Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Rosenkavalier memories

Tonight I was at Der Rosenkavalier at the Royal Opera House. What memories it brought back ! Many years ago I had a very dear friend called Elizabeth, who loved this opera passionately, in fact it was she who helped me appreciate its sterling qualities. She developed cancer and one day her husband wrote me to say she was gravely ill in hospital. She had a favourite young conductor, so I wrote to him out of the blue. "You don't know me from Adam but you do know E."

A few days later I had a delighted message from E, saying how she'd felt gloomy when suddenly there was a delivery, a huge bouquet of roses from the conductor who'd tracked down her hospital number. He knew her love of Rosenkavalier, so he ordered silver-pink roses, with silver trim. It made her day. She eventually did pass away, but she's never been forgotten. One day the conductor came to London and I managed to see him. "Do you remember?" I asked him and he beamed. He and I never met before or since, but we share good memories.photo credit Jess Keast

Swords? Cross-dressing? Marriage? On a completely different note here is a clip from a Cantonese movie. Two girls are fighting because they both want to marry a young scholar. Actually, he's a woman dressed as a man. "He" is Yam kimfai, one of the greatest of all Cantonese opera stars, whose speciality was singing male roles. Usually it was classical things and opera, but she also played cross-dressing roles in drama and comedy - including one movie where she's (a male) tutor to a rebellious kid and teaches him to like studying. The kid? Twelve-year-old Bruce Lee.


Counterleben said...

Beautiful story, Anne, and may I just say that the breadth and depth of your shared knowledge on this blog is extraordinary. :-)

Doundou Tchil said...

Hi Daniel, good to hear from you ! When I was young there was almost no way i could learn things. Frustrating ! so now I'm not so young I want to download what I've learned and pass it on. Many warm wishes to you !