Last Thursday B and I went to London for a very busy day. We had originally booked to see a new opera by Detlev Glanert - a German composer - called Caligula that B wanted to see. As we were going to London I said I wanted to go see War Horse in the afternoon, so we booked that too.
We went to Kate's near Reading, so got to London good and early and went to John Lewis to look for curtain material for the cottage. We have been looking for curtain material for a looooonnng time, because the original ones are really nice, but are stained and faded so need to be replaced. However the windows are very small and very deeply recessed, so the curtain material needs to be very light. We did finally find some!! Hurray.
Then we had lunch at Jamie's Italian - outside - and it was lovely. I had a seafood plank (antipasti) and B had the meat one. I had smoked salmon, smoked mackerel pate, cockles and mussels, deep fried little fish bits. Fabulous.
War Horse was as good, if not better than everyone had said. B came because I really wanted to see it but absolutely loved it. It has everything. It is imaginative, clever, uses music, drama, lighting, acting, puppetry, pathos, humour, narrative, everything. I had read the book, and have watched the film, so knew the story, but that didn't matter. Spielberg made the film more sentimental, as one would expect, though I thought he did a reasonable job on the film, and the horse in the film really did deserve an Oscar. However the stage show is extraordinary. The puppets are so realistic, and act so like horses. It is stunningly good.
We met some friends for dinner, which we enjoyed, and then all of us went to the theatre to see Caligula. We had a pleasant surprise when we got in because we got upgraded to the stalls - nice! However......
The opera suffered from produceritus. It is a very common ailment in opera - they feel they have to do something "different". I think the subject matter was a bit iffy anyway, because using Caligula as an archetype for any loony dictator is a bit of a blunt instrument, however add a very unsubtle producer and it ruined any hope of an enjoyable evening. The opera was set in a stadium with all the seating and an entry area. It made all the rest of the opera nonsensical, which was a great shame. If you shut your eyes and listened then the music was actually lovely and it was actually far more pleasant. It reminded me of my reaction to Tristan a short while ago.