I decided to have a weekend in town and went into London last Saturday. I spent the night at the Hilton (on my frequent-flyer miles) and went to see the English National Opera company perform Verdi’s Aida, at the London Coleseum.
But first, I had a light dinner at the Embassy of Texas. Yes, this is a "cantina" right off Trafalgar Square that serves nachos, ribs, and Lone Star beer, with Clay Aiken, Rascal Flats, and Clint Black on the jukebox. Not a real cowboy in sight, nor any hats or boots, but the atmosphere and food were still pretty good.
Despite the name, the London Coleseum turned out not to be a convention center or ice skating rink, but a 102-year old, 2000-seat, very ornate opera house. The largest performance space in London, said an usher, though I imagine the Covent Garden Opera House would contest that. I had a good seat and the singers and orchestra were great. The production design was weird, though, (over)done by some aging fashion designer, to the point of distraction. The lighting was nothing special, just adequate, but overall it was an enjoyable performance nonetheless. I’m not sure if I like Italian opera sung in English – seems like some of the beauty was lost.
I slept like a rock at the Hilton, got up late, had the deluxe breakfast at the hotel, then took the train back to Reading in time to go to a great professional Rugby match. That about covered the cultural spectrum. So it was a great weekend, all in all.