extraordinary contralto Ewa Podles did an a very entertaining comic turn as the evil step-mother. Musically the work is pleasant but fairly unmemorable, but the quality of the production and, above all, the performances made it a great afternoon's entertainment.

Life was entertaining in a different way this week with the direct broadcast of the appearance of James and Rupert Murdoch in front of the Parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Murdoch senior looked initially like a sad old man; junior was quite glib, if not verbose. In the long run, probably, not very much was achieved, but it was very satisfying to see. I've been in Britain at a rather interesting time, seeing a complete volte face being done by many in the public eye who had previously courted Murdoch and News; and seeing various people being caught up in their own webs of lies.

On Tuesday Paul B came over to Lewisham and we went to a local Turkish restaurant A&A had recommended. The food was very tasty, but there was so much (probably enough for four) that P took the leftovers home in a doggie-bag.

The next night I went to the Apollo Theatre to see a performance of Yes, Prime Minister. It has been up-dated to the twenty-first century (references to the Internet and Blackberries) with even references to the recent tribulations of News Corp. Like much of the television series the story revolves around Jim Hacker landing in a moral/political dilemma, from which he is eventually saved by Sir Humphrey. It won't win any awards, but was a bit of fun.

Last night's outing was to a concert to celebrate the life and works of the composer Geoffrey Burgon, most well known for the music for the TV series Brideshead Revisited. The City of London Sinfonia played well and other performers were the choir Wellensian Consort. Ex-Python Terry Jones, who knew Burgon from childhood, introduced the works including his viola and cello concertos, the latter receiving its premier public performance.

The bad occurrence this week was the cancelling of my Visa card - I'm not sure why, but my credit union said Visa claimed its security had been breached. I managed to use my alternative card (from another bank) successfully, but on the second attempt it too bombed out. Luckily I have my Cash Passport which still seems to be working OK - I just can't book anything online.

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