My second evening in Edinburgh's Festival Theatre was the Leeds company's excellent Billy Budd - a perfect vehicle to display the in-depth strengths of this company. The title role was taken by the seasoned and distinguished Roderick Williams - wearing his years as lightly as a feather and as boyish and charming as you could wish. And veteran Alan Oke is clearly the Vere du jour. Impressive contributions by the huge company included Eddie Wade's Donald, Oliver Johnson's Novice, Daniel Norman's Red Whiskers, and Stephen Richardson's Dansker. And the dark and evil shadow of Alastair Miles' Claggart was - well just that!
Garry Walker commanded the orchestra with huge polish and theatricality - and Orphan Phelan's tidy production provided Opera North with one its finest achievements. So I had two fine evenings with this lovely company which has been led by Richard Mantle so strongly over all these years.
Yesterday morning I made my way to Scotland's National Gallery - to see the Goldfinch, here for a short stay from its home in The Hague. That was a delicious interlude, and was blessed by there being very few people there - but enough to make it a communal pleasure to enjoy this gem with a few others, silently!
Edinburgh makes a big deal of en fête Christmas. The space between the National Gallery and Waverley station has been taken over by German style Christmas markets on the upper level, complete with Glühwein and Bratwürst, and an excellent pleasure garden below with a Ferris wheel and merry-go-rounds. It was only December 1 - it will surely hot up in the coming weeks.......
Meanwhile I will be back in London though with a quick trip to New York next Thursday - otherwise making the usual preparations for our family Christmas celebrations.
But if course John Adams comes to town this weekend - it is El Niño on Sunday evening.