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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

Distractions whilst reviewing, for
classical music agony aunt ALICE McVEIGH

? ' Dear Alice,

What did you think of last night's event at the Barbican?

Ask Alice

Alice Dear Kerry,

I was in tears when I heard Obama's eloquent, heart-wrenching speech in Chicago.

YES!!!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OBAMA!!!!!!! OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry. Where was I?

Yes, a marvellous experience. Such dignity and poise; such judgement. No triumphalism, and no arrogance, just a deep integrity and a quiet confidence.

A speech of a lifetime -- and not only for African Americans but for all Americans. At last, a president for feel proud of, a President who will unite America.

Did you notice at the end, like all Presidents (even Presidents elect) he said 'God bless America', -- but he added a bit in the middle?

'God bless the United States of America', he said, and I thought that said it all. The scenes of spontaneous joy -- rich (Oprah Winfrey) and poor -- black, white and every shade in between, dancing and celebrating in New York and Washington -- were fantastic.

Perhaps the cover of The Economist said it best: a picture of Obama and the words, 'It's time'.

Editor: Alice, sorry, the question????

Alice: Oops. Yes, right, where was I?

A marvellous experience. This was Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, version one -- unbelievably, yes, an R and J with a happy ending, as Friar Lawrence rushes in just in time to stop Romeo stabbing himself, followed by a truly hilarious reconciliation scene between Capulets and Montagues and a coda with the lovers dancing together in a foreign land. (Thank God for second thoughts, eh?)

But what music!!! -- some of it (such as the coda) new to me. And most of it the familiar fabulous Prokofiev score, here done full justice by Stefan Asbury and a reduced London Symphony Orchestra. At times the choreography of Mark Morris struck me as a little too cute, but most of it was delightful and stunning, witty and moving. There wasn't a single member of the cast not electrifying, though Juliet (Rita Donohue) had feet like water and such delicate grace. Also outstanding for me was Julie Worden as Tybalt. (They also had a v good female Mercutio, for some reason unexplained, but there you go.)

Yes, the world has changed. Not that he will be able to alter much for the better in a short time -- or even in one term. But a breath of fresh air has swept over the world. White or black, pink, green or orange (and surely we're beyond colour mattering anyway?), Obama is the voice of hope in a world that had almost forgotten the meaning of the word.

Editor: Alice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alice: Sorryyyyyyyyyyyyyy ... And Carmine Lauri's violin solo was superb as well.

Copyright © 7 November 2008 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK

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