What a day. I left Lancaster mid morning and drove into rain until I hit Birmingham and the M6 Toll Road. The temperature rose as fast as if one had switched on an oven, and before I knew it, the gauge had registered 33 degrees ! I kid you not. This was almost bearable with the windows wide open and driving at 70 mph with the wind giving some relief, but when we got down the M25 London ring road a sign gave the dreadful news that a crash on another motorway was causing long delays. I sat for 1 hour 26 minutes in the aforesaid temperature at the Heathrow section of the road dying, melting and raging in turns.
I truly thought my end was nigh - and in truth I thought death would have been a pleasant option! I made it to my daughter's house by 6pm, looking and sounding like a furious grizzly bear whose nose had got a rather bad case of sunburn. Oh for cold Paradise, for rain, for snow........and as I write I am sitting still in a blessedly cool and old Victorian cottage, dripping little droplets of sweat everywhere - lovely.
On to the next principal however........
Moving into a new world is always tricky, inevitably scary and usually nerve wracking. Our Patience did just that, and stepped over the edge of the cliff more or less into the unknown. I think she would have had an easier time playing Juliet than a G&S maid who spent almost her whole performance in a permanent state of excess curtsy !
As an all round performer she is majestic, and she threw herself into this most strange of musical styles with gusto, albeit with a teeny tinge of bewildered disbelief! After she made the shift into the absurd world of Gilbertian words, and the deceptively difficult world of Sullivan's music, her exuberance and sheer force of drive gave us a performance to remember.
I mentioned in my last post that this team of soloists gelled magically, and I am sure a part of that was Patience's ability to give something real to her fellow performers, something which allowed real trust between each singer. This gave Bunthorne the freedom to 'let go', and Grosvenor what she needed to be open hearted.
I had tears in my eyes during the last night duet in Act 1. Silly as the story is, when they sang the simple duet during which they introduce themselves to one another, there was such a touching tenderness in the vocal tone, and an open eyed gentleness in their glances it could have been something on a much higher cultural plane.
It was a defining debut in the strange and absurd world of opera - albeit Light Opera! I hope she felt the power! I know the audiences did, and I know her fellow principals most certainly did.
For me, it gave a big and shiny glimpse of what is still to come.