When I was Artistic Director of Wexford all those years ago (1967-73) I made a mark with productions of 19th French opera repertoire that was not so widely performed in those days. We began in 1967 with Roméo et Juliette (yes, a rarity in those days), continued with La Jolie Fille de Perth (still little performed) and went on to Les Pecheurs de Perles and Lakmé.
I have always retained a particularly sentimental attachment to Lakmé. It was something of a sensation at Wexford because of the appearance by the remarkable Martinique soprano Christiane Eda-Pierre in the title role. And she fell in love with Wexford and returned to sing in Pecheurs de Perles as well as Bellini's Il pirata.
So it was with huge pleasure that I went to Holland Park on Saturday evening to see Lakmé for the first time in more than 40 years! And I was not disappointed. It is to James Clutton's huge credit that he produced this piece at all, and to have cast it so beautifully was a considerable achievement. There was pleasure to be had from the whole cast - a wonderful pair of young men sung and played by Robert Murray and Nicholas Lester, and an impeccably sung Lakmé from Fflur Wyn. And the excellent Holland Park Opera Chorus made a fine contribution......what gorgeous music this is and what a pleasure to wallow in it again!
I am having a quiet week in sunny London, but off to Glyndebourne again on Thursday for the opening of Saul - then to Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico on Sunday - away for 10 days.