... well, sort of. I'm not sure whether Bonn Opera actually had Halloween in mind when they scheduled the opening night of their production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor (based on Walter Scott's Bride of Lammermoor) -- it's not overly likely, though I wouldn't put it past them -- but it of course fits the topic admirably, and thus made for a very nice post-blackout final accord to the bingo for me ...
... even more so as starring in the title role was Julia Novikova, who debuted in Bonn a few years ago and has since enjoyed a rather impressively successful career, which at a very young age has already taken her, inter alia, to Vienna and Salzburg -- and who, of course, gave a phantastic performance as Lucia.
(Ms. Novikova in the "mad scene")
No video of her as Lucia yet, but here she is with the "Moon Song" from one of my all-time favorite operas, Dvorak's Rusalka
... and for the German speakers, here's a brief portrait from her debut season at Bonn Opera.
And this, finally, is the famous "mad scene" from Lucia di Lammermoor with Natalie Dessay starring as Lucia (I much preferred Ms. Novikova's version, though):
(If the videos don't show in dashboard view, btw, follow the links to watch them on Youtube -- or open the post in blog view; they should show alright there.)
A great month of reading with some gorgeous book covers - just what I needed after a couple of disappointing months.
I'm still working my way through Jesuit Letter and A Burnable Book but had to include them because - look at those covers! Yes, I am in cover love this month.
How to be a Tudor was fabulous & I will get a review up for it soon. However, the best book of the month was definitely Henry Vyner-Brooks' The Heretic. It is an amazingly stand out novel, complex & thought provoking but also full of action.
A Rule Against Murder
A Burnable Book
Medieval Britain in 100 Facts
The Jesuit Letter
This was a re-read for me, and I do have to admit that I have either become more generous with my ratings or this one deserved higher the first time. Bumping it from 3 to 4 stars, I feel that this book is more fairly rated even if I still didn't enjoy it as much as I would expect to like a story full of adventure, chivalry, plot twists, and Richard the Lionheart.
The greatest turnoff for me is the flowery 19th century writing. I can appreciate the slow story building and verboseness that is common for this time period in some authors, but this one let my mind wander too much. It felt like action was described in such flowery detail that the action disappeared.
That being said, the intertwining tales that bring together knights, Templars, a Saxon heiress, Jewish moneylender, forest outlaw, and the king of England has to have some merit. Ivanhoe offers up fun surprises & innocent romance along with somewhat questionable history. If you are looking for the source of romantic chivalry and the beloved Richard I who exists only in novels, you have found it. However, if you go into reading it knowing that, it is an enjoyable tale.
The women are beautiful, men honorable . . . except the villains who are thoroughly bad and predictably defeated. Think of it as the 19th century version of 'A Knight's Tale' and the anachronisms and stereotypes are just part of the fun.
I know, I know. You're thinking, "Samantha, there is no way you will read all those this month . . . even if it does have 29 days."
You are right, but I just can't help myself.
The Heretic I have already started and am loving it. It was just what I needed after too many duds over the last couple of months.
The Jesuit Letter is entered for the current MM Bennetts Historical Fiction Award, so I am reading as part of judging for that. And because I wanted to read it. Did you see that awesome cover?
A Burnable Book is a reread in preparation for Invention of Fire and as part of More Historical than Fiction. Join us!
Ivanhoe is for my local book club & I'm hoping to listen to it rather than reread it. I don't remember being amazed the first time.
The rest are just books that look awesome & I cannot wait to get to! Happy February reading!