Monday, 4 November 2013

Another chapter closed

It's a relief when you go to an opera you don't know and realise at the final curtain that you need never see it again. Not that we didn't enjoy Les Vêpres Siciliennes, relayed from Covent Garden this evening. It has some good tunes, and opera doesn't come much grander. Though the programme strangely didn't mention his name, the excellent director Stefan Herheim spared no thought, and his paymasters no expense: the updating from 13th to mid-19th Century was an ingenious solution to what's pretty much an old war horse. It could be dire done straight.

During the intervals we were treated to tweets from cinema audiences around the world: someone from Ulster "wished we were there at the Royal Opera House": Caroline and I begged to differ. We felt far better off sitting in acres of space in our local Cineworld, enjoying our picnic topped off with a Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

And I reached the final chapter of "Still in the Game" last night. Charlotte had lent me her copy of Antony Hornyold's book when we met him at lunch with them last month. I much enjoyed its mixture of autobiography, history, adventure and reflection. Antony's own photographs are accompanied by good maps and some judiciously chosen archive material. Biggles was an earlier generation, but there are echoes in this self-portrayal of a brave and modest man, still very much with us. When's the next one coming out, Antony?

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