What a day I had yesterday! I went to Nottingham, a slightly under two hour train ride from London's magnificent St Pancras station, saw Opera North's L'enfant et les sortilèges, back to London on the train and thence to Richmond's Orange Tree Theatre for Poison, a remarkable play, a two hander by the Dutch playwright Lot Vekemans. There were stunning performances by Claire Price and Zubin Varla. This is a must see - and Richmond is so easy to get to, either by underground or really frequent trains from Waterloo, or in my case Clapham Junction, from where its is just 15 minutes.
But I am getting ahead of myself!
The first delight was the train journey to Nottingham yesterday morning on which I had a random encounter with a celebrity, Big Wes and his wonderful wife Yaya, here from Atlanta to attend Nottingham Forest's match against QPR. It just goes to show always chat to your neighbours on a train journey - you have no idea who you might meet!
But the real purpose of the journey was twofold - firstly to see Opera North's production of L'enfant et les sortilèges, one of the six works featuring in their imaginative programme of Little Greats. And secondly to return to the Theatre Royal, the first theatre which I visited as a child, almost exactly 70 years ago!
This C J Phipps building, later remodelled somewhat by Frank Matcham, is a gem of an eleven hundred seater and I see why this six year old child was so inspired - so much so that he announced that he wanted to work in the theatre "when I grow up"! And so.........
But the main purpose of the trip was to see Ravel's child, and in this case splendidly played by one of our Neue Stimmen alumnae, the Canadian/Irish mezzo Wallis Giunta, now having a successful career in Europe with a very nice contract in Leipzig as well as much guest work elsewhere. It was a delight to see her again - our paths have not crossed for four years. And how good also to see John Graham Hall, the multi talented multi faceted and indefatigable tenor all opera producers dream of.
Wallis Giunta and John Graham Hall (Arithmetic)
And so back to London on a 4 pm train - but no Big Wes. He was cheering Nottingham Forest on to a 4-0 thrashing of QPR.
And then to Richmond as described above. I should declare a family interest in the Orange Tree show. It was beautifully lit by my distinguished nephew Mark Doubleday!
I came to Paris this afternoon and am looking forward to seeing the Paris Opera Atelier's production of Philippe Boesmans' La Ronde tomorrow evening. And I will then be spending three days in Quercy with my old friend Christopher Hunt.