More often than not, you will see me post about life in London town. I hope it will inspire you to either leave the comfort of your cosy sofa, or book the tickets and come to see the beautiful metropolis and all the delights it has to offer.
Friday the 14th of July was a special day in my diary. At the time I did not even know it was going to be that unique. I live in north London, not too far from a wonderful location – Alexandra Palace. I will do a post about this venue later one, because it deserves a special dedication as it is full of history and interesting facts.
This Friday I had tickets to see The Royal Opera’s Turandot live streamed on BP Big Screens. Those screens were scattered all around the country (14 locations to be precise) and so many people, who had clicked and registered for them, were awarded with a lifelong memory. I went to Alexandra Palace with one of my oldest friends from university. We had a lovely picnic laid out with a gorgeous Prosecco, the sun still caressed our backs and so we relaxed and enjoyed the experience.
Now, like most of us I have heard the most famous aria ‘Nessun Dorma’ (made famous by Luciano Pavarotti), but I have to admit I did not know it was from this lovely Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot. And yes, the music was beautiful. As my friend put it, probably one of the easiest opera’s to listen to if you are a novice in the opera world. But I am a sucker for a good story, always have been and always will be (you will learn this about me with every post you might read). So here is a little summary.
Set in ancient China, the story tells about a Princess Turandot who would not marry any man unless he solves three riddles. Unfortunately for most suitors, if you fail to answer, you don’t get to walk away. The penalty is DEATH! Because of her oath many suitors have died over a period of few years. But one Prince Calaf is not dismayed by the prospects and comes to solve those riddles. It is an opera about love so you might guess how it ends, but there is a massive twist in the end nevertheless. I don’t want to give too many spoilers because I am here to encourage you to go and see the opera (either live, or watch it online/DVD/or any other means possible).
I was very much engrossed into the story, but if I was one of those suitors, I would have failed after the second riddle was read out. At least I got one right, and I’m proud of it!
Princess Turandot – Lise Lindstrom (American Soprano)
Prince Calaf – Roberto Alagna (French Tenor)
Conductor – Dan Ettinger
Language – Italian (thank goodness for subtitles)
Giacomo Puccini never finished the opera as he died of throat cancer in 1924. The opera was first premiered few years later, completed by Franco Alfano.
It was an experience like no other. To sit on the hill of Alexandra Palace, looking over the beautiful landscape of London, enjoying a beautiful musical performance. I can’t even find the words to describe how elated I felt (and clearly still do!).
I had this idea, that this is how children should be taught to appreciate classical arts. That way they can learn new skills or at least become more inquisitive about foreign languages, classical music, performance arts. I cannot recommend this enough. If you see anything like that offered in one of those hundred promotional emails that pop up in your inbox, please click on the link, register (this was for free, by the way!), and go spend your evening in a way that will instil a lifelong memory in your brain.