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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Friday, 6 April 2012

Getting ready for Easter

Elder daughter (Professional Bleeder) is visiting. Grateful for her pop recommendations (The Smiths, Bowie) we force-feed her opera, not necessarily the easy stuff. Last time Britten’s Turn Of The Screw, this time Mozart’s penultimate La Clemenza Di Tito. A grey, bone-chilling day dawns and more opera beckons that evening. PB’s amenable but demands Don Giovanni because she “knows the story”. I have it on CD but not DVD. The phone-up radius gradually widens (Worcester to the north, Bristol to the south) and all I get is “Nah. Haven’t got that mate. We’ll order.”

Finally a treasure trove. Abergavenny Music offers a choice of four which I boil down to two. One has much beloved Thomas Allen as the libertine but Don Ottavio is Mark Padmore, a passionate tenor in St Matthew Passion but generally conceded to be the worst operatic actor in Britain. I opt for the 2008 Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) version with Simon Keenlyside in the title role, the slightly comical looking but creamy Ramon Vargos as Don O, Marina Poplavskaya and Joyce DiDonato as the two wronged ladies and a superbly mobile Kyle Ketelson as Leporello.

The last time we attended Covent Garden in person our two seats cost £176. The two DVDs cost £29, to which I must add fifty miles’ worth of diesel, an irritating expense since the previous day we gave in to another middle-class impulse and shopped at Waitrose – also in Abergavenny.

To drink there was a Wither Hills sauvignon blanc from NZ, once the most powerful form of that grape, now somewhat more polite. Plus a gran reserva rioja which was beginning to fade.

In the pic, the Commendatore is sending the unrepentant Don G down to Hell – an interesting moment of contemplation for all atheist opera lovers.


  1. Odd how Gran Reserva Riojas begin to fade. A Spanish promotor of Spanish wine made me throw away a venerable bottle of Gran Reserva which I had offered her and which had faded too much for her liking. Music for the most part lasts better than wine.

  2. Friends and I opened a bottle of old vine Zin, some of which went into the magic pot with the lamb and celery root, and then a Chilean Cab (2005) for the Seder last night. Alas, no opera. The music was in the story and the rims of the wine glasses! It is good to celebrate together.