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Monday, 3 March 2014

Musical Sunday.. at Wigmore Hall and ENO

Sunday saw us with a double treat of two musical items.  Firstly we were off to Wigmore Hall for a treat from Benjamin Smith... (more at the end of this post)

we wandered the streets of London having time for a few pics.

Protective hoarding around building works..

This is the old front wall of a building that's now been demolished.. I'm assuming there's a preservation order on the building front... all now held upright by scaffolding awaiting its fortune..

Having been to Wigmore Hall and had a bite to eat for lunch, we headed off in the direction of Leicester Square - where we were to meet some friends... although known to Pete I was meeting, Jan - for the first time (although I'd known her 'virtually' for quite a while), together with her husband, daughter Sue and grandson.

What we didn't know when we reached Leicester Square was that there was a Russion Event in place - so a bit on the crowded side.

And then off to the Coliseum for our afternoon entertainment.7

So - morning started with a concert by Benjamin Frith, paino playing

Haydn's Piano Sonata in C HXVI:5
Mendelssohn's, Songs without Words: Book 6 Op. 67
Stanford's Three Rhapsodies from Dante Op. 92
and he finished with two encores.

I couldn't really settle to listen so well today... don't know why; it happens!!  But he did play excellently and I really liked the lilting 'lightness' of the Songs without Words... not familiar to me but I enjoyed that the most of the three items. The other pieces played with undertaken with considerable emotion and feeling - I would really like to go back and listen over again.

After lunch saw us at the Coliseum for Handel's Rodelinda.   Now - this was a lucky dip choice not having much knowledge of the opera or any familiarity with the music... but.. it was amazing.

Firstly, there were many seats not occupied and someone in our row didn't return to that seat after Act 1 - I only hope he relocated for, if he'd left, he'd missed a treat.

The staging was set in the 1940s which didn't gel well with the period of the opera set in the 1700s.  Somehow, although the staging was very clever, it argued too much with the music - the harpsichord being the main instrument.  I have to add that normally, I don't like the harpsichord but I really did enjoy it today.

The story line was that of love and power and beautifully portrayed by all the cast.  BUT I have to say the performances given by Iestyn Davies and Rebecca Evans were superb.  First opera for me where a countertenor has a leading part - he has the most amazing voice and one we're to enjoy again later in the year.

The emotion displayed in their duet as the scene came to an end, almost reduced me to tears.. absolutely beautiful.

There was a bit of graphic modern technology at one point - with a rather loud bang as a memorial erupted into several pieces... this I didn't like particularly as it was too harsh amongst the emotion of the whole piece... but then, perhaps this is what is was meant to achieve?

But at the end of the day, it was a wonderful opera and one I was glad I'd seen and heard.

A thoroughly enjoyable day altogether!

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