A Travellerspoint blog

The Royal Opera and my first performance in London

... a very misleading tale of two sit-ins

overcast 9 °C

I hope the deliberately misleading title of this entry has some of you wondering how I made such a speedy rise to the top of the operatic tree here in London! Sadly, I am yet to make my Royal Opera debut. Last week, however, I was lucky enough to attend a final full dress rehearsal of Handel's Orlando. Jane has a director friend associated with the production and she very kindly asked me if I would like to come along. Australian Charles MacKerras was conducting so we were well represented. I had been very ill most of the previous night and was less than sparkling company. Jane was her usual polite self and tolerated my vagueness and rambling. She had warned me that the performance was quite lengthy and said I could make an early exit if it became too taxing. While it was long, there were two intervals which allowed us to get some air and stretch our legs. The theatre is glorious. Beautifully ornate in deep red and gold. I felt very regal sitting so close to the Royal box.

The Royal Opera House


The theatre has gowns worn by Dame Joan Sutherland and others on display as well as photos of famous performances from opera and ballet including Nureyev and Fonteyn.
The performances in Orlando were excellent, particularly the two female leads, fine voices and engaging performances all round. We had no inclination to leave early and enjoyed ourselves very much.
Before leaving Covent Garden, Jane showed me a specialty shop which stocks items perculiar to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. It had all the things an Aussie craves - Vita brits, Tim Tams, proper Milo and the biggest jars of Vegemite in the known universe. I got some licorice for Jen, Jane got some Vita wheat biscuits and we hopped on a bus for home. It was a fabulous day!

On the following weekend we went to the Half Moon hotel, in Putney, to help celebrate our friend Phil's birthday. Sally and Phil had taken us there previously to check out some Sunday jazz. It was a rainy old day but that didn't stop us having a good time. We met Phil's other friends and headed in to listen to the music. Dick Laurie has been the resident band leader at the Half Moon for about nine years. He heads a seven piece band including horn, sax and bone. I had a chat to him during one of the breaks and requested a song. During the last break, he invited me to have a sing with the band. Naturally I was keen to perform and when he called me up to the stage I sang a Nat King Cole song called 'Straighten up and fly right'. The arrangement was shaky but we pulled it off no problem. The crowd were very warm and Dick asked me if I would sing one more. I sang 'My funny valentine'. The band played it so well, great dynamics and it sounded a treat. The crowd loved it. I loved hving the opportunity to perform. The band are all middle aged and beyond and, as is often the case, were pros without ego. It was very generous to let me sing and it was wonderful to perform in London. I am inspired to do it some more.

Posted by StephenJen 02:30 Archived in England Tagged family_travel

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