Friday, 9 August 2013

Glyndebourne – Opera – “Don Pasquale” by the sea ...


Travel with me to see an Opera in the 21st century ... broadcast to a big screen near you ... in this instance the art deco de la Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, east of Eastbourne, half way to Hastings ...
 
Pevensey Bay looking east, past Bexhill-on-Sea,
and on across to Hastings

... past William the Conqueror’s bay ... when the sea level was higher and the ‘deep water’ sheltered port at Pevensey was ideal for the Norman landing, which changed the course of British and world history.
 
Pevensey Bay as it would have looked
in 1066 - the flooded inlets shown ... which
explains why the battle was fought at
Battle, which is to the east of Ashburnham

The Pavilion has an auditorium and recently they have been having evenings of cinema, opera and no doubt plays, musicals relayed across ... Billy Budd from Glyndebourne is the next performance, while Lincoln will be shown in the Autumn.


The art deco de la Warr Pavilion
I went to see Les Miserables here and loved the atmosphere that was at once more sedate, more comfortable than a cinema scrum while allowing the all-round sound to involve and absorb us in the production (and without having to dress up to the nines to attend an opera).


Don Pasquale was a great first opera to see at the Pavilion ... a small cast, with some innovative sets, the fact we get subtitles! as we watch on a screen ... yes, we had the odd glitchy technology screech ...

A dramatic stairwell in the Pavilion

... which I heard once again as I listened absorbed to the Opera, while I researched and typed up this post ...


... when the outtakes and opera ring out from the laptop, sadly no vision* ... mind you I was involved enough as it was ... it’s made a fun morning so far – it is not often I listen to opera.  In fact I’m re-listening to it – third time in a week ...


I love the Glyndebourne Opera House ... it is a quite beautiful building and architecturally wonderful inside ... full of gleaming ‘yellow’ wood – and reminds me of the Real Yellowwood, declared the national tree of  South Africa.
Glyndebourne Auditorium


Music and communication has changed so much over the millennia and particularly in the recent centuries ...


African Drums were perhaps the first communication device ... their low bass and repetition made it the perfect music to be heard across the savannah grass lands ...


Once communities started living together ... when churches and cathedrals were built – the drums with their complex rhythms sounded horrible ...


... cathedrals as venues echo – sounds may reverberate around for as long as four seconds ... choirs and organs sounded wonderful in these great echoing buildings ...

 
Glyndebourne, parts of which are 500 years
old, with the new Opera House and 
studio behind
Once again music changed as rich patrons commissioned works that could, shock horror, be danced to in their ballrooms ... in Mozart’s time the key changes, trills and musical extravagances of the new musicians were perfect for the ballrooms full of people with lavish dresses and sound absorbing decorations ...



Before the invention of the humble microphone and radio the popular singers throughout the ages were belters – they had to literally be heard in an opera house, there was no amplification, they had to sing to the back of the house ...


... that is why opera houses are short front to back, but very high ...

 
Eastbourne edge of Downs
looking east across the pier on
a very English summer's day
In the 1930s the microphone allowed a whole new type of singer – the crooners – Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby sang in a way that was perfect for the radio ...


... people in the ‘30s heard more music in a year than previous generations had heard in a life time – all thanks to the radio ...


... and now this generation will be able to hear a greater variety of works through the medium of (live) transmission – certainly I’m likely to attend a greater variety of performances at the de la Warr Pavilion.


An opportunity has arisen for both the ordinary human being to hear works either live as we did ... with the odd technical glitch ... or recorded, while the venues can acquire more customers and thus income to maintain their heritage.

 
Danielle de Niese and Alessandro Corbelli in
Don Pasquale at Glyndebourne 2013
photo credit Clive Barda
within the Seen and Heard article
The ‘performance’ included outtakes behind the scenes, meetings with the performers, conductor, director and designer ... led by the leading lady – who is more leading lady than most ...


... Danielle de Niese is married to Gus Christie, the owner of Glyndebourne ... again an interesting history here ... described in the Daily Telegraph article  ... and in this posting in Seen and Heard International – (both links below).


I wrote a post in May 2009 about “Love – a Chapel and an Opera House” ... two buildings built by the husbands for their beloved wives ... and this was before Danielle de Niese married her love.


The de Niese’s are Burghers ... a Eurasian ethnic group, historically from Sri Lanka, consisting for the most part of the male-line descendants of European colonists from the 16th to 20th centuries (mostly Portuguese, Dutch, German and British) and local women ...


De Niese’s parents moved first to Australia, and then to the west coast of the States, where she honed her performance and operatic skills ... and as she describes in the Telegraph article:

 
The Organ room in the main house - built for
Mrs Christie in the late 1930s
There’s a strange bit of history that accompanies our relationship, too, in that Gus’s grandfather also fell in love with and married an opera singer. The role I’m playing at the moment, Norina in Don Pasquale, is exactly the same role as Gus' grandmother played in 1938.  That's a pretty spooky coincidence considering my schedule is always planned about five years in advance." 


I’ve included a few links, more than usual, in case anyone is interested ...


... and once again we seem to have travelled this time the world taking in some new history – I did not know about the existence of the Burghers – but de Niese is an interesting character ... perhaps best expressed in the Telegraph interview – it reads like one of ours ... with the Q and As thrown in!
 
An advert held by Yale Edu -
commons ... advertising
frequent electric and steam trains -
cheap fares by Southern Railway ...
what happened?!

While the “Seen and Heard International” article gives the background to Donizetti and his Don Pasquale opera introducing it thus:


Donizetti (1797-1848) wrote Don Pasquale towards the end of his life, i.e. during 1842, with its premiere at the Theatre Italien, Paris, on 3rd January 1843.  According to some scholars, it is his comic masterpiece and the last in the golden period of opera buffa, meaning the first half of the 19th Century.”


Well our prelude to this wonderful evening ... where I wanted to clap at the screen – my hands went out, came back in again ... I suspect others’ did too ... not quite as good as being there in person ...



... but more convenient in a delightful setting – set off by a beautiful sunset across the bay ... smoked salmon sandwiches with salad, strawberries and cream accompanied by a glass of champagne ... I had a sip or two ...



An evening well spent ... a post happily written ... a ‘girl’ with some more history in her ... more scenes under her belt ...

Traditional "Don Pasquale" - Seen and Heard International


"Don Pasquale" at Glyndebourne ... available to watch again (as I now found out*) .. albeit the score was happily ringing out from the computer, I was involved in my posting and was on the details page! 


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

48 comments:

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I enjoyed my evening at the opera with you Hilary! It's interesting that something with such a rich history is still popular today.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I never thought about the fact there were no microphones. The singers had to really project to be heard.

That opera house is gorgeous.

~Sia McKye~ said...

What a beautiful setting. I've enjoyed a few good operas in my life but I don't think in this sort of setting. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

You're right, no microphones meant a venue built to allow voices to be heard more easily but also the singer had to have a rich enough voice to project. Actors too.

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Manzanita said...

Hilary
Thanks for relating your evening out. Yes the world has gone techie but with all the pluses you describe. The African drums would be a huge loudenboomer if used inside. Ha Interesting about the size of the opera houses. I didn't know. Then the food and the sunset.... a perfectly delightful ending.

rosaria williams said...

Fascinating how old operas are still treasured and performed all over the world! Seeing and hearing something in person and up close beats anything you see on television. Thanks for sharing.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Yes, Hilary, I just about resist the urge to clap, thanks for fascinating post.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I do love the opera very much. I went to my first one only 3 years ago and truly loved it! Ever since then I've been a fan :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Karen - it is wonderful how music has retained its freshness through the centuries .. and is recreated, redeveloped ..

@ Diane - it's crazy we 'forget' things .. of course we don't - but it's not til we're nudged that we remember .. I find it fascinating ...

.. and the singers had to belt - as you say project to be heard ..

Oh you'd love Glyndebourne .. wonderful place to photograph!

@ Sia - I've been to one or two .. but I think I prefer this relaxed setting - but them I'm not a 'buff' ...

Yes - the strength of voice must have been essential to those early singers and actors ...

@ Manzanita - it was a fun time .. and so 21st century - yet retaining the ambience of an opera - very comforting!

African drums - thinking about it .. the royals had some at the Thanksgiving Service in Westminster Abbey for the Queen's Coronation earlier this year ...

We had a lovely evening .. and I've enjoyed the learning, once again.

@ Rosaria - I'm afraid I wasn't that close being 20 miles away .. but the cinema screen made a difference .. and the cameras panned in and out at times - so we had close-ups ...

@ Carole - you too - I'm sure we're not the only ones resisting that urge to clap at the screen .. such a lovely way to see performances though ... as you obviously agree ...

@ Keith - that's great you've found opera recently, and are thoroughly enjoying the experience ... I'm not that keen - but perhaps by going to the de la Warr I'll have a rethink .. I did so enjoy this experience ...

Thanks for visiting .. have a lovely weekend .. Hilary

Julie Flanders said...

Oh what beautiful buildings. I love that staircase but also can't help but think that I'd probably manage to fall down it LOL.
Gorgeous setting!

Old Kitty said...

What a fabulous way to watch an opera!I'd be clapping too and shouting bravo - but I'll stop at throwing flowers (not that I do during live performances...ahem!LOL!)

And isn't Danielle De Neise lovely! Just read how she spends her summer weekends! Take care
x

Julia Hones said...

What a lovely sunset, Hilary.
(I went to see Les Miserables on Mother's Day and I enjoyed it).
Great post. So much history packed in a blog post. It is strange to travel in time and space this way...

Mary Montague Sikes said...

All so beautiful, Hilary. Gorgeous sunset. Strawberries and cream reminded me of Wimbledon since I know a lot more about tennis than opera...

Thanks for the wonderful way you share!

Mary Montague Sikes

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Your evening sounds like my idea of heaven. I LOVE opera. My husband, however, isn't a fan, so I revel in my recordings. It's been many years since I attended an opera in person. As much as I love opera, I suppose I must love my non-opera loving husband more.

A terrific post, Hilary. I love it when your research teaches you something, and then you share it with us.

Cheers! Happy weekend!

Val Poore said...

It sounds as if you had a marvellous time! I have only ever been to the opera once and that was a very very special treat at Covent Garden. Sadly, I think I was a bit too young to appreciate it because I fell asleep. You've inspired me to want to have another go!

Tara Tyler said...

thank you for that thorough escape into the opera! quite a sensational experience i'd love to attend some day!

Susan Scheid said...

Hilary, this post is oh, so lovely, and particularly your desire to clap at the screen! You take such joy in life, and how marvelous. I am only beginning myself to really pay attention to opera. It does seem Glyndebourne is a marvel, and they make it so accessible to us all. I love that, don't you? Did you know they have podcasts discussing the music, too? There is one of Don Pasquale here. I am sorry I don't get by to comment more often, but I want you to know I continue to follow you, with interest. Fondest possible regards, and may the rest of your summer be glorious.

Chatty Crone said...

I have never seen anything like that at all - not even sure we have things like that - at least I know we don't in GA. But that was the most beautiful place and I would love to go there and see something there. And the history - fantastic!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - aren't the buildings very different .. but so amazing in their own right - oh no .. I'm sure you'd manage to walk down safely - well I hope so! Sussex is beautiful ....

@ Old Kitty - bit of a waste of flowers, so glad you won't be doing that ... but I did enjoy going and having the thrill of the opera -

So pleased to see you read the Telegraph article .. and she is stunningly attractive - yes!

@ Julia - sadly not my sunset .. I'm not in photographer mode yet ..

So pleased you enjoyed Les Mis .. lovely memories to have of your Mother's Day ..

You've hit on something here .. I know readers come from far and wide ... but don't think about the 'travel in time and space this way' ..

@ Monty - I'm afraid that's me too - way more knowledge about tennis, but Don Pasquale was a comfortable reminder about Opera ..

Delighted you enjoyed the 'story' and can enjoy your strawberries and cream in your mind ...

@ Susan - this was an eye-opener for me I so enjoyed it ... ah I think you've chosen the right path! Lucky husband!

I love when I learn new things and am always delighted when you (as readers) appreciate the content ..

@ Val - I had a similar experience ... not being very musical doesn't help .. and I've been to Glyndebourne once - it is a beautiful place ... So pleased to see you'll give Opera another go - enjoy it!

@ Tara - well I hope you too will get a chance to attend an opera ... or try it out via the big screen - the outtakes helped a great deal ..

@ Susan - I thought of you writing this post, and I know I haven't visited for ages - the posts are waiting 'patiently' for me!!

Thanks for being so supportive in the circumstances - I thought you'd be an opera buff .. as you love music so much and write so eloquently about it ..

Thanks for the podcast link ... I'd love to listen to more and don't very often listen to podcasts .. I need that 'empty' space in my brain ... where it recovers. Input is something I don't need - yet if there were another few hours a day .. I'd be happy to listen!

Now I've seen that the link is to the Glyndebourne site - with links to podcasts about the shows they are putting on .. I've added it to my feed ... it'll be interesting to hear more about the setting of Don Pasquale 170 years ago ..

I really appreciate your comment so much .. and summer is sort of on the fade - I hope it's a slow one! I'll be over to see you later on.

@ Sandie - I can't believe we're the only country putting on live transmissions ... it's certainly a great way to see 'big'cinema and now opera ...

The history in snippets always is fascinating .. so glad you enjoyed.

Cheers to you - delighted you were happily entertained with a night at the opera! Have happy weekends - Hilary

Jo said...

Ah, Glyndeburne, brings back memories. Your evening sounds fab. We have opera films here but shown in regular cinemas. They are recorded by the New York Metropolitan Opera and distributed throughout North America. I have been to one or two but we didn't get smoked salmon, strawberries or champagne.

I too had never thought about microphones. We take these things very much for granted.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Hilary, I feel like Victor Meldrew, he of the don't believe it fame. He crept out to use the buggy, car in the way, so goes up a steep slope on the lawn, falls off. Only a plaster this time.....

Bish Denham said...

A beautiful building, indeed! I've not be able to enjoy opera, it's one style of music that just doesn't appeal to me. That said, there are certainly some beautiful songs that have been written that I do like. But generally, I'm not sure I could sit through a whole performance.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

This was all so fascinating, Hilary. I feel like a country pumpkin. I'm missing so much living out in the middle of nowhere. Thanks for taking me along virtually.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jo - it as a good evening .. and now I see and hear of more and more shows being put on in cinemas around the place (ie not London) ...

Well the strawberries, champers and smoked salmon were extras .. still it made a good start to the evening!

The microphone just seems so ubiquitous doesn't it .. so much we forget about ..

@ Carole - gosh I'm sorry to read about your hubby .. glad all is well, if not completely so ..

@ Bish - give it a try, especially this way where you get the background etc - shows us what homework and revision mean! Hope you can see your way to trying it out ..?

@ Joylene - I'd love to live in the sticks ... much more real ... but I do love being back in the UK too and being able to do a few of these things ... so pleased you enjoyed it ...

Cheers Hilary

Inger said...

I love opera and in this gorgeous setting. Thanks for taking us along, it was absolutely delightful!

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

Oops, I cannot stand opera. Although in such a setting, I might make some compensation. I do love classical music, but opera hurts my ears.

When I was a young lad, I thought it was called "Box Hill".

Thanks for another fact filled posting. A pleasant Sunday to you, Hilary.

Gary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Inger - just delighted I reminded you of opera visits .. and your love of opera ..

@ Gary - if truth be told I'm rather of your ilk .. but this was a lovely way to see one and have a 'new taster' - I enjoyed the experience.

Box Hill for boxing the ears I presume? They certainly sing to the rooves and this lady has a very strong voice ...

Cheers to you both .. Hilary

juliet said...

What a beautiful post and it really ends with a bang! I enjoy the way you like musical style with the physical environments - I'd never thought of it that way, but of course cathedrals need different sound than open country.
thanks Hilary, nice to read such a happy post.

Gattina said...

I didn't know that there was this Pavilion in Pevensey Bay. Of course when you are on holidays your are not looking for operas or cinemas, at least I don't. I have an overdose of operas because I have seen them probably all ! my parents took me to operas in Bonn and then in Brussels and I was far too young to appreciate, I loved Elvis more at that time, lol !
Did you know that Victor Hugo has written "Les Misérables" here in Waterloo ? His house is now in renovation for the big event in 2015, 200 years celebration of the Waterloo battle !

Trisha F said...

Never heard of the place, but it looks amazing! And it would be a rather fabulous experience attending a show in that venue!

Milo James Fowler said...

Excellent scenes indeed! I still need to see Les Mis live -- the movie was okay, but it lacked something for me.

D.G. Hudson said...

Loved this post about an opera I wasn't familiar with.

I found the info about the leading lady very interesting - history repeated always makes me think of reincarnation stories.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Juliet - delighted you enjoyed the story line - and I enjoyed relating one or two musical styles across the centuries and why they changed .. thanks so much ..

@ Gattina - the Pavilion is in Bexhill .. and it's an art gallery, has an auditorium for talks, cinema screenings, plays etc etc ...

If I'd been to opera at that age - I too I know would not have liked opera at all ... but now I can re-appreciate it ...

I didn't know Hugo wrote Les Mis in Waterloo - and of course, you'll have the bicentenary celebrations too in 1815.

@ Trisha - both buildings are quite amazing and so different .. art deco Pavilion, then a historic house with an opera house attached ... I enjoyed the one and only time I've been to a Glyndebourne performance and the interior is just beautiful ..

@ Milo - I doubt I'll get to see Les Mis live .. but can understand the desire to do it ... so I hope you enjoy it when you get around to see it ..

@ DG - thanks - it was a very pleasurable experience and a simple opera well put on - good starting point for me ..

Of course reincarnation in stories - hadn't thought about that .. but Danielle de Niese is, in her own right, a very interesting 21st century singer ... wonderful (very strong!) voice ...

Cheers - thanks for visiting .. Hilary

Suzanne Furness said...

Apologies for my lateness to this post, Hilary. I enjoyed reading about your evening at the opera, sounds delightful and I'm a sucker for a beautiful sunset!

Nas said...

An enjoyable and informative post, Hilary. Thanks.

Chuck said...

Educational as always, Hilary. I love the scenery in your photos and that sunset is awesome!

Susan Scheid said...

Hilary: I think I know EXACTLY what you mean by this: "I'd love to listen to more and don't very often listen to podcasts .. I need that 'empty' space in my brain ... where it recovers." It's the same for me (though anticipated that you might enjoy knowing about the Glyndebourne Don Pasquale podcast). As for over my way, I'm on hiatus for the rest of the summer, and perhaps beyond. Many visitors and lots going on. Agreed, too, may the rest of the summer fade slowly. How is it already August?

Christine Rains said...

Gorgeous photos! What a magnificent opera house. Les Miserables is my favorite musical. Thank you for taking us on another wonderful trip!

Also, thank you so much for reading FEARLESS. I'm happy you liked it even though it's not your regular genre.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

I always learn something from your posts, Hilary. Thanks for all the hard work and thought you put into them.

Denise Covey said...

Aren't opera houses to die for, but I love it when they bring opera to the people. We have a lot of outdoor venues for opera here in Oz, where those who'd never darken an opera house can set up their chairs in the park and enjoy it.

Stephen Tremp said...

Fantastic evening! I feel so much more cultured now. I did not know that's why opera houses had such high ceilings but short fronts and backs. Now I know.

Cheers!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Suzanne - always grateful for the visit ... and just glad you enjoy coming over ..

@ Nas - thanks so much ..

@ Chuck - the photos can bring a post to life, or enhance the text .. so thanks that you enjoy seeing them.

@ Susan - I did enjoy knowing about the Don Pasquale podcast .. and I would like to listen to it .. but glad you understand my need for the 'empty' space for the brain to recover ..

I know you're busy with so much going on .. and I love your posts - so so much in them ... I need to take a class, I think!

Yes, it's August .. but what's worse is - it's nearly half way through ..

@ Christine - there's a lot of good works being produced at the moment - and certainly Les Mis has hit the pulse for many people ... I enjoyed it, but not sure I'd rave about it!

Pleasure - that I read Fearless .. I had fun with the short story .. and really must read more of anything .. I hope to schedule it in ..

@ Susan - thanks for coming over .. I'm thinking of you with your loss.

@ Denise - the thought that goes into building these stunning edifices .. really gives us the beauty to be a part of ..

We have outdoor venues here too - and I can imagine your Australian ones would be amazing ... the impressarios, producers, directors are so creative with the productions they offer us ..

@ Stephen .. it was a glorious time - and gave me an opportunity to learn more too ..

Thanks everyone - so lovely to see you for my 'night at the opera' .. Hilary

Mark Koopmans said...

I never liked opera until I delved into it for WIP#1 and OMgosh, it is amazing and there is sooo much rich history:)

Thanks for sharing, Hilary and glad you enjoyed your glass of relaxing champagne :)

(A girl needs to unwind after a long day of research and writing :)

Cheers and aloha :)

Mark Koopmans said...

I never liked opera until I delved into it for WIP#1 and OMgosh, it is amazing and there is sooo much rich history:)

Thanks for sharing, Hilary and glad you enjoyed your glass of relaxing champagne :)

(A girl needs to unwind after a long day of research and writing :)

Cheers and aloha :)

Tina said...

I love opera, but have never seen it live. How neat that you could experience it in such a unique way. And you know I loved all that history ;-)
Tina @ Life is Good

Carole Anne Carr said...

Much love to you, Hilary, and thank you for your kindness. Carole.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Mark - you seem to have the magic touch today .. commenting in waves - only twice here though!

It's interesting what we find out about through blogging or our writing isn't it ... but it does have a very rich history ...

... and the evening was fun ..

@ Tina - I've been to couple of live performances in London years ago, then that one time at Glyndebourne ... this was fun to write, and again some history ..I always enjoy that ..

@ Carole - so pleased to see you - just hope all is well and do look after yourself and your husband ..

Cheers to the three of you .. Hilary

Suze said...

Whenever I have to type in word veri, I always wish I could nicely ask the blogger to remove it!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Suze .. this I think is for the next post - but no matter, what you say is so right and I do sometimes!

Cheers Hilary