Hooray! Amazon delivered my score of Figaro today. It is, of course, the Schirmer edition, a blobby nth reprint of a postwar original lovingly put together by chaps in ties and hats, and ladies in smart skirts and nylons. It has those delightfully arch and quaint translations by Ruth and Thomas Martin ('Se vuol ballare' becomes 'Should my dear master want some diversion', for instance) that I remember from when we did Zauberflöte, OMG, three years ago.
It fell open at page 88, and the first words I saw were 'Basilio (maliciously)', which is probably a good omen, seeing as I will be Basilio on one of our nights in distant June next year, when because of the recession we will all be living in caves in hunter-gatherer communities.
Basilio is generally described as 'slimy', a bit like having Peter Mandelson for your music teacher, but he strikes me as just a bit cynical and a bit of a stirrer, so I can at least supply the first half the qualities required for the role.
After Grimes, it's rather nice to have music you actually can read through in bed and hear in your head, instead of having to pick out your line on a Yamaha keyboard while listening to your budget CD of the opera. It reminds you again of just how considerately Mozart writes: he'll stretch the proper singers, but for the comic side roles such as Basilio he writes comfortable, singable stuff, expressive and in character, yet well within the compass of someone whose full time existence is spent unknotting HTML style sheets in websites rather than practising scales.
Anyway, last night I was at the first night of ENO's Boris Godunov, and bumped into Nan and Andy, who were there with some friends (including Stewart, who does the lighting for Opera Gold). It was pretty good, and really gave you a feeling for the suffering of the Russian peasants, chiefly because they ran all two and a quarter hours of it without a break. That's right, no interval. Well, it saves on those costly interval drinks, I suppose. Whose bonkers idea was this? No doubt someone decided self-importantly that an interval would compromise the dramatic whole, or some such artsy tosh. Let's hope whoever it was gets stuck on the Trans-Siberian for six days without a working toilet.
I couldn't make rehearsals last Thursday as I was up north for work, on a damp and grey trading estate in Wetherby, which is about as pleasant as sitting in the Coliseum with a full bladder and realising there's still over an hour to go. But I've no excuse for missing this Thursday, so punctures permitting I'll see you there.