Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Mad for it

My attention was drawn today to The Grange Park website where Wasfi Kani has a blog. Well, where she has an empty blog because she evidently doesn't want to do it! Ironically, James doesn't want me to do this one either. Although I haven't made many posts, I have found them moderately therapeutic and something of an aid to putting the day or week’s events into some sort of perspective. Wasfi is someone with whom we have spent the odd evening burning the midnight oil and to be honest, I can’t imagine her writing a blog but I am sure an insight into her life at Grange Park would be entertaining. Maybe I’ll interview her for mine? Or maybe she’ll be smiling knowingly at me come the summer, safe in the knowledge that she resisted entering the Blogger universe.

At this time of year, as we are about to send out booking forms, we become eager to get a feel for the patrons’ reaction to the forthcoming season. This year, there is an early indicator – a special springtime lecture by Barry Jobling on the wonders of Montemezzi’s L’amore dei tre Re. Booking forms were sent out three days ago and already the event is sold out. I believe the Friends are trying to arrange another lecture to cope with the demand. There are 130 places on the lecture at Leighton House. How refreshing that so many people want to learn about this magnificent piece, which bodes well for the production in July. We have talked about the opera for years (at least eight) and I find it hard to believe that finally we shall see it on our stage. Naturally, one is concerned that those we have so persistently and forcefully encouraged to support it, will actually like it. Even if I say so myself, we have rarely been wrong in that respect and calamity has been held at bay. But the past ten years of mining the rarities so successfully really has been most rewarding. Yet the knowledge of past triumphs will count for zilch come the first night of L’amore. It will be one of those evenings when critics you never knew existed will be in the house along with the established scribes and people from around the world will be in attendance. Usually, there is a school of thought that the rarity being presented is a weak work (hence it’s rarity) but oddly, in the case of L’amore, it is widely considered to be a work of substance and quality. We shall see. But the journey for many will begin with those lectures at Leighton House in the springtime and I cannot imagine a more thrilling way to begin the run-in to the big opening. As an aficionado of the work, I shall feel a little like the critic on first night, keeping a wary eye on what Barry does with it. I suspect he will ask for me to be excluded from proceedings.

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