After a hearty breakfast in the hotel, we headed off towards the Tube switching into tourist mode (sharpening elbows and deleting 'excuse me' from our personal dictionary). Weather-wise, it’s a lovely warm day down here – perfect!
First stop was the V and A. We haven't been there for quite a few years and it was good to go back there. The highlight was the Private Eye exhibition - truly excellent.
Then it was off to Science Museum. Once again, it had totally changed since our previous visit about 50 years ago! An excellent experience all round with lots to do, especially for kids (so I was alright then!)
Then it was off by bus to Harrods for a quick look round and then onto Johnson Lewis and finally the House of Fraser. Mission accomplished as Ann managed to find some ear-rings and a short jacket for the wedding!
Then, back on the bus (yes, me on the bus!) back to the hotel for a bit of a chill-out before the opera tonight - La Traviata at the Royal Opera House.
We got to the Opera House in pretty good time and left us enough space to order drinks for the interval and get our seats in good time. The performance was a sell-out and when the curtain went up just after 7, we were now in ‘opera-mode’ and reminding ourselves of the story-line (well, me actually, as Ann knew anyway!!!)
As you would expect, it’s a love story. And as so often happens in operas, the ending wasn’t pleasant for the heroine! 35 minutes to die was pushing it a bit, but she did so with great style – and song!
So, what’s the story?
Boy meets Girl. Girl is a serious party animal, but Girl is also ill with something or other. Boy falls in love with Girl. Girl wrestles with the party-scene vs nice-comfy-slippers dilemma. Girl chooses slippers. Boy’s father turns up after they’re married to confront her about her debts (too much catalogue shopping!) and forces her to leave Boy without explaining why. Boy thinks she’s run off with another Boy and so follows her to a party. Boy confronts other boy and shoots him (as you do!) much to the disappointment of the guests. Boy is ridiculed and flees the country.
OK so far? Girl health deteriorates and just as she’s about to die, Boy turns up and it looks like a happy-ever-after. A quick dance around the floor and she pegs it. Cue gallons of tears on stage - as well as off. Curtain comes down, sobbing audience heads for Tube.
Moral of the story? Stay off the Catalogues ... be careful about your Father-in-law ...Don't follow girls to parties ...Take out private medical insurance :)
On a more serious note – the performance was excellent. A girl with a ‘good pair of lungs’ can mean many things – in this case it meant just that – what a voice!!! I reckon she could have knocked down walls at 100 paces!!!!
Marina Poplavskaya played Violetta (she of the large lungs)
James Valenti played Alfredo Germont (saw him in Madama Butterfly too!)
Robert Poulton played Baron Douphol (a voice so deep he’d get a job in Richer Sounds - geddit!!! …as a sub-woofer)
The performance finished around 10.15 to fantastic applause all round. We headed back to the hotel by way of the Tube deliberately avoiding Covent Garden because of the gazillions of people there. We walked back to Piccadilly Circus and were soon heading to the Bar at the Hotel. A couple of glasses of Vouvray, pork pie and chips set us up nicely and we crashed out around 11.30.
We’re on the 10am out of St Pancras International tomorrow and should be home by 11.30ish.
It’s been a great weekend! – we especially loved the St Pancras Grand Hotel for its architecture and how easy it made it for us to and from our destinations