Royal Albert Hall

4160f3292856ac1f0ea6ea36058cb7552f50f452

The Proms season has begun, which means there’s just one place to place to be for a summer of classical music in London. Continue reading

Advertisements

Opera and outdoor picnics

garden

What does summer sound like to you? Maybe it’s the pock pock pock of tennis, the buzz buzz buzz of a wasp or the pat pat pat of heavily-applied suncream. For me, summer starts with the sounds of corks popping, sandwiches being unwrapped and singers doing their vocal exercises. By that I mean the season of opera festivals that signal the beginning of British summer time. I’m going to talk about four different opera picnic combo options: Opera Holland Park, Grange Park Opera, Big Screen Opera and firstly, Glyndebourne.

Continue reading

How to get a Russian Visa

IMG_6477Getting a Visa can be confusing and complicated. When I booked my recent trip to Russia, I hadn’t really thought about it until after I’d booked the flights and accommodation. Luckily I am an early booker and so I had looooooooooooads of time to get this sorted, but I was a little overwhelmed by how convoluted the process seemed to be. However it definitely wasn’t as confusing as I’d anticipated. Here’s the steps I went through… Continue reading

Musical mooch in Moscow

IMG_6531

I’ve just got back from Russia and had the absolute best time. I can’t recommend the place enough – both St Petersburg and Moscow are drenched in music and history, and you can hardly walk down a street without seeing a plaque with a famous name on it (particularly Lenin’s).

collage lenin

Lenin woz here

There are numerous individual musical locations I’m going to talk about later, but I thought I’d start off with a musical mooch I took, taking in a few locations within a 30 minute walk in the centre of Moscow. Continue reading

Versailles

img_4750-ed.jpg

In the Hall of Mirrors

Somehow I always manage to go to places at just the wrong time for musical experiences – you’d think as a musical traveller I’d know better. Whether it’s off-season in Vienna or Versailles, I always manage to go when the music stops. It’s like I’m really bad at international musical chairs. Continue reading

Opera Bolognese

img_0759.jpg

Bologna has three nicknames – la dotta, la rossa, la grassa: the Learned (due to its 11th century university, the 2nd oldest in the world) , the Red (for the architecture) and the Fat – needless to say, I was most interested in the latter. The city is a lovely place, not somewhere I would’ve thought to visit to be honest, but I was lucky enough to have a friend who lived there so I popped over for a visit to catch up, soak up some sun and culture, and eat a lot of gelato.

Continue reading

Consecrating Coventry Cathedral

Cathedral_Coventry21

Coventry Cathedral – photo from Association of British Cathedrals

The first time I heard Britten’s War Requiem in concert (at Symphony Hall in Birmingham), I went home and was violently ill. Ok, it may have been food poisoning, but I prefer to think I was so struck by the power of the music that I had a strong physical reaction to the emotions it drew out of me. That’s the angle I’d go for in my biography anyway. Continue reading