Luisa Miller, Opera Holland Park

The heroine Luisa and “Carlo” fall in love but Carlo is really Rodolfo, the son of the powerful count Walter. In jealousy Wurma, the counts servant, revels the true identity of Carlo to Luisa’s father Miller.
When Walter finds out of son’s plans of marrying Luisa he feels he needs to intervene. Not only is Luisa just a farmers daughter, Walter also has plans for Rudolfo to marry the now wealthy duchess Frederica who has loved Rudolfo since he was a little boy.
The scene is set for a tragedy of love and jealousy. A tragedy that comes true.
(Spoiler below but in true Opera fashion, it’s good to be aware of the whole story so that you can appreciate the music and the singing)
Rudolfo overhears Luisa denouncing her love for him and is in despair. He doesn’t know that Luisa wasn’t telling the truth, she was only trying to save her father that had been put into prison. Rudolfo is desperate and decides to poison both Luisa and himself. Only after Luisa finds out they are both beyond saving is she able to once again proclaim her love for him.
The wardrobe was very bizarre; if not ugly. It was a modernised, 80s wardrobe. Think yellow cardigans and light blue skirts for the girls, big shoulder suits and skinny ties for the men. This in turn did not work with very well with the story. Terms like castle, villagers, count, stables and servants.
One of the highlights for me was the fact that the orchestra was on the same level as you. Playing at a mere arms length away. Normally they would be tucked away somewhere below the stage but at Opera Holland Park you can watch them every moment.

Walking capital

London sees yet another tube strike. The union rejected London Underground’s offer of a 3.5 percent pay rise and a reduction in the working week from 37.5 to 35 hours (what’s wrong with that?). Instead the scene was set for a traffic mayhem.
So this morning streets were full of walking, cycling, rollerblading people and grumpy people waiting for crowded buses. Londoners took out their rusty old bicycles or put on comfortable walking shoes.
All that is relatively good – bonus exercise – the bad side is all the extra cars in the streets. Traffic jams and pollution ahead, the traffic is at a standstill. Earlier last week Ken Livingstone had specified that the congestion charge would not be lifted in the event of a tube strike nor would parking restrictions be lifted, not exactly a helping hand is it.
I can only sympathise with the commuters that depend on the tube to get them to and from work each day. They are already paying very high monthly charge and are now left to their own devices. Some of these commuters are able to work from home but the rest are looking forward to a long and complicated journey with alternative public services or a 1-2 hour hike.