Friday, 20 July 2007


What a triumph! I had a splendid evening and although I cannot say 'I Went To A Marvellous Party' in the words of Noel Coward due to the fact I have not been to an actual party, I certainly felt like saying it at about 1 o' clock this morning when I returned home. The Royal Opera house in Covent Garden was packed for a beautiful performance of one of Puccini's best operas, Tosca. A good first act, and breathtaking second and third acts ensured a standing ovation for a terrific cast, excellent orchestra and beautiful sets. I attended the performance with Victoria, my cousin Lizzie and her boyfriend, my school friend Lee. We had a box on the left hand side which for the first act caused some discomfort for Lee and myself as there was a distinct bias to stage-right and we were always craning to see what was going on. However, come the second and third acts, that had been forgotten and we fell deep into the tragic story of the beautiful but doomed opera singer, Floria Tosca. The Vissi d'arte aria was exquisite. Cavaradossi's E Lucevan le stelle was very well executed, but his finest point was the Recondita armonia in the first act. I adore Puccini's melodies. They have such passion in them, but they are delivered in a way which does not feel overdone. When you think the cascading notes will fall predictably into a minor key, they then fall into a major key which prompts a little unexpected smile. It is wonderfully subtle. Although heavily conversational, Tosca has that strong musical quality to make one remember, and last night, I was transported back to the streets of Rome, to nights in the Piazza Navona and walking along the Corso. Bliss.

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