1 Year of Blogging

So, it seems that I’ve been writing this blog for a year now. It’s been quite an eventful year – I went to 5 cinema broadcasts, met Joyce DiDonato and went to two live performances, one of which was my first visit to the Royal Opera House. My blog tells me that there are 412 of you following me by email. I’m having trouble believing that, but I have even more followers on Twitter and I’m pretty pleased with that. So thank you all for reading this and I’m sorry I’m not the most reliable of bloggers ( I know, I still haven’t made a post about Don Carlos but it will happen, I promise).

5 Worst Operatic Fathers

Happy Father’s Day, everyone! I thought it would be nice to celebrate it by making a list of the worst fathers in opera. I have decided to do a list of the worst one because it’s so much easier and anyway the best fathers in opera are normally the ones who just do nothing and let their children mess up their own lives by themselves.

5. Giorgio Germont (from La traviata by Verdi) 

This guy isn’t such an awful dad because, admittedly, the only reason he makes Violetta break his son’s heart (not to mention her own) in order to let his daughter get married. So it all sounds theoretically okay until Violetta gives up the will to live and dies and he ends up looking like the bad guy (although the bad guy should have been the Baron or just society generally).

Renee Fleming as Violetta with Thomas Hampson as Germont

4. Rigoletto (from Rigoletto by Verdi)

Rigoletto’s problem is that he is simply the most overprotective father of all time. Yes, it is sweet that he loves his daughter and wants her to have a happy, innocent childhood but when it gets to the point where she is desperate to get outside but has no idea what outside is like, it’s fairly obvious that something’s going to go wrong.

Placido Domingo as Rigoletto

3.Marquis of Calatrava (from La forza del destino by Verdi)

Yes, he died but maybe if he hadn’t been so controlling over his daughter (not to mention racist) then maybe it wouldn’t have happened. Still not a valid excuse to curse her.

2. Philip II (from Don Carlo by Verdi)

Philip is difficult to put in this list at all because he’s a lot easier to sympathise with than any of the others. He’s kinda got a difficult life, what with being king etc. etc. but he’s still a horrible dad. He cancels his son’s marriage (sure, it was an arranged marriage so it shouldn’t really matter, but they were in love), tries to get permission to kill him and then kills his best friend instead, thereby ruining opera’s greatest bromance (teen speak for ‘ultimate friendship’). And then he changes his mind and decides to try and kill his son after all. It’s fairly self-explanatory as to why this guy is not a good dad. N.B. ‘God did it’ is not a valid excuse for killing your children.

Ferruccio Furlanetto as Philip II

1. Wotan (from the Ring Cycle by Wagner)

Wotan’s main mistake was basically just having children in the first place. Not only does it make his wife seriously annoyed with him, these children would probably also come first in a list of Opera’s Worst Children. Anyhow, Wotan ends up spending the rest of eternity chasing around the universe trying to make them kill or fall in love with each other. And then one of them blows up the universe. He’s such a bad parent that even his own grandson doesn’t like him. Nice parenting skills.

Bryn Terfel as Wotan and a random bird thing

Obviously, there are other examples of operatic fathers such as Timur (from Turandot), Il Commendatore (from Don Giovanni) and Simon Boccanegra (from Surely You Can Work This One Out Yourself) but I have limited it to the first 5 examples of awful parenting that sprang to mind.

UPDATE~~~ I received an insightful comment on this post that I thought would be nice to share with you all:

Do any of you will cause a reflexive strike for a game fish.
My friend and our editorial director Josh Fruhlinger will be taking 12 individuals through a week of leverage also known
as Survival Gear? survival gear is stimulating, providing enough
energy to do tedious tasks in longer period.
Dec 14, 2010, 7:52am ESTSassy *bacon makes me happy* Cat Dec 14,
2010, 4:10am EST Matthew, Remember the December 15 date I
had mentioned previously?

 

Ideas Requested

At school, we have a club called G & T that some of us have to go to every week. G & T is meant to stand for Gifted and Talented but because that sounds very snobby, it is more commonly referred to as Gin and Tonic. Anyway, the point of this club is that if you are considered clever, you have to go along and learn how to do stuff in life and how channel your inner genius into something useful. This year, we’ve been learning about public speaking and at the end of this term, in about 5/6 weeks, we have a Formal Presentation Evening. This means that I have to dress up nicely and stand up in front of lots of people and give a presentation about something that I find interesting or inspirational. If you haven’t worked out yet that I am going to do my presentation about opera, then you are probably reading the wrong blog.

Here’s where you can help: I would really love it if anyone has any ideas for ways to make the presentation interesting, any clips I should show, anything in particular I should talk about. The rules are:

  • I have 10 minutes to give the presentation but if I run over by a couple of minutes it doesn’t really matter
  • I will have a PowerPoint behind me so I can show videos clips and photos
  • The audience will be friends of mine and of the other people giving presentations (e.g. teenagers), families, teachers and the Headmaster of my school, along with the two Deputy Heads and the Chaplain. This means that there are some things probably best not mentioned e.g. the plot of Salome or Die Walküre
  • There is to be no mention, positive or negative, of crossover
  • The aim is to teach the audience a little bit about opera and why it is an interesting art form and what I like about it. The “OPERA IS AWESOME YOU SHOULD TOTALLY GO TO SEE AN OPERA YOU WILL LOVE IT” part should be the subliminal messaging
  • Ideally, I will find an excuse to include this picture of Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca:

My vague kind of outline plan for this is: Extremely brief history of opera, explanation about modern-day opera singers and productions (clip of Met Ring Cycle?), new ideas in opera (cinema, new operas being written), why it’s important to me. Any ideas to include will be very welcome!

PS: I will try to post the finished PowerPoint and script on here or even get someone to film me doing the presentation on the evening so you can see how it turns out!

 

I Have Something I Need To Rant About

This is something that has been annoying me for a while now but recently it has been happening a lot more and I really really hate it. Here’s the thing. We are, all of us, fans of opera and the world that surrounds it: the productions, the singers, the orchestras, the conductors, the audiences, the opera houses, the music, the drama. And of course not everyone has the exact same opinions on it. Nothing has ever united the opinions of everyone. It’s a good thing, that we all think differently. It means that we can have discussions, we can think, we can see things differently every time and it is this that keeps opera alive. Disagreement is, in a way, how we show our love for opera. We want to talk about it, to share our ideas and to find out how others think about things. But we are all still united by love and interest for this art form. What I hate more than anything are the people who refuse this. Who try to force people out who don’t have their opinions. Who think that there is a ‘right’ answer to everything. The people that are rude and condescending and turn discussions about preferences into arguments about what is right and wrong.

Why do they do that? I don’t think I could ever just tell someone that their liking for art is ‘wrong’ and to correct them, like a parent telling off a child, about what they should and shouldn’t do or think. How are people so arrogant that they dare to think that their opinion, and only theirs, is right? This is art we are talking about. There is no ‘right’ and there is no ‘wrong’. Yet these people seem to live by the mantra that “Everyone is entitled to free speech and thought, except the other person.” Don’t they realise how rude and thoughtless they are being? Don’t they ever just stop and try to think from the point of view of the other people? I’ve tried to understand why people would act like this, but I just can’t. It doesn’t make any sense. I can’t imagine why someone would be so selfish as to try and deny other people the right to think.

I really love using the Internet to communicate with other opera fans. I have so many wonderful people I have got to know through Twitter and blogging. This is what the Internet is for – meeting people, making friends all over the world, sharing thoughts and stories and experiences. We should be united by our love for opera, not divided by our thoughts within it. Disagreeing is good, definitely. But sometimes it just gets out of control. Certain blogs (most of you probably know who I’m referring to here) don’t try to stop this and then the comments become a breeding ground for rudeness and bossiness. This isn’t just blogs – I see it a lot on YouTube and it just really upsets me. Can’t people just accept that they are all slightly different and settle down to enjoy opera together? Can’t love for this art form bring people together instead of causing anger? If these narrow-minded people had their way, Twitter would look something like this:

Person 1: Maria Callas was amazing.

Person 2: Yes, she was.

Person 1: I love hearing her sing.

Person 2: She was a wonderful actress as well.

Person 1: Oh, yes. Yes, I agree.

Person 2: I know you do.

How boring is that?! So please, share your thoughts. And listen to others. That’s just as important.

 

The Ring Cycle and Norse Mythology

I’ve been interested by the Norse myths for quite a few years now, but it was only very recently that I read a version of the Volsunga Saga. This is an ancient Scandinavian saga of the Volsung family and their various adventures. The oldest surviving written copy was written in Iceland around the year 1400 AD and the oldest drawings of scenes from it are from Sweden and were made around 1000 AD. It is the main inspiration for the plot of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, but there are quite a few key differences.

Warning: If you don’t yet know much about the plot of the Ring, you are unlikely to be able to make any sense of this at all.

Das Rheingold: This is the main opera as far as the gods are concerned. Most of them, including Froh, Donner and Freia make basically no other appearances. The part of the saga that corresponds to Rheingold is a part that comes about halfway through, in the form of a flashback. This, too, is the only appearance of any of the gods, other than Wotan (Odin). This flashback is where the Ring is first mentioned. There is no mention of Rhinemaidens anywhere in the entire thing. The ring belongs to Alberich (Andvari) in the first place and it is taken by Loge (Loki) to help the gods pay compensation to Hreidmar, a dwarf whose son he has killed. Fafnir is another of Hreidmar’s sons and he kills Hreidmar in order to take the Ring and the gold. Then he turns himself into a dragon in order to guard it, thereby rejoining with the plot of the operas. The part of the opera that involves the giants and the building of Valhalla is an adaptation of a completely separate Norse myth that Wagner has woven into the Volsung story.

Water-nymphs plead with the Flame-haired One

The Rhinemaidens talking to Loge (Loki)

Die Walküre: In this opera, Wagner has once again sewn together two different stories, both of them parts of the Volsungasaga. The story of Sieglinde (Signy) and Siegmund and the story of Brunnhilde being made mortal by Wotan (Odin) are separate and come at different times within the saga. Sieglinde (Signy) is a very different character in the two stories. While in Wagner she is a quiet, innocent (although incestuous) and fairly dull character, in the saga she is hell-bent on revenge (her husband Hunding (Siggeir) having had all her family (except Siegmund, who escaped) murdered) and ruthless to the extent that she kills two of her own children for being ‘traitors’. She also, instead of dying giving birth as in the opera, burns to death after she sets her house on fire. Crazy lady. Siegmund, however, continues to live a happy and fulfilling life after she dies until he is killed in battle by a mysterious one-eyed stranger. The character of Brunnhilde does not appear in this part of the story at all and the story of her banishment from Valhalla is only mentioned briefly later on.

Mime (the dwarf whom you are not supposed to feel sorry for) talking to a mysterious one-eyed stranger

Siegfried: Siegfried’s counterpart in the Volsungasaga is called Sigurd. He is the son of Siegmund and his second wife, Hiordis (the first wife doesn’t matter; she was a nasty lady who does not deserve to be mentioned) and he was born after his father tragically died (see above). The story goes that he was sent away to be looked after and brought up by a guy called Regin (Mime) (because there was the ever-present fear that if he stayed at home with his mum, he might grow up to be a human being with emotions, rather than a trained fighting machine). Regin (Mime) is the brother of Fafnir and he tells Siegfried (Sigurd) the story of all the stuff that happened in Rheingold (this is the flashback part). They then reforge Sigmund’s sword (which was shattered during his fight with the mysterious one-eyed stranger) and Sigfried (Sigurd) goes off and killed Fafnir (with some help from a mysterious one-eyed stranger who just happened to be there). The remainder of the opera is exactly the same as the saga. The birds start talking, Regin (Mime) turns out to be evil, he is killed, Siegfried (Sigurd) meets Brunhilde etc. etc.

Siegfried (Sigurd) gets distracted at precisely the wrong moment

Götterdammerung: This opera is probably the most similar to the saga. There are only two main differences. Firstly, Siegfried’s death is totally different. Hagen is a character who was made up by Wagner: he does not appear anywhere in the saga. Instead, Siegfried is stabbed in his sleep by Gunther’s (Gunnar’s) youngest brother, Guttorm (having been persuaded to do it by Brunnhilde). Ever the hero, however, Siegfried’s final act is to pick up his father’s sword and throw it at his murderer, thereby killing him as well. Secondly, Brunnhilde’s death is a lot more boring. She sits in her room and stabs herself. That’s it. No horses, no fire and absolutely no apocalypse. This is where Wagner (finally) finishes, but the saga does not. It carries on, telling the story of What Gudrun Does After Siegfried (Sigurd) Dies. This is also long and complicated and is probably best left to another day.

P.S. If you feel that you now have some vague understanding of what the differences are, well done. It’s a complicated thing and I don’t think I’ve explained it very well.

P.P.S. I would highly recommend reading some of the other Norse Myths if you like that sort of thing because they really are fascinating.

Met Announces New Season

The Met have announced the operas which will be performed in their new 2013/14 season. You can see the online brochure by clicking on the penguin.

As I can’t go to the Met itself due to the small inconvenience that is the Atlantic Ocean, the only productions I am allowed to get excited about are the ones being shown Live in HD. These are:

  • Eugene Onegin on October 5th
  • The Nose on October 26th
  • Tosca on November 9th
  • Falstaff on December 14th
  • Rusalka on February 8th
  • Prince Igor on March 1st
  • Werther on March 15th
  • La Bohème on April 5th
  • Così fan tutte on April 26th
  • La Cenerentola on May 10th

My thoughts on this:

Eugene Onegin:  I will definitely go to see unless the world ends or something. Having been totally amazed by the ROH cinema broadcast last week, I don’t think I can miss this. I mean, it’s Tchaikovsky and it’s got Netrebko and Kwiecien in it, how bad can it be? Also, I like the look of this new production. It seems to be mainly focused on snow, which is fine by me, as Snow is essentially a one-word summary of What I Know About Russia.

The Nose: I don’t really know this opera well enough to know if this is worthwhile. I think personally that I’ll pass, but I’d be interested to know what others think.

Tosca: I hate the Met’s production of this. And it has Alagna in it. Enough said.

Falstaff: I don’t know if I’ll go to this or not. I quite like this opera, without being fanatical about it. I’m not sure what to expect from the new production. Just generally – I don’t know. At all.

Rusalka: Probably almost definitely. I love Dvorák but I don’t really know this opera, so I really want to see this. Also I just want need to see Renee.

Prince Igor: I really want to go and see this. It sounds like an interesting and possibly under-performed opera. The production also looks very good and I would like to hear Abdrazakov sing because he is one of the singers I hear about fairly regularly, but have never listened to.

Werther: Kaufmann+Garanca+Massenet= OMG I TOTALLY HAVE TO GO AND SEE THIS!!!

La Bohème: I could go if I have nothing else to do, but I probably shan’t bother. It’s the same (admittedly excellent) Zeffirelli production that seems to be perfectly capable of being brought out for performances every other year until its first appearance is no longer in living memory. This performance features Vittorio Grigolo and Anita Hartig.

Così fan tutte: I personally think I should go to this because I really don’t know this opera at all (I mean, I have a vague understanding of the plot and I can recognise Soave sia il vento, but that’s about it). Isabel Leonard, Danielle de Niese, Matthew Polenzani and Susanna Phillips are all involved, so I think that makes it worthwhile, at the very least.

La Cenerentola: I have something to admit here, which is that I am not exactly a huge fan of Rossini. That is to say, I like much of the music, but some of it I find very dull and if the opera does not have a good cast and an entertaining production, it can become very tedious very quickly. In this case though, it’s Cenerentola – by all accounts one of his better operas – and starring Joyce Didonato, Juan Diego Flórez and Luca Pisaroni, no less, so this should be Rossini at his best.

Looking through the rest of the season, which I won’t be able to see, but at least hear on the radio, there are a few things worth noting:

This is the overall lineup by composer:

  • Tchaikovsky-1,
  • Mozart-2 (including the cut-down-and-sung-in-English version of The Magic Flute), 
  • Shostakovitch-1,
  • Bellini-3,
  • Britten-1,
  • Muhly-1,
  • Puccini-3,
  • R. Strauss-3,
  • Verdi-2,
  • J. Strauss-1,  
  • Donizetti-1,
  • Dvorak-1,
  • Borodin-1,
  • Massenet-1,
  • Berg-1,
  • Giordano-1,
  • Rossini-1,
  • Various Baroque Composers-1 (The (Return of the) Enchanted Island)
  • and, noticeably, Wagner-0. 

Not being personally a Bellini fan, I think that having three of his operas is a bit much, especially since it appears to be pushing out Verdi and Wagner. I think it would be more justifiable if they had a couple of really good Bellini singers (e.g. if we were back in the days of Sutherland and Callas, it would make a lot more sense). Maybe they think they’ve been overloading a bit on the Donizetti and they’re trying to balance it out a bit without taking away the bel canto operas altogether. In which case, partial success. What I don’t understand, though, is if they want to do so much Bellini, why not schedule at least one of them to be shown in HD, rather than repeating the same old Puccini productions? I suppose they want to ensure they make more profit by showing ‘safe’ operas, but for those of us who are interested in hearing some different repertoire, this is irritating. Anyway, if some people want to go to an opera for the first time, Così, Tosca,  Bohème and Cenerentola are all good choices, they don’t need to show all of them. I’m pretty sure that Tosca and Bohème could both be left off and neither operatic newcomers nor more regular viewers would miss them (and this is coming from the mouth keyboard of a lifelong Puccini fanatic who counts both of those operas among her favourites).

The total absence of Wagner is both puzzling and understandable. Yes, they have scheduled a lot of Wagner recently and no doubt spent huge amounts of money and effort on it but there are a lot of very good Wagner singers around at the moment whom we want to hear. Surely they could have just squeezed one little Dutchman in there somewhere?

In the HD shows, it is noticeable that there is a lot of Russian and Czech opera going on. Not that I’m complaining about this at all.

Overall, good season, could be better and I’m definitely looking forward to several of those HDs and radio broadcasts.

Weekly Video #24

Because there were a lot of videos in last week’s post, today I am posting a video which only some of you will understand.

Some GENIUS has decided to take clips of some of the characters from Harry Potter and assign operatic roles to them. Do you agree/disagree with these choices? Which other film/book characters would you put with which opera characters and why? The comment box awaits your thoughts.

Joyce DiDonato – Drama Queens Concert

This is the great saga of my visit to London last night. A warning: most of this will be fangirling and waffling, of the strange variety.

So, I left school early (awesome thing number 1), at 4:30, on Wednesday afternoon and went to the station to get a train to London (awesome things number 2 and 3), accompanied by my dad. On arrival in London, we went from the station to the Barbican using the Underground (which I find both exciting and slightly terrifying). When we got to the Barbican, the concert was just about to begin. So we took our seats and waited for it to start. At half past seven, when it was meant to begin, there was still no sign of anything happening. Finally, at twenty five minutes to eight. Il Complesso Barocco (awesome thing number 4) came onstage, followed immediately afterwards by Joyce DiDonato (awesome thing number 5). Cue huge applause from the audience.

The concert began with Intorno all’idol mio, from an opera called Orontea, by Antonio Cesti. It was very well performed but the aria itself is not particularly outstanding. It was followed by the ensemble performing the Sinfonia from Tolomeo ed Alessandro by Scarlatti. This was, again, very well played and nice enough to listen to, but not really any more than that. Then Joyce got up from the chair she had been sitting on during the Scarlatti piece in order to sing her next number: Disprezzata regina, from L’incoranazione di Poppea by Monteverdi. This, I felt, was where the concert really got going and transformed into something spectacular. This aria was magnificently queenly and dramatic. The next one, Sposa, son disprezzata, from Merope by Geminiano Giacomelli, was even more so. Then she took a break and Il Complesso Barocco took centre stage once more, for a concerto for violin and strings by Vivaldi. This was the moment when it became totally clear that they were not just there to accompany Joyce. They were every bit as much a part of the music as she was, right from the beginning. But in this piece, they really showed what they could do by themselves. Dmitry Sinkovsky, the lead violinist, was especially impressive (awesome thing number 6). As someone who has been attempting to learn how to make a violin produce a sound that does not make people run away screaming for the last 3 and a half years, I can vouch for the fact that he was seriously good. He played ridiculously fast and confidently and the rest of the ensemble easily kept up to his level. Joyce came back on stage for the final piece in the first half: Da torbida procella from Berenice by Giuseppe Orlandini. This was one of those cheerful, fast, I’m-in-love Baroque arias and she moved around the stage a bit as she sang it. It rounded off the first half of the concert very nicely.

During the interval, I went and bought some (not very nice) coffee because I had had to get up at 7 that morning and it was a loooong day. Then we went back to our seats and waited for the second half to begin. The concert was held in the Barbican (awesome thing number 7) and the concert hall is one of the nicest I’ve ever been in (I went there once before for an orchestral concert – the London Symphony Orhestra performing Bruckner 6). It’s a very nice, big, airy space with a modern wooden design.

When Joyce came back on stage for the second half, her dress had transformed (awesome thing number 8). It was still the same material and design – a kind of deep red with a pattern on that I couldn’t see much detail of (the dress that she wore in the photos on the cover of the Drama Queens album). In the previous half of the concert, it had been quite simple, just falling straight to the floor, with a kind of bustle at the back. However, for the second half, the skirt had expanded outwards. It’s quite hard to describe, but it made her a lot more visible and took up a lot more of the stage. She did a little twirl (awesome thing number 9) as she reached the centre of the stage, just to show us what it looked like. Then she got down to some more singing. First of all, she sang Morte col fiero aspetto from Antonio e Cleopatra by Johann Adolf Hasse and then Piangero la sorte mia from Giulio Cesare by Handel. Both of these were as before: appropriately dramatic, queenly, exquisitely sung etc. etc. Then there was another piece for the ensemble – Passacaglia from Radamisto by Handel. Once again, it was nice to listen to but not really memorable. Joyce then came back on stage for her penultimate aria – Madre diletta, abbracciami from Ifigenia in Aulide by Giovanni Porta (awesome thing number 10). This aria is an abandoned jewel. It thoroughly deserves to be picked up and shown to the world and that is exactly what Joyce has done. She sang it beautifully, managing to precisely sing each note and yet still make it flow. I can only hope that this aria will be sung more now that it has been dug up for this album. Il Complesso Barocco then performed their final solo piece – the ballet music from Armide by Gluck. See comment on the Passacaglia. Then Joyce stood up again to sing her final aria – Brilla nell’alma from Alessandro by Handel. Another spectacularly bright aria. When she had finished, the applause was huge. After the routine presenting flowers/walking on and off stage (including walking up and down some steps with that enormous skirt, which I think she managed quite well), she spoke to us (awesome thing number 11).

Firstly, she talked about the research that she had done with Alan Curtis, the founder of Il Complesso Barocco, searching through archives of Baroque music and picking out the best bits for her to sing. Then she sang her first encore, Lasciami piangere from Fredegunda by Reinhard Keiser. Then she talked about her dress, designed for her by Vivienne Westwood (awesome thing number 12). She said how much fun it was picking out the fabric for the dress and then she pointed out Vivienne Westwood herself (awesome thing number 13), sitting in one of the front rows!

Then came the second encore, Col versar, barbaro, il sangue, another aria from Ornaldini’s Berenice.

Then there was a lot more applause (most of the audience were on their feet applauding by then) and a lot more walking on and off stage and then she sang Brilla nell’alma again. Then she walked offstage for the final time and it was all over.

After the concert had finished, I went straight downstairs and joined the already long queue for signing. Although I do not yet have my own copy of Drama Queens, I had brought by recording of Don Giovanni with her as Donna Elvira and the programme for her to sign. Unfortunately, we were told that she had something to do after this, so she would not be posing for photos. Anyway, I waited in the queue for about 5 minutes and then she appeared and began to sign stuff (awesome thing number 14). The queue went quite quickly and soon I was second in the queue and shaking slightly from nerves/excitement. Then it was my turn to see her (awesome thing number 15).

The conversation went like this:

ME: (in weird excited squeaky voice, placing programme and CD on table) Hi Joyce! Thank you so much for the concert, it was amazing!

HER: (signing programme) Oh, thank you.

ME: Also, thank you for the Maria Stuarda. From the Met. I saw it in HD at the cinema. It was beautiful.

HER: I’m glad you enjoyed it. (Pointing at inside of CD case) Where would you like me to sign it? Here?

ME: Yes please. (grinning uncontrollably)

HER: (signing it) There, I’ll do it small so the others [the other performers in the recording] can sign it as well. Make sure you meet him (pointing at the picture of Ildebrando D’Arcangelo). He’s lovely. (does girly look)

ME: (does awkward laugh) Oh, I will. Thank you again!

HER: Lovely to meet you!

ME: (runs off to unobtrusive corner) OMG I JUST MET JOYCE DIDONATO AND WE TALKED AND SHE KNOWS I EXIST AND OMG I AM DYING I AM DYING THIS IS THE PINNACLE OF EXISTENCE I MET JOYCE DIDONATO (does happy dance by spinning round and round in circles and gaining numerous odd looks from people still waiting in the queue)

Me and Joyce DiDonato!

Me and Joyce chatting while she signed stuff.

After that, we walked back to the Underground and got a train to the main station, with me still jumping about and laughing and doing my circles dance of happiness. Then I got a cheese and ham croissant (awesome thing number 16) and we got on the train home and arrived back very late. So I am still very tired but ridiculously happy and chirpy (although, Joyce, when you next to a single concert in London, please could you try not to do it on a school night, or at least on a night where I don’t have THREE maths tests the next day. Thanks). All in all, a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful evening that I am still recovering from the awesomeness of.

NB You may notice that there are only 16 awesomeness moments in this. I think, going by the performance given by Il Complesso Barocco and Joyce, I can justify changing that to awesomeness .

Signed Stuff

These are now probably my most precious possessions.