Friday, 9 April 2010
Just dreadful, I know, but I could think of no better way to announce an Easter weekend journey from a Sevres egg in the Gilbert collection at the V&A
to Easter Sunday breakfast at Hindringham, Norfolk
which duly nourished us enough to tramp across ovoid pebbles on the beach near Sheringham.
Contrary to prognostication, Saturday and Sunday afternoons were glorious up on the north Norfolk coast, with nothing but sun and sand on Holkham Beach and the tide retreating as we walked along cliff (yes, cliff - our first in this neck of the woods, as we've never gone so far east from King's Lynn before) and shoreline from Weybourne to Sheringham and back.
We left behind music, but not music talk, since our hosts, the delightful Susie Self and Michael Christie, are very much so inclined. Susie's a voluptuous mezzo whom J has known since Glyndebourne chorus days, and whom I first saw in solo action as Baba the Turk for Opera Factory (complete with chestwig), but she also composes, paints and teaches holistic singing in peaceful places like Skyros and Esalen, California, as well as North London; Michael's a cellist, composer, teacher and webmaster. Take a look at their Selfmademusic website, and do hear this evocative first track from Susie's latest album, Seachanges, complete with Big Sur cinematography:
More divadom: I was utterly captivated, as who could not be, by the free and easy manner of Roberta Alexander, whom J and Susie knew from the 1990 Glyndebourne Jenufa, and Claron McFadden in their Bernstein concert on Wednesday. I'd found no publicity shot of them either together or with the excellent pianist, Reinild Mees. Instead, I asked the Southbank's indefatigable classical press man, Dennis Chang, to facilitate an amateur photoshoot after the concert so that I could use one to head my Arts Desk piece. 'Fine', said Roberta, 'but on one condition - you give us a good review'. How could it not be good, I replied with no flattery, but just in case, maybe they could scowl in one photo and smile in another to cover all contingencies. Here's one TAD rejected because it was slightly blurrier than the others, but it's perhaps the best of all three ladies.
Stop press: I have a nasty feeling it's not going to be exactly Prima Donnaworthy stuff when I brave the first performance in London of Rufus Wainwright's opera on Monday. Just heard Janis Kelly on Radio 3 singing the last aria, and though she does her stylish best, what came to mind in her 'Feux d'artifice' was Anna Russell's French song spoof, 'La plume de ma tante'. Sean Rafferty effused about how terribly moving it was etc, yet I felt I might get the giggles in the performance. Which is a shame because I do so like many of the songs on Wants One and Two. But let's not prejudge...