Sunday, 5 December 2010

To the Barbican last night for Mark Minkowski's wonderful performance of Handel's Alcina with Inga Kalna in the title role (replacing Anja Harteros). The only complaint was my usual one about the placing of intervals. The opera started at 6.30pm and finished at 10.20pm, and Minkowski performed the opera complete with the dances at the end of Acts 2 and 3. The only trouble, there was just 1 interval. This was advertised as being at the end of Act 1, giving us the prospect of a second half lasting well over 2 hours. In the event, the interval was placed after Alcina's first aria which gave us roughly a first half of 2 hours and 2nd half of 90 minutes. But, given the timings, couldn't we please have two intervals. Handel constructed his operas very carefully, and they respond far better to having the intervals in the correct places. Not to speak of having to sit in the auditorium for 2 hours continuously!

Whilst we are in querelous mood...

We used the Barbican's new Red Room, which is designed for their new membership category. It is a pleasant bar with views overlooking the foyers, serving food and drink. Only, it seems to have been designed for young people in mind. Like the re-design of the waterside cafe, the designers would seem to have designed the interior for a young audience. Whereas that at the Great Performers concerts would seem to be older, one not inclined to sit on bar stools and one preferring to sit in independently and not compressed into groups.

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