It's been an eventful week for the Miles family. Firstly there was Jono's TV appearance with his band The Arrangement in the third semi-final of Britain's Got Talent. They did a fantastic job but failed to garner enough 'phone votes to proceed to the final. This has obviously been a big disappointment especially since the response from the studio audience to their performance was so enthusiastic and easily outdid that given to any of the other acts that evening. Was it just me who sensed a certain froideur on the part of the judges, as if they had received instructions not to be too positive in their comments whatever the audience reaction might be? Very possibly! They all said some lovely things about Jono being a wonderfully charismatic frontman, but I'm afraid I took exception to Piers Morgan's sententious appraisal of their musical (and Jono's vocal) abilities. Whatever euterpean credentials Piers has collected over the years - and I doubt he has any, unless possibly you include grade one recorder at age seven - he's kept them very well hidden!
Simon Cowell wasn't much better. His comments regarding the divisive merits of Marmite seemed designed primarily to insult Piers rather than give any cogent critique of the band. And I thought his use of the word "despise" particularly unfortunate: he said people would either love them or despise them - just as they would Piers or Marmite. Sorry Simon, but aren't you being just a tad hyperbolic here? You might justifiably despise politicians for their cant and hypocrisy, just as you might fat-cat bankers who have single-handedly ruined our economy and then demanded tax payer bailouts because they're too big to fail. But honestly, what is there to despise about a bunch of teenagers who have shown considerable perseverence, courage and yes, talent, in getting so far in a nationally televised competition? It's not as if they've gone out and desecrated the local war memorial for f****'* sake!!
At the moment of writing it doesn't look like they've made it on to the BGT Tour either. Shame, as they're a great live act and would bring something edgy, funny AND very musical to the shows.
So back to my own activities over the past week which seem rather prosaic in comparison! It was the premier of Medea in Corinto here in Munich last Monday, and a great success it was too. Until, that is, the curtain call for the director, whereupon the atmosphere shifted instantaneously to the noisily negative. If you like your opera stagings full of violence and a final body count to rival the worst excesses of Tarantino, then this show is for you! I have to say I relished my role. Not that I have a great deal to sing, but as King Creonte of Corinth I get to limp around the stage hamming it up uproariously as a kind of Nosferatu/Quasimodo/Crespel hybrid, complete with luxuriant Jimmy Page-style wig and huge hunchback. Great fun!
And finally, I've been asked at the last minute to step into the breach for Glyndebourne as the Commendatore in their imminent new production of Don Giovanni (opens July 4th). This will involve some hectic commuting between Medea performances so I only hope my constitution is up to it. The Commendatore isn't a big role either, of course, but when he's on stage you certainly can't miss him and for the supper scene to be truly terrifying, it has to be sung with maximum power and conviction. I've been told I have to stay in a coffin for forty minutes prior to this scene so it could be quite a challenge.... Please wish me luck!
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