My quick trip to Lisbon for Idomeneo on Sunday was exhausting but worth it! An early flight from Heathrow meant a 5:30 am departure from home. Fortunately I took the excellent TAP flight instead of the unreliable rude and uncomfortable BA one - it was probably cancelled anyway since there was the odd snowflake around! But the Portuguese airline brought me to Lisbon slightly early and the Lisbon Metro is a quick and cheap ride into town. I was in a different little hotel, a new discovery Chiado 44 - excellent value and a very short walk to the lovely São Carlos Theatre.
Then four main singers in the 4 pm performance of Idomeneo were a perfectly matched quartet - the lovely Portuguese soprano Anna Quintans who is known to Glyndebourne audiences from last summer's Hipermestra was Ilia, Electra was Sophie Gordeladze, a splendid Georgian soprano who is that rare creature a soprano who can deal successfully with the disparate and competing requirements of this difficult role. She is a fine theatre animal too. Caitlin Hulcup, Garsington's Idamante in 2016, was a handsome presence and a perfect vocal foil for her colleagues - Idamante features in a duet, a trio, and a quartet. Such glorious stuff! And last but far from least our dear friend Richard Croft - did I ever hear Fuor del mar sung so stunningly? I think not. He remains the Idomeneo du jour!
Christian Curnyn secured really stylish playing from the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra, the opera company's home orchestra, and the São Carlos chorus were major stars also in this chorus heavy piece. So it was an afternoon of considerable musical pleasures - followed by a delightful dinner with Christian and the cast before an early night. I was whisked back to the airport yesterday morning at 5:15 - another even earlier flight to get me to a Garsington meeting at the Royal Academy at 10:30. London City Airport is great - I got from there to Marylebone Road in 35 minutes.
I am off to Birmingham this afternoon for my annual trip to Graham Vick's extraordinary BOCO. The production this year is Wake. But the Virgin train and my travelling companions are the same as usual. More in due course if we survive the fun!