Sunday 9th July 2017…other people’s gardens and a night at the opera…


A really nice day today starting just after lunch with a village garden walkabout at Colebrook which is near Plympton. I don’t know where, but we picked up a brochure  beautifully put together, detailing gardens open during the season on behalf of St Luke’s Hospice in Plymouth. What a very good idea. There were only 5 gardens open today, each of them attached to ordinary semi-detached houses. The first was, as it happens, the best…it had everything, different areas including a fire-pit hut which must be nice in winter and a lovely neat hot tub which must be nice any time! There was quite a large pond and waterfall with a variety of fish, some very large, and planting and veg areas. Lots of ideas to take away. I know I won’t be satisfied until we have some water feature in our garden. There were refreshments available at one house and very nice they were too.

After that little bit of exercise (Colebrook is built into the side of a hill) we went to the Vue cinema in Plymouth where with our free Times+ tickets we were due to see Sofia Coppola’s La Traviata captured live in 4D from the Teatro Dell’Opera Di Roma. 1325.jpgI had been advised by customers in Warwick Books to attend similar events at Warwick Arts Centre but we had never got round to doing so. My own recollection is that I have never been to a live opera (F. begs to differ), so I was very excited to be doing the next-best thing. What an experience. We could well have been there (apart from the odd niggling movement of a scenic view seen through the window of Violetta’s country house). The screen was huge, the sound was huge, the singing immense (what do I know?).

Francesca Dotto was hugely impressive as Violetta. How on earth can singers keep that up?…what range, what work, what finesse, I find it unbelievable that this sort of performance can be repeated on just one more night let alone a succession. The single most memorable thing I have seen in a long time. Terrific! The support from Antonio Poli, and Roberto Frontali was also amazing. The storyline based of course on a shortish story by Dumas was trite (as in all opera?). But the performance had me at least in tears. I know I am sentimental (like Churchill and the Welsh amongst others), and I well up at D-I-Y SOS or Love Your Garden or sporting climactics, but I have never known myself to be just sitting there with single tears dropping dramatically at intervals…..all quite quite wonderful really! Must get to the opera……..


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