Sleep and play

Posted in Cats, La France at 15:23

 
Susu and Kanoko waking from their nap
A third cat post in a row (with opera!) – I’m still resting after the marathon of doing my Masters degree while working full time! Kanoko and Susu continue to build their friendship, and spend most of their days napping together, with the rest of the time spent play-fighting.

Last Sunday I went to the first Monte Carlo Opera performance of the year, Arrigo Boito’s “Mefistofele“. Erwin Schrott was excellent in the title role, and the orchestra played beautifully.

I have a subscription for the full season, but oddly enough, the MC Opera doesn’t have detailed seating diagrams, so I didn’t quite know what my seat would be like until attending “Mefistofele”. Happily, it’s as good as I was told over the phone: orchestra level, on the side but near the more expensive central seats, and just where the rear section begins, so I don’t even need to use binoculars! “Mefistofele” was performed in the more modern Grimaldi Forum, so I haven’t yet seen how my seat will translate to the original opera house, the Salle Garnier, but am looking forward to it. Will have to wait until January for the next opera, however! It will actually be two shorter, single-act pieces: “La Navarraise” by Massenet, and Ravel’s “L’Enfant et les sortilèges“.

Bientôt l’opéra

Posted in Crafts, Journal at 22:38

Following my Masters degree, I’ve been enjoying my newly rediscovered free time by preparing for the next big thing: my subscription to the Opéra Monte Carlo (Monaco) that will begin in November with Boito’s “Mefistofele“. It’s based on the legend of Faust. In Boito’s version, Faust barters with the Devil: his soul in exchange for worldly bliss. Faust then seduces trusting young women, is betrayed by the Devil, sees the death of one of the women he seduced, and nonetheless continues to seek out worldly pleasures and seduction. Neither world nor illusion satisfy him.

There will be five operas in all, so I’ve been using it as a nice reason to add some home-sewn items to my wardrobe. Currently I’m working on a capelet that will be made of black silk burnout velvet patterned with roses, and lined with a soft black cotton velvet. The pattern is McCall’s 3033 (M3033), view F with the stand-up collar. It will be perfect for keeping off the November Riviera chill.

Monaco today, Paris tomorrow

Posted in Journal, La France, Nice, Travel at 21:36

Monaco - Monte Carlo casino at night
This afternoon I attended a performance of “Eugene Onegin”, an opera by Tchaikovsky, in Monaco. While “going to the opera in Monaco” may well seem tinged with a bit of snootiness, in reality, performances in the principality are often more reasonably priced than elsewhere.

Tomorrow I take a TGV from Nice to Marseille, up through Lyon and on to Paris. I’ll be in the city a few days on business, leaving the kitties in the capable hands of a pet sitter. If you’re interested, keep an eye on my photostream; I’ll be updating it with shots from my mobile phone while in Paris. Pictures taken with my DSLR will have to wait until my return to be uploaded.

I’m really looking forward to the long train ride — my company was sweet and got me first-class tickets. It’s 1,000km (about 620 miles) from Nice to Paris, which takes just over 5 hours by TGV. The TGV still runs “slow” (about 120kmh, or 75mph) from Nice to Marseille, but gets up to speed on the Marseille-Paris stretch, which takes only 3 hours. Marseille to Paris is 660km, or 410 miles. That makes for an average speed of 220kmh/137mph — keep in mind the TGV comes to a full stop in Lyon.

Once I stepped off the train in Nice this evening, the familiar woman’s voice announcing arrivals and departures came on with one that first caught my ear because of its very short train number: 19. I stopped dead in my tracks when I heard the train’s destination: Moscow. “Le train numéro 19 à destination de Moscou va partir.” It’s a new line that was put in place just two months ago: French Riviera train for Russia. With fares starting at about 300 euros, I’m sorely tempted to try it out some day. It’s anything but a fast trip though, at 53 hours!
Nice - Moscow