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Showing posts from June, 2006

Tosca, Royal Opera

We all said "goodbye" to the Franco Zeffirelli production and eagerly awaited to say "hello" to the new production of Tosca at the Royal Opera. Well, there it was - the set and production certainly met my expectation when I saw it tonight. Pappano was intelligent with his tempi (given the last minute tenor replacement as Alvarez was ill) while the orchestra responded wonderfully to his demands.
What was enjoyable? Bryn Terfel - oh my god he can do a convincing Scarpia. Second act scenery was particularly good - loved that torture chamber behind a fake library concept - quite appropriate.
What was not enjoyable? Angela Gheirghiu - didn't really like this "Oh look - I am acting! Look! Look!" approach to her Tosca role. The train of her dress looked idiotic - and it looked silly with that tiara ...

Vitra Design Museu

"It's a 15 minute taxi ride from Basel in Switzerland to the Vitra Design Museum in Germany" said the hotel concierge to me. I rushed back to my room, got my passport and took off (in a taxi) with my friends to this famous design museum. I sit on a Vitra chair every day (.03) so naturally I'd quite like to visit its birthplace.

It is located in the middle of nowhere (Weil am Rhein) on ... wait for this ... No 1 Charles-Eames-Strasse!!! I normally object to the idea of a guided tour but in this instance, it's worth it because I was taken to see the buildings designed by Gehry, Grimshaw and Hadid. The latter was amazing - as Hadid designed this angular slightly deconstructed "Fire Station" that is now a function facility. Visitors on this tour could roam freely inside this building - check out the funky locker room or the masculine breakfast table on the first floor.

Restaurant Gundeldingerhof, Basel

I have not found it easy to find interesting food in Switzerland. Don't get me wrong - I love the traditional stuff, like Rösti and Gruyere, but have not always come across gastronomic excitement. Restaurant Gundeldingerhof did the trick. Tucked away in a side street, it's Prada green deco was pleasing and conveys an air of sophistication.
What was enjoyable? Fried fresh water prawns from the Rhine and stuffed courgette flowers with sausages were delightful.
What was not so enjoyable? No bread plate, limited dessert menu.

Art Basel

It's such a short hop from London (just over an hour by plane) to Art Basel where I saw, a very high concentration of contemporary art galleries, works and displays. Since it's a trade show, you can actually buy stuff from the exhibitors. I was very drawn towards the Fontana and Manzoni works (it seems all established Italian contemporary art dealers must have at least one for sale). Of course, if I had the money, I would have picked up a few dozen pieces ... alas ... may be by December 06 in Miami