Sunday, 1 March 2009

No way José

The Sock is feeling a little disordered today after a somewhat self-indulgent weekend trip to London to see Carmen at the Albert Hall. The Sock has never seen an opera before and felt Carmen was a good start being very nearly a musical with a few familiar songs.

The story is set in 1830s Seville and concerns the beautiful Carmen, a fiery-tempered gypsy. She ensares Don José, an inexperienced soldier, with her beguiling ways which include singing whilst writhing around passionately on the floor - what's not to like? Completely bewitched he rejects his former lover, kills his superior who has also been enjoying Carmen's favours, and joins a gang of smugglers. So far so tuneful. José's problem is that when Carmen dumps him at the end of the first half he just won't take the hint.

So because of this the audience are then subjected to José moping about for the entire second act and the only thing worse than a love-sick man moping around looking miserable is one singing dialogue about it.

Spoiler. At the end José kills Carmen who is by this time bonking the matador.

The Sock didn't totally enjoy it even though the singers were fantastic and the stage set was great the overall production seemed lacking. As Ms. B. (who by coincidence saw the later performance on Saturday) said "It wasn't really in your face enough" and the Sock felt the same it lacked gutsiness.

The Bedsock endured the performance but only really enjoyed the bit where the tree scenery came down from the ceiling in the interval. This doesn't bode well for any future visit to Glyndebourne which is on the Socks 'Loads of things to do before I die' list.

Afterwards the Socks treated themselves to some very good cocktails at the Blue Bar in Knightsbridge and the Bedsock brightened up considerably. Even more so when we dined at the Corrigan's new restaurant and had an excellent meal including some of the best native oysters we have had in years.

The Sock loves oysters - for her they are not just seafood but an explosion of memories in the mouth. A reminder of the time when the sea was clean and fresh.. playing in huge waves, being thrown over and over and over, pushed down to the sandy seabed and bursting back up to the surface, laughing and spitting salt sea only to be knocked down again by the next wall of foaming white water. Such joy, such freedom and all exquisitely encompassed in the essence of an oyster.

The Socks stayed over in London and went for a dim sum Sunday lunch at Hakkasan's.

Despite feeling more than a little fragile the Sock thought another cocktail might be a hair of the dog so washed the dim sum down with a Chinese Mule whilst the Bedsock had a Virgin Hakka.

On the way home the Socks listened to GQT in the car. Sad news that Geoffrey Smith had died but a lovely and funny tribute program. The bantering with Nigel Colborn was particularly amusing.. but is aubretia really called aubrieta?


the cycling gardener said...

How disappointing. My sympathies that you found the Carmen experience under-whelming but I imagine nowhere near as much so as my excruciating over-hyped karaoke fest that passed for X Factor Live at Wembley Arena last night. I won't bore you with why I was there suffice to say I wondered whether I should own up to going as you might question my sanity (as indeed I am this morning). I endured 2 hours of pergatory surrounded by fast food and beer and a group of very young teenage girls (nothing to do with me) screeming and screaching ALL THE WAY THROUGH the entire performance. I have lost my equilibrium and am in recovery.

Arabella Sock said...

Oh dear! That has certainly trumped my Carmen experience - I don't even watch X Factor on TV any more it is so excruciating and screaming girls added to it would be totally horrendous! Now I am curious as to how you ended up there..

Fat Rascal said...

I had heard about most of the Carmen experience but not the rest.

I think there is an oyster opera begging to be written - tragic ending inevitable.(Walrus and Carpenter vibe?)

We need to be told the XF story. I will only ever go to a Strictly Live when James is on it.

Arabella Sock said...

I once had a fab fruits de mer in St. Jean de Luz and one of the moules had a teeny little barnacle on the side which popped out and waved at me! This gave me a dilemma - the moules was already a goner (and very tasty too) but there seemed no reason to condemn poor Barney the Barnacle to a dustbin death. So I put the shell in my handbag with little Barney safely wrapped up in a serviette and then cast him over the bridge into the river where hopefully he lived happily ever after. I think that would make a marvellous opera except it has a hopefully happy ending which isn't very operatic.

Ms B said...

So which cultural event are we going to co-incidentally find ourselves at next? The rest of your weekend sounds much nicer than mine which consisted of work/allotment/garden.

As for Carmen, one of the reviews said that one of the best moments the critic saw was a cast member colliding with a tree! Mr B had an enbonpoint moment or several!