Thursday, March 15, 2007

Prikrastna! E bellissimo!

Blimey! The missing manuscript of Rachmaninov's Second Symphony has turned up, in a Co-op bag. Geoffrey Norris authenticated it and has the story in today's Daily Telegraph. Big thanks to Anna/Robin Hill for the tip-off.

Meanwhile I'm still wiping off smudged mascara after seeing La Boheme at English National Opera last night, in their now classic production, set in the 1950s, by the late Steven Pimlott with the sparkling translation - now viewable in surtitles - by Jeremy Sams. Odd thing about opera (Lieder too, for that matter): it's pure masochism. The more you cry, the better it's been. Hmm. Boheme gets to me every time, but this was simply superb, with ace performances all round, especially from Mary Plazas (Mimi), Peter Auty (Rodolfo), Giselle Allen (Musetta) and Mark Stone (Marcello). Before the show I was too busy talking to our congenial companions for the evening - some of the staff of a new blog sponsored by Sky Arts, ArtsWOM (=Word Of Mouth) - to notice who was conducting, but was very impressed by the pacing, sensitivity and use of silence. It turned out to be Xian Zhang, clearly a maestra to watch out for in future.