Posts Tagged ‘London’

Хочу, чтобы и у нас так!

В роли Манон (в центре) - Алина Койокару (Alina Cojocaru).

Эх, никуда не деться, снова придется хвалить Королевский оперный театр. Да еще и нефтегазового гиганта BP добрым словом помянуть.

Только что вернулась под впечатлением после так называемого “BP Summer Big Screens 2011”. Объясняю: обалденный спектакль – балет “Манон” на музыку Жюля Массне, который сегодня вечером танцевали в Royal Opera House, транслировали на восемь огромных экранов, расположенных во всех частях страны (Довер, Эдинбург, Бристоль и так далее). Спонсором мероприятия выступила BP, за что им спасибо.

Я смотрела прямой эфир на Трафальгарской площади в Лондоне. Организация просто потрясающая была: на входе проверяли сумки, просили выбросить стеклянные бутылки и раздавали бесплатные программки (цветные и с качественными фотографиями!) и (!!!) надувные подушки, чтоб не жестко было на площади сидеть.

Площадь была забита до отказа, но народ чувствовал себя как дома. Многие устроили настоящий пикник. В театре-то такого себе не позволишь! Были и те, кто явно случайно забрёл на Трафальгарскую, но такие после первого акта испарились.

Перед началом спектакля.

За полчаса до начала представления публику стали развлекать и одновременно ненавязчиво воспитывать: на экране слева шли ЦУ вроде “Помогите нам сохранить площадь чистой, уберите за собой мусор”, “Туалеты находятся там-то и там-то” и “Зрителям запрещается приносить с собой столы и стулья”. А справа показывали мини-фильм о закулисной жизни театра.

В антрактах тоже скучать не дали, организовали включения с этой самой Трафальгарской площади, интервью с танцорами, показали интересные видеорассказы о том, как шьются костюмы и т.п. Здорово, одним словом.

Про сам спектакль что сказать? Это надо было видеть… Нескучная хореография, шикарные костюмы, отличные актерские работы талантливых танцоров, красивейшая музыка. Даже гудки проезжающих мимо машин и сирены экстренных служб не испортили впечатления. В общем, мне очень понравилось.

Для тех, кто сейчас в Лондоне – в течение лета ожидается еще два подобных мероприятия. В понедельник, 4 июля, будут транслировать оперу “Мадам Баттерфляй”, а в среду 13 июля – оперу “Золушка”. Начало спектаклей в 19.30. See you there :)

Масленица-2011 на Трафальгарской

В воскресенье ходили на празднование Масленицы на Трафальгарской площади.

Вот фотоотчет:

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Там еще в начале выступали группа “Иван Купала”, Прохор Шаляпин, “Челси” и другие, но меня выбесило, что на входе заставили чай из термоса вылить, и я уходила восстанавливать душевное равновесие на Оксфорд-стрит.

Площадь была полна, причем в абсолютном большинстве – русскими. Увы, одним из спонсоров была крупная компания по производству водки…

I love ROH

Thank you, the Royal Opera House, for your Student Standby scheme!

Roméo et Juliette”, opera in five acts, music by Gounod, sang in French, for £10? Yes, please!

Don’t ask me if it was good. I can’t tell you whether the performers were skilful or the orchestra played well. I have no right or knowledge to judge that. All I can say is that I liked it, very much, and would like to see and hear it again.

That’s the end of my review of the performance, basically.

The following is a set of random observations I made during the night.

• “Roméo et Juliette” is a French opera inspired by an English play which was based on an Italian novella that has traces of antique tale, sang by international cast. Just listen to some of the names: Piotr Beczala (a Polish Romeo), María Alejandres (his Mexican Juliet), Alfie Boe (a British Tybalt), Zhengzhong Zhou (a Chinese Paris), Stéphane Degout (a French Mercutio), Ketevan Kemoklidze (a charming Georgian pageboy Stéphano), Vitalij Kowaljow (a Ukranian frère Laurent), Diana Montague (a British Gertrude, Juliette’s nurse), etc.

Isn’t it a great example of international cooperation?

• I got several culture shocks during that night.

Say, someone wants to get to their seat in the middle of a row, and you happen to sit on their way. Then it is considered polite in Russia to turn your face to other theatre lovers while you are squeezing through. Here, you turn your back, which seems very awkward to me. What about your country? (that’s my subtle way of saying “Leave a comment” :))

Another severe culture shock happened during the interval. Everyone got up and went… to have an ice-cream!!! Halls were full of dignified people, holding little cups of the treat. That was so cute! And weird! In Russia, they drink wine and eat chocolate, or have something more nourishing, but it’s usually children who get ice-cream.

And when the cast took the bow, I was surprised again. The curtain dropped, and then the principal performers started to come out of it one-by-one, getting their portion of applause and then disappearing behind the curtain again.

After that, all of the principals and the conductor formed a line and made a general bow. But they never raised the curtain again! And the audience didn’t get a chance to thank the choir and supporting actors…

• I am always amused by changes different nations make to the archetype. The French (of course!) decided to make the ending even more emotional. Their Romeo and Juliet get a chance to meet one more time and die literally together, because Juliet wakes up a little bit earlier than Shakespeare planned it, and meets Romeo who has already drunk the poison, but is still alive.

And a very tragic and beautiful scene follows…

World Travel Market: a rather confused report

My impression of WTM in ExCel London is so fractured that I can’t make a coherent narrative out of it. So here you go: five ways to talk about World Travel Market.

In plain words

Putting it simple, WTM is an annual party organised for people who are involved in travel industry, so that they can meet, talk and agree to sign.

Every exhibitor has its own stand(s), where information about services they provide can be found. Apart from that, they can come up with all sorts of things to make their stand interesting. This year, for example, Taiwanese were giving away fresh flowers, Egyptians were offering to write your name in Arabic and put it into a picture frame, a man from Abu Dhabi had a real hawk to take pictures with, lots of countries had their national dishes (or drinks) to treat you, and so on.

Visitors (“buyers”) are trade people plus students plus press plus exhibitors themselves. They walk around and watch, ask, make contacts, taste, wonder and take pictures.

There are also all sorts of seminars and events, so it’s massive.

In figures

• The exhibition is open for four days every year;
• More than 5000 exhibitors took part in the event this November;
• The “WTM Official Catalogue 2010” has 362 pages in it and weighs about 800 (!!!) grammes;
• It took me more than two hours to walk through the pavilion. Mind that I (almost) didn’t stop to talk to exhibitors;
• The exhibition halls are divided into nine “regions”: Africa and North America, Asia/Pacific and Indian Ocean, Europe and Mediterranean, Middle East, UK and Ireland, London, The Americas and Caribbean, Technology and Online Travel, Global Village.

In 35 words

Hotels and resorts, airlines, city tourist boards, travel agencies, museums, amusement parks, national costumes and souvenirs, brochures, cameras and interviews, suits and ties, business cards, wine and champagne, double cheek-to-cheek kisses and handshakes, handshakes, handshakes…

In my thoughts

– “Wow this looks huge”
– “Russian exhibition hall is a bore, but I don’t want to leave… Is that home-sickness?..”
– “Moulin Rouge!”
– “Haaa, the Scottish accent does sound funny. And I like their kilts!”
– “Wha…? Oh, of course, the Brussels stand”
– “I FEEL SLOVENIA, nice slogan!”
– “Paris Disneyland! I want I want I want!”
– “Oh my goodness! They scared me! The London Dungeon must have a stand nearby!”
– “All those people do look important”
– “I think I saw it before… Am I lost?”
– “It’s a pity I don’t drink”
– “Of course, you wouldn’t be Egyptian if you didn’t write your name and the e-mail address on the back of this card”
– “Year, I know you are tired, but could you please pose for my camera?”
– “St. Kitts, where on earth is that?”
– “What time is it?”
– “Aaargh… The train is so packed that the windows got misted”
– “I can’t believe it, they are still exchanging business cards!”

In pictures

P.S.: Many thanks to Constantine for organising this field trip!

Goodbye, panthera leo persica?

Here is a challenge for you: Can you make a list of 100 animals and plants?
When you are done, cross out 20 of them. They might become extinct faster than you think.

One fifth of world’s animal and plant species are threatened to become extinct, the latest scientific study shows. It was a joint effort of some 174 authors from 38 countries – seems like a report you can trust to me.

They found out that about 50 species of mammal, bird and amphibian move closer to extinction each year. The reasons are easy to guess: agricultural expansion, logging, over-exploitation and invasive alien species.

There is some good news as well. This study is the first one to provide clear evidence that conservation efforts actually work. If nothing had been done, the status of biodiversity would have declined by nearly 20%!

The report shows that in total, “survival societies” all over the world helped to improve the status of more than 60 species.

I was especially delighted to read that Przewalski’s Horse is now living in the wild again. I remember reading in “The Animal World” by Igor Akimushkin, a popular Russian book for children written in 1970-s, that those unique animals were about to become extinct… Have a look at them at this video, aren’t they beautiful?

But still, “the current level of conservation action is outweighed by the magnitude of threat”. Sadly, saving more species means more money involved… Money that governments and businessmen often prefer to have to spend on something else.

But in fact everyone can support the initiative. If you are in London, one of the easiest ways to help is to spend a day in ZSL London Zoo. We went there last Friday, and enjoyed it.

It gives you goose bumps when you meet all those animals and think about the power of Nature/God who created them. Animals there are weird and amazing, scary and cute, tiny and huge, transparent and extremely colourful; every single one unique and perfect.

But it is a waste of time to try to verbally describe them… You should see them with your own eyes. Here are some pictures from our trip, though, taken by Stefanie Söhnchen, my pretty – and witty! – German classmate.

By the way, on the 26th of October something joyous happened at the Zoo: first-time mother Mjukuu, a western lowland gorilla, gave birth to the healthy baby =) The species is marked as “critically endangered” by IUCN.

Related links:

IUCN’s (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) press-release on the study

BBC’s abridged version of it

ZSL London Zoo

Stefanie’s blog (more pictures from ZSL London Zoo there)

Lifestyle feature exercise

If you think you have seen enough musicals and would like to pass on to something more complicated and elite, evening concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields might become your door to classical music.

The night I went there, the London Concertante chamber orchestra was performing. And although their picture on the playbill was very vivid, I still had some fears I might have to run away if it becomes too solemn and tedious.

Then I saw my neighbours. Well, actually I first saw beers in their hands, but I didn’t get a chance to express my indignation as I was then shocked by the fact that they turned out to be teenagers.

The words “church”, “classical music”, “beer” and “teenagers” have always belonged to different parts of my inner world. Writing for a newspaper in Russia, I wouldn’t get a chance to use them in one sentence.

But the two young Londoners seemed to enjoy the evening, and so did I. All was there: first-class performers, amazingly beautiful melodies, vaults of the church that made the sound almost three-dimensional, a witty host who made you feel at home, and candlelight to bring some magic to the night.

London is full of surprises.

Related links:

St Martin-in-the-Fields

London Concertante