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<   2012年 12月 ( 7 )   > この月の画像一覧

Der fliegende Holländer at Southbank

When you book concert tickets for a new season way in advance, the trick not to waste your tickets (i.e. to make sure you shift your ass no matter what) is to book the most expensive seat at rare events and pay from your own pocket.

It worked for me last night.

Exhausted, buggy, still lots to do in the flat, the last thing I wanted was to go to an opera, and it was Wagner to make it worse.

I was totally ready to give up on it at four thirty in the afternoon and checked my ticket to see how much I paid for it. It was after all an opera 'concert' without the stage set or costumes, so it couldn't have been that expensive.

The ticket indifferently but clearly indicated that a year ago I was so excited about the prospect of seeing Bryn Terfel performing right in front of me that I didn't mind shedding a hefty sum of ninety-six pounds out of my own pocket for the night. Right. I must go. After all this was my very first experience to be able to walk to such a concert from home, which was part of the reason why we moved in the first place.

How was the opera?

Absolutely mind blowing from the start till the end. The orchestra was pretty good and the conducting really beautiful if not a tad less punchy (I personally liked the understated drama from the orchestra as I felt it gave more space to actors to express the drama from their side).

Terfel's tequniques were artful and top-notch. He didn't need a set or a costume on the stage as he could show us all any way through his performance. It was magical.

Kampe's Senta was dramatic and convincing and Salminen's bass sturdy and fruid spiced with his brilliant comical acting.

I didn't buy a programme so I don't know the name of the person who played Erik but his acting was heart-felt and very good, too.

The opera ended with 20 min over-run and with a slight regret on the very satisfied audience side not being able to express their admiration long enough by continuing with stading ovation so as not to miss their trains.

We were fully entertained all through the evening.

Der fliegende Holländer
Zurich Opera Orchestra
Alain Altinoglu - conductor
Bryn Terfel - The Dutchman
Anja Kampe - Senta
Matti Salminen - Daland
Zurich Opera Chorus
by uk_alien | 2012-12-16 09:49 | music | Comments(0)

Unboxing after unboxing

The montain of boxes seems never get smaller. Keeping trying at it one after another and carefully considering how to use this rather limited space, we have been frustrated and exhaustead.

The results so far are promissing nevertheless. I was expecting to be crammed in with our unsofisticated and oversized furniture in a flat designed for a contemporary (i.e. stylish but transient) living. However, thanks to the ruthless reduction of our possessions and conscious effort to keep in line with visual illusion of sense of space, it's not looking too bad.

Having spent half a week here I am amazed to see how many families with small children are living in this block. Many parents have foreign accents, seemingly rather affluent, very nice and polite. I don't do kids so I have no idea how it works out here in the central London but I presume there are good schools, and after all,come to think of it, there must be lots more entertainments for kids in here compared to the suburbs.

As you can imagine, weekends are dead quiet in London and even more so on Sundays. So I am going to have a nice morning coffee first, enjoy peace and quiet whilst enjoying my coffee and then try to get the place ready before our regular week resumes tomorrow.
by uk_alien | 2012-12-16 08:28 | house move | Comments(0)

Moved in

All the animals including two humans have been being overwhelmed by the changes after the move. Walter and I had our first moning walk in the busy capital dodging waves of joggers along the river. The view is rather different from what we used to have but I am sure we will make good home in here.
by uk_alien | 2012-12-15 06:49 | house move | Comments(0)

Renee Fleming at Barbican

A year ago I wasn't really thinking of moving just yet so I booked a couple of very good seats for us for Renee Fleming's concert for today at Barbican.

Not having finished with packing or cleaning (and this weekend being the last before the move) we still went out nevertheless and we are extremely pleased that we did so.

The concert was absolutely enjoyable and at times her performance was so emotive and touching leaving the audience in awe of the drama.

Despite suffering from a severe headache on top of the fatigue, I felt my soul exclaiming with joy having been well-fed with the serene beauty of the music.
by uk_alien | 2012-12-09 21:31 | music | Comments(0)

Preparation for the departure

Everything is being packed for the move.

In the feeble December light, I turn around and see my old self here and there wandering in the house or in the garden with joy, excitement, sorrow or pain like a ghost.

It's not the imminent physical loss that I am grieving over but it's the memories - the precarious quality of what seems to be the solid reality - that makes me feel unsettled.

I loved this house. And the house is now ceasing to be ours.

We will be all right. We will continue to live and enjoy new experiences together in the new place so that the moments which turn so quickly into the past will not catch us just yet.
by uk_alien | 2012-12-08 22:41 | house move | Comments(0)

'Having a laugh' vs 'very lonely and confused'

My deepest sympathy and sorrow for Ms Saldanha. The whole incident pierces my heart.
by uk_alien | 2012-12-08 20:09 | misfortune | Comments(0)

Death - Wellcome Collection

As I had some time to kill till my colleague’s leaving do (duty calls - not an old hen's cup of tea to be in a very loud bar in Leicester Square on a Friday night), I went to Wellcome Collection in Euston to see an exhibition titled ‘Death: A Self-portrait’.

The admission was free and the exhibition was surprisingly good. Apparently all the prints and artefacts have been collected by a print dealer in Chicago called Richard Harris. The collection itself was interesting but what made it more appealing was the way they displayed them theme by theme to help visitors comprehend death from different perspectives.

The first room, ‘Contemplating Death’, was somewhat I had expected from the exhibition, i.e. full of sculls and prints of ‘memento mori' ('remember you will die'). Nevertheless, seeing Utrecht’s print in this context, as explained in the free guide, gave me insight that life (mundane and materialistic yet warm) and death (dark unknown void which is as mundane as life though you don’t want to admit it) co-exist as Yin-Yang.

I really enjoyed the second room themed as ‘The Dance of Death’. Kawanabe Kyosai’s screens, featuring skeletons enjoying themselves in the field watching entertainments and sumo-wrestling etc, did make me smile. The piece named ‘Gentleman on Green Table’ was powerfully capturing albeit very small.

The room which left the strongest impression on me was the third room, ‘Violent Death’. Most of all, a series of etching prints by Otto Dix titled ‘The War’. These scenes were from his own experience fighting in the first world war and they seemed to convey more realism with raw emotions than any other documentary media such as films or photography. Unsurprisingly, this room made me feel pretty much drained. I guess it was because the deaths here were not of an objective philosophical concept but real violent misfortunes.

I then skimmed through the fourth room, themed as ‘Eros & Thanatos (life and distraction)’ and the fifth room ‘Commemoration’ and thought I should come back to see the whole exhibition again.

After devouring a huge banana chocolate muffin at a very pleasant café in the same building, I headed down to Leicester Square and joined my colleagues in the bar.

Shouting to them to be heard against ‘lively’ music played at an unhealthy decibel level whilst cheap mirror ball reflections swirling around us brought me back to the reality. The world of 'Eros' as opposed to 'Thanatos'. I thought I should be relieved, but the sickeningly sweet Californian rose made me feel otherwise.
by uk_alien | 2012-12-01 23:02 | art | Comments(2)

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by uk_alien