I Fly to Bulgaria

Monday 17th December 2018

Club Class for the very last time possibly. Anthony Mottram and I had tray lunch at Sofia bus station, then bus-ed to Plovdiv. Glorious weather. Lunch v. acceptable: meat patties, grains, no Chopska though. Before boarding we visited Bulgaria National Gallery. It was a few rooms of dried up parquet and ancient cream paint: big modern splurgy paintings in small numbers. Not clear what had happened to the Bulgarian National Collection. I was just egging Anthony Mottram on to take a snoop graph of an outstanding Bulgarian beetroot rinse (the classic lady hair shade of Bulgaria) when at the exact moment another even more supreme demonstration of the mode appeared in a doorway.

That was the big event of the morning.

I was rather dreading the bus journey but there was even a toilet on board. The luggage was carefully tended by the driver so no risk of bandits making off with it. I was planning an Eddie Redmayne look for the Opera opening only done by Topman cap a ped. Plovdiv is picturesque in the old part: ferocious cobbles. Impossible to get along even in flat shoes. Hilly. Handsome stucco merchants’ houses with shallow-arched casement windows as you see in Istanbul; front door in a recessed arcade with three Islamic arches. Within much wood and carving. We were at the Hebros where I reminded Anthony Mottram, 20 years ago, he had shouted out of the window in the middle of the night at a horrible American man who was talking dirty at a woman in the street. But AM didn’t remember. You would assume nobody would talk like that outside of a porn movie. The man wasn’t drunk. He just didn’t realise everybody could hear. So maybe more get up to this sort of thing than statistics have laid down for our guidance.

Although AM did remember the living toilet, of course. Who could forget the living toilet? It manifested itself in Club class on the Prague-Sofia flight the year of the Prague floods which was 2002. The toilet flap was flapping wildly, stopping then starting again, condemned forever to bang and bang. Clearly it was trying to say something or to escape. It was a deeply human sound.

We dined quietly after meeting with Constanza, who was directing the production of Cosi. It’s her first opera. She said Cosi was baroque and the singers had been alarmed that she had not blocked out their movements in advance. There was much to discuss re: the Orphans, the state of Bulgaria, Plovdiv being the City of Culture in 2019 etc. I don’t know whether we’ll ever get the Summer Drama Festival back which Constanza used to direct at Shiroka Luka.  At dinner we furthered the quest for the ideal Chopska but the next day Constanza said it should never have red pepper in it.

After resting on the Saturday and after another Chopska at luncheon, without red pepper, we set out for Cosi at the Plovdiv Culture House. I wore my Eddie Redmayne get-up. I’d come from London for Cosi at Plovdiv. One of the Orphans was present. Well, it was extraordinary. Constanza had got the singers to arrive at, by means of improvisation and collaboration, highly artificial movements, very demanding and athletic. For instance in one of the arias when the lovers are parting, they had to waltz and keep falling over. So the style of the production was a kind of mad comedy, beautifully executed with confidence and aplomb. Singing and orch also quite up to scratch. It was a revelation. Made perfect sense. The mu of Cosi so sincere and passionate throughout and the story so absurd and contemptible. No attempt to explain or make sense so somehow it added up. It’s quite possible to be sublime and ridiculous at the same time.

Afterwards there was a restaurant party but Chopska was not demonstrated. The next morning AM met with some ex-Orphans in a cafe while I did a piece to camera about the Romanovs in the hotel. Then we returned by car to Sofia. All the time pulsing in the background was wracking worry about my mineral interests in the Far West. I was thankful to have the support of an International Businessman of AM’s calibre. He saw exactly what was going on. I returned Club on the Monday. Bought Rose Petal Turkish Delight and two jars of nuts with honey at the airport. Latter intended as Christmas presents but I have eaten both.

My Eddie Redmayne Look for Cosi at Plovdiv

My Eddie Redmayne Look for Cosi at Plovdiv

Cosi was Given at Plovdiv

Cosi was Given at Plovdiv

Opera-going Greatness of Plovdiv

Opera-going Greatness of Plovdiv

 

 

Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2018 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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3 comments

  1. laura malcolm says:

    I see the star of Cosi is sporting a Bulgarian beetroot rinse. Lamentable, but on balance preferable to the aubergine short-back-and-sides favoured by Norman ladies.

  2. Adrian Edge says:

    Yes! Why didn’t I see that. So the Cycle of Rinses is complete.

  3. Roger Mueller says:

    Your Eddie Redmayne tailoring is splendid.

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