Necropolis of the Russian Art Masters

IMG_6227When planning my recent Russian trip, I spent a fascinating yet morbid evening on the website findagrave.com. In Vienna I’d read that the Zentralfriedhof cemetery was a fascinating place to visit but we ran out of time and it’s somewhere I hope to revisit. I anticipate, though, that it’s unlikely I’ll visit St Petersburg again and so I wanted to make sure I ticked off paying homage to some musical heroes whilst I was there. Continue reading

Opera and outdoor picnics

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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.

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Elgar’s University days

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As a music student at the University of Birmingham, it was often mentioned that Edward Elgar was our very first Professor of Music. What is usually left out is that there weren’t actually any music students at the time, and Elgar’s only required duties were to give 6 public lectures a year for a salary of £400.  Continue reading

Zenkō-ji in Nagano

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I travelled to Japan a few years ago, and for various reasons it was an incredibly important trip to me. I got to see some amazing sights, meet some wonderful people and tasted some delicious food. There were also lots of new experiences – including, but not limited to, robot restaurants, bullet trains, Harajuku shopping, and naked public bathing (which I WILL NOT be blogging about) – including a fantastic early-morning Buddhist ceremony at Zenkō-ji temple in Nagano. Continue reading