Pafos Aphrodite Opera Festival, ballet dancers Marian St Claire and Michael Beare, Liverpool Art Prize, Turner Prize, Playhouse centenary, RLPO ticket sale, Fab Collective and news of a new arts podcast
A BONANZA post today to mark the start of the new season...
AS I mentioned in my previous blog post, I spent the weekend in Cyprus at an opera festival. There is no Liverpool connection whatsoever - yes I know, even though Scousers get everywhere - but as Pafos is so popular with British holidaymakers there's a chance some of you might be tempted to go out there next year.
No hang on, there is a slight link - Pafos is currently bidding to be Capital of Culture and it's Aphrodite Festival is a strong part of its bid. It's the 13th year of the opera festival and each time they build an outdoor auditorium next to the medieval castle in the harbour for just three performances.
We sat under the stars to watch it and made the most of a woman in front of us cooling her husband with a giant fan as it was quite a humid evening. It was fun - although it took a while to warm up and some of the video projections were a bit dodgy. The orchestra and the singers were great. I also enjoyed the rare experience of watching a production without having to review it.
IF YOU didn't pick up a copy of last Wednesday's Daily Post then you might be interested in my interview with Marian St Claire and Michael Beare, the ballet dancers who performed with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev amongst others. Interviewing them was a real treat - they had so many interesting anecdotes - and I felt a bit heartbroken having to cut everything back into a 1,000-word piece. I'll just have to find an excuse to write another feature about them in the future.
There also wasn't room to run as many photos as I would have liked so here are a few more for you to enjoy....
Marian dancing Le Corsaire with London City Ballet in 1985. Photo by Peter Teigen
Michael in La Sylphide for Scottish Ballet in 1974
Marian as Odile in Swan Lake for London City Ballet. Picture by Peter Mares
Marian with Princess Diana
With Princess Diana and Dame Margot Fonteyn at Claridges
Dancing The Nutcracker together in 1973
Marian St Claire and Michael Beare today. Picture by Colin Lane
NOMINATIONS have opened for next year's Liverpool Art Prize - anyone can enter, on their own behalf or for someone else. You have until November 25 to compete the online form.
I've been one of the judges of the prize for the past two years and have really enjoyed being a part of it. It's a great opportunity for local artists and something Liverpool should be really proud of. I was interview by BBC Newcastle last week for a programme about the Turner Prize going to the Baltic gallery in Gateshead and the Art Prize was one of the things I mentioned as an example of how the Liverpool arts scene took advantage of the Turner Prize being at Tate Liverpool in 2007 - although it was originally a protest against there being no local short-listed artist in the national competition.
Artinliverpool.com, which runs the prize, has decided not to continue with the exhibition listings section of its website - a great loss to the local arts scene. Ian and Minako Jackson have done a fantastic job in promoting the work of artists and for several years Artinliverpool.com has been an invaluable resource as well as building a sense of community. Some good news however, is that the Independents website, which usually only focuses on the Independents strand of the Liverpool Biennial, will now host exhibitions listings all year round.
A COUPLE of things to look out for:
If you happen to be in Leeds on the weekend of September 22-24 you might want to take part in this. It's described as a "zombie chase game" and sounds like a lot of fun.
The Liverpool Playhouse is bringing out a new book of its history in November to mark its centenary - more of that later. But in the meantime if you can get your hands on a copy of The Liverpool Repetory Theatre by Grace Wyndham Goldie it's well worth it. It's out of print now but you can find secondhand copies fairly cheap online at Abe Books. I started having a bit of a flick through when mine arrived in the post a couple of weeks ago and ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting. Described as "the first lady of television", Wyndham Goldie is a fascinating character too - I've added her biography to my must read list.
The Philharmonic Hall is selling 100 concert tickets for £1 each for one day only. You have to buy them in person at the hall box office on Sunday (September 11, 2011) and they include the RLPO, Jack Jones, Carthy and Swarbrick and Anoushka Shankar. There's a four ticket limit per person per event.
The Fab Collective is holding an auction of its work at St Lukes "Bombed Out" Church to raise money for Urban Strawberry Lunch, the organisation that keeps the building open to visitors and holds events such as exhibitions and film screenings inside its walls. It was turned down for Arts Council funding so relies on fundraising initiatives such as this to keep it going. Click here for more information and to view the photographs up for auction - look out for Richard Cooper's superb Bomber. You can email bids if you can't make the event at the Church on Friday evening.
And finally... I and Catherine Jones, the Liverpool Echo arts editor, have launched a new weekly podcast today in which we'll be pointing out a few of the highlights coming up that week. Catherine is up first, talking about We Will Rock You and the RLPO's new season.
You can find it on both newspapers' websites.