Hollyhocks with oil paint effect...growing along the side of St. Margaret's Cathedral in London
This will be a tale of three experiences that we had today; because I cannot choose which to share with you, I'm going to share all of them!
Don Carlo...a famous opera.
In Trafalgar Square and Canada Square Park...
Don Carlo at Covent Garden is the hottest ticket in London this summer!
Taryn and I and our generous and wonderful hosts, Barb and Bill, made our way to Trafalgar Square this afternoon, by bus and tube. The Royal Opera had a special broadcast of the performance tonight. We watched it on a huge screen set up with an amazing sound system in Trafalgar Square. There were large clusters of people sitting, standing, leaning and listening to Rolando Villazon, the newest and brightest star in the opera world since Pavarotti's passing, sing the title role of Don Carlos.
Wow! This guy can sing!
Opera's not usually my cup of tea, but this was pretty powerful stuff! I was mesmerized by the drama and the intrigue of the story of Don Carlos, which stood out wonderfully with the stars of the opera world in the leading roles.
The staging was exceptional, the lighting and choreography was perfection...all of this visible on a projected image on an outdoor screen. This is the beauty of the electronic age we live in. It was impressive, to say the least.
After enjoying the production, and deciding we were rather hungry, we talked about finding a luscious spot to have dinner. Taryn and I had enjoyed a delicious snack at a brassierie called Palm Court in Covent Garden. Trusting her innate sense of direction, we followed along as she led us right to the front door of the restaurant. This meal was as delicious as the last, and we were stuffed to the earlobes by the time we left.
I can tell you that this place makes the best Sticky Toffee Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Custard Creme! Their Creme Brulee is nothing to sneeze at, either, so for me, the desserts were spectacular. I think this Sticky Toffee Pudding tops the one we had last night at The Mermaid's Tale! Perhaps I'll have to go back for one more serving, just to be sure...
"Every theater is an asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for incurables."
~ Viennese conductor Franz Schalk
We watched a street artist creating beautiful images today. He was hunkered down, rapidly side-swiping pastels and chalks on a huge sheet of pastel paper taped to the sidewalk. With wide sweeping arcs, he laid in the background and then with a finely sharpened piece of reed charcoal, he sketched the designs and the details for the rest of the image.
As he worked, he often stopped and flexed his legs, getting the blood flowing again before continuing on with his creation.
We left before he'd completed it, but the basic formation was already in place and we could see where he was going with this wonderful illustration. I'd like to find him and ask to see the finished piece...
Caricatures and other kinds of foolishness...
After dinner last night, as we left the cafe, I spotted a caricaturist working at his easel beside the underground stop. Much to my granddaughter's dismay, I sat down and he began to sketch! Her laughter as she watched him recreating her grandmother's face was priceless!
Then, it was her turn to sit for the artist. He talked and sketched and told us his life story from beginning to end...complete with an ex-wife, an ex-mother-in-law, his life in Spain and his Spanish and Irish heritage...all the way up to his knowing that my heritage was Irish and that my ancestors were from County Donegal. All that in 15 minutes!
If you promise not to laugh I'll show you the finished piece. We are going to take it home, get it scanned and framed, and then we'll both have a lovely reminder of a lovely day in London town.
"Grandchildren are loving reminders of what we are here for." ~ Unknown