Friday, June 07, 2002

Yesterday, we arrived at Covent Garden very early in the evening and looked around for a bite to eat before staking out our spot in the Piazza. We headed to the Maple Leaf - a Canadian pub off Covent Garden - where Sunil had his usual poutine and I satisfied my craving for meatloaf. For those of you wondering, poutine is a Quebecois dish consisting of french fries (that's chips to the Brits), cheese curds (can be replaced by any other cheese) and gravy. At the Maple Leaf, they use onion gravy. It's groovy stuff and yummy! If you wish to take a more scientific view of poutine, I'm going to refer you to these experiments. Anyway, the meatloaf was yummy even though I felt that the addition of peas and sweetcorn was a bit strange. I had been expecting two little scoops of mashed potatoes but I found myself sitting before a huge mound of mash (made with REAL potatoes!). I managed to get my way through only about a third of it.

After that, it was time to head to the Piazza. We stood there until it started (7:30pm) and closer to the time, we started getting very rude remarks about how we should sit down like everybody else through the entire show. Now, we believed that the event would be run like the Proms - standing room only - but we were obviously mistaken. But these people were exceptionally rude to us (I suppose it's because we're young people) and they weren't just sitting, but SPRAWLING themselves all over the place. Technically, portable seating was not allowed but they managed to sidestep that rule by bringing picnic blankets, inflatable yoga mats, etc. Crazy. I mean, we're not entirely innocent: we should have sat down earlier but really, I had never experienced such rudeness before. They could have asked nicely. And the really weird thing was, when it started raining, they all got up, put on their raincoats and proceeded to sit down again! Sitting the rain...ugh. This was the only blip in the night though.

On to the show. It was very very good. I was very impressed with Ainhoa Arteta, who played Musetta - the coquette. Gorgeous voice. I adored the aria she sings in the cafe. And Ramon Vargas - Rodolfo - was excellent as well. Cristina Gallardo-Domas (Mimi) and Peter Coleman-Wright (Marcello) were both also very good.

And to end the night, after taking their bows on stage inside, they ventured outside into the spitting rain to see everyone. That was nice of them. And it was brilliant and good fun in the end.


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