Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

On Scottish Opera’s performance of Carmen last night

October 15, 2010

Last night, I went to see Scottish Opera’s travellingproduction of Bizet’s Carmen at the MacRobert Centre at Stirling University. Now, Carmen is probably my all-time favourite opera: it has everything, love, drama, fortune-telling, and marvellous feisty gypsy music. So when I saw Carmen was coming, I booked tickets immediately. It was a sell-out, I’m glad to say.

Before the performance, when I read the programme, I saw that the accompaniment would be on piano, and I felt a bit disappointed. I was wrong. Susannah Wapshott’s piano-playing was inspired. And the singing: I had read that Scottish Opera were a good company, but this was beyond my expectations. The audience loved it: they applauded each aria (which while it may have broken up the action a little, demonstrated the audience’s appreciation). At the final curtain call, Carmen and Don José got strong applause, but the loudest applause was actually for Susannah Wapshott, and she deserved it!

A little light music: All of Me

August 8, 2010

And now for something a bit different. Recorded in the Garage here, with me on the (electric) piano, and Jonathan Smith on drums and trumpet (not actually simultaneously), here’s an old standard, All of Me. I’ve been playing piano forever, and Jonathan is about to start studying electronics and sound technology. So we thought we’d try this. Enjoy.

Porgy and Bess at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

November 1, 2009

Went to see Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess last night in Edinburgh. It took a long time to get there – there was a cow on the train line. We’d allowed two hours (it usually takes one hour from here), and in the end we took a taxi from the station and got there just before curtain up. But I’m really pleased we didn’t give up on the way!

I’ve been playing Summertime and It Ain’t Necessarily So for a long time (I bought the music for Summertime in 1967, I think), but I’d never seen the original show. It was a real education. The music is more modern than most of the jazz arrangements I’ve heard – and even though I know that Summertime starts on a high F#, the effect of the song at the very start of the show is electrifying. This was opera, not just a musical! It was performed by Cape Town Opera, who were absolutely terrific! I don’t know where else they are performing this (it was the last night in Edinburgh), but I’d recommend it to anyone.