CHEREVICHKI

25 December 2009

Perfect Christmas Eve television for the family.  We all settled down by a roaring fire to enjoy Gogol and Tchaikovsky’s “Cherevichki” on BBC2 at 14:15. The overture was engaging, and my daughter laughed at the devil’s piggy nose.

We absolutely loved the sets (by Mikhail Mokrov), but at the end, we felt that “Cherevichki” had failed to return to the mainstream as “The Tsarina’s Slippers”. It was a brave but vain attempt by Francesca Zambello to breathe life back into what was apparently Tchaikovsky’s personal favourite.

Don’t get me wrong; we enjoyed it alright, but we were all built up for something extra special, a magical experience – dancing bears et al.  This did not compete with Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” for us.

I have to admit that I am not a great fan of the Romantics, and was not as familiar with this opera, so I was pleasantly surprised by some of the musicality and construction. Having said that, I seem to recall a favourite bit of Act II being longer and fuller. Maybe the Beeb chopped a bit to fit the schedules!  I just listened to a lot of it again, and the Royal Opera House are just a tad short of getting it superb. How annoying!

Anyway, it is so nice not to be working.  It is great not to hear anything but choice music. We all stuffed ourselves with traditional turkey and trimmings after which we watched “Annie” on TV.  I love musicals (but I am not a GAY)!  The Christmas holiday TV schedule should just be filled with musicals and opera through the days and maybe Jazz or rock in the evenings!

Everyone’s zonked out in bed, so I am now off to slip on the headphones for some late night listening to English National Opera’s new staged version of Handel’s Messiah, directed by Deborah Warner on the BBC iPlayer. It was broadcast last night on BBC Radio 3 at 19:00 so I missed it.  Mind you it is about two and a half hours long, so I might have to skip some recitatives before turning in myself – ah, a perfect Christmas!

Happy New Year 2010!

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