Wednesday, 5 October 2016
Oh, how many years has it been since I was last at the Coliseum ... well, not since the stunning restoration of its Edwardian interior, that's for sure. Okay, I'm sentimentally attached to the Royal Opera House - it holds lots of memories of lovely nights out - and I don't think opera gains from being sung in English ... but, really, I'd left it far too long. My most exciting Coliseum memory was the time I sat next to Mick Jagger (yes, it was in the expensive seats!) but nothing doing tonight. I thought I saw David Mellor, but I think it was just another man who looked like a frog.
Tonight was the new production of Don Giovanni ... very different from last time I saw it. Don Giovanni is a sleazy sex addict; Donna Anna is playing risky sex games - and even the Commendatore is renting a room by the hour. And there's a twist at the end - I saw it coming - but it's not what Mozart wrote. It didn't quite work. Maybe in a secular world we've just lost any sense of horror at the gates of hell...
Also, when all the women are wearing almost identical black dresses ... I bet I wasn't the only one who kept getting confused between Donna Anna and Donna Elvira.
But the plus side (apart from lovely Mozart) ... oh it was bliss! I had neighbours who didn't fidget - or play with their phones - or require to be dripfed like hospital patients - they had all apparently had their tea before they set out... and there was a row of empty seats in front of me so I had a perfect view of the stage.
I'm among those who felt angry when a sanctimonious journalist took it upon himself to out the identity of Elena Ferrante a few days ago. But it did give me an early alert that the first-ever stage adaptation of her Neapolitan novels is coming to the Rose Theatre next year. Oooh, should I book now - forward planning into the new year goes against my nature!
Got last minute tickets for the Rose a couple of weeks ago to see a new play directed by John Malkovich. (The ticket lady said he'd scooted in and out quickly and we didn't see him.) But I couldn't help wondering what John Malkovich made of the London suburbs on a wet Thursday afternoon. Not to mention the matinee audience of pensioners without Hollywood facelifts!
But maybe he's charmed by Kingston - the swans on the Hogsmill river next to the theatre - four for £1 avocados on the market - and it's very handy for Wagamama for his lunch. I was half expecting to bump into him in Waitrose after the show.
The play, incidentally, was very good.