Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Opera At The Picture Palace: Beatrice et Benedict

Last week The Old Man put on his best pony tail and braces ... well, OK, it is now my daily duty to do his hair as the mystery of constructing such a style is beyond him. Anyhoo... last week we both donned our Sunday Best and set off for the opera at Glyndebourne ( Berlioz's "Beatrice et Benedict") ... courtesy of a live broadcast at a local cinema, so sadly we did have no champagne on the grass.
Now I wasn't too sure I wanted to see this. Frankly, I was frightened by the lengthiness of his "Les Troyens"  and so ... assumed that serious, lengthy works was what Berlioz did. But The Old Man wanted to go, so I gave a Gallic shrug and booked the tickets.
And I am glad that I did. With a story recounting the tricks practiced by friends and family in order to get verbal sparring partners and anti-lovers, Beatrice  and Benedict, to recognise their love and to marry (based on Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing"), it turned out - in this production - to be a witty two-acter full of lovely tunes and not frightening at all.

There has been some critical grumbling about the production: a set composed of stacked boxes and monochrome 50's style costume and makeup. But what do you know? I loved it, for sometimes I like a bit of a "stripped-down" production. Done well and consistently, such a thing can focus my attention on the music and performances. And I very much enjoyed Stephanie d'Oustrac with her fine singing and a performance full of suppressed fury as Beatrice. Paul Appleby, as her anti-beau Benedict, is also very good. And I loved the funny (satirical?) musical director Somarone, played with full farce and pointy-toed splendour by Belgian baritone Lionel Lhote.

A surprising and jolly evening. An extra surprise when the screen went blank ten minutes or so before the end of the opera. Apparently this was something to do with satellite time booked.. or not. The tiny audience was duly recompensed. (Yes... down here these things seem to be attended by few... and we is usually all... quite old.)

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Mrs D Takes A Tablet

No. She has not succumbed to one of them iPad thingies. Instead she has got above her station and has purchased a Wacom graphics tablet.

I do not know what this means for The Doll that is me. I must say that I do feel a little flat here.

And ... there has been much shouting and hair pulling by Madam. And much random opening and closing of software packages, images and losing of toolbars as she practices dabbing and scratching with her "pen" and swiping her fingers around the tablet.

... Don't expect another post very soon at this rate.

Friday, 5 August 2016

The Man Engine Puppet At King Edward Mining Museum, Cornwall

We have finally caught sight of The Man Engine Puppet.
Sadly, we haven't managed to see his transformation to his full 10 metre or so standing height, he has proved so popular ... 16,000 people in Camborne by all accounts, we just haven't got anywhere near seeing this marvelous trick of theatre.
We thought we would try to do so at a venue nearby. But we did a reccy and found that the roads around would be closed from 3 - 8 pm. A rural venue, we just couldn't be doing the miles of walking required and the potential crowds in a small space. So we opted to watch his procession and "crouching" performance at The King Edward Mining Museum near Troon... on Wednesday afternoon.

Oh, I do likes a bit of theatre. And this is a jolly fine thing. Lots of work. Made in Camborne, dreamed up by Will Coleman of Golden Tree Productions.
It would appear there are hoped-for plans take His Mechanical Marvelousness  across the seas ... to follow the diaspora of the Cornish miners in the 19th century... Mexico, America, Australia? Where they be going I do wonder?

Some of The Old Man's ancestors were Cornish miners. One of his great grandmothers was born in Brazil. But you wouldn't know to look at him, would you. Me? Sorry my dears... I am not Cornish, so I shall just hush up now.