A thought from time to time…

Hi there,

not sure if anyone is dropping by at all at this stage, understandably. There is much i would like to write about, especially since there is so much i think about and so little i can do. So, i’m trying to maybe revive the blog a bit, sharing thoughts here and there, as and when i have time. I’m mainly trying to remember things i am fond of, things that mattered or that were pleasant distractions. Sometimes it’s just an image or music that prompt memories or things that make me wistful. I’ve aged a lot and i feel very old, but it also seems somehow odd.. to see people you have followed or known for years also get older.

For today, i bumped into Alejandro Sanz’ recent release and wanted to share it with you. I still love his voice and he may be older, but he’s still… Alejando Sanz 🙂 The song is called Bio and he talks about himself and his life, it’s somehow very touching in its simplicity.

Have a lovely weekend,

Freesias

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Are the flowers of the season; i love their delicate fragrance and they were my mum’s favourite flowers. She would have turned 70 yesterday.

We watched opera videos together at Christmas and enjoyed some belcanto. We watched cooking programmes and soppy Christmas movies. I was so pleased she ate a bit more because she liked the turkey schnitzel and marrow with dill i managed to rustle up. I even found the cider she liked. On my last call before Xmas travel she encouraged me to buy a pair of trainers in a silvery purple colour which i was tempted by but unsure about, because she said ‘why not if they’re comfy and you like them’. Two days before leaving after New Year’s i spontaneously decided to unwrap and give her her 70th birthday present early because i knew i wouldn’t be there for her birthday and i wanted to be there when she opened it.

I felt particularly sad leaving as we’ve no other family left and every time i visit i feel they have aged a bit more. And i knew i had reached the point where i had to do things against or without their agreement to try and sort the house out and get them more help.

I’ve just gotten back from 2 weeks at home for my mum’s funeral; she passed in hospital in her sleep just 2 weeks ago. Even as i write it ,it doesn’t sink in and i don’t know how or what to feel about it. It’s just been people and stuff and doing things and now that i’m back here in London i still expect to hear her voice over the phone or be able to comment something i’ve seen on telly or tried in the kitchen. And every 5 mins i keep thinking and wondering if she is in peace, somewhere, somehow….

I also feel i wasn’t able to do for her what i/we did for one of my best friends who passed last September due to secondary breast cancer… Really be there at the end, try and give some comfort, or just hold her hand, say good bye… Or even have a memorial service filled with the things she loved and she’ll be remembered by.

Then again there is not much meaning to things i think these days. Loosing mum 2 weeks after seeing her, loosing my friend, who was my age to a disease with no rhyme and reason. Even loosing my home of 12 years in a matter of 6 weeks just a couple months before and ending up living in a shoe box with blocked drains and red ants…

And in the middle of this deciding early December to take on a 6 months attachment at work in another area for which i turn out to be over qualified just because i’d been at a stressful dead end for more than 18 months… Only to end up being a bit useless due to absence. To be fair the job nightmare has been paling into energy-less indifference over the last 6 months. It feels a bit pointless to care. Though i am back at work as of today and chugging along out of a sense of responsibility towards the groups of strangers at work who have been saddled with me for a couple more months until i return by default at present to my old duties. Or maybe just out of inertia. It’s what i started to feel last summer, though back then the exhaustion was overwhelmingly physical. As if, if i sat down and stopped i’d never get back up again.

Thinking back to the fact that before Christmas i was trying to gather some energy out of thin air to look forward to RA’s presence in London and looking into flower crowns and wondering about accommodation and such i feel like i am living in parallel universes.

The human mind is still a strange thing, i do wonder these days, most days actually, how come it’s still functioning, getting me up in the morning, getting me through the day. I somehow expect that the next day something will be irrevocably broken. And wonder why it hasn’t yet?

I’m glad mum got to see Florence. I wish i had looked for some freesias after Christmas…

Dmitri Hvorostovsky – Russian passion at the Edinburgh festival

Edit: if you’d like to hear some samples of his amazing singing do check out my twitter timeline on the right hand side towards the bottom of the page, i’ve been listening all day and posting a few videos there. It’s passion like the one he had and generosity towards the audience that makes opera such a profound experience with the right artist. ….
This was an original post from August, 10th , 2008… the first time i ever saw Hvoro live. What i didn’t share back then was that i also met him after the performance and he was lovely and charming and funny, an utter rock star 🙂 I hope i can find the photo he had somebody take of me and him. He’s now singing for the angels, but he will always have a very very special place in my heart. We’ll never stop missing you, Dima 😦 RIP
(Sadly the linked video is no longer available). More thoughts on him i found again :

(http://operaismagic.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Dmitri%20Hvorostovsky)

Dmitri Hvorostovsky – Russian passion at the Edinburgh festival

My festival started with a bang!! And probably started the way it should have ended, in absolute mind blowing, soul filling superlatives!

Translation: I experienced my first live “song evening”! And it was to be a memorable one, by the hand of Dmitri Hvorostovsky and in Russian no less! I say if you decide to do something new, do it properly!

Usher Hall was packed but one cannot say it was dressed for the evening… It looked more like a bombed place where big holes in the walls were hidden behind wooden panels. However, it is still a miracle they are able to hold concerts there at all considering that just a few days ago the place was totally uninhabitable.

In the middle of a song we also heard a loud bang, which could be either of – the first set of firework at this year’s Military tattoo or the workers dropping some boxes 3 floors down. Hvorostovsky reckoned the roof didn’t tremble too much during the evening 😉

Considering that my vocabulary in Russian is reduced to “vodka” , which I don’t like, and “spasiva” which probably sounds like everything else but thanks, I was quite apprehensive about enjoying the evening. So in order to prevent linguistic frustration I did my homework and read all possible translations of what would be the program of the night; some I did not find at all but I armed myself with trust in the wonderful performer which I had first heard in a ROH Traviata.

But I found that homework wasn’t necessary, because the artist translated with his voice, tone, gestures and gazes all you would ever need to know about Russian. It did give me however the freedom to ignore the program pages in my lap and tie my eyes to Dmitri. Some would think that “fun” is not the right word for describing an evening of Russian songs, but it is exactly what I experienced. They are often depicted as being an endless road to depression, but I found them much more intense and multifaceted than that. Yes there is winter cold, and sadness about lives’ struggle, there is hope of end and fear of betrayal but there is so much more and so much more powerful. And with such a passionate and consummate performer the songs grew to impressive dimensions. Even if you didn’t understand the word, you saw the sadness in his eyes, you heard the suffering in his tone, you saw the rage and frustration in his hand. And you heard sarcasm flow from his lips, just as you saw them curb in the most lender of smiles.


It is a true artist’s achievement to spellbind an audience of thousands in a foreign language with just your voice and a piano. Gradually people forgot about their programs and just listened to Dmitri tell us wonderful stories. There was a strong connection there, a dialogue of smiles, eyes and ears, which thankfully survived even the constant interruptions of applause after each song. It became more relaxed and familiar than such evening might be, but I don’t think it lost any of the intensity of the performance.

For more details on the program of the evening please see intermezzo! I felt that I had little to tell about the songs after this, but I decided that it gave me such an unforgettable experience and such pleasure that I had to say thanks once again to Dmitri and Ivari Ilja, who so sensitively and finely accompanied the songs with his piano.

I liked all songs, the sad ones, the melancholic ones, the furious ones and the merry ones, but above all the ironic ones. Watching Dmitri sing Tchaikosvky’s Pimpinella is just pure fun!!!

And he has the most amazing technique and endless breath, guaranteed to make the audience’s jaws drop to the floor where they stayed for pretty much of the evening 😉 My only slight disappointment was not hearing Goethe’s “GlucklicheFahrt” and “Uber alle Gipfeln ” in original, but Medtner’s music and Dmitri’s singing fully compensated for that.

Dmitri was also dressed for the part, all black silk and flowing lines around his shoulders and arms which made his movements even more gracious.

This was and evening of pure, refined Russian passion to die for!

And for me one of many many more song evening to follow, whatever the language.

Watch out for the repeat later this year at the Barbican and on the 15th on BBC for the broadcast of the evening in Edinburgh.

Here is a small taster of an older version of PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY “In the Midst of the Ball,” Op. 38, No. 3

Thanks for the video dokoleg1

For further reviews please see the Scotsman and the Herald

Happy and peaceful Easter 

Our mini Easter basket with painted eggs mainly in red but also made some blue, green and yellow ones which are hiding underneath. And some chocolate gianduia ones and a dark chocolate bunny in  woolly jumper of white chocolate to share with my parents. 

We just finished watching mass on tv. 

May there be a peaceful and joyful Easter for everyone! 

😚😚😚