Friday, February 29, 2008


I'll be off for a week or so, so here are a few snippets to keep you busy.

THURSDAY 6 MARCH is Hungarian Dances publication day. I will be at Richmond Library, Little Green, Richmond-upon-Thames TW9 1 QL to introduce the book at 6.15pm. Readings, questions, refreshments, signed copies etc. Admission free, but please reserve a place by phoning 020 8940 0891.

FRIDAY 7 MARCH I will be at East Sheen Library, Sheen Lane, London SW14, for a teatime intro to same, at 3pm. Readings this time from ace local actress Geraldine Moffatt (who was in Get Carter), plus intro, questions, signed copies, refreshments provided. Admission free too, but please reserve a place by phoning 020 8876 8801.

The book is now in stock at Amazon and can be ordered here.

And to put you in the mood for this very violiny tale, here is Jascha Heifetz playing Dohnanyi's Andante Rubato Alla Zingaresca, with a wonderful Hungarian Gypsy photo montage. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Back soonish

To forestall any more barbed comments from the likes of Viola in Vilnius below, this is just to say I am, as a friend of mine would say, "under the snow". Normal blogging, both writing and reading, to resume as soon as humanly possible.

Whatever will they think of next?

First it was classical music in the London underground to soothe commuters. Now it's ballet-dancing traffic cops - at least, in Timisoara. Read all about it.

More about traffic, too, in the marvellous tale of how a motorbike courier made everything possible for ace soprano Marina Poplavskaya, who's about to sing Tatyana in the ROH's Eugene Onegin - here's my interview with her from yesterday's Independent. Spassiba balshoy, Marina, and toi-toi for the big day!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar and Dario

Big cheers and congratulations to our fabulous Italian turned Londoner Dario Marianelli, whose music for Atonement last night scooped the Oscar for Best Original Score. Watch his 'thank-you cam' spiel here. And for a more in-depth look at the score, read his interview at Music from the Movies here.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Heard the one about the naked busker in the ROH 'Salome'?

If not, hear it in the Sunday Times today, here.

Meadows, 35, will appear in a new production of Richard Strauss’s Salome, where he will take centre stage at the end as the executioner, chopping off the head of John the Baptist before handing it to Salome.

How did a busker capture the spotlight inside Covent Garden? The transformation began when Meadows, a body builder and former Mr Wales, was spotted in the piazza outside the opera house by David McVicar, one of the world’s best opera directors.

“I saw him outside and thought that he had just the right body for the part,” said McVicar. “But he also had the ability to move well, and, particularly importantly, to stand still, which is necessary for the role of the executioner as for much of the time he is stationary in the crowd...”