Swan Lake

I’ll be honest. I’d never been to a ballet before and really other than having typical girl’s dreams of being a ballet dancer as a toddler, I had not given this art much thought until a couple of weeks ago when I got invited to see Swan Lake at The Royal Opera House. My response? I laughed. I was afraid I’d fall asleep and embarrass my companion. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Last Saturday is definitely one to remember!

First of all, Royal Opera House is stunning. The design and magnitude of the hall itself is breath-taking. If you’re there, do pop out on the balcony overseeing the Covent Garden Plazza and offering you a peek into the backrooms too. Quite the views!

The show itself? The music was amazing but that’s Tchaikovsky after all. I can still hear the delicate but repetitive thud, thud, thud of the ballet shoes to the most famous Swan Lake melodies. I was mesmerised by the classical interpretation of the ballet. Needless to say I left the opera house with a head full of dreams of dancing. Too bad I am too old, too heavy and too tone-deaf but that won’t stop me from dancing in my head.

Keep your eyes peeled as Swan Lake will be back for another season soon I am sure! It’s one of those things that must be seen.

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Weekend Round-up

Oh what a weekend it was! Full of culture. My favourite kind.

TWELFTH NIGHT

Saturday night was all about Twelfth Night at the Apollo Theatre with Mark Rylance as Olivia and Stephen Fry as Malvolio. Twelfth Night is one of my favourite comedies by Shakespare closely followed by Taming of The Shrew and I was gutted when I missed out on the tickets at The Globe so you can imagine my joy when the play transferred to the West End. It’s been quite the wait but it was worth it.

I don’t know about others in the audience but for me Mark Rylance stole all the limelight. His performance as Olivia was simply brilliant portraying her as spoilt and at first enjoying wallowing in her own misery only to turn into a lady with a real go-getter attitude putting on the innocent act once she meets Cesario. His exaggerated and so unlady like acting had everyone in stitches. He is the perfect Olivia.

Stephen Fry as self-righteous Malvolio was fabulous, especially once he has been set up, the very familiar Stephen Fry comes out to play. I’ve always admired his playfulness and a hint of mischief in QI and Malvolio in love is Stephen Fry at his best.

Finally, Liam Brennan deserves a mention for his Duke Orsino, so vain and so full of himself, more in love with the idea of love than love itself. What a way to bring Orsino to life. All in all, if you missed it, regret it!

SEDUCED BY ART

Next up was a visit to the National Gallery to explore Seduced by Art, a study of the relationship between paintings and photography. We all know that photography has been heavily inspired by paintings and in order to excel at the art of photography, one should study the light, angles, and colours, just like any other art student. It is a fascinating exhibition, really worth a visit even if to learn about how heavily the first photographers relied on paintings and simply used the camera to recreate what had been created before.

The two videos are worth a mention: the exploding flowers and recreating a painting. All I am going to say I wish I had the funds to keep myself entertained like that! Jealous.

The exhibition sparked off a lengthy discussion whether paintings or photos portray reality better, inspire more and allow our imagination to express itself at length after all both arts can alter the perspective of the world right in front of us.

WILLIAM KLEIN + DAIDO MORIYAMA

The final stop last weekend was Tate Modern. I will be honest, I was wary of yet another Tate Modern photography exhibition as I was disappointed by the last two. Oh how pleasantly surprised I was. Klein was more of my type of photographer than Moriyama, whom I found needlessly sexist and sexually provocative but maybe it was just the 60s. It is all in the name, isn’t it? The Japanese Provoke movement.

Klein’s view of New York and especially the large format wowed me. New York of the 1960s with all the social changes taking place must have been an overwhelming place to live and Klein’s merging of the fashion world with the street brought out interesting effects. Check it out for yourself at the Tate!

Whitecross Street Party and Richard III

It was yet another busy Sunday. Oh, if only all Sundays could be so good. I spent the afternoon exploring Whitecross Street Party with all its glory. What an amazing array of street art, musicians and comedy! And a real community spirit. If you missed it, you can still admire the artwork on Whitecross Street for another few weeks.

One of the partners for the event was SHP, a charity preventing homelessness and promoting social inclusion. Drew (below) was there offering seedlings grown by vulnerable people as a part of SHP’s outreach project for a small donation. He was a lovely man and we talked about the importance of the symbiotic relationship between man and nature, the basis of humanity as Drew put it. If you want to support the work of SHP and they have plenty of work to do in the current climate then please text GIFT36 (insert the amount of money you wish to donate 1, 2, 3, 4 or more pounds) to 70070 to donate. I did.

After enjoying the afternoon full of sunshine, I headed to The Globe to see Richard III. Now I don’t know about you but I am a huge fan of Shakespeare and to see Mark Rylance on stage as Richard III was the cherry on top. I absolutely loved his performance as Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron in Jerusalem so imagine my surprise to see so much of Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron in his portrayal of Richard III. I have always seen Richard III as a sinister and serious play famous for its persuasive speeches and Richard’s ability to manipulate those around him so to find myself laughing at him, Rylance making a mockery of his character (and I mean it in the most positive way possible!) was simply fascinating. I definitely recommend it to everyone!