Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2007

Siegfried - the elusive heldentenor

After the high of Die Walküre, I had to readjust my expectation for Siegfried - John Treleaven didn't impress me last time, so I didn't expect to be impressed this time round. Just as before, in this performance e was not convincing as a adolescent hero, nor effective at sing the heroic tenor role. Then again, so few in the world are. The first two acts went along ok - a grisly Mime added a bit more drama to the proceedings. The act came to life a bit more - especially when Brünnhilde "woke up" and both Treleaven and Lisa Gasteen came rose to the occasion to bring the opera to an effective end.

And who dropped the cymbal in the middle of it all?

The perfect couple in Die Walküre

The first act of Die Walküre is not easy - with lots of dialogues and monologues. We had, on Sunday night, the perfect match. Placido Domingo sang a world-weary yet lyrical Siegmund while Eva-Maria Westbroek gave a stoic yet passionate portrayal of Sieglinde. The drama, lyricism and music fitted perfectly together. John Tomlinson was on good form as the War-Father. Lisa Gasteen was not a bad Brünnhilde, though I was a wee bit worried about her getting the high notes ... Pappano kept the tempi up and everything moving!

Anticipating Das Rheingold (Royal Opera)

I have seen the Ring Cycle several times over the past two decades, and have enjoyed them immensely. So, with much anticipation, I went to Das Rheingold  last night  at the Royal Opera. As with any  great opera, there is much room for interpretation even when the current production was first staged as individual operas a couple of years ago. The musical passage that depicted Fasolt's longing for Freia was played out with much tenderness, though I was not sure about Albericht pricking his eye with Wotan's spear after the former had  cursed the infamous ring. The set looks more bedded in without the initial awkwardness. The Valhalla / Rainbow music was magical with a bit of restrain that gave an inkling of what is to come.

Le cinq is still a delightful dining experience

It used to have 3 Michelin stars, now it has two, but the food and service is still remarkably good and friendly. Le cinq is still one of my favourites in Paris - where the dining room is sumptuous without being over-bearing, the service is first rate without being intrusive, the food remains inventive while reflecting diners' trend towards lighter dishes.

musée du quai Branly is worthy of its reference collection

Jacque Chirac opened  musée du quai Branly during the final few months of this presidency. The museum definitely lives up to its aspiration for presenting the arts from Africa, Asia, Americas and other countries justly. The architecture of the museum adopts a more recent trend of directed flow where visitors are guided by undulating slopes, colour codes and shapely walls as amazing arts and artefacts of these under-represented cultures are revealed.

The exterior of the museum is also very impressive: the carefully landscaped garden brings much humanity to the sympathetic museum building.

Wonderful veg at L'arpege

I didn't know a salt roasted beetroot could taste so wonderful! Alain Passard's L'aperge lived up to its reputation of being able to make vegetables exciting and super tasty - remember the French were never great at veg apart from puree everything. We took the menu degustation that comprised of mostly vegetables with a course with scallops. Granted, there were some meat flavours in some of the dishes (smoked bacon and chantilly cream foam on top of a parsnip soup), but the star ingredients were definitely of early origin.