Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Night at the Opera
It was our 10th wedding anniversary back in June. We wanted to celebrate but at the time there was nothing we particularly wanted (could afford more like) to do, so we booked to go to the Sferisterio in Macerata last week.

In July and August, it is the venue for an open-air Opera festival. The Sferisterio is recognised as the second best open air opera theatre in Italy after Verona and the third best opera venue overall after Milan (La Scala) and Verona. We went to see Tosca by Puccini.

Before the performance, we went and picked up our tickets – good old Internet – and found a small café to have an aperitif, well, all right a beer. The café had some tables under cover and some which spilled onto the piazza in front of it. We chose to go under cover, a) because it was cooler and b) no one else was there, they were all out in the piazza. We had just sat down at a table and I had put down a little street map we had of the city when, plop, a great big pigeon pooh landed on the table just beside the map. The proprietor had seen this and rushed out being very apologetic – I don’t think it was his pigeon somehow - with his arms waving and yelling at the flying rat to go away which was perched high up towards the ceiling. It did. Now we know why the rest of the customers were sitting in the piazza.
We then went off to grab a pizza. We had found out the name of the best pizza restaurant in Macerata (San Silvano). I think about 3000 others had found this out too. We had a lovely pizza there. First rate.

The opera was brilliant. The arena is amazing. As you will see from the photos, it is like half an oval, straightened up a bit at both ends – OK, I didn’t study architecture, so I don’t know what the correct architectural term for the design. The stage stretched along the straight, back wall is therefore very long. The audience sits along the curved side opposite and consists of stall, a sort of low circle and above that many, many boxes separated by stone columns.
The acoustics were fantastic. No microphones were used and you could hear every part of the songs from the quietest notes to big, full on arias which of course are the ones most known. The orchestra was excellent.
As usual over here you can wear what you like. Some of the audience were dressed up to the nines whilst others (ourselves included) were very casually attired. It all made for wonderful relaxing and enjoyable time.
Just sitting there at 11:30 at night, in shirtsleeves, the clear half-moon and stars way above with this wonderful entertainment in front of you was pretty magical actually. The way the arena was built allowed for no noise from outside to penetrate. Extraordinary really.
Driving home we both thought that this would be great place to celebrate next year too.

If you want to see more information on the Sferisterio you can go to:
www.sferesterio.it They do have an English “button”

Cuddle – Italian Summer Style

The summer here continues to be hot and dry (as in rain, not humidity which can be very high). Now the Duchessa and I are very partial to cuddling. We do like a good hug now and then. However, recently the thought of any bodily contact with the consequent rise in body temperature is a bit of anathema to both of us. A big hot hug is something we could not pursue right now. In fact, we have decided that the best thing we can do is to constantly play the game Statures. I bet you remember playing this. You have to stay as still as possible. The first person to move is out. The game starts again and so on until there is only one person left and they win the game. Admittedly this is not a very adult game, but so what, it illustrates the problem extremely well. It works. It works so well in fact that there has been no winner yet. Unfortunately, very little gets done. So a slight re-think might be in order, or an alternative. Individual walk-in portable fridges perhaps?
Anyway, back to the cuddles. We have come up with a solution. Not a great one, but a solution nonetheless. We call it the Italian Summer Hug or ISH for short – see the picture below.

We can hug like this for, ooh, about 20 seconds before our fingertips glow with heat and get so wet they just slip off each other.
I am thinking of taking out an Italian patent on the idea, but I will need to brush up on my EU/Italian patent laws first.

Where has he gone?

I did some strimming the other day. As we have mentioned before any manual work really needs to be done by mid-morning or else something terrible could happen. I was a little bit late going out to do some strimming. It was getting hotter and hotter but there was a piece of ground I really wanted to finish so I pressed on a bit longer than I perhaps should have.
I arrived back at the house in my strimming gear – you really need to wear long trousers and wellies to avoid flying bits of green vegetation attacking your legs. I obviously looked warm as the Duchessa said, “I hope you not thinking of coming into the house like that and dripping all over the floor and furniture. Just go and sit down and cool down first”
“But it’s quite warm out here. Where am I going to get cool?”
”Just do as I say and you can come in later” she ended the conversation. So, being the compliant l’uomo chi fa, I did as I was asked and, well, you can see the result for yourselves. This was how she found me two hours later.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

No comments: