It was an unusual experience watching the first stars appear at Trafalgar Square. What made it special was the angle at which I watched dusk fall – on my back.
Along with about 4000 other people (about 18000 across the UK), Mr R and I were in Trafalgar Sq last night to watch one of the BP big screen relays of a performance from the Royal Opera House.
Last night’s performance of ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ began at 7 pm, but we sensibly got there early, picked a good place to sit and then proceeded to enjoy the sunshine and atmosphere. Goodie bags generously given by BP helped us sit more comfortably – as they had inflatable cushions that saved many possible sore rear ends. Inflating those was enough though, to burst a lung. Fortunately, midway through huffing and puffing, I figured the technique and it was child’s play after that.
Back to the Square.
So there we were. Lounging on a blanket, cushions available, newspapers, cool drinks and strawberries for company. It was delightful. The somewhat empty square began filling up fast after 6.30 as people arrived in droves with work mates.
At 7 sharp the broadcast began from Covent Garden and we sat through the next 3 1/2 hours spellbound as a filmi plot enfolded. Before we knew it, the traffic, sound and lights of one of London’s busiest tourist sites had faded away into the background as we were drawn into the story. We did not know when the sun had stopped burning our bare arms and the shade fell over our sunglasses. Twilight fell and the only concession to that awareness was everybody reaching instinctively for their jackets; a reflex action against the sudden drop in temperature. By the time the event was over, we were all but shivering in the late night air. The magic of the music however would keep us warm till we got home.
This , easily, was one of the best evenings I’ve spent in England so far. A night on the concrete in Trafalgar Square is highly recommended. Put it on your to-do list, even if you’ve never heard opera before.
The next performance is on July 7. Bring a picnic along with some friends and have a memorable summer evening in London.