Sunday, September 01, 2002

Fanfare For Elizabeth

Fanfare for Elizabeth--program and beautiful hand-painted silk scarf



April 21, 1986...An event to remember!
The pièce de résistance: After the performance I had a place outside the glass-walled Royal Party Room, from which I watched Queen Elizabeth cut her birthday cake. When Elizabeth was ready to depart (No one can leave until Her Majesty leaves.), we were cleared from the entire area; however, a Scotland Yard detective allowed me a spot at the foot of the Grand Staircase, from which I watched every single Royal descend. The Queen Mother at 86 years old majestically descended unassisted down the middle of this long, steep staircase to thunderous applause; Princess Anne was most gracious; the body language of Captain Townsend presaged trouble in their marriage; Fergie, whose engagement to Prince Andrew had been recently announced, was, well, Fergie, not elegant at all, (My own dress was more elegant.); make no mistake, Princess Diana was absolutely radiant, warm, charming and elegant in a deep blue gown that magnificently complemented her blue eyes, sapphire/diamond earrings, sapphire/diamond pendant, sapphire/diamond ring. Prince Charles was not impressive at all, rather solemn and sullen as was his father, Prince Phillip. Indeed, all the Royals paled in contrast to Diana.

All this plus a beautiful hand-painted commemorative silk scarf (I had it framed and it hangs in my foyer.) plus aisle seats in the orchestra (called stalls) two rows in front of the Royal Box so that I could look up and watch the Royals-all 18 of them.

I feel quite certain a security check was made in the interim before tickets were sent to me at the London hotel where I would be staying.

The Royal Opera House presents Fanfare for Elizabeth- in a Programme of Words, Music and Dance with The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen, in celebration of her 60th. birthday.

Jesse Norman opened the program with the National Anthem (arr: Elgar); Gelsey Kirkland danced Juliet and Anthony Dowell danced Romeo in the balcony scene of Prokofiev/MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet.

Paul Eddington participated in many excerpts: with Judi Dench in Elgar and the Young Princesses; Epithalamion (Spenser), A visit to the Opera House from The Black Prince (Iris Murdoch), Sir Thomas Beecham and the 'English Ring', again with Judi Dench in Libretti and Operese collected by Richard Huggett; A Sonnet (W.B. Yeats), South from Granada (Gerald Brenan), Puccini looks for a decoration (Mosco Carner).

Judi Dench recited Romeo and Juliet, Act III scene 2 (Shakespeare). Yvonne Kenny and Ann Murray sang from Der Rosenkavalier Act II Presentation of the Rose (Richard Strauss). Don Giovanni Act I 'Là ci darem la mano' (Mozart) was sung by Lucia Popp and Thomas Allen.

José Carreras sang Granada; Gwyneth Jones and Giuseppe Giacomini sang arias from Turandot; Jessye Norman sang several arias including Joplin's Marching Onward from Treemonisha. Plácido Domingo sang as Alfredo to Lucia Popp's Violetta in arias from La Traviata; Plácido also sang E lucevan le stelle from Tosca; the Royal Ballet danced Daphnis and Chloë (Ravel/Ashton); Judi Dench appeared in many, many extracts: most notable was An anniversary greeting from W. H. Auden to W. A. Mozart. There were selections by the London Community Gospel Choir, The Royal Opera Chorus, The Royal Opera Orchestra, including Introduction to Act III, Die Walküre by Wagner. The program ended with Many Happy Returns (W. H. Auden) sung by Geraint Evans and Happy Birthday sung by all participants including the audience with balloons and streamers descending from above.

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