Shakespeare and Company’s latest offering, “Lovers’ Spat: Shakespeare’s Famous Couples’ Encounters” was a frolic; gags and ad-libs abounded. It had an Elizabethan tinge. Actors were on-book and off-book; everybody was having a wonderful time. It has long been a positive aspect of the Company not to take everything so seriously. We remember that Shakespeare’s plays were new plays, experimental plays, which doubtless took a different path every performance.
Sterling or plate? Great singers will always be rare, and if they take up German lieder, their scarcity reaches the vanishing point. In the opera house one never has to worry about a shortage of cheers from, well, people who don’t know any better. But lieder aficionados are specialists. A singer faces a hall, usually small, packed with sharp tastes and sharper tongues. I am of that breed. It’s not something I care to put on my resume when I give an account of my soul to Saint Peter, but no doubt I’ll make a remark about the acoustics in Paradise and spoil my chances anyway. Acoustically, London has some fine small halls, the most golden being Wigmore and Cadogan, the latter a miraculous accident when it opened in the nineties, since the building’s original use was as a Christian Science church. London appears equally lucky in the number of dedicated song recitalists it contains, but there’s the rub.