Arabella, Royal Opera, Covent Garden

The story is of the young girl Arabella who is choosing a future husband. She is not taking the matter seriously and is instead enjoying the game of flirting with several young men at the same time, without committing to any of them.
Her family is in current financial problems so the father (Count Waldner) is interested in finding a wealthy husband that could save the family. He sends a photograph of Arabella to the old and rich officer friend Mandryka. The photo reaches Mandryka’s nephew, also called Mandryka, who is so taken by Arabella’s beauty he decides to courtship her himself. He is in luck because Arabella immediately favours him.
Another deciding factor is Arabella’s sister Zdenka who is brought up as a boy (Zdenko) to save the expense of bringing up a second girl. She secretly falls in love with the young officer Matteo, another of Arabella’s suitors. Matteo does not believe he has much chance to win Arabella so he asks Zdenko for help or else threatens to shoot himself. Zdenka promises to do all in her power to help him out and is handing him letters written by her, but claiming to be written by Arabella.
The plot really thickens when Zdenka, in a desperate move, hands Matteo the key to Arabella’s bedroom claiming that Arabella wants Matteo to visit her. Mandryka overhears this and is understandably disgusted. When the unknowing Arabella returns from a ball, she is confronted and what follows is very touching.
Arabella is the first opera in German that I have seen. During an Italian opera I normally don’t understand anything and have to rely fully on the subtitles. Because I speak a bit German however, I was able to follow the dialogue a bit and this improved the experience a lot.
There was an interesting transformation in Arabella. She started of as a naive young girl playing with the men courtshipping her. In the end she accepts the responsibility and chooses a wealthy husband. Meanwhile, her sister Zdenka who starts of as being the wiser ends up making a foolish mistake and needs her grace to be saved.
It was interesting to see influences from Austrian, German, Polish and Czech cultures in the opera.

“BUSH NEEDS YOUR HELP” (freep a poll)

The other David Kaspar over at Medienkritik recently wrote about an online poll deducted by the German newspaper Spiegel Online.
It has stirred up some emotions and has escalated to a larger discussion. While it is a clear case of Freeping (poll manipulating), I will not get into the same discussion.
If you are looking for this article, please go to: David Kaspar’s Medienkritik
deDer andere David Kaspar (von Davids Medienkritik) schrieb vor kurzem über eine Online-Abstimmung der deutschen Zeitschrift Spiegel Online.
Die Gefühle kochten hoch und es entwickelte sich daraus eine größere Diskussion. Obwohl es ein klarer Fall von Freeping (Manipulation einer Abstimmung) ist, werde ich nicht die selbe Diskussion lostreten.
Wenn Sie den Artikel suchen, gehen Sie bitte zu David Kaspars Medienkritik.
(translation by Vasili)

Discover Dogs in London

It has become an annual tradition to go to Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre (2) to the Discover Dogs show.
The area is filled with every single dog breed imaginable and it’s all well organised so that you can quickly get your head around various dog groups and their characteristics.
Carla is crazy about dogs and I suspect that it might have rubbed of on me because I enjoy it such as much as the other dog geek at the show (mental note, a review about the funniest movie made: Best in Show).
Each breed has their own stall where the proud owner has anything between one and six dogs to show up. The stall is covered with leaflets of information and photos. Ask any question about the breed and be ready for an eloquent and long answer.
In the middle of all the stalls, there are two exhibition areas where several activities are performed through out the day. There is the agility competition, the basic puppy training and the important instructions on what to do if bothered or even attacked by a dog.
Don’t be shy or afraid to bring your kids, every one else does and there is a lot, a lot of patting going on.