Friday, 8 March 2013
Harrogate Festival and Old Friends....
I arrived at my hotel in Harrogate at around 8pm last night after a long drive from Paradise. It drizzled almost all the way and up on the high mountains the fog was very thick. Quite unlike the glorious springlike sunshine we have had for the past weeks ! I had a delicious coffee stop at my favourite garden centre just north of Stirling, and idled time away with their free wifi (what a novelty!) and a salad afternoon ish dinner! I love aimlessly wandering around the extensive shop looking at all the things I might buy when on my way home, and Paradise is the next stop! The problem with that is, I have to arrive there in retail hours, and often I am just that far north by 7pm in the evening, and it is closed! Oh well, it may save me a small mortgage in bird food, candles, garden tools and other 'essential' purchases, most of which I can quite do without!
I am not adjudicating until this evening, so I met up with a long ago singing friend for lunch in the famous Betty's restaurant. We had a fine old time, reminiscing about productions we have sung in together, old colleagues, and some past pupils of mine who had been in some of the productions as teenagers. Although suffering a number of those medical problems that come with age, she was in her usual jolly form, and we had a great time. Sometimes one just picks up where one left off with old friends, and years fall away as if they had never passed, and today was like that. We had not seen each other for 25 years, she informed me, and truly it was as if it were yesterday. She was a high soprano, with a great talent for humour, something I never really did with conviction ! She was a very funny and painfully twittery schoolteacher in Britten's Albert Herring, getting so many laughs from her facial expressions, something at which she was remarkably good! I was, as ever the straight role, Lady Billows, bossy and totally controlling as the Lady of the village. Not type casting at all you understand ! I sang many times with her, and have such happy memories of working with her, and enjoying end of run parties at her home, where she always announced 'puddings!' in an operatic recitative worthy of La Scala ! Happy days indeed !
She gave me some old photos she had inherited of some of the operas we did with the company, one of which I have posted. Apologies for the fact it is a photo of a photo, so not the best of reproductions, but gives you an idea of the young me, in my early 20's playing Orlando in Handel's opera of that name. This is the famous occasion when the breastplate, which is not showing, made me faint from being overcome by the fumes from the fibreglass and glue when my body heated up under the stage lights!
My lunch companion played one of the soprano roles, but not Orlando's lover, rather a more minx of a role, presumably written in to give some light relief between the mad scene, the sleep scene and the many holding swords heroically scenes ! The type of scene which a seriously earnest young mezzo was rather more used too, and did with great aplomb!
I was hard to beat as a sword in the air girl!
Must have been a tech rehearsal as I can see I still have my watch on ! How unprofessional !