9.20 p.m. at the end of one of the best birthdays ever. My crib is full of flowers, courtesy of neighbours, son Peter and niece Mary from Plymouth Mass. My in box is full of messages from friends from all over and my phone is busiest it has been since last birthday. This afternoon, in company with friends Glennys and Ethelwynne, I went to see the Metrpolitan Opera production of Don Pasquale; The music is still ringing in my brain. Then we had roast beef at the Star and Garter, my favourite restaurant in Oamaru. I tried to upload a couple of photos to share but my machine kept making excuses, drat it. I think the pictures have gone to Facebook.
The Opera season, showing once a month at Movie World, is incredible. Das Reingold, the first of Wagner's Ring Cycle, is German, Boris Gudenov, by Moussorgski, is Russian and today, Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Italian, so we are seeing a range of pera styles and hearing music in different languages. Also we are seeing behind the scenes to the incredible and vast complex which makes staging these operas possible. In Don Pasquale we saw entire stage settings mounted on tracks moved silently off stage, to be just as silently replaced by the next scene, from Don Pasquale's dilapidated Roman villa to Norrina's rooftop terrace to Don Pasquale's garden. The singing and acting was brilliant of course but the stand out performance was Anna Netrebko, a stunningly beautiful lyric soprano who literally danced about the stage, while singing, she even turned a couple of somersaults! Another highlight was the Duet between Don Pasquale and Dr. Malatesta , what musical comedy would call a patter song, but delivered at full operatic throttle with machine gun speed but perfect ennunciation.