Opera Bolognese

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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.

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Consecrating Coventry Cathedral

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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

Hmmmpton Court

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I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to Hampton Court – my sister used to work there so we could get free entry, and it’s a good place to take visitors. It might not immediately jump out to you as a musical location (you can’t help but think first of Henry VIII and his numerous wives, then some Georgian royals, and then perhaps a documentary with Lucy Worsley), but with some basic archaeology we can follow in some musical footsteps. Continue reading