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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Music on a Sunday in London

Today we had a double bill of being entertained musically.  We had tickets for two venues.

We wandered up to London (pics will follow tomorrow), and first venue was Wigmore Hall to see the Gould  Piano Trio - who were excellent and treated us to..

Beethoven's Piano Trio in E sharp Op. 1 No 1 and
Smetana's Piano Trio in G minor Op. 15

Excellent concert, brilliantly played and, for me, I think the first time for Smetana... particularly this piece. Somehow a piano trio just adds - perhaps it's the different sounds... all three musicians were excellent and it was obvious there was a 'union of feeling' between them.

A wander around London and a bite to eat before we headed off to the Royal Opera House for Carmen.

Of all the operas I've seen to date ( I'm getting there...) Carmen in the  one with which I was most familiar with the music before seeing the opera - so I knew what to expect before getting there.  Whilst we were up in the 'cheap' seats in the gods, in the main we could see all we needed to; except that Pete's view of the subtitles was a little obscured.

However, the music comes alive so beautifully when you see the pieces being sung and the opera itself acted.

The stage design  was simple and clever and definitely created the right atmosphere; this being added to by the lighting.  The singers were excellent and really told the story well.

Anita Rachvelishvili as Carmen kept my attention every minute she was on stage (which is most of the opera)  as did Roberto Alagna as Don Jose (who really comes into his own towards the end)  Although the story is known in advance and Carmen's death is anticipated, the sheer brilliance of the acting by the principal characters still managed to bring a tear to my eye.

The story of Carmen, set in Seville, in Spain, is somewhat simple really with law and order taking centre stage joined by the age-old story of love with a tragic outcome.  It always works, particularly with Carmen.

Mostly my enjoyment of this production was in its simplicity... no clever modern staging which, in my humble opinion, doesn't often work.  Give me an opera that was as it was intended originally, and I'm happy.  I'm not opera buff so my comments are very basic and indicate what I've enjoyed... they're not intended to be anything more or less than that!

So to date, I would say this is probably one of my two most favourite operas.. the other being La Boheme - it was GREAT!  And the Donkey and the Horse played their parts very well too :D

And we shall be back on many more occasions to the Royal Opera House.

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