Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sun, siesta and singing

Teatro Real, Madrid

An early morning, mini-cab to Heathrow Terminal 3, airport breakfast, a full flight to Madrid, safely ensconced in Hotel Orfila, which seems comfortable and slightly eccentric - just the way I like 'em. The weather here in Madrid is HOT - around the 30 degree mark, and dry as dust.

I lunched at about 3 pm - segueing easily into 'Spanish time'; and of course it was then necessary to have a siesta. Said siesta might have gone on for far too long, except that I was awoken by a text message from Andy Goodwin suggesting that he could get me a ticket to the Bolshoi's performance tonight - same opera as tomorrow night, but a different cast. Excellent idea! And he could get two tickets so we'd go together. This might all seem massively over-indulgent -- three hours of Russian opera, followed by three hours of Russian opera -- but to an opera tragic like me, 'tis Bliss. Pun intended.

I decided to stroll from the Orfila to the Teatro Real, a pleasant two kilometres which turned into about twice that far due to certain geographical challenges; which is to say, I got lost frequently. Nevertheless, it was a lovely, if hot, walk. Andy and I shared a pre-opera drink in a cute 'European' cafe near the opera house - which faces the Royal Palace. After a year of intensive Spanish lessons, I was able to to order 'agua con gas y cafe' and for Andy 'una cervaza'. Clearly I have been spending my time well.

The Madrid opera-going crowd dressed up -- in stark contrast to the Edinburgh Festival opera-going crowd. Of course, due to the heat and the walk, I was under-dressed this time. *duh* The Teatro Real is a beautiful interior refurb about ten years old, and is a lovely theatre, with beautiful acoustics to match.

Under-dressed opera goer enjoying herself
It was such a pleasure to enjoy 'Eugene Onegin' with Andy, who has been singing the role of 'Lensky' (a tenor role) in the alternate cast with the Bolshoi for about four years. It is their 'travelling  production' and has been all over the world. I was able to hear about how hard it is to die convincingly (Lensky gets shot) and that the table wasn't supposed to roll away under the soprano when she stood on it tonight (she hopped off hurriedly). This production is designed around an enormous oval table that seats thirty, serving as a metaphor for the heart of Russian family country life, as portrayed in the original Pushkin story. The 'Onegin' - a baritone role - in tonight's cast was particularly impressive: his name is Mariusz Kwiecien. The Lensky tonight, Alexey Dolgov, was good, but not as good as Andy will be tomorrow night. In the program his name stands out as the only non-Russian one in the cast. We had great seats - thank you, Andy!

Of course, you will want to know what tomorrow night's performance is like, so I'll be sure to report.

Help for lost people (phew)
Plaza Independencia

Madrid back streets

No comments:

Post a Comment