Thursday, July 16, 2009


Coming home isn't as easy as it used to be. Even K said, as that strange orange red light of sunrise at several thousand feet leaked into the plane, and we dropped down over the blackness, that he doesn't get that warm fuzzy feeling of coming home anymore, or at least quite as much. There's books to be written about attachment, especially to birthplace. As K noted, when you're away, at first you tend to filter out the not-so-good things, and then when you're home, you tend to filter the other way around. Attachments. 

I'll be remembering our last days in Provence when time allows, but part of the bumpy landing was some good news and then some not so good.

The good news was all the usual personal things, dogs, home, trees, bed, dogs, and dogs. But two close friends have bad health news. And news is coming in of Sir Edward and Lady Downes deaths. The Sydney Morning Herald tribute is here and The New York Times is here. The Herald has it pretty well summed up, especially the memories of the '72 Rosenkavalier (with the incomparable, that's incomparable, sublime Yvonne Minton), the world-watched '73 Opera House opening War and Peace (his translation I think), and yes yes to the Jenufa (Koppel-Winter, Connell, Gard) the next year, something I've already given my usual dose of hyperbole. It was the first time I cried at an opera.

The Downes's son thought his parents chose a "very civilised way" to end their lives. I hope I am so lucky.

One more thing.  I suspect it was his tenure that set the seeds of not only Janacek, but Britten. The first I remember was Albert Herring, but time stops me looking into this now. There should be a biennial Britten festival in Sydney, summer, and it should carry his (Downes) name.

So to some good news. Here she is, the great one,  "absolutely determined", recovered and still with that smile that is both humble and can beam down an audience, just like the voice did. Go Joan.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Go Joan indeed. That's a great clip.