It has been a brilliant freezing day - and quite beautiful. I had to collect my passport from the excellent CIBT Visa agency who processed my Chinese visa painlessly. I used this company in Chicago for Russian and Chinese visas for 13 years - they are expert and completely reliable. So I am now all set for the first leg (or legs) of Neue Stimmen beginning April 16.
I then had a delightful lunch with my old friend and colleague, Sarah Playfair, in an excellent pub in Pimlico, the Queen's Arms. She has been around almost as long as I have, and is a complete authority on the subject of all matters relating to British singers, and British opera companies of all sizes. We had a good long gossip and exchange of views. For the main part not for publication of course! Having been out of the country for so much of the last 25 years I am inevitably a little rusty. So she brought me up to date, and I did the same for her for the rest of the world. But none of us know everything of course.........
And after that I took the opportunity to pop over to Parliament Square from Victoria, and walked across Westminster Bridge. This is London in all its glory.
I will be going to the BBC's New Broadcasting House for the fist time tomorrow. I loved the old place and over the years was in and out of it regularly. I take it that the new one is state of the art, whatever that might be. As of today, by the way, the BBC is being led by Tony Hall, fresh from a dozen notable years at the Royal Opera House. We wish him well.