From the rain and wind of the early week emerged a day that put a bounce in the step. I had reason to see the woodland carpet of daffodils in Holland Park and although the air began to bite when the sun descended, the smack of Spring was unmistakeable.
It has been a week for celebrating our decision to produce L’amore. Although Barry Jobling made a good fist of rubbishing my assertion that it was a post-verismo masterpiece in his lecture(it’s post-symbolist-proto-Wagner apparently) he nevertheless presented s a superb distillation of the piece. A packed Leighton House listened to him play samples on the piano and broadcast – loudly – passages from the RCA CD. It was an odd experience hearing amplified music in that setting but fascinating to hear the shuffle and murmur of pleasure from the audience when a particularly glorious extract had finished. Knowing that what was a first listen for the vast majority of those present had hit the spot left me with a grin the size of the Thames Barrier. All who attended (and there is another one soon) were urged to book for the opera and would all have no doubt rushed for their cheque books if they hadn’t already done so before attending the lecture; for L’amore, as things currently stand, has sold a higher percentage of its capacity than any other opera in the season.
Things are at the holes in the ground stage with the canopy. Concrete. Even culture relies upon it.
The Friends have recently advertised for an administrator (who works amid the ever-growing throng in our office). They had a remarkable 170 applications for the job and there are many of an extremely high calibre. Naturally, as one left the interview room, Clarinda recognised an old friend from, yes, you guessed it, Kings College London. Apparently this mighty number will be distilled down to what must be a genius–like final 16, at which point James and I will also get to run the rule over them, so to speak (what’s the collective noun for a group of geniuses?) Whatever, it bodes well for the chances of engaging someone very good and a testament to the appeal of the company. It is an important role too – the Friends' contribution to the season has grown exponentially in the past three years and will continue to do so.
Sarah showed me a photograph taken at a first night that featured me talking to Kate. I laughed at how drunken Kate looked in the photo, only to be met with perplexed faces. “Oh,” Sarah said, not really bending over backwards to be tactful, “I sent it because I thought you looked particularly bad in it”.