Friday, June 30, 2006

High Culture

I love the early-evening atmosphere of jolly anticipation in the West End at any time of year, but a sunny Summer’s evening is pretty special. The pic was taken in St Martin’s Lane yesterday. Avenue Q has just opened opposite the Coliseum, where I went to see Nixon In China.

I have to confess the last time I was at the ENO was to see Parsifal – this was pre-renovations, so must be more than five years ago. Goodness. (the renovations have improved front-of house tremendously)

Anyway, for Parsifal I was in the grand seats in the dress circle – how the mighty have fallen! (upwards and away) - for Nixon I was in the gods. This was my viewpoint:

Literally, second-last row in the house. I used to sit up here when I was a student, and I don’t remember the seats being quite so cramped. I would not call myself fat, and am 5’10”, but really had to sit very straight-up to squeeze my thighs into the space available. The poor guy next to me couldn’t manage to sit down at all and had to stand at the back for the performance.

This was super – the performance clearly was a hit with the capacity crowd. My very favourite bit is Madam Mao Tse-tung’s aria at the end of the second act: ‘I am the wife of Mao Tse-tung’. Opera at it’s highest pitch of music and drama – to me it’s almost like an modern-day version of an aria for the Queen of the Night. Madam Mao bangs on in a state of righteous dogmatism to a crescendo-ing orchestra while the stage around her explodes and everything falls apart. Terrific.


Sean Smith said...

you certainly have had enough changes in your life for one year.

Hang in there

Hedgie said...

Thanks, Sean. Will do! At the moment am very chilled.