Posts Tagged ‘doctor who’

On ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’ by the Royal Opera House.

January 3, 2015

Last night I saw ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’ in the Royal Opera House. I’ve been waiting for this opera for ages as it was my chance to see Dmitri Hvorostovsky, a Russian baritone who I absolutely adore. My whole family in Russia pretty much worship him and there is a real cult of his personality that I grew up with. Hvorostovsky’s fame is not only due to his amazing opera achievements but also his performances of Russian traditional songs and old war songs. Big live concerts on national television, concerts on the Red Square or any kind of family celebrations – he is there, singing and being admired by the whole nation. Needless to say I was very excited. Immediately he had a very strong presence on stage. There could be no mistake of who he is. Well, this time he was Renato, Riccardo’s advisor and a loyal friend. Well, that is until he murders him (oops, spoilers). In short, I was not disappointed in the slightest and left really happy for having seen a legend live.

As for the opera itself, it was very enjoyable. It follows the standard structure: love that is not to be, friendship that is not to last, hope for happiness, then betrayal and death. That has been a formula for centuries and it works. Here the director Kathrina Thoma has added some extras, such as moving statues. While that was awesome in ‘Blink’, Doctor Who, I didn’t entirely get it there. Other additions didn’t spoil the opera but did not enhance it either.

Overall, I will recommend seeing it. There are a few performances left in January. I bought my ticket for 12 pounds, which lacked a seat. This brings me to my conclusion: a strong cast and wonderful music by Verdi make this opera worth standing for.

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Happy Birthday Doctor Who!

November 23, 2013

We should be the ones giving presents and yet Doctor Who just doesn’t stop showering us in awesomeness. Is there a better way to thank the fans for their loyalty than showing the best episode ever? Don’t worry, though I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it yet.

I love Doctor Who. I love it. I love it because of its philosophy of peace, friendship, hope and goodness in all creatures (even Daleks in some episodes get emotions.) Those principles pretty much form that scary liberal agenda of mine. Doctor Who teaches us that you can get out of problems using your brain, not your muscles or weapons. Travelling through time and space he has never met anyone who was not special, he is easily excited despite having seen a lot of bad things in the universe, he gives us the desire to also be clever, adventurous and good.

With all of that, he is not a flawless hero, we can relate to him, who hasn’t felt the loneliest in the universe, and we can cry with him, who hasn’t had the broken heart? Just because it’s on television and has monsters in it, doesn’t mean that it’s not more profound than many operas. In fact, being able to express its underlying message of education and peace via such a popular medium is its genius. Media keep asking: why, why is Doctor Who so famous still? My answer is that despite originally being a show for children, Doctor Who doesn’t belittle its viewers, asks grand important questions and respects loyal fans.

Yesterday I was at the official 50th anniversary celebrations at the Excel, London, where I dressed up like the TARDIS (see picture) and hung out with fellow Whovians. Some of them came from as far as Australia and America; it was delightful to meet so many people all sharing one passion. Apart from awful, awful organisation of the event (argh, I am not even going to start so as not to spoil the mood), most of the content was fantastic. I was particularly happy to see Stephen Moffat as I am a huge fan of his writing and he is just as witty and funny live. The unexpected bonuses were that Bernard Cribbins sang us 2 of his songs and Matt Smith wore the same jumper I have.

The celebrations will continue all weekend. Happy 50th, Doctor Who, many happy returns!

Happy Birthday Doctor Who!