Friday, 20 June 2008

Big Night At Castle Ward

The weather turned out really fine yesterday evening. When I set off from home it seemed showery and unsettled; however, in the event, I was able to enjoy my picnic in the walled garden as usual.

When I arrived at Castle Ward, I parked at the Old Farm-yard and strolled up towards the Temple Water. I was keen to have a look at the archaeological search for the original Queen Anne house at the top of the hill; a bit disappointing because, although several areas were cordoned off, the grass was still intact and there was no indication that any digging had begun.

I did an about-turn and headed for the Barn; they've done a lovely job there and there's now an elevated vegetable patch, bird feeders and various displays in the grounds surrounding the Barn.

Before the Show itself, I set up camp, figuratively speaking, in the sunken garden; it's a shame that Neptune's trident at the pond is now a prosaic black, rather than the original gold-leaf one which, I think, was stolen.

The M&S fare was very good; no complaints at all except the old principle of Diminishing Returns applies. The late Duke of Bedford always said he enjoyed a Big Mac as much as haute cuisine. I concur, and this applies to sarnies too!

I had a relatively good seat on the fifth row; a window seat, as opposed to an aisle seat. It was gratifying that the manager recognized me instantly and greeted me by name to show me to my seat.

The production, Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, was very well done indeed I thought. The conductor, David Angus, had conducted at the BBC concert I attended on Tuesday. His father was director of music at my old school. The principal singers were all very good too. This was Castle Ward Opera at its best. I believe they're struggling to make ends meet despite the corporate sponsorship; thus there has been only one opera produced for the last few years. I hope they can discover a few more generous benefactors soon, so that they can resume their two-opera season.

So, at a few minutes after midnight, the show finished and I motored home safely in the two-seater.

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