This is my first post on my blog and hopefully a sense of what is to come – a blend of current experiences and current photos of my own with curated pictures from others of the things I want to tell you about but don’t have my own photos with which to do so. It is also a good introduction to me and my life in London as it touches on food, friends, the arts and the sort of hotels I like and some of the unusual but hopefully interesting things I can tell you about London.
On a trip to Bologna for a friend’s birthday, someone got lost and a few of us stayed back to wait for him. This turned into a wonderfully fortuitous conversation where Soledad mentioned in passing she had been an extra in a film about Mozart’s life. To cut a long story short, a group of us are hoping to get a film made about another great music icon and this resulted in us having dinner with the film director, John Stephenson, a few weeks later. John then very hospitably invited us to his private screening of his wonderful film before it went to the Berlin Film Festival which was a great treat. It will be showing in Japan and the UK and other rights are being sold as we speak to other parts of the world.
The film is set in a relatively brief and mainly true episode of Mozart’s life when he had a poignant affair with a soprano during the turbulent time he was writing Don Giovanni. The trauma of just losing his child, and some events playing out around him that chillingly paralleled those in Don Giovanni, give sense to how the masterpiece of Don Giovanni got its combination of playfulness and horror and where some of the inspiration for the music came from. It can’t fail to give non music lovers a sense of excitement about opera and a desire to see Don Giovanni. The costumes by Pam Downe (who many will remember for her gorgeous costumes in Orlando) are lavish and sumptuous as you can see from the still above. The acting (Mozart is played by Aneurin Barnard, the evil aristrocrat by James Purefoy, and the heroine by Morfydd Clark) is taut and exciting and the shots John says are done more like a horror film, moving away from the colour schemes of BBC period dramas and replacing the long panning shots of such dramas with close ups and fast cutting that add tremendous tension. Morfydd Clark has been dubbed the rising new star of 2017 by the Guardian: among other recent performances, she starred in Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Donmar and ended 2016 by playing Cordelia opposite Glenda Jackson’s King Lear at the Old Vic. The film is visually beautiful, dramatically engrossing, musically coherent and loyal to Mozart – and in two words, simply wonderful. Tell your friends about it and and go once it is on general release later this year.!
The screening was held at the very lovely boutique Covent Garden Hotel which I cannot recommend highly enough to visit for tea or a meal, to go to one of their public Covent Garden Hotel film club evenings (high on my list of things to do in London) or to stay at it if you are traveling to London. I’ve often enjoyed a coffee or drink at this nice place to retreat from the bustle of Covent Garden and Seven Dials.
Walking to the event inspired me to take you on a tour of Covent Garden itself which I will do in the coming days or weeks so look out for a post on that as well.
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