Many more excitements at the Opera House since the last post…no less than two operas followed by Cherie Blair this morning, being interviewed (I think the expression is ‘in conversation with’ ) Dame Janet Smith, who is chairman of the Buxton Festival, and like Cherie Blair a barrister.
Starting with the last, we were both surprised at how much we enjoyed listening to the conversation. Mrs Blair has had a bad press, on the whole, but she came over as very warm, humorous and charming, and obviously highly intelligent; the Buxton audience was very restrained and there were no questions about some of the more sensational of the stories about her, but she did admit that there were times when Tony Blair might have wished she had not done or said what she did, personally. However, she was very clear that, professionally, as a barrister she had to represent her client, regardless of the client’s stance and whether she therefore appeared to be ‘agin’ the government and her husband.
Still moving backwards, we went as guests of some very kind friends to a performance on Wednesday night of Verdi’s Luisa Miller. John and I weren’t the only ones there who hadn’t up until now ever heard of it, but that is our ignorance. It was charming, the music delightful, the singing wonderful; the ending rather Romeo and Juliet like with both hero and heroine dying, so no happy ending to lift one’s heart there, but in spite of that it was a wonderful evening.
Finally, last Sunday we went to the Barber of Bagdad by Peter Cornelius. As can be assumed, the story is about complicated infatuations, and this time apparently based on the Arabian Nights! The Barber was rather Mr Toad like in a weird outfit complete with goggles, and he appears on stage astride a comically adorned three wheeler tricycle/barber’s chair. The barber is meant to be rather long-winded, and comically so; in the first half John found this all too successfully achieved, but fortunately the second half really livened up and was thoroughly, totally, enjoyed by all.
We are so lucky to be able to enjoy this all, so easily. Buxton is a pleasant half hour’s drive, parking is easy, and free after 6pm, and the atmosphere both outside and in the theatre is wonderful. Until today, the weather has smiled upon us, but today poor Cherie was rained upon.