Saturday, 6 February 2010

Blame it on Bizet

In a departure from the fictional offerings that usually form the centrepiece of a SVA meeting, Charlotte surprised us with a journalistic debut. It turns out Charlotte is an opera enthusiast and, when asked to produce a piece for the group's scrutiny, came up with a review of a live broadcast of Richard Eyre’s production of Carmen. Now I have to confess I have never liked opera so Charlotte's review might have left me cold. I do, though, always appreciate exuberant writing and Charlotte’s bold, confident style, her obvious enjoyment of this production and her surprisingly deep knowledge of the subject bowled over the whole group

It is notoriously difficult to write about music. A strange aphorism attributed to Elvis Costello argues that “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture; it's a really stupid thing to want to do.” Charlotte, though, managed to write convincingly about the music and drama of this unusual cinematic experience of opera.

It is one thing to offer up a piece of writing for the consideration of the group and another to read it aloud in a pub. If she was anxious about this, Charlotte's strong, clear voice betrayed little self-consciousness.

Discussion ensued about the usage of 'amongst ' as compared with 'among' and Chris seemed particularly pleased with himself at spotting not only the occasional English grammatical error but a French one too. I blame Bizet.

The group were much exercised with the question of how much a delightfully youthful authorial voice should be tempered. None of us wanted to edit out that ebullience. One solution we hit upon was to put Charlotte forward for the presumably non-existent job of opera critic of the NME.

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