Archive for February, 2011

Odyssey XI, Madingley Hall 18-20 February

February 26, 2011

Evidence of study

This time I was determined not to lose my return ticket or my glasses or to catch a cold, and I just about managed it, though my very nice taxi driver did manage to miss the Madingley turning on the drive from the station, which ended up costing me some money…

The ten of us in our group had little difficulty in disposing of the 640 or so lines of Odyssey XI in the nine hours (6 x 1.5 hour sessions) available.  Elizabeth Warren our instructor described us as well-prepared and eager to share our views.  She also produced a photo of her husband holding a winnowing-fan to show how it might be confounded with an oar (or rather, the other way round).

Cambridge. February.

Peter Jones gave a talk on the Saturday evening.  After treating us to an imitation of ‘dear old Enoch’ Powell as part of his mission to bring classics to the masses, he said that a certain number of lines in Od. XI didn’t make sense, and furthermore there were large-scale errors in composition.  Tiresias never did tell Odysseus how to get home, and it looked as though a catalogue of Theban women had been inserted for no reason.  Odysseus had gone from summoning the spirits of the dead to travelling through the underworld without any explanation, and the suddenly cut and run at the very thought of a Gorgon’s head.

In the taxi back to the station, I had an interesting talk with a young woman who had been doing Forensic Facial Reconstruction and felt it would be practically useful to her in her future career.

ABT (Programme 1) Sadlers Wells 3 February

February 7, 2011


Warming up for Everything doesn't happen at once

First of all we had Seven Sonatas by Alexei Ratmansky to piano sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti.  I enjoyed the classical simplicity and restraint of the choreography and found it all very Russian; my companion thought the pianist was awful.  Then we had Junk Duet, loud and energetic and American, which we both approved of.  After a Pause there followed Balanchine’s Duo Concertant, where I didn’t like the music (dull); the choreography (so bloody fussy); or the dancers (she was just the wrong shape for a dancer).  Joanne added that the violinist and (different) pianist were no good either.

Occasion of many very silly jokes that we thoroughly enjoyed

Finally, after a lot of on-stage warm-up, we got Everything doesn’t happen at once by Benjamin Millepied to music by David Lang played by a band of six instrumentalists with a conductor.  And it was OK, things happened and kept us interested, though it was the same kind of thing as Fearful Symmetries at Covent Garden some years ago, just not nearly as good in any respect.

So, a good evening for the Royal Ballet at least by contrast!

We love you Royal Ballet, oh yes we do
We love you Royal Ballet, oh yes we do
Royal Ballet–we love you!

New Testament Greek, Madingley Hall 4-6 February

February 7, 2011


1 Peter with anxious annotations


I had set myself some simple performance targets this time:

i)  do not have a cold;

ii) do not lose return ticket.

In the event, I found that I had managed to leave most of the course papers behind.  I also managed to leave my glasses in the taxi.  And on the Sunday I woke up with a cold.

This time round, there were nine of us, and we managed our quota of 50 verses in a 90-minute session easily enough.  The texts covered were:

Luke  1-15

1 Peter 1-5

1 Maccabees 1

Psalms 22 and 137.

Of these, Peter was a bit tricky at the beginning, while people definitely appreciated 1 Maccabees.  Dr John Taylor, our tutor, gave a talk entitled ‘Between the testaments’ on the Saturday evening; he also seemed to have decided it was his job to keep the course members supplied with wine.

We had a sensible and non-garrulous female taxi driver for the drive to the station at the end, and I didn’t lose my return ticket.