The Handelfest opened last night, with Flavio. Strangely calm, except when I rubbed away a few tears during the Act 2 siciliano, sung with heart throbbing excellence by Paula Sides. Remarkably expressive playing, too: Crikey, the crescendi in the A sections had me aching with pleasure, the long lines, the understanding all the players show! Rehearsing with the same players for several weeks has really paid off – they are as good or better than any of the period bands in London for which they all play.
Great, enthusiastic, full house. It felt like everybody wanted it to be as good as it was.
Teseo tonight. I am really looking forward to it. Some guests have just cancelled (it is always the guests…), so we have a handful of tickets to sell. I am already humming Agilea’s first two arias (so very well sung by Claire Booth at the dress rehearsal), and looking ahead to Act 4 in the operating theatre of Medea.
Of course the office is full of productive tensions, and really encouraging team spirit. David has just confirmed that our next season will be at Sadlers Wells, given the current difficulties at the Hackney Empire, and he is working on the deal. Next Autumn will be a special one at the Linbury/ Royal Opera House. Not a bad walkabout year in London!
Auditions for next Autumn, and the Spring thereafter. Usually at this time I drop the present, and concentrate on seasons ahead – but with the exceptional nature of this Handelfest, I need to make sure we are exploiting every opportunity it presents. Anyway, I can’t drop the present – I have several pre-performance talks to prepare, and I seem to have forgotten most of what I once knew about the succession anxieties and extra-marital affairs of the Hanoverians.