Monday, January 08, 2007

DAY OUT IN CARDIFF

DAY OUT IN CARDIFF

Aside

We had never been to Cardiff, so when we heard the Arts Society was going to see ‘Snow White’ by the Kiev Classical Ballet we decided to give it a whirl.  Usually we go to Bath, Bristol and sometimes Plymouth.  After the recent coach tragedy I wondered if we would be told to belt up (now a legal requirement).  We weren’t.  I did anyway, as I believe in safety first.  MTL didn’t, and when I said if we had a crash he would land on me and crush me I thought I saw a gleam in his eye.
It was a foul day, weather wise, the only blessing; there was no wind so brollies could be used. As we had been warned the weather would be bad I phoned the theatre the night before to book lunch in their restaurant.  No answer and they didn’t return my call, but thanks to La Fosse Restaurant next door all was very well.  As we entered down the stairs I was reminded of the old days in Paris and those vast emporia with waiters everywhere, except these were polite and sweet – possibly Polish.  (Sorry Paul Emile – I love you really.)
There were rivets and girders everywhere – reminiscent of an enormous submarine but I was unable to find out the history of the building.  After a satisfying lunch and just the one glass of wine (I didn’t want to nod off during the performance) we went next door to the theatre.  St David’s Hall is an odd looking building (see below) on three or four floors and the auditorium is fan-shaped with three tiers of seats.  We were at the back of the first tier and had a full frontal view of the stage with nothing marring the view.
We were early and the 38 piece orchestra, also from Kiev, were already seated and tuning up giving me a delicious thrill of anticipation.  As soon as the music started and the curtains opened we were transported to a world of magical forests filled with adorable animals (I couldn’t take my eyes of a bunny that looked Chinese and, in contrast to the sylph like dancers was short and curvy and cuter than any of Hefner’s bunnies.)  Snow White was a creature of exquisite grace and beauty and when she danced with the prince one had to remember to breathe.  The prince – by the way had gluteals/buns to die for.
The dark scenes with the Wicked Queen and the Magic Mirror illustrated the fantastic lighting and the wonders of science as the images of the Queen and Snow White alternated on what I thought was a hologram?  The dwarves – all seven of them are now elves and each one illustrated their characters through the dance.  The music had been specially written for the ballet and the wit of the choreography matched the wit of the music.
Before the performance, sitting in one of the foyers we had been deafened by swarms of little girls dressed as Snow White a la Disney, and fairies with magic wands that lit.  The parents were constantly adjured, over the tannoy, to make sure the wands were not brandished in the auditorium as this would distract the dancers and the audience.  Fat chance, I thought!  At the end of the performance – our palms throbbing from minutes of applause, we realised that those little girls had been as rapt as we were. And apart from laughing at the antics of the elves – as we all did- they had been quiet as mice.
I wish you all could have been there and transported away from January blues.  Such a lovely uplifting experience.  We hadn’t seen much of Cardiff which, at present is under going some city centre development. But we’ll be back.


15 comments:

Bob-kat said...

Sounds like it was a wonderful performance! I used to love working on the ballets. The music adn the spectacle on stage are always magical.

I often go to Cardiff and it is a nice city to explore if you go back.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope my pics bought back some happy memories of Calpe for you.

FOUR DINNERS said...

gettin into the theatre with Jax. taken her to a few things as she like it n I'm findin it amazin. Even if the performances aren't up to much as in one case it was still worth it. Can't beat live stuff. Stopped watchin telly now (cept for The Simpsons of course)

Cardiff's ok. Welsh but ok. Been there several times with Jax n her gymnastics.

soz yer 'fireball' stopped yer tunin in n ta for't giggle n all.

new blog: drunkpunk.wordpress.com

PI said...

Hi bob-kat and welcome! I did enjoy your pics. You mentioned 'working on the ballets' - I'm nosy and would love to know what you did. Glad to know Cardiff is worth exploring and hope to do so in the future.

PI said...

4d: I expect Jax has seen enough of theatres for a while. So glad it went so well. Have noted your new site and put it on my browser. Good luck with it!

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Happy New Year, Pat! "Real" life has kept me from Blogland for a bit but now I've got a bit of time to catch up with you all again.

The theatre sounds like a nice trip. Here's hoping you and YTL will make many more in a happy, healthy 2007.

Love ya, Pat.

PI said...

You too Sam! Great to have you around again.xoxoxo

Ex-Shammickite said...

What a treat! I really enjoy going to the ballet. The National Ballet of Canada performs at the new Opera house in Toronto, I haven't been there yet, but No1Son and his Beloved went to see The Nutcracker in December. They said it was wonderful.

Dr Maroon said...

The best at ballet by far, are the Russians. Even their provincial troupes still manage perfect synchronisation, which, until you've seen it, is a wonder to behold. The worst was an arthritic bunch from Quebec who were awful and cost 180 quid for the four of us. Ask YTL if he remembers "Wilson the Athlete" from the Hotspur or Valiant, well, these were all dressed like him but could dance F.A. (pardon my French).
Saw a London mob in the Kings in Glasgow do Swan Lake in1993 and they were terrific. It sounds daft, but the orchestra they brought with them could rattle off Tchaikovsky like nobody’s business, in time for a pint before closing, and it felt as it must have done back then when it was written. No fal de rals. Brilliant. That is still my favourite performance.

You’re right about that building, it does look odd. It is the lot of the provinces that we are destined to have expensive cubist constructions that the capital wouldn't permit.
The exception is the Scottish parliament building, which is a masterpiece.
For once we done it right.
If you and YTL get the chance, take a tour round it in the summer, it will delight.
Then go and have a kir or two at the arty farty pub, the Cafe Royal

PI said...

ex-sham: I find it a treat for all the senses and soothes the spirit. Marvellous to have a new Opera House to look forward to.

Doc: you are a balletomane - who'd have thunk it! MTL remembers Wilson 'tall, thin dressed in black - good runner ( he'd remember that'cos his dad used to train with Eric Liddle). Roy of the Rovers is another he remembers.
We used to visit Edinburgh often as his mother lived in the Colonies but sadly, since we sold our cottage in Yorkshire and my mother died we haven't been north. So many memories!

Dr Maroon said...

Pat you've beaten me again. I'm here about my comment re that Canadian ballet company, and to explain to Ex-Shammickite.

My apologies Ex-Shammickite. I’m sure the Canadian National Ballet are tops. I was on a roll last night courtesy of Mr Whyte and Mr MacKay, (fine chaps but demanding) and I’m sure Pat has a mischievous streak in her, putting my ill-thought comment after yours.
What annoyed me about the Canadian company I saw, was the money. I admit I’m Scottish, but for £45 a throw, I expect fancy costumes, scenery, a sixteen-eighteen piece orchestra, and a story I’m vaguely familiar with. What we got was taped synthesiser music, no scenery and stiff-limbed teenagers in body socks jumping about for an hour or two.
I kept thinking, “I could have bought a good DVD player instead of this,” but I hid it well.

PI said...

dOC: I wasn't being mischievous in this instance. I thought as you clearly said Quebec and ex- sham said Toronto she would understand. I'm sure we all have duff companies from time to time. I am very lucky that my commenters tend to be tolerant, erudite , well rounded people (especially at this time of year)and don't take umbrage at the drop of a hat and praise be for that. I think you had every reason to be disgruntled.

Ex-Shammickite said...

Good thing I popped back in or I would have missed all the argy-bargy. Next time, Doc, try the National Ballet of Canada, don't put up with those provincial companies. They are trying to be "different" and sometimes succeeding all too well, at the cost of the paying customer. And they probably got booed off the stage here, so that's why they went to Scotland and charged you 45 quid to see 'em.

PI said...

ex-sham: glad you popped back. Doc is a dear. Next time- if we're good - you may tell us the origin of your name. Can'r help being nosy or is it nosey?

Guyana-Gyal said...

And now I feel even more, I must see a ballet.

When I was a child, we used to have picture stories of all the ballet classics, I'd read them over and over.

PI said...

GG: I had posters of Margot Fonteyn and Moira Shearer in my walls in hospital. I'm feeling a bit dazed having just read the Orhan Panuk article you mentioned on your blog. Mesmerising!