A Japanese living in London writes anything about everyday life in UK – cafe, restaurant, design, stores, politics, news, events, art/museums, films, food, fashion, travel etc. イギリス暮らしもかれこれ10年。カフェ、レストラン、デザイン、お店、政治、ニュース、イベント、アート／美術館、映画、食、ファッション、旅行等々、ロンドンでの日常生活や、英国に関する情報を思いつくままに綴ります。
The new facility has a sandy beach and rocks, and an underwater viewing area where visitors can watch the birds diving for fish during feeding time, as well as a nursery with a chick incubation unit and a pool where baby penguins can learn how to swim. The new pool is the largest created for penguins in England, which is four times bigger and three times deeper at 2m, than the old one. The Penguin Beach will eventually house 200 penguins. The exhibit also features a replica of the field station in Antarctica, where London Zoo’s penguinologist works.
You can take kids here, or you can come to see these adorable and funny creatures to cheer you up, when you are a bit low or stressed out – it’ll be much cheaper than seeing a therapist and possibly more effective.
モリコーネはイギリスでも名が知られているらしく、このコンサートも最上階の立ち見席（立ち見席でも£40もする）を除いて、チケットは売り切れ。私たちは数日前にチケットを買ったものだから、後ろのコーラス席しか席が取れなかったけれど、このコーラス席がなかなか掘り出し物。オーケストラ（The Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra）の裏側で、ステージに近く、演奏が間近に見える。指揮をしていたモリコーネの顔も見れたし、すぐ斜め前ではコーラスを務めたThe Crouch End Festival Chorusが歌っていて、迫力満点。この日は、セルジオ・レオーネの作品をはじめ、モリコーネの代表作を披露、アンコールも数曲ついて、拍手、口笛、地団駄と満員の観客も大喜びで、かなり盛り上がった。
It seems that Morricone is pretty much loved in UK as well, and the tickets were sold out as of the day before the concert, except standing seats on the top floor (and it cost £40!). We bought our tickets few days before the concert and there were only few Chorus seats left. However, these seats we got were not bad at all. It was on the back of the orchestra (The Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra) and we could see the performance quite well. Morricone was facing to us and the Crouch End Festival Chorus, the Choir of the night, was singing just in front of us. In the concert, Morricone performed his classic film soundtracks, including some of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns, as well as several encore scores such as tear-jerkingNew Cinema Paradise. The concert was quite successful and audiences were excited – clapping hands, whistling, and stamping at the end.
This was the second time that we went to Morricone’s concert. The last time was at the Royal Albert Hall as well, in November 2003, for his 75th birthday memorial concert. He is going to be 82 years old this year, and though he was in a quite good shape but I am afraid that we may not be able to see him here in London again. This was also the second time to come to the Royal Albert Hall, as the hall is a bit far from home and we didn’t check the schedule much. But the hall is magnificent and love to come back more often, though their seats are not comfortable and the legroom is small for modern men’s body size. Maybe try to come for annual summer concert series the Proms this year.
A long queue for a drink during an intermission. Though the hall was full, there was only one person working behind each counter. People were patiently waiting for their turn, as British are quite used to queuing. M always complains that it is like a bakery during Soviet Union era.
昨日も、その友人に譲ってもらったチケットで、サウスバンク・センター内のQueen Elizabeth Hall（クイーン・エリザベス・ホール）で行われた、BBC Radio 3の「Discovering Music」シリーズの「The Rise of Minimalism」収録に行ってきた。Discovering Musicシリーズは、毎回違ったテーマの音楽を解説する番組で、この日も約2時間半に渡り、指揮者のCharles Hazlewoodが、BBC Concert Orchestraの生演奏や録音した曲を交えながら、ミニマル・ミュージックの歴史やその代表的な作曲家と曲目を詳しく解説。Mがフィリップ・グラスやスティーヴ・ライヒのファンで、コンサートには何度か行っているのだけれど、この日までミニマル・ミュージックについては基本的な知識しかなかった。ミニマル・ミュージックの特徴である、微妙な変化を加えながら延々と続くリズムの反復に、時にふっと意識がなくなったりした瞬間もあったけれど、解説付きだと、そのジャンルや曲に対する関心も増すもので、とても興味深く聞いた。またこの収録に際して作られた、代表的な作曲家を詳しく解説した20ページに及ぶパンフレットも、ミニマリズムのスタイルでかっこよくデザインされている。
I had never thought and had no clue about participating a BBC TV or radio program as an audience. But my friend took me to one of the classical music concert recording for BBC radio a while ago, and I was kind of impressed that we could enjoy such a decent live music concert for free. Application of free tickets can be done via online, by phone, fax, text, or mail. Tickets for popular programs can be sold out quickly, so it is a good idea to join their mailing list that send you program and event information via e-mail, and apply the ticket of your choice right away. BBC issues tickets more than its capacity, so you have to come to a venue more than 1 hour earlier of the start and be on the queue to secure your seat on the day of the recording.
I went to another recording of BBC Radio 3’s “Discovering Music: The Rise of Minimalism” program yesterday at Queen Elizabeth Hall in Southbank Centre, since my friend couldn’t make it and gave me the ticket. “Discovering Music” series explores pieces of music in detail. During the 2.5-hour recording, conductor Charles Hazlewood explored the history of Minimalist music and main composers and their works, with performance by the BBC Concert Orchestra and recorded music in between. I went to Philip Glass and Steve Reich concerts sometimes, since M is a big fun of these two minimalist composers, but I had very basic knowledge about minimalist music before this recording. The repetition-based minimalist music with slow transformation sometime made me loose consciousness few times, but it was quite intriguing with detailed explanation of the music and live performance followed. Also the 20-pages program brochure made for the recording with detailed information about minimalist composers, is well designed with the minimalist style.
English National Opera（イングリッシュ・ナショナル・オペラ／ENO）で、ヘンデルのメサイア（Messiah）を観た。イエス・キリストの生涯を描いたオラトリオの名作・メサイアは、もともとオペラの楽曲ではないのだが、気鋭の演出家・Deborah Warner（デボラ・ワーナー）によって、現代社会を舞台に、ダンスを取り入れたユニークなオペラ作品に仕上がった。衣装も小物も現代風、時折舞台後方のスクリーンに宗教画が映されたり、キリスト教の儀式に使われる小道具が劇中に出てくる程度で、キリストの物語にも関わらず宗教色は強くない。ティーンエイジャーの妊娠はマリアの処女懐胎、天使が羊飼いにキリスト降誕を告げる場面は、お遊戯会で子供たちがその場面を演じる形に、キリストの磔刑シーンは、若者の喧嘩に変えるなど、原作と繋がりを持たせようとしているが、ちょっと無理があるかも。キリスト教の学校に行っていたので、ある程度の知識はあるのだが、舞台上で起こってることと音楽とどう繋がりがあるのか分からず、後でタイムズ紙のレビューを読んで、ああそういうことだったのかと得心した。
We saw Handel‘s Messiah at the English National Opera (ENO). Messiah was not written for opera, but the director Deborah Warner transforms this oratorio masterpiece into an unique opera work, setting in modern urban life and taking in dance elements. The opera seems to reduce religion to a minimum – costumes and stage sets are modern, except the religious arts occasionally projected on screens and some ceremonial objects used in some scenes. The director tries to make a connection between the original story and this opera, but the attempt unfortunately doesn’t not really work well and quite cheesy: the Virgin Birth becomes teenage pregnancy, the meeting of shepherds and angels is turned into a school nativity play, and Christ’s scourging and Crucifixion translate into a fight among youths. I went to a Protestant school and know a bit about the life of Jesus Christ, but I barely understood the relationship between the music and what was going on on the stage. I figured out the meaning of some scenes after I came back home and read the review by the Times.
The biggest problem for me was the kids in the opera – I know it is not their fault but it was just annoying. A 6 year-old boy was almost always on the stage, walking around, running or sitting down, and it was very distracting. The scene of school play was really irritating as well, except a song by a boy with beautiful clear voice: the kids jumped up and down and the parents took a pictures or filmed with camcorders. It is reported that the opera uses 44 extras other than singers, including dancers. Some people just stand up or lie down – is it really necessary to put useless people on the stage??
However I I like Handel and Baroque music and enjoyed the music a lot: the Handel specialist conductor Laurence Cummings led the orchestra beautifully and voices of the two female soprano and alto singers were truly graceful. The modern and simple stage sets designed by Tom Pye were interesting, such as video footage of modern society (people going up and down on an elevator, or silhouettes of moving cranes) and transparent coffins placed all over the stage at the final part. We got a ticket, original price of £71 for only £10 with Evening Standardpromotion – so it was really worth going. But I would be upset if I paid £71 for the opera…
Confluence(Nov 26 to 28), which was the festival’s climaxes and its world premiere, is a joint creation by Bangladeshi-British dancer/choreographer Akram Khan and Indian British composer Nitin Sawhney, who also previously collaborated inZero Degrees and Bahok. In Confluence, Khan and Sawhney explore their cultural and psychological mix of influences.
I went to see Zero Degrees at the Sadler’s Wells because British Artist Antony Gormley was also involved in the creation, and it was my first experience with Khan’s mesmerizing dance. Khan, also a dancer of Northern Indian classical dance Kathak, showed us his elastic but powerful dance, streaming hand movements, stable high-speed turns, and beautiful steps of Kathak and the sound of the bells worn around his ankles, and these perfectly matched with Sawhney’s beautiful music on its simple stage. The scenes that silhouettes of musicians who were playing behind the screen came to dimly appear through the thin screen was pretty mysterious. It was a stunning performance which mixed classical Indian dance / contemporary dance and traditional music / modern music, and excited the audiences. I wish the performance was a bit longer (it was only 1 hour and 15 min)!
そしてお待ちかねの、宮島氏がステージデザインを担当したLimen（ライメン）。Limenは心理学用語で「閾（いき）」、「ある刺激の出現・消失、または二つの同種刺激間の違いが感じられるか感じられないかの境目。また、その境目の刺激の強さ」を意味する。フィンランド人作曲家Kaija Saariaho（カイヤ・サーリアホ）氏が作曲、振り付けは、映画「Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire（ハリー・ポッターと炎のゴブレット）」も担当したロイヤル・バレエ団の振付師Wayne McGregor（ウェイン・マクレガー）が手がけた。幕開けは、LEDデジタルカウンターを投影した半透明のスクリーンの後ろでダンサーたちが踊るシーン。刻々と変わる数字が動きを変えながらスクリーンに浮き上がる中、ダンサーたちの姿がぼんやりと浮かぶ様は、とても幻想的。そしてスクリーンが上がり、明るくなった舞台の上で、カラフルな衣装に身を包んだダンサーたちが舞い踊る。再び明かりが落とされると、次に違った色の光の帯が暗い舞台に投影される。踊りよりも、ダンサー達の影が光の帯の上に落ちる様に、つい目がいってしまう。最後は、暗闇の中、バックの壁に、青いLEDライトが、違う間隔でついたり消えたりする。だんだん点灯するLEDライトが増えていき、壁が徐々に舞台前に迫って来たところで、フィナーレを迎える。
I went to see a ballet at l Opera House for the first time in my life. I like dance, and have been to modern dance, Flamenco, Belly Dance, Indian dance etc, but I’ve never been really keen to see a ballet – one reason was that I prefer more energetic and exciting movement than elegant ballet, and another reason was that I just can’t stand the tights of male ballet dancers, even on their beautiful toned bodies. The reason why I went to see the ballet is because Japanese visual artist Tatsuo Miyajima designed the stage of one of the program.
What I saw is the Royal Ballet triple bill “Agon / Sphinx / Limen” – all short contemporary ballet programs less than 30 minutes each. I am completely novice in ballet, so I won’t make any comment on the ballet dance itself, but a little explanation of the programs.
Then Limen, which was designed by Miyajima and what I was looking for. Limen, a word that relates to ideas of limits and thresholds, is the work by Wayne McGregor , the Company’s Resident Choreographer who also choreographed the film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, with music by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. The first scene is the dancers moving behind a half-transparent screen on which tumbling and spinning digital numbers are projected – it was very mysterious and dreamlike. Then the screen rises dancers in electric color costumes come on the stage with slowing changing colors. In the third scene, the light is turned down, and five different color stripes appear on the dark stage. My eyes were caught more by the shadows of the dancers casted on the stripes, rather than dancers themselves. Final act is performed in front of a giant wall of blue LED lights flashing on and off at different intervals, and the wall slowly approaches to the front of the stage as the number of LED increases little by little – and over.
To be honest I don’t have a strong impression about the ballet performance the night, though I admit that the dance was graceful and elegant. Maybe because I bought cheap seats on the upper balcony with restricted views – as my intention was to see the stage design of Limen by Miyajima. I also failed to change my negative view against male tight costumes! It is said that this is the first experience for Miyajima to design a theater stage, but his minimalist approach with superb use of different colors and light and darkness was pretty effective and it was like a beautiful art installation. I am glad that I went!