I feel so fortunate to have some friends nearby who love opera and are kind enough to invite me when they go to the Opera de Bauge. I have written about this before. It is a two week opera festival started eight years ago by an English couple who had bought a small property in Bauge. They love opera and decided to start a festival along the lines of Garsington or one of the English Summer music festivals. It really is lovely; the opera starts at 6pm so you set up your table and chairs in the garden ready for your picnic in the interval. Then it's back to the second half and it all ends at about 10pm.
In the past they have used the most lovely tent which once inside transports you to an Elizabethan theatre. Upholstered seats, loggia boxes, the lot. I know there were disadvantages for the musicians but really, it was wonderful and, to be honest, was what gave the festival its name and reputation - everyone talked about the magical theatre and the atmosphere it created. Sadly, all good things come to an end and it would appear the problems with this lovely theatre were too great and it had to be changed. This year the theatre was far more ordinar but, no doubt, a lot more practical for musicians and organisers. I do hope they change the dreadfully uncomfortable seating though - plastic bucket seats with backs that are so low you barely notice them are just not good enough when people are paying up to 60 euros for a ticket.
Despite that Rigoletto was lovely. I know that people who are used to the delights of Paris and Covent Garden can be quite la-di-da about L'Opera de Bauge. Certainly the acting side of the production left plenty to be desired - a courtier who spent much of his time looking as though he had some dreadful dietary complaint, and Gilda who managed to look merely slightly miffed having been kidnapped and raped, hmmm. But these are mostly young singers and I'm sure their acting skills will improve as their careers develop. Rigoletto and the Duc more than made up for any shortcomings and the Count of Monterone was positively evil as he curses the Duc and Rigoletto! The final scene when Rigoletto finds his daughter dying in the sack was superb and nearly required the tissues. The conductor, Philip Hesketh and the orchestra leader Edmund Reid held both orchestra and singers together and produced a truly delightful evening.
Finally, I should add that the loos have been changed - YES! They were once again spotlessly clean during the interval (the busiest time) and, best of all, they were big enough for both the woman AND her handbag!
There are no photos on the Opera de Bauge website of Rigoletto so instead I'm including a short YouTube clip of Placido Domingo (please let me know if it doesn't load and I'll get rid of it):
Back in May I spent a weekend with fellow knitters from Tricot Nordic on the coast. There I met Evelyne who was kind enough to send me a pattern for a shawl she had made. It's The Garden Shawl by Dorothy Siemens. Beautifully written and easy to follow; just the actual execution which is difficult!
I have been invited to the opera at Bauge tomorrow night and I was determined to finish this shawl in time. I must stop working to deadlines (it was the same with Hidcote and the wedding) as it does my head in and drives my poor husband mad to see me constantly knitting. Especially as knitting lace is not very sociable - all that counting!
Now, I have to say that I am unlikely to knit another square shawl - or any other shawl that requires DPN's to start off with. Fine yarn, two stitches per DPN - not a recipe I enjoyed. However, I was soon onto the circular and knitting became enjoyable again.
The wool I used here is Grignasco Merinosilk and as I don't have any 3.50mm needles I made it on 3.25mm. The result is therefore slightly smaller than the pattern suggests it should be but I think it's quite big enough as it is!
This last photo is not good. I really do need a mannequin that shows off clothes a little better!
These are photos of some of the work done at The English Armchair Abroad, showing the piece when it was delivered to me in all its glory and then after I've done the work.
I think you will agree that even the most hopeless looking chair has surprising possibilities!
The photos on this page are distorted; PLEASE CLICK ON THE THUMBNAIL TO ENTER THE GALLERY!