Friday, 7 August 2015

A WRINGING WET NORMA by Cecilia Bartoli.

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In the new Mayr Clinic at Althausee which has many bonuses, not only the dishy doctors, the views, the lake, the peace and solitude, I am here with one of my oldest friends. Losing weight is so pleasurable that I could never leave. It reminds me of Thomas Mann's book Magic Mountain, where people arrive year after year, to get better but are actually addicted to being watched medically and mentally.
As the deal on my house falls through I remain calm. Alan Russell from Russell Simpson was intelligent and helpful as always. Despite the buyer having four surveys, one which was an X-ray proving there was little wrong, he took up all our time this Summer. Property in Chelsea is cheaper that the rest of London which is surprising because it is the best place I have ever lived in London. People proclaim Mayfair to be good, I prefer the character of the houses there.  Thank goodness I am here amongst the pine and nothing hassles me. The man buying it thinks I am a fool, that I can be bullied.  I have news for him. I won't give in. As the agents ring and nag me, some persuading me to take less, I am reminded by financial experts I have only lost money if I sell. I love my beautiful house in Chelsea overlooking the river. It has wonderful neighbours and a sense of peace.

CECILIA BARTOLI


Last night I went to see the award winning Cecilia Bartoli in a wringing wet performance of Norma which is part of the Salzburg Festival this year. I read in the brochure before the performance, saying that it was difficult to make a balance between Romanticism and Classicism and that this performance was based in France whilst it was under  Nazis occupation, because Bellini had written it the year he was under occupation from Hungary. I have a problem with this because the story did not fit. I love this opera and it is one of my favourites. I just like the Aristocratic authentic version of Maria Callas's more. She was Noble, a Queen amongst her subjects. Cecilia's was touchingly ordinary, tearful and simply the woeful moanings of what looked like a washer woman, in this famous Austrian Theatre. Yet Cecilia had brilliance. She had passion, she did look downtrodden and believable as her husband takes another woman. Of course Maria Callas was darker and grander, with elegance she stands above the rest of the world, but boy Cecilia gave it her all. I personally did not like the set, as I like Grand Opera, and opera set in the places it was originally written for. However, I was moved by the realness and at moments cried along with Norma, as she wept like an hysterical woman for the loss of her husband and the distress of the betrayal of one of her subjects. I do not like the look of opera done on a budget, this had no visual appeal. However , this could be stupid of me as the performances all round, especially by Rebeca Alvera, were excellent.
If you can forget Maria Callas for one night, try to get a ticket for this. Beg for one, do anything for one, because there are moments which are totally exceptional and stunningly beautiful as long as you have no memory.
For me there is only one singer that could do this part given the chance and that is Sofia Dimitrova. However politics and lack of opportunity inhibit chances given to newer singers. If only I was married to a man who enjoyed  philanthropy, his millions would fly out the window on productions and new ideas.

SOFIA DIMITROVA

Now on a World Wide trip I shall have to forget the tranquility of the Althausee, the place that Hitler once hid the stolen art collections of the Jews. I shall now enter other worlds.

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