A couple of other v nice things have happened in recent days. Apart from being given and starting to use the Luvverly Bit Of Kit (& being inspired by it to get on with revising "Ramundi's Sisters"), I have also heard the finest Mimí of my life (likely to remain so, too, unless someone truly extraordinary comes along) and had a tour of the Orchid Nursery at work with one of Kew's many lovely behind-the-scenes staff.
I can name the Mimí - the fantastic Elizabeth Llewellyn, singing in Jonathan Miller's production of "La Bohème" at the ENO - and I'll be looking out eagerly for more chances to see her in action. Vocally she's the best Mimí I've heard since my mum's old recording of Victoria de los Angeles. Add to that the fact she can really act and she's really young and very beautiful, and whee, you have a real treat. I cried my eyes out through almost the whole of the second half of Act 4. One of those "A star is born" occasions; and what with Ms Llewellyn, Amanda Echalaz, and Clare Rutter, ENO have now introduced me to the three best young sopranos I've heard in years. More power to them all.
I'd better call Mr Orchid Nursery Mr Orchid Nursery, though. I've discovered recently that one or two people at Kew occasionally read this blog, and I don't know who they all are! - heaven only knows what they find of interest, since it's mostly burbling about ballet and concerts and whinging about being an unpublished writer. I suppose there is the odd mention of plants...
Anyway, it was as always a pleasure to get "backstage" at Kew, and Mr Orchid Nursery is a very likeable bloke and an absolute mine of knowledge. There is something great ("great" sounds a bit feeble but I can't think of the right word - pleasing? gratifying? - I want to say "happiness-making" but that's an ugly neologism if ever I heard one!) - something great about being in the company of someone who really knows their stuff and is passionate about it, who is really happy and fulfilled in their passion for it, and articulate enough to pass their passion on (& who are not nuts, which sometimes does go with all that being-passionate, after all!). Kew has rather a lot of such people and working with them is one of the fringe benefits, if you like, of working here. So more power to Mr Orchid Nursery too. And to all his team, and to all those who are passionate about working here!
Sergei Polunin Masterclass
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