Only someone as extravagant and talented as Yale graduate, Cambridge PHD, City star turned historian again, Theodora Zemek, could have pulled off a birthday party as brilliant and fun as it was. On the stage was « Die Entführung aus dem Serail » by Mozart directed by David Mc Vicar, and sung by a cast of International singers from Lithuania, Germany, Michigan, Sweden and Great Britain. Pasha Selim was acted by the very sexy French Franck Saurel, who turned most ladies heads.
As a long time patron of the Glyndebourne opera festival, Theodora, an American fund manager who has lived in London for thirty years, decided to invite twenty music lovers and her 18 year old son, Alexander Parkinson, to this epitome of British summer chic with an erotic flair. There was no picnicking on the lawn for us, but cocktails and dinner meticulously organized in the Green room overlooking the lawns, by Helen Mc Carthy.
Five minutes before the representation started, we were asked to leave our champagne glasses behind and urged to the first row with ann intimate view of the orchestra, including the pretty lady cellist whose eyes never left Robin Ticciati, the bare-handed conductor. It was a fascinating experience to see every detail of the show, including the moving around of musicians in the orchestra pit, between acts.
The charming decors and easy to understand drama, made it a fabulously pleasing evening. Sally Matthews and Mari Eriksmoen (a very comic actress) were outstanding as were Tobias Kehrer, the bass Osmin and Brenden Gunnell, Pedrillo, especially in their duets. The director chose to overplay the couples’ sexiness and Franck Saurel conveyed a Mediterranean charm that did not sound austrian at all.
Walking on the lawns at intermission, along the immaculate mixed borders was an extra pleasure. German and French could be heard along with Italian and most guests, as eccentric as ever, had come on the London train and were happily drinking by 4 pm.
It is a miracle that this very British rendez vous has survived and if Garsington and The Grange are successful in their own way, there is something about Lord and Lady Christie’s Glyndebourne that remains unrivaled.
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