The Anonymous Widower

An Unusual Change Of Direction

It has been said on the BBC, that Sophie Hitchon, who throws hammers for Great Britain, used to be a ballet dancer.  And that helps her spinning!

She seems to be doing all right too, as she’s set a British record!

August 8, 2012 Posted by | Sport | , | Leave a comment

Is Opera and Ballet Elitist?

The question has to be asked after last night and my visit to the O2.

In my view it was a serious experiment to try to sell ballet to people, who would not normally go and it has been reported as such. Here’s Arlene Phillips, saying that ballet is for everyone.

But if it was so important, why is it that only the Independent seems to published a review this morning?

Perhaps those that feel very seriously  about ballet think that the O2 is rather beneath it.

I think that this might be the problem.  Those that go regularly, often subsidised in their corporate seats want to keep it not elitist but exclusive!

Here’s a few thoughts.

My mother was a humble comptometer operator in the Accounts Department of Reeves in Dalston before the Second World War.  She and her friends regularly went to the ballet and the opera. Would the typical office worker on the equivalent salary to my mother be able to afford a weekly visit to opera or ballet now?

I was once at about the age of sixteen at White Hart Lane to see Spurs play Arsenal. It must have been after Spurs had disbanded their band, as the Metropolitan Police Band were playing before the match and at half time. At half-time, one of the band put down his instrument and immaculately performed a serious operatic work. The performance was very good and totally unexpected and he got a tumultuous response from the probably 50,000 or so in the ground. So when people say that the common people don’t appreciate opera, are they are putting forward the collective view to preserve the exclusivity?

One of the best theatrical performances C and I ever saw, was a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar by the Italian Youth Theatre in the theatre at Taormina in Sicily.

June 18, 2011 Posted by | World | , , | 6 Comments

A Double First For Me!

Up until last night, I’d never been to the O2 at Greenwich or ever seen any serious ballet live. I did see Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo with C once a few years ago and enjoyed that, but it could not be described as mainstream ballet, although it is serious dance.

Last night, a friend who works at the Royal Ballet, took me to see Romeo and Juliet at the O2. So it was a double-first!

I enjoyed it immensively and felt that it worked well both as a show and as a spectacle. The only thing I didn’t like was that some in the audience, were constantly going in and out of the arena.

But don’t take my word for it, read the review in The Independent.

Here’s an extract.

Some details do get swallowed by this venue. The big crowd scenes blur, but Kenneth MacMillan’s famously impassioned duets keep their power. As the story’s focus shrinks to Juliet’s bedroom, then her tomb, the ballet reaches out to conquer this cavernous space.

So I think the Royal Ballet can say they have a success on their hands.

I should also say that because of my rather odd eye-sight, which could follow the detail well on the stage for a minute or so before my eyes tired, that the format with large video screens allowed me to rest them a bit, by watching the screens intermittently.

I would suspect that I might enjoy ballet and other shows in a large arena more than I would in a traditional theatre.  But I do know that my eyes are getting better, as towards the end of the last football season, I found the action much easier to follow than at the start.

I would certainly go again!

June 18, 2011 Posted by | World | , | 2 Comments