Friday, December 09, 2016

A very normal morning

This morning, Peter and I picked up Delila, who's back on duty. We then bought coffee beans in Brunswick Street and picked up Frank and went to Victoria Gardens for a big shop as it has to last till we go to Gippsland. Then we had a very good brunch at the Bluebird Cafe in Johnston Street. Now for a nap then Peter is off to dinner with Robin S. and friends so I'll have a dinner from the freezer on my Pat Malone.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

A good post-Ring concert

Yesterday (Wednesday), we had to leave early in the afternoon to make the performance of 'Gotterdammerung', which started at 4pm. The first act is a bit of a marathon but things speed up after that. The 'minimalist' production worked well and we had good munga at both intervals plus a bit of plonk. We had new people this time at dinner. Both Brunnhilde and Siegried sang well at full pelt as did Hagen and the rest of the cast, though the bogan bridesmaids in the wedding scene jarred a bit. Surely the Gibiches didn't have that much bad taste. In common with the rest of the Ring, it was hard to come down after all that fire, sturm and drang. The whole Ring experience was well worthwhile. The people whom we sat next to at dinner were from Sydney and lamented the gutting of the original opera house which prevents the staging of a Ring in Sydney. The orchestra simply would not fit without removing half of the audience and making the whole deal uneconomic. We weep for you Sydney. This morning I went off early to see the vampires at the Hospital to give blood. Unfortunately, this time I had a student who missed the vein so the usual vampire had to take over. Sigh! They have to learn. On the way home I got some quiches and potato salad for lunch from Parisienne Pate in Lygon St. Peter went off to his art gallery class for U3A and I had a nap, then we remet at the Recital Centre for the Australian Piano Quartet. They did a transcription of the prelude and liebestod from 'Tristan and Isolde', a good way of coming down from the Ring Cycle. Then there was a premiere of part of a piece by Elliott Gyger, 'Shell Chambers', very good. Then Faure's bravura first piano quartet. A very satisfying concert. We had a quick bite at a new Indonesian eatery, Fat Oma, near the Bourke St tram stop in Swanston St. It is amazingly cheap but also packed, mainly by Indonesians, I think. A good sign and good food, very spicy. Home again for a quiet night.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016


Sunday was a quiet day at home with the crossword and leftovers for lunch. Peter made a splendid lamb curry with couscous plus spiced rice for dinner, a lot of trouble, but there is lots leftover. On Monday, I went to the health centre to collect some pills then early in the arvo we headed for the State Theatre where we saw the third in the Rinse Cycle, 'Siegfried'. It was a thrilling experience. The orchestra was in full throat as was Stefan Vinke in the title role. The rest of the cast acquitted themselves admirably. As well, the food and the company during the interval was excellent if a bit quirky like the production (fish with red wine and shredded ham??). It is very hard to come down after the blasts of Wagnerian sound, so with the show finishing after 11pm, it is hard to get to bed before 1am at the earliest. Last round is on Wednesday.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Visit to the past in the present

After an early morning peruse of the papers (The Saturday Paper and the Saturday Rupert, we only buy it for the arts section), Peter and I headed for the University of Melbourne University House for a part of the 21st symposium of Australian gastronomy. We only went for the lunch though when we got there we were fortunate enough to catch a part of Bruce Pascoe's talk about Aboriginal agriculture among other things. Then followed a short talk by Max Allan and descendants of the Barak and the de Pury families: neighbours in the Healesville area in the nineteenth century. To give corporeal form to the idea, as well as the descendants, there was a lunch made entirely from produce from the area: vine leaves made into dolmades, smoked eel pate, spit-roasted Yeringberg lamb plus spuds and salad with Yarra Valley cherries and strawberries and raspberries with cream. All of this was washed down with Yering station wines and beer from the Watts River brewery. It was a splendid and moving occcasion. Home again for a nap and a very simple dinner of oysters plus fish cakes.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Beginning Wagner

On Wednesday, we had our first part of the Rinse Cycle. 'Das Rheingold' (after a quick meal at Yoyogi) was superbly sung and played with a production which was somewhat quirky but absorbing. A bit out of time, but a Trump Tower apartment (bling, bling, bling) might have been more appropriate for the Gods than taxidermy, but never mind. It all worked and we're looking forward to the next instalment tonight. Just a bit of tidying on Thursday, followed by the last old Penguini dinner for the year. Many people were absent on family things (it is that time of year) but a small group enjoyed a good meal and mag at Zen in Hawthorn. Today, we did normal shopping (but with Constantine not Delila as she was unavailable). We then went with Frank to Addict for a very good lunch. In the early afternoon, it was off to the State Theatre for part two of the Rinse Cycle. It was my favourite ('Die Walkure'). The entire cast made a good fist of it, especially Bradley Daley and Amber Wagner as Sigmund and Sieglinde. A woman at dinner said they really looked like twins, which she thought was a bit creepy. Well, it is. Also Lise Lindstrom made a good start as Brunnhilde without the poundage. Fricka and Wotan were a little underpowered but not too much so, and the Valkyries were suitably boisterous. It was also our first night for eating in the venue and we had a very posh dinner (entree and mains at first interval and dessert at the second). One man picked the wrong table so we had to squeeze up a bit, but he'd sorted it out by dessert (what a nong). We look forward to some good munga at the next two operas, but why do the men feel they have to wear suits and ties?