Tosca and London Lumiere

I was 75 last week and Valerie took me to see Tosca at the Royal Opera House for her birthday present to me; it was my first visit to this most magnificent building and theatre.  We went first to Leicester Square to see the London Lumiére installation.  There were several across London with different themes and this one was flora and fauna depicted in a most beautiful way.  It was a lovely beginning to a special evening.  Here are some of the photographs that I took.


As the lights had only just been switched on so the Square was not too crowded.  It still had the buzz of London that always gives me such a thrill.

Lumiere Fox

The fox was magnificent.

Lumiere Hare

as was the hare…

and the Falcons

The butterflies were on a carousel but, as usual, I did not think to video them.

Lumiere Butterflies 1

Lumiere Butterflies 2

We then walked up Long Acre towards Covent Garden.  There used to be a great shop here, the 80s I think, called Flic Flac that sold vintage clothes where I bought a Palm Beach Seersucker Jacket  that I was immensely proud of.  It was ideal for travelling and hot weather and England too.  The link shows one with trousers but I had just the jacket.

The Royal Opera House – the link is to a site with more detail – is a glorious building, somewhat marred by building works but still fabulous.  We were early and had sandwiches and tea in the Champagne bar which has magnificent cast iron pillars and huge mirrors reflecting the room.  It was a treat just sitting, looking.


We were a bit surprised at how “dressed down” people were.  I felt positively overdressed in my black silk roll neck top,  black corduroy jacket and Mephisto shoes; my poet’s garb.  I wasn’t expecting white silk scarves and top hats but perhaps Thursday is dress-down day.

Toscais one of my favourite Puccini operas, lots of horn and brass, melodramatic, passionate, evil and everyone dies.  Here is a YouTube link to Pavarotti singing one of the Arias.

We had great seats in the back row of the Grand Tier where the screen for the English subtitles was only just above our eye level which made it easy to read without distraction.  I had a friend in chorus at the ENO at the Coliseum and she would get me free tickets which was wonderful, she retired so they are no more.  The operas are sung in English at the ENO (English National Opera) but the music and singing soar in the original Italian, true Bel Cantowhich cannot be achieved in English.

I have used the image of the luxurious safety curtain embroided in Gold in the feature image above but I like it so here it is again.  Every seat was filled by the time the performance began.


The sets were elaborate, sumptuous, beautiful and sinister at the same time.  I would not photograph the set or performance but here is the final bow which does not show the set.


And so home just before midnight, very late for someone who is normally in bed by 10.

We both enjoyed the evening very much indeed.  It was a wonderful birthday present thank you Valerie!  We have now booked up to see Carmen in March.  Same seats!

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