Friday, May 4, 2012


I did not know a lot about Russia before I went there. They had some great writers, like Tolstoy, Pusgkin Gogol. Also great musicians,like Tchaikovski and Rimsky Korsakove. One of the lovely surprises was a visit to the Diorama at Borodino. After the Revolution this huge painting was dismantled and discarded, but eventuially it was rescued and now tourists can visit, standing inside a circular building and look at what the Battle of Borodino was like; Magic! My neighbour Glenys lent me her copy of 'Carmen' which she bought when visiting the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Carmen is the first grand opera I ever saw, and I knew the music because way back in the thirties I sang with a children's choir and we sang the Children's chorus. Shortly after the war Wellington Amateur Opera produced Carmen. Then I saw it translated to an American production plant with a black cast, Harry Belafonte sang Don Jose and Dorothy Dandridge sang Carmen. Carmen Jones started as a movie and has developed into a stage production. A couple of years ago Daughter in Law, Susan and I went to see Otago University's production of Carmen. That was as good as any opera I have seen overseas. Carmenis without doubt my favourite opera. Why? Because it is dramatically real, the music is melodic and singable, the scenes are opulent. In the Met production the singers are young and look their part, especially Elina Garanga as Carmen. Teddy Tahu Rhodes not only sings brilliantly (well he would wouldn't he} but he does a wonderful, finger clicking flamenco. Enough of opera, back to the grindstone. Next Saturday I am taking a workshop on publishing to the web for Waitaki Writers. One piece of advice from John Locke, not the philosopher, is to identify a niche of people who would buy your books. My niche? Well they seem to be middle aged to elderly married women. Trouble is they don't like computers and don't buy e readers!

1 comment:

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