Saturday, 5 November 2016

Amadeus, the National Theatre, Southbank, London

Images from the National Theatre web site
An ambitious production melding classical music with melodrama, theology and comedy, Amadeus follows the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart through the jealous eyes of Vienna's incumbent court composer Antonio Salieri. Once you get past the strangely lethargic and dreary opening monologue, Salieri springs out of his wheelchair and back in time to when Mozart first arrives in Vienna. The play also springs to life, harmoniously working extracts of soaring Mozart's operas into the narrative, which traces how Salieri comes to terms with the fact that he is a mediocre composer and that Mozart, rather than him, is God's instrument on earth.  At times the storyline's exploration of the nature of genius and its impact on others is both compelling and entertaining. In one memorable scene, Salieri plays a dull welcome march he has composed for Mozart. A little while later, the prodigy vaults over to the harpsichord and plays Salieri's march back by memory, embellishing it with flourishes that ultimately transform it into a fine piece of music.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Coach & Horses, Hill Street, Mayfair, central London

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Hotel Plasky, Avenue Eugène Plasky, Brussels

Some of the quiet and comfortable rooms on the sixth floor of Hotel Plasky have fine views over the north side of Brussels. In one room, the basic and clinical en-suite bathroom even has its own balcony overlooking the suburbs below.

Charles Buls Fountain, Rue du Marché aux Herbes, Brussels

The Mayor of Brussels at the end of the nineteenth century, Charles Bruls is credited by Wikipedia with protecting Brussels' historic heart from redevelopment by King Leopold II.

Lycée Emile Jacqmain, Rue Béliard, Brussels

Housed in the former Institute of Physiology,  a beautiful building, Lycée Emile Jacqmain is enviably situated on the edge of Leopold Park in Brussels' European district. Its pupils can be seen running around this hilly green space.  In 1927, the building hosted the fifth Solvay Conference, which brought together Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Marie Curie and more than a dozen other Nobel prize winners to discuss Quantum Theory. 

Edificio - Bibliothèque Solvay, Parc Léopold, Brussels

The stunning interior of this 114-year old building is something of a shock after the fairly restrained stone exterior. Reopened in 1994, after extensive and painstaking restoration work, the centrepiece is a magnificent lecture hall lined with wood panelling, leather bound books, lead-paned windows and intricate wrought iron work, and sheltered by a soaring arched ceiling. Built as the Institute of Sociology and bathed in natural light, the Edificio - Bibliothèque Solvay is a sublime work of art in its own right.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

South Dock, Canary Wharf, south London

A newly-built twisted skyscraper with 45 stories, Baltimore Tower is designed to be a green apartment block with solar panels and a brasserie-bar at the top