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GLYNDEBOURNE OPERA HOLIDAY
THURSDAY 20 OCTOBER 2016
Friends participating (42 Friends)
Mr Antony Wise (Grosvenor Travel representative – emergency mobile 0781 7025138 )
Mrs Phyll Swindlehurst
Lady Marion Morris
Mrs June Godfrey
Dr David Speller
Mrs Bette Childs
Mrs June Owens
Dr Jean Rowley
Mr George Dingle & Mrs Megan Burgess
Mr Richard Davies & Dr Elizabeth Brack
Mr John Grimshaw & Mrs Joyce Encer
Mr Richard & Mrs Sylvia Woodhurst
Mr John & Mrs Dorothy Tesh
Dr John & Mrs Maureen Grenville
Mr Leslie & Mrs Catherine Tench
Mr David & Mrs Joan Cocker
Mr Brian & Mrs Elizabeth Williams
Mr Graham & Mrs Jean Woods
Mr David & Mrs Susan Davies
Mr Allan & Mrs Ida Michaelson
Mr David & Mrs Carol Sneath
Mr Ashley & Dr Judith Price
Mr Tony & Mrs Linda Elliot
Mr Bill & Mrs Sandra Boynton (arriving 21 October)
Mr Bill & Mrs Gill Burgess
Lady Morris, Mr Dingle & Mrs Burgess arriving 19 Oct on DBB basis. Mr & Mrs B Burgess BB.
Mr Dingle & Mrs Burgess extending 23 Oct on DBB. Mr & Mrs Tesh, Dr & Mrs Grenville, Mr & Mrs Michaelson on BB. Mr & Mrs B Burgess extending three nights BB.
The Cavendish Hotel Eastbourne
38 Grand Parade, Eastbourne, BN21 4DH
Tel: 01323 410222
This four-star hotel is centrally situated on the seafront. Allocated rooms have sea view. Main dining is in the Marine Restaurant. The Coronet Bar and Lounge serves light meals and snacks. The ‘Library’ offers quiet relaxation. The Peebles Spa provides treatments, which usually need to be pre-booked. Breakfast 7 to 10am weekdays, 7.30 to 10am weekends. Friends extending on a HB basis dine individually between 7pm and 8.45 Sunday to Thursday, 7pm to 9.15 Friday and Saturday. You’ll usually be asked to select your evening meal courses at breakfast. On Wednesdays there should be live entertainment; pianist/jazz band or singers. There is limited on-site payable parking (£4 per day) strictly on a first come basis. The hotel will also issue a number of discounted street parking vouchers. However Blue Badge holders can pre-book with the hotel directly. Free wifi should operate throughout the hotel.
Thursday 20 October
15.00 Check-in usually available from 3pm
16.15 Evening meal at the Cavendish: two courses (mains and dessert) with a glass of wine
17.30Coach to Glyndebourne for Madama Butterfly at 19.00.
22.00Coach returns to the hotel after the performance
Friday 21 October
09.45 Groups A and B meet with Antony in reception to walk to the Towner Gallery (about 500 metres) for private Art Store tours at 10.15 and 11.00. Before or after the tour Friends can visit the main gallery and/or the coffee shop (see the next pages for more detailed information).
10.30Group C to meet Antony in reception and walk to Towner Gallery for 11.45 tour
19.30Evening meal at the Cavendish Hotel. Three course menu to be chosen at breakfast.
Saturday 22 October
09.15 Depart to Charleston House for tours at 10.30, divided into three groups starting at different points of the house
12.00Depart to the Cavendish Hotel
13.15Set single course lunch, mains only with a glass of wine
14.30 Coach to Glyndebourne for Don Giovanni at 16.00
19.00 Glyndebourne evening meal: menu as per your order. Seating has been pre-allocated. See overleaf for your table reference. You will find a name card at your allocated seat, so the waiting-on staff will know which dishes to serve you.
21.00 Depart Glyndebourne for Eastbourne
Sunday 23 October
08.10 Groups A and C depart by coach to Farley Farm House for guided tours of the house at 09.00 and 09.30. Before or after the tour Friends can visit the sculpture garden or the gallery.
09.10Group B departs by coach to Farley Farm House for guided tour of the house at 10.00. After the tour Friends can visit the sculpture garden or the gallery.
10.30 Coach departs to the Cavendish Hotel with groups A and C
11.30 Coach departs to the Cavendish Hotel with group B
NBFriends will need to have checked-out of the hotel before departing to Farley Farm House, unless they are extending for an extra night on Sunday, or have reached an individual agreement with the hotel for a later check-out.
Glyndebourne evening meal at the Middle and Over Wallop Restaurant
Grosvenor Table 1 Mr Wise, Mr & Mrs Tesh, Mrs J Owens, Lady Morris, Mr & Mrs Sneath, Dr Speller, Mr & Mrs Williams, Mr & Mrs Burgess
Grosvenor Table 2 Mr R Davies & Dr Brack, Mr & Mrs Cocker, Dr & Mrs Grenville, Mr & Mrs Woodhurst, Mr & Mrs Michaelson
Grosvenor Table 3 Mrs Childs, D Rowley, Mr & Mrs Davies, Mr & Dr Price, Mrs Godfrey, Mrs Swindlehurst, Mr & Mrs Woods, Mr Grimshaw, Mrs Encer
Grosvenor Table 4 Mr Dingle & Mrs M Burgess, Mr & Mrs Elliot, Mr & Mrs Tench, Mr & Mrs Boynton
Groups for visits to the Towner Gallery
Group A Mr & Mrs Tesh, Mr & Mrs Michaelson, Dr & Mrs Grenville, Lady Morris, Mrs Swindlehurst (8 pax)
Group B Mr & Dr Price, Mr & Mrs Davies, Mrs Childs, Dr Rowley, Mr & Mrs Williams, Mr Davies & Dr Brack, Mr & Mrs Cocker, Mr & Mrs Woodhurst (14 pax)
Group C Dr Speller, Mr & Mrs Tench, Mr Grimshaw & Mrs Encer, Mr & Mrs Woods, Mr & Mrs Sneath, Mrs Godfrey, Mrs Owens. (11 pax)
Groups for visits to Farley Farm House
Group A Mr & Mrs Tesh, Mr Dingle & Mrs Burgess, Mr & Mrs Boynton, Dr & Mrs Grenville, Lady Morris, Mrs Swindlehurst (10 pax)
Group B Mr & Dr Price, Mr & Mrs Davies, Mrs Childs, Dr Rowley, Mr & Mrs Williams, Mr & Mrs Cocker, Mr & Mrs Woodhurst, Mr & Mrs Michaelson, (14 pax)
Group C Mr Dr Speller, Mr & Mrs Tench, Mr & Mrs Elliot, Mr & Mrs Woods, Mr & Mrs Sneath, Mrs Godfrey (10 pax)
In addition to the attractions of relatively nearby historic towns such as Brighton, Rye and Hastings, a range of Sussex National Trust properties, Beachy Head and the scenery of the South Downs, Eastbourne itself has two good museums. These two sites could profitably fill your Friday.
The Towner Art Gallery displays a smallish but excellent collection of mainly British art, mostly from the 20th century. The Collection now features a cross-section of important 20th century British artists including: Christopher Wood, Edward Bawden, Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Victor Pasmore, Alfred Wallis and Duncan Grant. It also boasts a major body of work by Eric Ravilious. Contemporary artists represented in the Towner Collection include: Olafur Eliasson, Wolfgang Tillmans, Anya Gallaccio, Julian Opie, Tacita Dean and Grayson Perry.
Only a very limited part of the gallery’s 4,500 works are on display at any one time. The sixty minute private Art Store tour with a gallery guide allows you to learn in depth about the history of the collection and its featured artists, and to view some major works not currently on display.
Besides the rotating permanent collection there are special exhibitions. During our holiday there are two such exhibitions, described by the gallery as below:
Towards Night delves into the many interpretations and representations of the theme of night throughout art history. Artist Tom Hammick curates an exhibition that draws together paintings and prints that invite the visitor to experience a journey into a world of wonderment, insomnia and revelry. Towards Night includes works by J.M.W. Turner, Caspar David Friedrich and Edvard Munch alongside contemporary artists such as Peter Doig, Stephen Chambers and Phoebe Unwin.
One Day Something Happens explores the everyday theatricality of the body. The artists in this exhibition approach figuration in very different ways and the people they depict are both imaginary characters and real people. Jennifer Higgie’s fascinating selection of works from the Arts Council Collection, as well as works from the Towner’s collection, teases out common themes across the decades: work, introspection and individuality, joy and loneliness. The exhibition features works by artists ranging from Walter Sickert, Lucien Freud and David Hockney to Rose Wylie, Steven Claydon and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
The gallery has a good café. Entrance is free, except for special tours. There are guided tours of the main displays at 11.30. Opening hours are 10am to 6pm, Tuesday thru Sunday.
The Redoubt Fortress is situated about one kilometre east along the Eastbourne seafront from the Cavendish Hotel. The Redoubt is a circular
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coastal_defence_and_fortificationcoastal defence fort, 68 metres in diameter, built in 1805 as part of the
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_anti-invasion_preparations_of_1803%E2%80%931805British anti-invasion preparations during the
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleonic_WarsNapoleonic Wars. It houses several museums (see attached leaflet). There are currently two special exhibitions about the First World War, and a Bronze Age exhibition shared between the Redoubt and the Pavilion. Recommended is the thirty-minute daily guided tour at 11.00 and 14.30, extended to one hour on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The museum should be open daily from 11am to 4pm.
‘It is not so much a house as a phenomenon’ Quentin Bell once said of Charleston. It was in 1916 that the phenomenon came into being, as Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and David Garnett made the move from Suffolk to Charleston, where Clive Bell and Maynard Keynes were also to be regular visitors. As conscientious objectors Grant and Garnett were exempted from military service providing they continued to work on the land and both found employment on a nearby farm. It was Virginia and Leonard Woolf, who lived locally, who had originally spotted the late 17th century Sussex farmhouse situated at the foot of the South Downs and encouraged Vanessa to make the move. Over the next sixty years the house was decorated by Bell and Grant. They painted walls, doors and furniture and produced decorated ceramics and needlepoint designs for their home.
After the death of Duncan Grant The Charleston Trust was formed to preserve the house and its remarkable collection. It has been described as ‘One of the most difficult and imaginative feats of restoration current in Britain’.
The Bloomsbury Group or Bloomsbury Set was a group of writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists who held informal discussions in
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BloomsburyBloomsbury throughout the
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20th_century20th century. This
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EnglandEnglish collective of friends and relatives lived, worked or studied near Bloomsbury in
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LondonLondon during the first half of the twentieth century. Their work deeply influenced
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economicseconomics as well as modern attitudes towards
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sexualitysexuality. Its best known members were
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Maynard_KeynesJohn Maynard Keynes,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._M._ForsterE. M. Forster and
Almost everything about Bloomsbury appears to be controversial, including its membership and name. The group did not hold formal or informal discussions on particular topics, but talked about a range of topics at all times. It is now generally accepted, however, that the Group originally consisted of the novelists and essayists
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._M._ForsterE. M. Forster, and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_(Molly)_MacCarthyMary (Molly) MacCarthy, the biographer and essayist
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lytton_StracheyLytton Strachey, the economist
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Maynard_KeynesJohn Maynard Keynes, the painters
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanessa_BellVanessa Bell, and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_FryRoger Fry, and the critics of literature, art, and politics, Strachey, Fry,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clive_BellClive Bell, and
Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf were sisters, and their brothers, the older
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoby_StephenThoby and the younger
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_StephenAdrian, were also original members of the group, as were some other Cambridge figures such as Saxon Sydney-Turner. Lytton Strachey and Duncan Grant – later Vanessa’s partner – were cousins. During the earlier years of the group’s history there were various affairs among the individuals. Most of the members lived for considerable periods of time in the West Central 1
district of London known as
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BloomsburyBloomsbury, and "group" seems to be the best general term to describe the nature of their association, which was not merely social as the terms "circle" or "set" may imply.
A remarkable historical feature of these friends and relations is that their close relationships all predated their fame as writers, artists, and thinkers. Yet close friends, brothers, sisters, and even sometimes partners of the friends were not necessarily members of Bloomsbury. Lytton Strachey’s companion the painter
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dora_CarringtonDora Carrington was never a member; Keynes’s wife
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lydia_LopokovaLydia Lopokova was only reluctantly accepted into the group. Other members mentioned in Woolf's letters and diaries as members included socialite and hostess
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Ottoline_MorrellLady Ottoline Morrell, Virginia Woolf's long term lover
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vita_Sackville-WestVita Sackville-West, and
Some critics have sometimes questioned the existence of the group. Yet the lives and works of the group members show an overlapping, interconnected similarity of ideas and attitudes that helped to keep the friends and relatives together. Their convictions about the nature of consciousness and its relation to external nature, about the fundamental separateness of individuals that involves both isolation and love, about the human and non-human nature of time and death, and about the ideal goods of truth, love and beauty – all these were largely shared - underlie the group’s core dissatisfactions with capitalism and its wars of imperialism.
These "Bloomsbury assumptions" are also reflected in members' criticisms of materialistic realism in painting and fiction as well as attacks on what Bloomsbury group members saw as repressive practices of sexual inequality, and in attempts to establish a new social order based upon liberation from these established norms. Love (an inner state) was held in higher esteem than monogamy (a demonstrable behavior). Several of the members had more than one serious relationship concurrently, and also cast aside normative behaviors in regard to child care, in the spirit of what came to be known as
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyfidelitypolyfidelity later in the 20th century.
G.E. Moore and the Bloomsbury philosophy
The philosophical rationale of Bloomsbury derived from G. E. Moore. For Virginia the move to Bloomsbury in 1904 was the beginning of a new life. For most of the men in the group - her brother Thoby, her future husband Leonard Woolf, her future brother-in-law Clive Bell, her friends Lytton Strachey, Maynard Keynes, and Desmond MacCarthy - the beginning came in Cambridge several months earlier with the publication of Moore's Principia Ethica. "I date from October 1903," Strachey wrote to Moore at the time, "the beginning of the Age of Reason." Keynes, in retrospect, was even more rhapsodic. "It was exciting, exhilarating, the beginning of a renaissance, the opening of a new heaven on a new earth, we were the forerunners of a new dispensation, we were not afraid of anything."
The author of that new dispensation was only a few years older than his disciples. Keynes was twenty and Strachey twenty-three when the Principia appeared. Moore himself, having earlier discussed many of the ideas of the book with the Apostles, was all of twenty-eight when he started to write it and not quite thirty when it was published. For these young men the Principia was a manifesto of liberation, a release from the old morality and, they suspected, from all morality. The heart of the book, as they read it, was the last chapter, "The Ideal", where Moore
argued that the fundamental truth of moral philosophy involved "states of consciousness" (not, as traditional moral philosophy had it, of conscience), and that the highest states of consciousness were "the pleasures of human intercourse and the enjoyment of beautiful objects." These were the only "goods in themselves," desirable "purely for their own sakes". They included "all the greatest, and by far the greatest, goods we can imagine." (The italics are Moore's.) If Bloomsbury had any philosophy, it was this: a total commitment to "personal affections" and "aesthetic enjoyments." This was not, to be sure, the whole of Moore's philosophy. But it was the part that appealed to the Cambridge undergraduates and Apostles who later made up Bloomsbury. Even Virginia Woolf, who had no taste for philosophy, read the Principia in 1908, persevering in spite of great difficulties. According to Leonard Woolf, Moore was the only philosopher to have influenced her. (The Principia appears in the novel she started to write in 1909, The Voyage Out, where the reader is expected to recognise the work by its familiar dark brown binding.)
In a memoir read to the surviving members of Bloomsbury many years later, Keynes spoke movingly of Moore's effect upon them. They accepted, he explained, Moore's religion while discarding his morals. He wrote, ‘’Indeed, in our opinion, one of the greatest advantages of his religion, was that it made morals unnecessary - meaning by 'religion' one's attitude towards oneself as the ultimate and by 'morals' one's attitude towards the outside world and the intermediate." What they did not accept was the feeble concession to conventional morality in the penultimate chapter of the Principia, where Moore suggested that in those cases where one was unable to foresee the long-term consequences of any particular mode of conduct, one should observe the existing rules of morality. This, Keynes insisted, violated the most important principle of Bloomsbury:
We repudiated entirely customary morals, conventions and traditional wisdom. We were, that is to say, in the strict sense of the term, immoralists. The consequences of being found out had, of course, to be considered for what they were worth. But we recognised no moral obligation on us, no inner sanction, to conform or to obey. Before heaven we claimed to be our own judge in our own case.
What Bloomsbury took from Moore was a philosophy that sanctioned, if not immorality, as Keynes said, then at the very least amorality. For the "states of consciousness" that were at the heart of this philosophy had nothing to do with conduct or consequences. "Being good" was the objective, not "doing good." And being good meant being in those heightened states of consciousness, those "timeless, passionate states of contemplation and communion," which were conducive to "love, beauty and truth" - not virtue. And even love, beauty, and truth were carefully delineated so as to remove any taint of utility or morality. Useless knowledge was deemed preferable to useful, corporeal beauty to mental qualities, present and immediately realisable goods to remote or indirect ones. Thus, Keynes recalled, Bloomsbury "lived entirely in present experience," repudiating not only the idea of "duty" but any kind of "social action," and not only social action but the "life of action generally," a life that might entail such disagreeable pursuits as "power, politics, success, wealth, ambition."
In December 1910 human character changed
It was against the whole of the late-Victorian ethos, the public and the private, that Bloomsbury rebelled. "How does one come by one's morality?" Virginia Woolf asked. "Surely by reading the poets." It was an answer that would have appalled her father, who suspected poetry of being a
prescription for immorality, an invitation to be "morbid" and "unmanly," to indulge one's private emotions and fancies at the expense of one's personal and public duties. And as Virginia Woolf made a "morality" of poetry, so Roger Fry and Clive Bell made a "religion" of art.
When Virginia Woolf made her famous pronouncement, "In or about December, 1910, human character changed," she may have chosen that date because of the Post-Impressionist exhibition of that time which had so altered the artistic sensibilities of the generation. But her more immediate frame of reference was literary; the passage from the "social realism," as we would now say, of the Edwardian writers (H. G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, John Galsworthy) to the "impressionism" of the Georgians (E. M. Forster, D. H. Lawrence, Lytton Strachey, James Joyce, and, of course,herself). For the former, the novel was inseparable from the external reality; it was incomplete without an account of the social and physical milieu. For the latter, it was self-sufficient, a thing-in-itself; its world was what the author chose to make of it.
If the modern novel was, in this sense, free, unconstrained by reality, so was the modern author. The "human character" that changed in 1910 was that of the artist, not of the common man. Ordinary people were bound, as they had always been, by the habits and customs devised for "timid natures who dare not allow their souls free play." But writers and artists could no longer be so circumscribed; they had to be free to follow the "vast variety and turmoil of human impulses." Their own characters were as autonomous as the characters they created. To look upon them as ordinary people, to place them "under an obligation to others," to put them in the position of "living for others, not for ourselves’’, was to violate their nature and endanger their calling.
This was the Bloomsbury credo: living for "ourselves." Not, significantly, for "oneself." The Bloomsberries were not Nietzscheans, "proud solitaries ... hard, strict, continent, heroic," each drawing upon his own inner resources to resist the conventions and illusions of his culture. They derived their strength and independence from each other. If they recognized no obligations to "others," to society at large, they did recognise (in their own perverse fashion) a loyalty to each other. Like the Apostles who professed to find only themselves "real" and referred to everyone else as "Phenomena," the Bloomsberries extended their affections only to their intimates; for the rest of the world they had at best an amused tolerance, at worst (and more often) an undisguised contempt. It was because they were so conspicuously a group that they were able to found an "adversary culture" strong enough to challenge the bourgeois culture. And it was for this reason too that they were spared the solipsism that would otherwise have been their individual fates.
FootnoteMost British art critics in 1910 were still trying to digest the impressionism of Monet and Renoir, and the new exhibition, Manet and the Post-Impressionists, by rejecting Impressionism as old-fashioned, baffled even sympathetic observers.
https://modernism.research.yale.edu/wiki/index.php/E.M._ForsterE. M. Forster wrote that “Gauguin and Van Gogh were too much for me.” Many viewers and critics thought the show a hoax or an offense against English culture. The art historian Charles Harrison has listed some of the words applied to the exhibition: “horror,” “madness,” “infection,” “sickness of the soul,” “putrescence,” “pornography,” “anarchy” and “evil.” A few, however, defended the exhibition, and the consummate Edwardian
https://modernism.research.yale.edu/wiki/index.php?title=Arnold_Bennett&action=edit&redlink=1Arnold Bennett suggested that the scorn heaped on modern art by the British public showed “that London is infinitely too self-complacent even to suspect that it is London and not the exhibition which is making itself ridiculous.” In the second 1912 exhibition Bloomsbury artists such as Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell were already partcipating.
Farley Farm House
Farley is an early 18th century farmhouse set in beautiful countryside on the edge of the Weald, with views over the South Downs in a one hectare garden which contains many modern sculptures.
A generation after the Bloomsbury set of Charleston, Farley Farmhouse is representative of one of the subsequent art movements, surrealism. Whilst the most famous surrealists, such as Dalí, Magritte, Miró and Max Ernst were continental Europeans, there was an active British Surrealist movement in the 1930s. Paul Nash in his surrealist period is probably the most famous of the British artists, though Henry Moore’s work also reflects a deep surrealist influence. The British surrealist Roland Penrose remained close throughout his life to many of the world’s leading surrealist artists who visited him and his wife, Lee Miller, at Farley to where they moved in 1949. Works from many of these artists, presents to the Penroses, are now displayed in the house. The family has tried to leave the house just as it was when inhabited by Lee and Roland, who died in 1977 and 1984 respectively.
Lee Miller herself was both one of the leading surrealist photographers and models of the late 20s and early 30s, although her work has been somewhat eclipsed by that of her then partner Man Ray. Her wartime work post D-Day is rated amongst the finest war photography and she later produced powerful photographic portraits of many artists of her acquaintance.
From an article in The Daily Telegraph in 2011.
‘’Lee Miller almost never talked about the war,” the photographer’s son Antony Penrose once recalled. There were no pictures, no trophies, no discussion about that period. And yet, of all her prodigious lives, that was, as her friend and fellow photographer David Scherman said, “the most important, exciting and above all self-fulfilling”.
Farley Farm, the house in Sussex that Miller bought in 1949 with her husband, the British Surrealist Roland Penrose, has been a museum more or less since Penrose died in 1984. Though many of the paintings by friends that were once on the walls have dispersed (a Francis Bacon, a Max Ernst), efforts have been made to keep the house as it was, and indeed to live in it a little.
When I visit, the couple’s granddaughter Ami Bouhassane makes me tea in a kitchen adorned with tiles and sketches by Picasso, and she brings down from a shelf Miller’s blackened geranium chutney, dated 1976. The idea, she says, is to give the visitor the impression that “Lee and Roland have just popped down to the garden to get vegetables for their weird food”.
In the pink-walled room that has been made a monument to Miller’s wartime experience, there is a grid of photographs she herself couldn’t bear to look at: a series from Grim Glory, a book published 70 years ago about Britain during the Blitz. Beside them is a drinks tray filched from Hitler’s apartment, and a glass case full of the tools of that very particular trade: a crumpled pack of Lucky Strikes, a Hermès baby typewriter with a half-typed sheet of captions still in it, a Rolleiflex camera and metal film canisters that look like parts for some unidentified weapon.
But the real jolt of her spirit comes with the most unexpected set of objects: a brass knuckle-duster – kept in her pocket for use during the daytime – and a silver-plated version, engraved with her signature and kept on a striped silk ribbon, which she wore around her neck as evening wear.
There’s no question that this belonged to the woman who became a model in the twenties when she was discovered on a Manhattan street, pulled back from traffic by Mr Condé Nast himself; who became the apprentice and lover of Man Ray in the thirties; and who was the first female photographer at the Normandy landings, reporting – of all publications – for Vogue. (“One film in the envelope is soaked in melted lip rouge,” she warned, as she sent a batch to be developed.) To everything she did she brought glamour and the belief that she was in for a fight.
“I guess I’m the only dame who’s really covered a battle,” she wrote to her editor, Audrey Withers. The dispatches Miller composed to accompany her photographs were long, heartfelt, spiky and written for the most part in the Hotel Scribe in Paris after consuming (in Scherman’s words) a “gargantuan amount of cognac”. “I thumbed a ride to the siege of St Malo,” she would begin, laconically. Or: “I was living in Hitler’s private apartment when his death was announced.” Famously, Scherman photographed her in Hitler’s bath, shortly after they’d visited Dachau.
When they reached Paris, she met up with old friends – Picasso, the poet Paul Éluard and his wife Nusch, Jean Cocteau – and she rendered the rubble like this: “The pattern of liberation is not
decorative… There is the beautiful overall colour of freedom but there is ruin and destruction. There are problems and mistakes, disappointed hopes and broken promises.”
She wanted “more than anything” to “watch the reconstruction or whatever of Europe”. The “or whatever” is moot, since Miller herself disintegrated afterwards. She had a child, Antony, in 1947; she moved to Farley Farm in 1949. She became an alcoholic. Later, she learnt to cook magnificent and surreal meals (stuffed chicken covered in gold leaf, for instance), and when their European friends came to visit she photographed them in a series she later published as Working Guests including Picasso, Miró and Ernst.
But really it must have been all post-war to her; post-the thing she never discussed. Although the house is legendary for its convivial and creative gatherings, you can’t help wonder whether some of the emptiness you sense now was there all along, whether all of that later life was built around a kind of gap or gash.
When, many years after her death in 1977, her son found her wartime work in the attic, he was astonished. “She had been so self-deprecating about her life and so dissolute in her later years,” he wrote, that this material revealed a person he had never known – a person who, as he put it, “cut herself the broadest possible slice of life and lived it with passion and perception”.
ACT I. Japan, early twentieth century. On a flowering terrace above Nagasaki harbor, U.S. Navy Lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton inspects the house he has leased from a marriage broker, Goro, who has just procured him three servants and a geisha wife, Cio-Cio-San, known as Madama Butterfly. To the American consul, Sharpless, who arrives breathless from climbing the hill, Pinkerton describes the carefree philosophy of a sailor roaming the world in search of pleasure. At the moment, he is enchanted with the fragile Cio-Cio-San, but his 999-year marriage contract contains a monthly renewal option. When Sharpless warns that the girl may not take her vows so lightly, Pinkerton brushes aside such scruples, saying he will one day marry a "real" American wife. Cio-Cio-San is heard in the distance joyously singing of her wedding. Entering surrounded by friends, she tells Pinkerton how, when her family fell on hard times, she had to earn her living as a geisha. Her relatives bustle in, noisily expressing their opinions on the marriage. In a quiet moment, Cio-Cio-San shows her bridegroom her few earthly treasures and tells him of her intention to embrace his Christian faith. The Imperial Commissioner performs the wedding ceremony, and the guests toast the couple. The celebration is interrupted by Cio-Cio-San's uncle, a Buddhist priest, who bursts in, cursing the girl for having renounced her ancestors' religion. Pinkerton angrily sends the guests away. Alone with Cio-Cio-San in the moonlit garden, he dries her tears, and she joins him in singing of their love.
ACT II. Three years later, Cio-Cio-San waits for her husband's return. As Suzuki prays to her gods for aid, her mistress stands by the doorway with her eyes fixed on the harbor. When the maid shows her how little money is left, Cio-Cio-San urges her to have faith: one fine day Pinkerton's ship will appear on the horizon. Sharpless brings a letter from the lieutenant, but before he can read it to Cio-Cio-San, Goro comes with a suitor, the wealthy Prince Yamadori. The girl dismisses both marriage broker and prince, insisting her American husband has not deserted her. When they are alone, Sharpless again starts to read the letter and suggests Pinkerton may not return. Cio-Cio-San proudly carries forth her child, Dolore (Trouble), saying that as soon as Pinkerton knows he has a son he surely will come back; if he does not, she would rather die than return to her former life. Moved by her devotion, Sharpless leaves, without having revealed the full contents of the letter. Cio-Cio-San, on the point of despair, hears a cannon report; seizing a spyglass, she discovers Pinkerton's ship entering the harbor. Now delirious with joy, she orders Suzuki to help her fill the house with flowers. As night falls, Cio-Cio-San, Suzuki and the child begin their vigil.
ACT III. As dawn breaks, Suzuki insists that Cio-Cio-San rest. Humming a lullaby to her child, she carries him to another room. Before long, Sharpless enters with Pinkerton, followed by Kate, his new wife. When Suzuki realizes who the American woman is, she collapses in despair but agrees to aid in breaking the news to her mistress. Pinkerton, seized with remorse, bids an anguished farewell to the scene of his former happiness, then rushes away. When Cio-Cio-San comes forth expecting to find him, she finds Kate instead. Guessing the truth, the shattered Cio-Cio-San agrees to give up her child if his father will return for him. Then, sending even Suzuki away, she takes out the dagger with which her father committed suicide and bows before a statue of Buddha, choosing to die with honour rather than live in disgrace. As she raises the blade, Suzuki pushes the child into the room. Sobbing farewell, Cio-Cio-San sends him into the garden to play, then stabs herself. As she dies, Pinkerton is heard calling her name.
Cio-Cio-San Karah Son Pinkerton Matteo Lippi Sharpless Francesco Verna Suzuki Claudia Huckle Goro Alun Rhys-Jenkins Bonze Michael Druiett
The Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra and Chorus
Conductor John Wilson Director Annilese Miskimmon
Running time about 3 hours. Sung in Italian with English surtitles.
ACT I. In the early hours of the morning Don Giovanni attempts to seduce Donna Anna in her own home. In making his escape he kills her father, the Commendatore. Anna and her fiancé Don Ottavio swear to avenge her father’s death, but they don’t know who the murderer is. As day breaks, Giovanni’s servant Leporello dares to tell his master that he is leading the life of a scoundrel.
They meet Donna Elvira, whom Giovanni has previously seduced and abandoned. Leporello tells her that she is neither the first nor the last woman his master has betrayed. There have been thousands. Elvira, like Donna Anna before her, swears revenge on her deceiver. The peasant couple Zerlina and Masetto are to be married today. Giovanni invites them to celebrate at his home and immediately begins his attempt to seduce the girl. As a peasant, Masetto is forced to comply with the noble Giovanni’s wishes.
Zerlina is seemingly at Giovanni’s mercy when Elvira intercepts them and rescues the innocent girl.
Ottavio and Anna meet Giovanni, unaware that he is the man they are seeking. Elvira appears and warns them to beware of the treacherous Giovanni. He soon makes himself scarce, but Anna has already recognised the intruder who murdered her father. Intent on further womanising, Giovanni proposes a lavish party to which any woman is welcome. He invites Zerlina and Masetto, who are just beginning to patch things up.
Anna, Ottavio and Elvira arrive at the party in masks, intent on exposing Giovanni’s crimes. The party is in full swing, and Giovanni continues his pursuit of Zerlina. Leporello attempts to distract Masetto as his master takes the girl to another room, but Zerlina screams out and Giovanni is exposed. Elvira, Anna and Ottavio unmask themselves and call revenge upon the seducer’s head. Don Giovanni is confused but not afraid. Somehow he escapes.
ACT II. Leporello has had enough of serving such a difficult master, but Giovanni uses money to persuade him to stay.
Giovanni’s next victim is to be Elvira’s maidservant; to seduce her he intends to impersonate Leporello, because people of her station can be wary of a gentleman’s appearance. Giovanni now dresses up as Leporello, and Leporello takes on the appearance of his master.
As night falls, Elvira appears at a window and betrays a hint of compassion for the man who has seduced her. Giovanni calls to her, asking for forgiveness; moments later she is in the street with Leporello, thinking him to be Giovanni. Leporello stages a scene of reconciliation and then Giovanni scares them off to leave the coast clear for his attempt on the maidservant.
Masetto appears, armed, with a posse looking for Giovanni. Giovanni pretends to be Leporello and sends the posse off in different directions to track down his ‘scoundrel of a master’. Alone with Masetto, Giovanni proceeds to beat him up.
Zerlina comes by and tends Masetto’s wounds. They are reconciled. Leporello is now trying to shake off Elvira in the dark. He slips away only to run into Masetto, Zerlina, Ottavio and Anna, who believe him to be Giovanni from the clothes he is wearing. To everyone’s surprise, Elvira asks them to show mercy towards the seducer, but Ottavio is on the point of killing him when Leporello reveals his true identity. He attempts to explain himself and then runs away.
Ottavio promises to bring Giovanni to justice for his beloved. He will return only as the messenger of death.
Giovanni and Leporello meet up again in a graveyard. Nearby is the tomb of Anna’s father, the Commendatore, a distinguished soldier. During Giovanni and Leporello’s conversation the voice of the Commendatore is heard. This voice states that Giovanni’s laughter will be finished before dawn, and orders him to leave the dead in peace; an inscription on the statue reads:
I wait for revenge on the villain who brought me to death.
Giovanni is highly amused by this and orders Leporello to invite the statue to dine with him that evening. The statue nods its head in acceptance and then utters the word ‘Yes’. Leporello is terrified and Giovanni is intrigued.
Ottavio tries to persuade Anna to marry him the next day. She, however, is too distraught at her father’s death to contemplate such a thing. Giovanni has already started to dine when Elvira appears in a last attempt to persuade him to change his way of life. A knocking is then heard at the door and the Commendatore arrives for dinner.
The Commendatore begs Giovanni to repent and change his life; Don Giovanni refuses and is dragged down to hell to pay for his sins.
Don Giovanni Duncan Rock Donna Anna Ana Maria Labin Don Ottavio Anthony Gregory Donna Elvira Magdalena Molendowska Leporello Brandon Cedel Il Commendatore Andrii Goniukov Zerlina Louise Alder Masetto Božidar Smiljanić
DirectorJonathan Kent (revival director Lloyd Wood)
Running time about 3 hours and 15 minutes with one interval. Sung in Italian with English surtitles.
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www.grosvenortravel.co.ukto beware of the treacherous Giovanni. He soon makes himself scarce, but Anna has already recognised the intruder who murdered her father. Intent on further womanising, Giovanni proposes a lavish party to which any woman is welcome. He invites Zerlina and Masetto, who are just beginning to patch things up.
Anna, Ottavio and Elvira arrive at the party in masks, intent on exposing Giovanni’s crimes. The party is in full swing, and Giovanni continues his pursuit of Zerlina. Leporello attempts to distract Mas