Posts Tagged ‘cathedral’

Bordeaux visit (2) – architecture, statues and concert at Le Grand Theatre

May 30, 2017

As with all the cities we visit, I took photos of the main tourist attractions, such as La Place de la Bourse (photo 1), with its magnificent frontage, large open square and the intriguing  Three Graces Fountain (photo 2) which features the daughters of Zeus.

IMG_1514

Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux (Click to enlarge)

IMG_1511

La Fontaine de Trois Graces in Bordeaux

Opposite La Bourse is a modern feature – Le Mirroir D’Eau (The Water Mirror). which is the world’s largest reflecting pool. This is a fascinating concept. Firstly, there are wonderful reflections of parts of the city e.g. in the photo below. Secondly, this is somewhere open to all and children and adults splash in the water. Thirdly, at intervals, a mist arises from the water and this is also enjoyed by the public, who walk through it, and by photographers. Le Mirroir is an excellent of a piece of public sculpture and landscaping which is both aesthetic and utilitarian, giving joy to many people.

IMG_1515

Le Mirroir D’eau in Bordeaux

It’s a very photogenic city, with some very interesting architectural features e.g. Le Grosse Cloche (good photos) and impressive statues e.g. La Fontaine des Girondins (good photos).

On the penultimate day of our holiday, we planned to do a tour of Le Grand Theatre (more below), visit Le Palais Rohan (short video) and the Basilique San Michel (good photos). We had a walk around the magnificent church but we didn’t have time to climb the tower, which is recommended for the views across the city (see website). As with cathedrals across Europe and beyond, the stonework is stunning and you have to admire the craftsmanship of the workers who built it, with medieval equipment i.e. no health and safety and not stone cutting machines. We had been to the tourist information office where the staff are friendly and generally excellent. However, they told us that we could get tickets to tour Le Palais Rohan at the palace itself. We went along and a sign said it was open at 2.30pm. We went back at the appointed time, only to be told that we needed to get tickets at the tourist information office! So, we walked back to Le Grand Theatre(short video), the home of Opera Bordeaux. When we went to book the tour, there was more frustration as the very helpful young lady told us that all the tours were full that day and the next day. Then our luck changed, as she told us that on that evening, there was a concert – and it only cost 10 euros. This was a great opportunity not only to see the interior of the theatre but to attend a performance. Going to Le Grand Theatre is normally a very expensive business.

The concert we attended featured a choir of men and women, a pianist, a conductor and three soloists. Here is the cover of the programme.

Scan_20170524

Concert programme at Le Grand Theatre in Bordeaux

Le Choeur de L’Opera National de Bordeaux (video of choir performing around Bordeaux) are led by the enthusiastic Salvatore Caputo and highly talented pianist Martine Marcuz. For this event, the choir, in 2 sections of males and females, were in superb form and performed the songs with great feeling and obvious enjoyment, and the two female and one male soloists were outstanding. The evening consisted of 18 songs related to wine and beer drinking and cafes. Examples are Verdi’s Fuoco di Gioia (video) and although the the choir were accompanied only on piano and not with an orchestra (as in the link above), they were just as effective and in some ways, the lack of an orchestra made the choir more accessible to the audience. They also performed Vaughn Williams’ Wassail Song (video) which was described in the programme as a Chanson a boire (drinking song) and they gave a lively version of it. This was a real piece of luck on our part and a very memorable evening in a grand setting. The two photos below were taken on a mobile phone, so are not the best but they do show the stage as we saw it and some of the balconies.

Bordeaux 1

Stage at Le Grand Theatre I Bordeaux

bordeaux 2

Balconies of Le Grand Theatre in Bordeaux

Lisa Hooper exhibition and Milan (1)

October 14, 2016

It’s 2 years and 11 days ago since I posted a review of an exhibition by the artist Lisa Hooper. Interestingly, Lisa calls herself “a printmaker, specialising in wildlife/bird art” and I’m sure we could have a long conversation about whether she is primarily an artist (her talent, her chosen profession) who uses print techniques or a printmaker (her craft and an aspect of her chosen profession) who produces works of art. I recognise that I may be belittling printmakers here – not the intention. Lisa’s new exhibition at Waterston House in Aberlady, HQ of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club is an outstanding collection of prints, mainly of birds but it also includes some rural landscapes. I contacted Lisa and she kindly sent me examples of her work, shown below. What attracts me to these prints are the shapes and the patterns which the artist/printmaker produces to such telling effect. When you first look at a Lisa Hooper work, you can see that there are a series of patterns which are repeated. However, when you pay more attention, you see that the patterns (and indeed the shapes within the patterns) are not exactly repeated. The first print below portrays my favourite birds – curlews. I’m lucky enough to live by the sea in Dunbar and I can watch the curlews land on the rocks through my scope. Curlews have a great ability to poke their beaks under stones and seaweed to feed. What I particularly like about this work is that the beaks have been slightly exaggerated by the artist and are black. This gives an abstract quality to the work and I think that it makes the curlews look even more magisterial than they are in real life. I also admire the way that the artist has reflected the shapes of the birds in the rocks on which they stand.

hooper-curlew-collagraph

Curlew by Lisa Hooper

The second example of Lisa Hooper’s work shown below is her impression of a short eared owl. This bird has eyes to make small mammals shiver and humans to note the presence of a fierce intelligence. Again, the shapes are exquisite and intriguing, individual but collective, both in the bird and in the representation of the stone wall behind. I also think that there’s a surreal quality to this print – the black round the eyes, the misshapen nose and the stripes on the head.

hooper-short-eared-owl

Short Eared Owl by Lisa Hooper

Two years ago, my wife bought me Lisa Hooper’s book First Impressions for my upcoming birthday and last week, while at the exhibition, my wife bought me Lisa’s new book  Printing Wildlife. So I’m looking forward to putting the new book on my little easel and turning a page every day. If you are able to get to this exhibition, you cannot fail to be impressed by the quality of the work on show here. Lisa Hooper’s prints should be viewed and then looked at more closely.

My pal Roger and I make an annual trip to a European city to see a top class football (aka soccer) match, to see the sights and enjoy the food and wine in the restaurants. This year, we went to the impressive city of Milan, with its wide streets, stunning piazzas with elegant statues, monumental architecture in the cathedral and many churches, and balconied buildings. We went to an excellent match where A C Milan won 4-3 against Sassuolo in the magnificent San Siro Stadium (scroll down for photos). Milan, as other cities, is best seen by walking through the streets, laid out on a grid system. On many occasions, you look up (as you should always do in cities) to see statues on the buildings, like this one near the arch in Porta Venezia, one of the gates into this formerly walled city.

img_0958

Statues in Milan’ Porta Venezia

The most famous building in Milan and the one to which tourists throng in their thousands, is the Duomo (good photos) – the breath-taking cathedral in the city centre. There are always long queues, so it is better to book online in advance, which we failed to do, so no inside view. The Duomo sits in a large square and you are reminded of St Mark’s Square in Venice. The cathedral is so big that you need to walk around it to appreciate its true size. When it was being built in the 14th and 15th centuries, the peasants living in the area nearby would have been amazed to see this huge structure rise from the ground. The Duomo would have been hundreds of times the size of the peasants’ houses and it would have struck awe and fear into the local population. The two photos below show this multi-spired, multi-statued work of architecture/art which remains an inspiring sight today for people who take a religious or a secular view of life.

img_0962

The Duomo in Milan

img_0970

The Duomo in Milan

Just off the square is the Gallery Vittorio Emanuele which was built in 1877 and named after a king of Italy. It has a striking glass roof, beautiful murals and a wonderful mosaic floor. It now houses upmarket shops, cafes, a hotel and the very helpful Milan Tourist Office. The photos below show the entrance and interior of the Gallery. This area is always crowded with tourists but it is certainly worth seeing.

img_0966

Arched entrance to Galleria Vittore Emanuele

img_0968

Murals in the Galleria Vittore Emanuele

img_0969

Balcony, statues and mural in the Galleria Vittore Emanuele

Faro and chicken and chorizo dish

June 20, 2014

No blog last week as we were on a week’s holiday in Portugal. There’s nothing worse than people showing you cheesy photos of holidaymakers smiling grimly at their holiday destinations, but none of that here. We were based in Faro which is in the far south east of Portugal, not that far from the Spanish border. Faro is a very historic town and the Municipal Museum has an excellent display of archaeological items and there is a magnificent Roman mosaic floor (Photo 1). The building itself was a former convent and has attractive cloisters (Photo 2), as well as an impressive array of 16th and 17th century paintings. Even more impressive is the town’s cathedral, with its magnificent clock tower and huge bells (Photos 3 and 4). You can climb the narrow stairway to the tower and get up close to the bells – one of which you can ring – and get superb views across the Ria Formosa, a natural park with lagoons, sand dunes and salt marshes. Another very interesting feature in Faro are the nesting cranes (Photo 5) which can be seen on lampposts, on the cathedral roof and on top of the entrance to the old town. Cranes are large birds which are very elegant when circling above you but less elegant looking when standing on their nests.

Roman mosaic Faro

Roman mosaic Faro

Cloisters in Faro Municipal Museum

Cloisters in Faro Municipal Museum

 

Faro Cathedral clock tower

Faro Cathedral clock tower

Bell on Faro Cathedral

Bell on Faro Cathedral

Nesting cranes in Faro

Nesting cranes in Faro

Just before going on holiday and inspired by my sister’s lunch cooking, I made chicken and chorizo for the first time. This is one of these dishes that is a traditional, rural  all in one pot meal. I started with the Nigella Lawson recipe and added a red pepper and slices of orange to that recipe. It’s all very simple – just coat the chicken thighs, chorizo, red onions, and red pepper in olive oil, add the oregano, orange zest and orange slices and put it in the oven on a high heat for an hour, basting after 30 mins and turning the chicken, chorizo, potatoes and pepper. The photos below show the before and after dish. For a simple dish, it is very tasty, as well as looking good on the plate.

Chicken and chorizo uncooked

Chicken and chorizo uncooked

Chicken and chorizo - cooked

Chicken and chorizo – cooked

A Word a Week Photo Challenge: High

December 1, 2013

Here are my pick for this week’s challenge – see more on Sue’s website.

Cakes for high tea at the Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Cakes for high tea at the Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Looking down to North Berwick and Bass Rock

Looking down to North Berwick and Bass Rock

Seagull frenzy at high tide in Dunbar

Seagull frenzy at high tide in Dunbar

 

View of Dubai from 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa

View of Dubai from 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa

Looking down on guillemot colonies at St Abbs Head

Looking down on guillemot colonies at St Abbs Head

Ceiling of Pisa Cathedral

Ceiling of Pisa Cathedral