almaviva90: (The Merry Widow)
Just realised that it's only one month until I see/hear Sir Tom (and Flott) live at last! The 6th of August will be a bit hectic since [ profile] enserric will be moving houses that day but hopefully everything will go without a hitch *crosses fingers* and then we can proceed to sightseeing about Cambridge the following day.

And also I think that nearly all of my recent LJ entries are related to HP. I really must stop fangirling over HP now until I actually get to see the final film next week (which is also when I leave for London *le gasp*). Oh, tension and nervousness galore. 
almaviva90: (TA 1980s)

Finally managed to get a copy of the Song Prize final broadcast on BBC Four on 18th June and TA still looks fantastic for a man of his age...*sigh* Can't believe he's going to be 67 this September!

Hope he'll look (and sound) as good as he does here when I finally get to see him on 6th August!
almaviva90: (The Merry Widow)
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Probably the second stanza/verse of Ralph Vaughan William's 'Let Beauty Awake' includes my favourite lines ever in an art song. Plus it helps when it's the incomparable Sir Thomas Allen singing them as well =DD

Let Beauty awake in the eve from the slumber of day,
    Awake in the crimson eve!
    In the day's dusk end
    When the shades ascend,
Let her wake to the kiss of a tender friend
    To render again and receive!
almaviva90: (TA 1980s)

*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 1980s)
Hurrah...finally got the 2nd edition of TA's book, Foreign Parts: A Singer's Journal yesterday afternoon when it arrived by post. It's a rather worn secondhand paperback copy and the cover's a bit damaged but at least the inside is fine and since it's secondhand, I'm not expecting much. But I was surprised when I realised that the previous owner of the book actually had it signed by TA himself. It also has the guy's name on it written in TA's handwriting! My God, I would never ever sell a book when my name has been personally written by the author, esp. when the author in question is Thomas Allen! But alas, different minds think, of course, differently. There has been indeed more content added since the first version of the book which I got nearly two years ago and it's great to see what he says about his first Beckmesser and Don Alfonso at Covent Garden. I also found out that Guglielmo isn't one of this favourite Mozart baritone roles...which is something interesting to know. (I personally love Guglielmo because he's so immature [esp. when he boasts to Ferrando of successfully getting the affections of Dorabella and then his irritation at getting the same treatment with regard to Fiordiligi] and sometimes erratic XD).

Just waiting for my other book (which is a biography of Wellington) I ordered to arrive by should arrive this afternoon or tomorrow since I ordered it at the same time as this one.
almaviva90: (thoughtful TA)
It's weird how some things turn up in places you really never expect them to; just watched the first part of Andrew Roberts' documentary on Churchill (yes, I know it's late but I can't sleep) and instantly recognised the Embarkation piece from William Walton's score for Olivier's Henry V and then grinned like an idiot when I heard 'Dance ti thee Daddy' (which I first heard being sung by TA) being played in the background when Roberts' started talking about Churchill's rather bizarre interest in fish rations for the Royal Navy at the beginning of WWII.

Anyways back to watching...

EDIT: Watched the other 'side' of his documentary series on Hitler and there was this clip of the battle of Agincourt from Kenneth Branagh's Henry V. Talk about media cross-references....
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: (TA Mahler 91)
It's the 10th of September again (how time really does fly by) and of course, that means a very happy 66th birthday to Britain's Favourite Baritone who is coincidentally also performing as Don Alfonso this evening (UK time) at the Royal Opera House in the first performance of the opera season in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. All the best to the production, the opera and of course, Sir Thomas Allen...long may he sing and prosper!

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)
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)
I'm not sure if this is confirmed or not since I've seen nothing yet on the Cincinnati Opera website regarding this story. But it's early days yet (it is still Monday after all in the US, and the report was filed today) so things might change.

But if it is true, then goodness me...all the best of luck and good wishes to Sir Thomas on his eye surgery and hope that everything goes well. I'm feeling very much concerned about this...
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: (brian may 1981)
Been seeing a lot of macros these days and finally found out how people created them...started out with some random picture on the site and funnily enough it came up with Washington crossing the Delaware and so here are some history-related macros and some not so history-related ones. Sorry couldn't resist...XD

Utter randomness... )
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: (TA 1980s)
Just found out that HP6 is actually already out in HK...definitely going to buy it the next time I get to a HMV or HK Records...=) Snape goodness here I come, lol.

So relieved now that I only have two more essays to write...managed to finish one earlier today and goodness was I glad to be rid of it at last! [I was so desperate for info to back up my argument about British national identity that I ended up inserting a quote from sad of me, I know) I was actually planning to at least make a start on the one due on Thursday but nah, I'm not bothered, esp. after just finishing one today. Did some sketching instead (always good since I haven't sketched in ages...) and ended up drawing TA as the Count and Ferruccio Furlanetto as Figaro from the 1991 Salzburg production (my favourite one so far): I'm pretty happy with it...TA's annoyed expression actually came from a screenshot I got from the '82 La boheme but that's more than one needed to know, lol.
almaviva90: (TA evening dress)
Yes, I'm bored and posting a couple of icons which I made in my spare time over the past few weeks...

[01-03] AR as Severus Snape
[04-07] King George V (my favourite British king)
[08-09] The Duke of Wellington
[10-12] TA in various roles in the 70s

If anyone decides to use any of these, please credit and also please do not use any of these as icon bases.



almaviva90: (Default)

January 2012



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