We have just returned from our friendly multiplex cinema, where we went to see Eugene Onegin beamed from the Royal Opera House. Since seeing Ileana Cotrubas in the Peter Hall production at Covent Garden (twice) and Elisabeth Söderström in the Glyndebourne Prom - all more than 40 years ago - this has been one of my favourite operas.
Last night's relay was one of the best such we have seen, I think. A thoroughly original interpretaion - dancers in the main parts as well as the singing actors - excellent singing, and the orchestra in tiptop form! My only cavil was with the unchanging set, which doesn't do at all for the key duel scene.
Though we lived barely four miles North of Withington for many years, I had never - before this misty morning - walked from that village to Foxcote. My photograph is of Upcote Farm, the first building you encounter after leaving Withington. The farmhouse faces South and is surrounded by a large stone barn and other outbuildings. A fountain was playing in the pond - altogether rather idyllic. Not such a peaceful place, however, later this year, when the seventh annual 2000trees festival takes place there.
Why "2000trees"? I wondered; but then we soon walked on into and through Vestey territory (Foxcote), in which trees have altogether possibly been planted by the thousand in recent years.