Monday, June 18, 2007

A few essentials

I'm rather 'under the snow' at the moment, hence lack of posting, but wanted to present a few essentials while I can:

The Nigel Osborne opera I went to see in Mostar, Differences in Demolition, is absolutely wonderful: a work full of heart and soul, with hardline modernism set beside glorious lyrical melody in a way that feels entirely natural. Goran Simic's libretto - the first work he has undertaken in English - is so full of wonderful poetry that I'm thinking of framing the copy that I now have. The production is poetic too, and the singing and playing superb - amazing how many different sounds can emerge from an accordion. The work as a whole seemed to have grown out of the soil of Bosnia itself. It will be at Wilton's Music Hall, near Tower Bridge, on 10, 11 and 12 July, as part of the City of London Festival, performed by Opera Circus. Do yourself a favour: go and see it.

The Pavarotti Centre in Mostar, however, is in financial difficulty. It opened its doors in 1997 and still offers the only clinical programme of its type in the world specialising in treating war-traumatised children and PTSD. But as things stand, the entire music therapy programme may have to close due to lack of funding. As Nigel Osborne explained during our trip, this treatment is very cheap and very effective and does a huge amount of good, but it doesn't 'fit into any boxes' and bureaucratic purse-string holders simply don't understand it - even though the methods pioneered there are being applied now in many other countries. They need support, both moral and financial.

Finally, my current snowdrift involves rewriting a play - with three months to go till the premiere - and a novel in one month flat. See you soon, I hope...

Now, have a look at the sensational young Chinese bass Shen Yang, who has just scooped the Cardiff Singer of the World prize.

And gluttons for punishment can read in today's Independent what I really think about English National Opera doing Kismet.