Sydney Opera House
I enjoy the performing arts and in particular live theatre. My favourite London West End shows are stage musicals by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron MacIntosh. My preferred musicals are "Les Miserable", Phantom of the Opera and "Miss Saigon".
Here in the City of Plymouth we are extremely privileged to have the Theatre Royal (www.theatreroyal.com). Since opening in 1982 it has become one of the largest and best attended regional producing theatres in Britain and the leading promotor of theatre in the South West of England. As well as welcoming the leading touring drama, opera and dance companies to the South West, the Theatre Royal produces or co-produces a number of drama and musical productions each year, many of which go on to find audiences elsewhere, either on tour or in London. The year 1996 saw no less than six Theatre Royal productions running concurrently in the West End of London - viz; Buddy, Jolson, Fame, Passion, Tolstoy and Birdy.
Over the years it has given me, my family and friends immense entertainment and pleasure for which I am truly grateful. We are all members of TRAC (Theatre Royal Applause Club).
The year 2003 saw the 21st Birthday of the Thetre Royal (www.theatreroyal.com) and we celebrated it with the opening of a brand new purpose built 8.2 million pounds Education & Production Centre on Plymouth's waterfront at Cattedown. It is affectionately known as TR2. It is an unrivalled facility that is not only capable of building large-scale productions but also rehearsing them too, all under one roof. It also houses one of the largest and most active Education departments in the U.K. We also have a very thriving Youth Theatre Company.
During a tour of Australia in September & October 2001 I was privileged to attend the Sydney Opera House where I saw a performance of Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler starring Peter Coleman-Wright as Sweeney Todd and Judi Connelli as Mrs. Lovett with the Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra conducted by Brian Salesky of USA.
My taste in music is wide and inclined to be mood dependent! My favourite piece of music is the choral finale of "An Ode to Joy" from Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No.9 in D. Op.125 which has been adopted as the European Union's anthem and incorporates my earnest wishes for mankind of Joy, Peace, Humanity and Brotherly Love. I vividly remember it being magnificently conducted by the eminent American conductor Leonard Slatkin at the "Last Night of The Proms" in The Royal Albert Hall, London on Saturday 15th September 2001 in special tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks upon America.
Never again may evil prevail !
And now a wonderfully true quotation from a very surprising source!
"I know that we can produce a society where man will cease to simply go to work and have a little leisure, but will release his latent talent and ability and begin to produce in the cultural sense all the things I know he's capable of: music, poetry, writing, sculpture, whole works of art that, at the moment, lie dormant simply because we, as a society, are not able to tap it." (Mr.Arthur Scargill, a former leader of the National Union of Mineworkers, speaking in 1982)
Mr. Scargill's words are brought to life and can best be illustrated in the book, film and latest stage musical by Lee Hall of the story of "Billy Elliot", a young lad from the north of England who grew up in a working class miner's family during the industrial strife of the 1980's. He was expected to enjoy boxing as a sport and follow his dad into the coalmines. However, he had an extraordinary talent to perform ballet and sing. The struggle to overcome blind prejudice and ultimately to achieve his ambition personifies everything encapsulated in Mr. Scargill's quotation. "Billy Elliot The Musical" directed by Stephen Daldry with music by Sir Elton John is currently being staged at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London, to high critical acclaim.
My favourite books are "Nostradamus" by the 16th century French author and such modern works as "The Late Great Planet Earth" by Hal Lindsey with C.C. Carlson and "Worlds in Collision" by Immanuel Velikovsky. I am also a fan of of the late great English novelist Catherine Cookson. I have read many of her novels and am currently enjoying The Harrogate Secret. Her biography by Kathleen Jones is next in the queue on my impending reading list. I have always admired and tried to emulate Catherine's personal motto; "I can and I will"