Our final musical event on Zoe's birthday was to the Tokyo Ballet at the Caracalla Baths, just south of the Circus Maximus. The second largest Roman public baths, built in Rome between AD 212 and 216. They would have had to install over 2,000 tons of building material every day for 6 years in order to complete it in this time. Between huge pillars, a stage had been constructed for the dancers. It was a magical experience - starting at 9pm in the dusk and gradually getting darker, with the lights coming on. The program featured 3 ballets - a set of Greek Dances by composer Mikis Theodorakis, Variations by Chopin on a theme by Mozart, ending with the Rite of Spring which was quite ferocious. However it needed more color and scenery, it was rather bland with the off-white costumes.
I went to two concerts during the week, both in the same place, the church of St. Agnes of Agone in the Piazza Navona. The concert tickets included tours of the church, it was interesting to hear 2 different guides talking about the history, learnt twice as much! The church was owned by the Pamphili family, and when one of them became pope, it became his private church, a retreat from the Vatican. Although not as splendid as St. Peter's, there is beautiful sculpture work by Bernini and Borromini throughout, as well as paintings. There is a shrine to St. Cecilia, patron saint of Music. The concerts were held in the Sacristy, not generally open to the public except for smaller concerts, it has perfect acoustics, bringing out glorious sounds from the lower strings, viola, cello, bass, and warm tones from the violins. The first concert featured music from the 18th to the 20th centuries - Piccinni, Vivaldi, Rossini and Respighi. I especially complimented the violist on his beautiful playing of the solo in the Respighi Passacalia. The cellist and bass were no slouches either. In fact the whole ensemble was excellent, great tempos and easy interactions between the players. A really fine concert.
Two days later I returned to the church to hear a vocal quartet with Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque instruments. Another marvelous ensemble. The first half of the concert was in the Sacristy, the second half in the Sanctuary, also with great acoustics. I'd love to hear the Verdi Requiem in there.
June 17th-July 22, 2014.
A few days in England before flying to Rome for my grand-daughter Zoe's ballet recital. The Italians are very serious about their recitals and although Zoe is only 6 years old, she was expected to look like a pro, with her hair slicked back just like a prima ballerina! There were 25 "acts" representing the studio with children from 3 years old to teenagers. Zoe danced in 4 of them, classical (Nutcracker, 2 dances), jazz (a number from the movie Foot Loose), and "Timber, a cowboy act by rapper Pitbull! The teachers joined in at times too! Each act was costumed, with different themes according to the music selected. Great variety of musical and dance styles. A typical Italian evening, the show was to begin at 7:30pm at the Teatro Dell' Angelo, but actually started at 8:00pm and continued until 10:30pm. But that's the Italian way, and when in Rome ........ Everyone had a great time, we were so proud of Zoe.