Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The other Figaro opera

After my Monday afternoon walk, I was less stiff and tired than I thought I might be, but nevertheless was glad not to have much to do before walking to Tuesday evening's Chi Gung and Tai Chi double class in St Mary's Church Hall. Today, by contrast, was busy with the St German's midweek school Mass, then the Ignatian meditation group at noon, followed by a funeral at Pidgeon's Chapel straight after, just down the road from where we were meeting.

Then in the evening, we went to the Millennium Centre for the Welsh National Opera's performance of Mozart's 'Marriage of Figaro', definitely one of our favourite operas. I thought I'd be disappointed that it wasn't sung in Italian, but this particular English free rendering of the original is very good and gives added value to the comedy element, such that people laughed aloud more than they normally might. 

At the climax of the final scene, in a thoughtful and moving moment, the Contessa with a philandering husband, declares she has pardoned him, and speaks of forgiveness as calming troubled hearts. She who is most persistently betrayed. Just right for an evening in Lent, as thoughts turn to Christ's passion. Superb singing throughout. We came away feeling joyous and enlivened in spirit.

In the foyer beforehand we bumped into Peter and Mary Barnet fitting in a night at the opera in between a West Country visit and returning to their home in the Gower. Peter succeeded me as Team Rector of St Paul's in Bristol back in the eighties, and we've met up occasionally over the years since then. We also bumped into Bob and Mary Hardy, St John's bell ringers, attending an event in the concert hall. We've bumped into them at Dyffryn Gardens on a couple of occasions. Finally, we bumped into Dafydd Elis-Tomas in the interval. We usually meet each other walking to the Llandaff Fields bus stop, as their house is in a neighbouring street to ours. Sometimes we don't see a soul we know on our Millennium Centre visits for the opera. Tonight was a happy exception.

We decided not to book for the third in this season's trilogy of operas focusing on the character of Figaro, entitled 'Figaro gets a divorce', it's hard to imagine how something with such a depressingly post-modern theme could deliver delight in the way that Rossini and Mozart's offerings do. Just a bit too contrived a theme concept to my mind. There, exposing my age and my values. 

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