Selling Waste Food – Make Mine a Harlequin

Jake Tilson's design for Pepe's Lefotovers Menu in Homage to Alicia Rios

  “One third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted before it is eaten, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization estimates,” said a BBC bulletin on 3 July. The 34th annual Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery took place 11-13 July 2014 at St Catherine’s College on the topic “Food & Markets.” Waste was on our minds. It might seem a far cry from the subjects … [Read more...]

Maria, Violetta and Opera Queens

Joyce DiDonato as Maria Stuarda about to lose her head (by Bill Cooper)

  One of my greatest regrets is that I failed to see Maria Callas at Covent Garden in 1962 and 1964. The truth is that, at the time, tickets seemed very expensive to me (I was only 21 in 1962, and only visiting Britain from the US, though I was at university in London in 1964); and it never occurred to me that it might be my last chance to see a live performance by the greatest singer … [Read more...]

Star-struck and lazy

Time and the exigencies of newspaper production meant that few reviewers were able to group together two theatre productions that opened recently in London, and are a natural fit. It’s a pity, but the British national papers are going the way of American local ones and cutting down the space or even eliminating reviews of every kind – except, it would appear, restaurant reviews. Longer, more … [Read more...]

Facing the Music

Clive Barda

Sometimes you see and hear a production of an opera that makes you rethink the story of the piece; less frequently, you hear the music differently. This last happened to me twice last week, on successive nights. The first was Garsington Opera at Wormsley’s ’s superb The Cunning Little Vixen, directed by Daniel Slater and designed gorgeously by Robert Innes Hopkins. What stuck me forcefully was … [Read more...]