- another year, another Connolly Fest done – every year around October or so, there’s a blurry of Dame Sarah related activity. This year was a near repeat of the last – Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde in London and a Lieder Festival concert in Oxford – with an added bonus of an opera, Wagner’s Die Walkure at the ROH. My last Wagner opera was Meistersinger few years ago, and I keep sitting on the fence when it comes to the German titan. It was enjoyable, the singing was great, I loved Connolly’s laced up, Victorian dress, and no, it didn’t feel too long, but at the same time I doubt I’ll join the ranks of the people seated behind me who were boasting that this was their third Ring Cycle this year.
- the Mahler on the other hand I can’t get enough of; last year’s was great, but this year’s sublime.
- the Mahler was paired with some Mozart played by Mitsuko Utchida, who in her silver organza was a veritable piano fairy; it was absolutely lovely, but my heart still belongs to Marta Argerich…
- …and a little bit to Susan Manoff, who accompanied Veronique Gens singing French songs at the Lieder Festival. The singing was fine, the songs beautiful, the programme well put-together, and I couldn’t take my eyes off Manoff’s perfect hair and dramatic flair.
- sandwiched in between were two shocking firsts – my first (mad dash two days before it closed) trip to see the Serpentine Summer Pavilion, designed by Frida Escobedo, and my first Ashmolean Late Friday, on the theme of magic. I loved the pavilion; I wasn’t mad keen on the Late Friday. It did serve to remind me though that I need to go back and see their particularly interesting selection of temporary exhibitions.
And then it was autumn.