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Opening night

Tempestuous operas (and there are three of those tonight, in one way or another) don't demand a similar climate in which they are to be performed, so I am pleased that the breeze will have dropped by the time Puccini's gloriously evocative prelude to Il tabarro begins tonight. The annual narrative of quips, weather analogies and tales of stoicism has begun among our friendly critics; I think they do it to annoy me. Twenty six years of casting an eye to the sky, and designing a theatre to try to withstand the British summer, has done little to dampen (boom boom) my irascibility on grey opening nights, and I will be there all day barking and groaning at all and sundry to ensure everything is ship shape and bristol fashion for tonight; our operations manager considers this his worst day of the year. But the theatre WILL again look beautiful and the magic WILL arrive. Just wear a bloody coat.

All the preparation has the effect of deferring my excitement for the artistic endeavours ahead, the rehearsals for which have, in recent days, been swirling around us as we fashion and polish the theatre, interrupting conversations and reminding us of what it is all for. The dress rehearsal for Il trittico brought things more sharply into focus and audiences have much to look forward to.

First one to moan about being cold gets sworn at in Neapolitan.

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