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Opera in Roquetas – 2

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Well, not only in Roquetas – the Metropolitan Opera’s live HD broadcasts are distributed across the globe. If I need to return to the UK anytime when the operas are being broadcast I can visit any number of cinemas but will probably go to the Duke of York’s in Brighton.

Only 2 operas remain to be broadcast in the 2011-2 program – Massenet’s Manon & Verdi’s La Traviata – both in April. There is, however, an excellent collection starting in October as follows…

Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore–New Production

October 13, 2012

Anna Netrebko and Matthew Polenzani star in Bartlett Sher’s new production of one of the greatest comic gems in opera, as the fickle Adina and her besotted Nemorino. Mariusz Kwiecien is the blustery sergeant Belcore and Ambrogio Maestri is Dulcamara, the loveable quack and dispenser of the elixir. Maurizio Benini conducts.

Verdi’s Otello

October 27, 2012

Verdi’s Shakespearean masterpiece returns to the Met with Johan Botha in the title role opposite the acclaimed Desdemona of star soprano Renée Fleming. Semyon Bychkov conducts.

Adès’s The Tempest—Met Premiere

November 10, 2012

Composer Thomas Adès conducts the Metropolitan Opera premiere of his own work, with baritone Simon Keenlyside starring as Prospero. Director Robert Lepage recreates the interior of 18th-century La Scala in this inventive staging.

Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito

December 1, 2012

The virtuosic Elīna Garanča sings Sesto in Mozart’s drama set in ancient Rome. Giuseppe Filianoti is the noble Tito and Barbara Frittoli is Vitellia, in this handsome revival of one of the composer’s final masterpieces. Harry Bicket conducts.

Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera—New Production

December 8, 2012

Director David Alden’s dreamlike setting provides a compelling backdrop for this dramatic story of jealousy and vengeance. Marcelo Álvarez stars as the conflicted king; Karita Mattila is Amelia, the object of his secret passion; and Dmitri Hvorostovsky is her suspicious husband. Kathleen Kim is the page Oscar, and Stephanie Blythe sings the role of the fortune-teller Ulrica. Fabio Luisi conducts.

Verdi’s Aida

December 15, 2012

The Met’s unforgettable production of Verdi’s ancient Egyptian drama stars Liudmyla Monastyrska as the enslaved Ethiopian princess caught in a love triangle with the heroic Radamès, played by Roberto Alagna, and the proud Egyptian princess Amneris, sung by Olga Borodina. Fabio Luisi conducts.

Berlioz’s Les Troyens

January 5, 2013

The Met offers a rare opportunity to witness Berlioz’s vast epic, last performed at the Met in 2003. Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft lead the starry cast, portraying characters from the Trojan War. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi marshals the large-scale musical forces.

Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda—Met Premiere

January 19, 2013

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, one of the world’s most exciting singers, takes on the virtuosic bel canto role of the doomed Mary, Queen of Scots. Director David McVicar turns to the second opera of Donizetti’s Tudor trilogy, which explores regal characters at fateful moments of their lives. Elza van den Heever sings Elizabeth I, and Maurizio Benini conducts.

Verdi’s Rigoletto– New Production

February 16, 2013

Director Michael Mayer has placed his new production of Verdi’s towering tragedy in Las Vegas in 1960. In this production, inspired by the antics of the Rat Pack, Piotr Beczala is the womanizing Duke of Mantua, Željko Lucic is his tragic sidekick, Rigoletto, and Diana Damrau is Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda.

Wagner’s Parsifal–New Production

March 2, 2013

Jonas Kaufmann stars in the title role of the innocent who finds wisdom in François Girard’s new vision for Wagner’s final masterpiece. His fellow Wagnerian luminaries include Katarina Dalayman as the mysterious Kundry, Peter Mattei as the ailing Amfortas, Evgeny Nikitin as the wicked Klingsor, and René Pape as the noble knight Gurnemanz. Daniele Gatti conducts.

Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini

March 16, 2013, 12 pm ET

Zandonai’s compelling opera, inspired by an episode from Dante’s Inferno, returns in the Met’s ravishingly beautiful production, last seen in 1986. Dramatic soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek and tenor Marcello Giordani are the doomed lovers. Marco Armiliato conducts.

Handel’s Giulio Cesare—New Production

April 27, 2013

The opera that conquered London in Handel’s time comes to the Met in David McVicar’s lively production. The world’s leading countertenor, David Daniels, sings the title role opposite Natalie Dessay as an irresistibly exotic Cleopatra. Baroque specialist Harry Bicket conducts.

Can’t wait!

Robert Bovington
Roquetas de Mar  February 2012

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Opera in Roquetas – 1

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We are so lucky here in Roquetas de Mar. Apart from having more days of sun than most other places in Spain, we have culture too.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky & Angela Meade (photo from http://www.operatoday.com)

Yesterday evening, my wife and I went to the opera. OK – it was only at the local cinema but nevertheless we really enjoyed it. The Metropolitan Opera’s live HD broadcast of Verdi’s Ernani was spectacular.

Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky played Don Carlo; Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto played the part of Don Ruy Gomez de Silva and Ernani was played by Italian tenor Marcello Giordani.

Perhaps, the star of the show was Angela Meade. The American soprano played the part of Elvira – the role she made her professional opera debut, also at the Met in 2008. Watch out for her – she could be a big star in the future! She’s a bit on the plump side now and certainly wouldn’t look right as a Violetta (Traviata) or a Mimi (La Boheme) but she has a delightful voice and a pretty face.
My wife and I have attended a number of operas – some at the local theatre but quite a few at the Yelmo Complex cinema. Recently we have seen Tosca, Simon Boccanegra, Don Giovanni, Satyagraha and Faust and intend to watch Manon & La Traviata in April. The Roquetas cinema is the only one in the province showing the Metropolitan Opera’s series of live broadcasts – the next nearest establishment showing the operas is over 200km away in Málaga province.

Robert Bovington
Roquetas de Mar February 2012

Wakehurst Place

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When I lived in England I regularly visited National Trust properties, especially Wakehurst Place, a fantastic place for walks. I also enjoyed their annual carol service followed by mulled wine and mince pies. The Millennium Seed Bank is located at Wakehurst Place.

carol service at Wakehurst Place

Book Review – Adam Bede by George Eliot

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Adam Bede by George Eliot
Having purchased a Kindle, I downloaded a number of free e-books of “classics” including George Eliot’s “Adam Bede”. It is a delightful read and is a tale of simple country folk in an early nineteenth century rural community. The main character is carpenter Adam Bede a strong, righteous man who cares for his aging mother. He does have a weakness – he’s in love with vain but beautiful Hetty Sorrel. Unfortunately for Adam, the young Hetty is deluded into thinking that the flirtatious attentions of Captain Donnithorne may lead to marriage.
It is not just a story about a love triangle featuring seduction, murder, and retribution. It is a leisurely novel featuring many interesting characters that include Adam’s brother Seth Bede; Methodist preacher Dinah Morris; Hetty’s uncle and aunt, the Poysers and their brood of children; Reverend Irwine, the local Anglican minister and teacher Bartle Massey.
At times, George Eliot diverts the reader from the main plot of the story to describe the activities of the locals in their day-to-day life. The author provides the reader with vivid descriptions of the people; their drinking and harvest parties and particularly the landscapes as the seasons unfold. Occasionally, the novel is difficult to follow when the author slips into the 19th century rural dialect but overall the book is an exceedingly good read.
Robert Bovington
February 2011

THE FRENCH – 1

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Ever wonder why the French are so unpopular?

JFK’s Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60’s when DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO.

DeGaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible.

Rusk responded: “Does that include those who are buried here?”

You could have heard a pin drop

There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American.

During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying ‘Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims.

What does he intended to do, bomb them?’

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly:

‘Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply: –

Emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day,

They can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck.

We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?’

You could have heard a pin drop 

A Royal Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S. , English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies.

At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries.

Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, the English learn only English. He then asked,

‘Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?’
Without hesitating, the British Admiral replied,

‘Maybe it’s because the Brit’s, Canadians, Aussie’s, Kiwi’s and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak German.’

You could have heard a pin drop 

AND THIS STORY FITS RIGHT IN WITH THE ABOVE…

Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his hand luggage.

“You have been to France before, monsieur?” the customs officer asked sarcastically.

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.

“Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.

The Englishman said,

‘The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it.”

“Impossible. You English always have to show your passports on arrival in France!”

The English senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained:

”Well, when I came ashore at Gold Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn’t find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to.”

You could have heard a pin drop

Hello world!

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Welcome to my ‘Bits & Blogs’ blog. I mainly blog about Spain and things Spanish so this blog is intended for other topics.