almaviva90: (TA 1980s)
THOMAS ALLEN'S GOING TO COME TO HONG KONG ON AN OPERA TOUR WITH THE BAVARIAN STATE OPERA IN FEBRUARY 2012!

*coughs* Excuse me...I usually don't write in capitals but yeah, HE'S GOING TO COME TO HONG KONG AND SING DON ALFONSO IN COSI FAN TUTTE! After all, I was so annoyed with myself that I didn't know about him when he last came here to do his little recital/concert in March 2006.

I am sooooooo definitely buying tickets for this opera when it comes...he's only going to do two performances on the 23rd (Thursday) and 25th (Saturday) February but I'm ready to fight if I have to to get a pair of tickets! *prays that he really does come and that the tour doesn't get cancelled or something...*
almaviva90: (TA Guglielmo 1981)
I'm feeling rather down at the moment for a couple of reasons, one of them being related to Stephen Fry. He's apparently left Twitter (again) over some horrendous misunderstanding over an interview and alas, we haven't heard from him since October 31st after saying 'bye bye' on his Twitter, replacing his profile pic with one of what looks like his living room floor, changing his profile name from 'Stephen Fry' to 'S Fry' and saying all in his bio section that it's 'no longer in service.' Not only that but he was recently asked by Warner Brothers to take down a couple of pictures he took of the Harry Potter set while he was filming his role as Mycroft Holmes in the sequel to last year's film, Sherlock Holmes from his Twitter account. That wasn't the most wisest of moves on Mr Fry's part (the uploading of the photos, I mean) but yeah, it's been a pretty bad past week for the fellow.

As one blogger put it: 'Has Stephen Fry gone to the Twitter equivalent of Belgium?'...I seriously hope not. I can obviously see why his comments in the interview has caused such a furore but I think the most important thing now is to check whether the poor man is all right seeing that he does, despite his status as being a national treasure, have bipolar disorder. And no, I'm not saying that just because he's bipolar means that he has a right to say what he did (which might not be the most politically correct of statements) but I do hope the numerous people bashing him give him a little bit of a break. And I'm wondering why his friends like Emma Thompson or Hugh Laurie haven't said anything yet...are they in the dark as much as we are as to how he's doing? *crosses fingers that he's all right*

But I am rather glad to know that TA's Figaro at Scottish Opera which he's directing has so far been receiving great reviews! That cheers me up quite a bit, I must admit. Plus the production looks so gorgeously traditional (have I mentioned that I love traditional opera productions most of all? XD) that I really want to just go over to Scotland just to watch it to be honest!
almaviva90: (the merry widow)
Woot, my opera DVDs have arrived from the US. Finally. After like a month and a week after I ordered them. (And I seriously don't get why shipping from the US takes 2-3 weeks while stuff from the UK can take only a week or so to get here...odd)

But thankfully the copy of Le nozze di Figaro they sent me is different from the one that I have. Although the picture quality isn't as sharp or clear, I admit, as the one posted on Youtube (which is seriously of excellent quality), it's definitely an improvement of my previous version where one couldn't see the bottom half of the screen and therefore couldn't see the floor of the stage which was really disorientating. I'm more than happy with the Onegin as well since I will be finally able to watch the whole production rather than just snippets of it although there is slightly irritating high pitched noise in the background as the video is being played. But I think that's all due to the fact that it's been ripped from old videos which basically must be nearly 20 to 30 years old. As long as the video and sound are in sync and the picture is clear enough to see the singers' faces (and most importantly, TA XDDD), I'm definitely satisfied.

And while I'm on the subject of opera,  I think I won't be able to see Cosi fan tutte this year...*sad sigh*

Guess I'll have to watch these as consolation until I can find the time/money to see a Mozart opera with TA in it. *crosses fingers that he won't be retiring any time soon and that he'll play Don Alfonso at the ROH in the near future again*
almaviva90: (don alfonso)
Gah, this trailer is making me so wish that I can make it to see this in London this coming month!


But since this trailer is being released by OpusArte, does that mean that they'll be recording a DVD and releasing it sometime in the future just like what they did with the 2008 production of Hansel und Gretel? I certainly hope so, especially if I can't go this time =/

*desperately wishes to see a Mozart opera with TA in it*
almaviva90: (the merry widow)
Finally ordered the 1991 Salzburg Figaro and the 1983 Ottawa Onegin just now off that brilliant little opera site I found a while ago. They should (hopefully) arrive within the next two or three weeks! At the moment, I don't really have any great expectations about the quality of the video (seeing that they were most probably ripped from original VHS recordings onto DVDs) but hopefully, they'll be all right (and that the Figaro one is much more clearer and sharper than the sadly distorted copy that I have).

Gah, I'm tired...working on a Saturday is definitely no stroll in the park at times...
almaviva90: (TA Guglielmo 1981)
Just when I thought my opera obsession was taking a leisurely little break, I have the fortune to find a website which sells really rare opera recordings on both CD and DVD...including the 1991 Salzburg production of Le nozze di Figaro (my favourite version/cast/production ever) and the 1983 Ottawa production of Eugene Onegin (which seriously is so very rare that no one's ever uploaded much from it even on Youtube)!!! *squees yet again for the second time in as many days*

And my jaw literally dropped open when I saw how many TA recordings they have. But since the site isn't so well known (and looks like it belongs to a rather small business firm) and it doesn't look like it's been updated in a while, I sent an email just in case to see if they still receive and ship out orders before I decide to order something from them. *hopes very much that they still are in business*
almaviva90: (Default)
The Welsh National Opera book arrived this afternoon =D

Probably the other book will arrive tomorrow or perhaps early next week, who knows. But thank goodness it was quick this time (another repeat of what happened with my Wellington book and I would have killed somebody @_@)
almaviva90: (Captain Hastings)
Bought two books online today despite my awful experience of having to wait for my last book to come by bloody effing ship (which I think is ridiculous). Thankfully they weren't so expensive this time and I made quite sure that the books would be delivered to me within 14 working days. I must say though that most British booksellers are amazingly fast in shipping them off soon after the order is sent to them...I believe they sent them off only 4-5 hours after I requested them O.O

As to what these two books are about; well, one's about Welsh National Opera (the first opera company that TA sang with) and I believe it's really the ONLY book written about the company and the other is about the TV series (and my new obsession) Agatha Christie's Poirot.

I read somewhere recently that there's a new film coming out later this year about King George VI (who is the current Queen's father) and guess who's playing him...Colin Firth. Hurrah...it's nice to see Firth doing roles we don't usually associate him with; first the gay English professor in A Single Man and now the stammering and nervous George VI. I think I'll also give this film a go when it comes out in the cinemas later...and talking about cinemas, I simply can't wait until HP7 Part 1 comes out!

almaviva90: (Default)
This fellow is extremely lucky, I must say (you'll know why when you read the 10th paragraph).

I mean, what on earth are the chances that you go to your first Billy Budd at Glyndebourne and the person sitting next to you is none other than a celebrated opera singer who is known to have been one of the best Billy Budds in his day? I refer, of course, to Sir Thomas Allen(!). Not only that but the writer also got to have a glimpse of Stephen Fry as well at the opera house!

Anyways, returning to TA....and I find it lovely that both he and his wife didn't boast about who he was and just gave hints as to who exactly he might be. How modest of them. =) And to have the good fortune to sit next to them for the duration of the whole opera (which in this case runs about 2 and a half hours)! I'm rather envious...though if I were in this writer's shoes, I'd also be a little nervous finding myself sitting right next to them.

I'm also quite glad to see that TA's still up and about despite his upcoming eye surgery which means that his condition isn't too serious which is always good news!
almaviva90: (Default)
First of all, it's 2nd April so happy birthday to the great Sir Alec Guinness who would have been 96 this year if he were still alive. It's hard to believe that he passed away nearly ten years ago now. Scary how time flies.

Anyways...finally was able to watch a film at the cinema today after weeks of desperately wanting to but being unable to find the time. I personally wanted to watch The Young Victoria since I have wanted to see it since I first realised there was a film about Victoria and Albert but then my mother was so adamant in seeing Colin Firth in A Single Man so guess who won? My mum, of course. Colin Firth galore for the one and a half hour duration of the film...XDD I can see why he was nominated for the Oscar this time and it was damn well earned, I say. A totally non-Darcy role this time but even though Pride and Prejudice was made 15 years ago, Firth has definitely maintained his good looks even now.

Oh, and what a surprise I got when I found the 1988 ENO Billy Budd with TA in the shops today. (I, of course, bought it straightaway since it was a reasonable $138). Totally wasn't expecting that since I thought it was now out-of-print. Other two great surprises today was that I found two books I've been looking for quite a while (a volume of Agatha Christie novels which have four of the novels that Captain Hastings was in while the second was Christopher Plummer's memoirs). Alas, both of them were nearly or were actually $300 so obviously, I couldn't afford them this time. I might try my luck in getting Plummer's book later on while I'll just wait and go to the UK to buy the Christie novels XDDD Yes, the books in the UK are DEFINITELY cheaper than in Hong Kong, darn it. *imagines that she will go on a mass book/CD/DVD spending spree when she finally gets to the UK*

Ah and yeah, finally decided to order the book about Wellington's doctors online today. Hopefully it'll arrive in a week or so. *crosses fingers*

almaviva90: (Default)
I think I've added a new obsession to my list: Reading and watching A LOT of Agatha Christie's Poirot.

Gah, what the heck is wrong with me?

Plus I also think my Phantom interest is returning to me as well...and it's all because of that damn sequel...-___-

Ah well, I might get back to writing my POTO fanfiction then which I've left for quite a long while.

On another note I've realised that we do actually have Easter holidays at HKU next month though only for about a week.

Damn, if only they were longer and that would give me ample time to go over to London and see Il turco in Italia with TA as well as meet my fellow TA fans/friends. Grrr...*swears that this is the umpteenth time that she's hated HKU for meddling with her schedule*

If I don't see Cosi in September, I'll be so annoyed -___-
almaviva90: (the merry widow)
HURRAH! My Merry Widow libretto has finally arrived! And it's the right one! Woot!

And I was grinning like an insane person to see the cast list from the premiere of this particular libretto...because it's exactly the cast from the '97 ROH production which of course includes TA and Flott. Oh, and plus it's got both the lyrics to the songs AND the brilliant dialogue =D

*grins madly*
almaviva90: (danilo)


Came across these pictures on Wikipedia and goodness, isn't the Royal Opera House an absolutely gorgeous building? (I personally like it better than the Met)

One day I'll definitely see it for myself...
almaviva90: (the merry widow)
Hurrah...just received confirmation that my Merry Widow libretto has just been shipped. So hopefully it'll be here in a week or so =)
almaviva90: (posa)
It's funny but when I was writing the date down during yesterday's lecture, I noticed it was already the 1st of February. ALREADY. Goodness me, how time flies. It seems only yesterday that it was the start of 2010. Reminds one rather scarily of how life is continually slipping us by, second by second, minute by minute. I better stop here; I'm creeping myself out.

I have no idea why but I got out Roald Dahl's Matilda from my bookshelf the other day and reread the book after what seems like over 7 years. Surprisingly I really enjoyed it despite knowing it was really intended for older children. I knew beforehand that he had a rather wicked sense of humour in his Tales of the Unexpected but I hadn't realised it was also so prominent in his children's books. I doubt a child of ten for example would understand the evil wit in this: 'Your daughter Fiona has the glacial beauty of an iceberg. However, unlike the iceberg she has absolutely nothing beneath the surface.' So you can imagine the laughter which ensued within that very enjoyable three quarters of an hour in rereading the book. Dahl was a fantastic writer; no doubt about it.

I've been buying a lot of books lately. I think I've realised that I really have to get back to reading again after basically a year of messing about since the start of my time at HKU. I've noticed too that Page One is getting more British history books (finally!) and therefore I'm very happy about this turn of events. The other day I bought a book about the famous 95th Rifles of Wellington's army (it's the same regiment that one of my favourite fictional characters is in, Richard Sharpe) and am so far enjoying it as well. I think I also need to reread some Austen since I need to remember how she wrote in trying to get more chapters of my Sense and Sensibility fic up. Oh, fanfictions...how you are the joy and bane of my life at times. *sigh* Sometimes I hate the fact that one has to really be in the mood to write something worth reading by other people. The bane of all writers, I think.

I still can't believe it but I've actually set up another blog (a Wordpress one) specifically revolving about opera...I am awed at times at how my interest in opera has spiraled during the past year and a half or so. Two years ago, I would have scorned the notion of liking the artform. Now I can't get enough of it. The joke's on me as usual XD

Better toddle off to bed...quite tired after a rather long day. =)
almaviva90: (TA Mahler 91)
LOL...I'm so sad if I get excited when I instantly recognise the hilarious March-Septet from Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow the moment I walk into the classical music section of a record store. XDDD

Well, at least that was the highlight of my day today...it's not everyday you hear Lehar's music playing in HK!
almaviva90: (Default)
Hurrah! A free day for me today...but not exactly a day of relaxation from academia since a) the toes on my left foot have decided to swell up thus making it almost impossible to walk comfortably or put on shoes (I tried and accordingly suffered by doing so yesterday since it just made them more swollen) and b) the joint in my right wrist seems to have been sprained or something since I can feel a twinge of pain from time to time even as I type. Why, oh why, has my body decided to give me a heck of a lot of problems since the end of 2009? *sigh*

Some annoying person has kind of stolen one of my fave userpics (my past default one which has a bearded TA gazing intensely at the camera) and used it in their blog without crediting me. Though I'm glad that they appreciate him as much as I do, it kind of pissed me off since I did make them myself and sort of for my own use. I'm probably feeling irrationally over-protective (they aren't my pictures, after all) but still...GRRRR...hence the change of default user pic to the one I'm using now which I made a year ago when my opera obsession had only just started. When I made it, there didn't seem anything special about it but now that I look back, the La Scala Don Giovanni icons are actually quite pretty =) I guess that since I'm talking about this point now, I might as well announce: PLEASE DO NOT TAKE MY ICONS!!! And if you really want them, at least INFORM or CREDIT me before you decide to use them! That also goes for my mood theme.

I really want to go to see Cosi fan tutte at Covent Garden in September but again, HKU is messing up my plans since the term starts at the beginning of September. I have no idea at the moment how to work that out. TA's also doing Cosi in Munich in July, a time when I'll definitely be free and on vacation but seriously, will I be able to manage in Germany when my German is almost non-existent? Plus I have no idea what this production looks like, I know the ROH production much better. But I'll think about that...I might try going to Germany instead if I can't make it to London in September. O_O

HKU has also decided to mess up an opportunity to meet my fellow Allen affectionados in April in London since the deadlines and lectures simply clash with the performance dates...and this is the second time it has foiled a meeting with them. *grumbles* If I was going to Durham instead of HKU, the term wouldn't start until October...thus making going to see Cosi much more easier. *sigh* Out of all the goals I've set for myself, I'm definitely saying to myself that I MUST see TA as Don Alfonso since he is known foremost as a Mozartian and that sadly, I'll never be able to see him in his other celebrated Mozart roles, i.e. Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva, Papageno and Guglielmo for obvious reasons. Probably if I were given a choice to have him play a character that he used to play in the past now, I'd choose the Count. Of course it's a hard choice between the Don and the Count but I must say the latter is more of a favourite for me. To see that live would be fantastic.

The history course I was writing about yesterday did not disappoint. It's definitely the most interesting of courses of this semester and I'm looking forward to the forthcoming lectures...I might actually choose the topic for a dissertation and investigate the sanitary and medical conditions of 19th/early 20th Century Hong Kong and relate them to the Volunteer Corps stationed here or something. Or even see how the British/Canadian POWs managed to keep disease at bay during their internment during WWII. I'm also beginning to think that I might choose the professor as my supervisor as well since he's probably the expert here for such things.

On the other hand, the compulsory science and technology course which came right after the history lecture was simply the most boring lecture in the history of lecture-giving ever. It was all about ENERGY and to have all those various examples of energy (kinetic, electric, potential, renewable etc, etc) just explained to us one after another for TWO hours straight was almost unbearable. Some actually left after the first hour and I was sorely tempted to do the same but being the polite person I am, stayed on...hoping perhaps that the second half was better. It wasn't (even GCSE science was far more interesting) and I'm really wondering how on earth will I be able to sit through the remaining lectures until the end of term. -___-
almaviva90: (thoughtful TA)
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The high point of 2009 for me was most definitely getting a lovely and totally unexpected handwritten card from a certain operatic baritone whose name I will not mention since I'm too shy to say so publicly...I'm still in disbelief whether as to he really wrote back to me. *thanks profusely him once again for being so generous to an almost anonymous fan* And yes, I would so totally rewind and go back to the moment I realised what I was holding and reading in my hands...the feeling was incredible!

One fond memory of 2009 is hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] x_reggg and [livejournal.com profile] enserric at Elements over the summer...that was probably the most fun get-together of the year for me seeing that I was and still am totally lacking in social life at HKU. This could be rivaled though by the little escapade we had at the airport to see off [livejournal.com profile] cerulean88 to the States on January 1st of all days! Oh, and watching the sixth HP film was simply awesome...SNAPE!!! *clears throat loudly after her sudden fangirling* Mr Wray coming to my prize giving ceremony in November was also nice and memorable. It was wonderful  to see him again. Plus 2009 has been pretty great regarding my personal interest and progress in understanding and enjoying a rather new (give and take, lol)  interest: opera. I've made two lovely friends as a result of this and the ensuing emails and discussions really helped in keeping my mind sane over the year!

Low points? Eh, don't want to dwell on them too much...but being still stuck at HKU and being unable to go to Durham was REALLY a total point for me this year. Ah well...I'll try to at least visit the UK next year *crosses fingers*...hello 2010!
almaviva90: (don alfonso)
"Opera is the most expensive noise known to man." - Moliere

Sorry, I just read that on the back of this audiobook of the history of opera and just found this quote hilarious...it obviously seems that Moliere wasn't a big fan of opera XDDD
almaviva90: (don alfonso)
OMG...I must seriously have opera on the brain in order to instantly recognise a melody being played by a very quiet violin trio on Cantonese television as being none other than the lovely trio 'Soave sia il vento' from Mozart's Cosi fan tutte.

*face palm*

Now though I'm really wondering if the people who decided to use it in the program actually knew it's from an opera and not a random instrumental piece. XDDDDD

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