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Showing posts from October, 2012

Juan at the Linbury Studio

OK. This is a film. But it's Don Giovanni. Oh wait, it's not an opera on film. But it's a film opera. Or is it opera film? Anyway, I went to a private screening of JUAN and it was surprisingly good. Kasper Holten (current Director of Opera at the Royal Opera) directed the film. The plot is based on Don Giovanni - but with a big chunk cut out. It's in English. Christopher Maltman (singer, not librettist) translated Da Ponte's text. The film was engaging, intriguing, and not bad entertainment. If you have not seen it, give it a whirl - you might like it!

Islamic Art at Musée du Louvre, Paris

The New Department of Islamic Art was only opened on the 22 Sept 2012. As I was in Paris, this had to be a must stop! And I was not disappointed. As more and more museums around the world re trying to raise the profile of this great culture, none was more bold than this at the Louvre - a new wing, exciting architecture and superb curatorship.
One of the most amazing pieces of art on display was the mosaic from the Damascus Mosque in Syria. The colours are so vivid and exiting, yet the abstract quality (when looked at up close) almost pointed to impressionist art that was yet to come.
The curves, lines, motifs and chiaroscuro were just enchanting. There were a wealth of display of ceramic, tiles, mosaics etc., and one needed at least a couple of hours to give the exhibits justice. Do go!

Café Marly, Paris

I couldn't cope with the hordes of tourists inside Musée du Louvre. So, breakfast had to be at Café Marly. It's one of my old favourites and I'm glad to report that the staff continued to be professional with just enough politeness to stop you thinking how rude Parisians can be. Sadly, even this establishment was showing signs of economic strain - look at the chipped plate.

Les Fines Gueules, Paris

Yes, Paris, on a rainy night eating alone. Les Fines Gueules was just round the corner from where I was staying near Place des Victoires. Having read about it in the Time Out Paris guide, I thought I'd pop round for a late bite.

The Veloute aux Petits Pois was delicious - enough substance to feel and taste the pea, yet velvety smooth in texture. Lovely.
Next up was the steak with mash. Sounds simple. It was beautifully done - the beef was of very good quality (diners nearby had it a la tartar). Each bite was juicy and full of that beefy taste. A delight.

Dessert. I have to confess I didn't have enough space to eat this whole hazelnut pastry with a hazel cream sandwiched. But every mouthful was an explosion of ... praline! It was wonderful.

Albert Herring, English Touring Opera (at the Linbury Studio)

Britten's Albert Herring really works in an intimate theater - such as the Linbury Studio. This ETO production was pretty well cast: with most singers falling into their roles well. Mark Wilde' Albert Herring was earnest, fun and whimsical. Lady Billows (Jennifer Rhys-Davies) had the right sort of pomposity. The rest of the cast sang well. Diction was good. Michael Rosewell conducted the Aurora Orchestra which was relatively tight, though there were the occasional intonation problem.

The direction from Chirsopher Rolls was effective at portraying the kind of small village of Loxford that Britten wanted to depict. Above all, it was funny - and the audience enjoyed it very much.