A Matinee at the Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House Interior, Covent Garden LondonI’m now back in London and what better way to toast my return than with a glass of bubbly during the intermission of a terrific matinee performance enjoyed from the orchestra stalls of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

Manon at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden LondonManon, The Royal Opera House © ROH / Johan Persson 2011.

The performance was Kenneth MacMillan’s highly acclaimed ballet Manon which has an intriguingly scandalous story but with a tragic end.

A few months prior I’d seen the opera performance of Manon (also at the Royal Opera House) and absolutely fell in love so I was excited to see how the opera and ballet performances differed when it came to dealing with the same story. Both performances were enchanting with spectacular costumes, props, sets, vocals (opera), and dancing (ballet). The music differed completely between the two performances as instead of relying on Massenet or Puccini’s score of Manon Lescaut, MacMillan used lesser-known music by Massenet.

Royal Opera House London

After a performance I leaving feeling as if I’m on cloud nine and as graceful as the prima ballerina. The last performance is on November 1st so hurry up and catch it before it ends as its definitely worthwhile.

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Image-Makers at 21_21

Image-Makers 21_21 Design SightIn 21_21 Design Sight’s latest exhibition イメージメーカー展 (Image-makers), strong, theatrical images by image-makers from diverse fields of creativity from both Japan and abroad gather to create a world of fantasy and entertainment under the direction of Hélène Kelmachter. The fabulous exhibition includes works by Jean-Paul Gaude, Noritaka Tatehana, David Lynch and Photographer Hal to name just a few.

Linnea Nilsson Image-MakersA very fun addition to the exhibition was the interactive section where exhibition attendees could try on Noritaka Tatehana’s sculptural shoes. Walking in the heelless shoes proved to be a bit of a balancing act but channeling the likes of Lady Gaga, Daphne Guinness and my inner diva certainly made it easier.

Image-Makers 21_21 Design SightHeelless Shoes, Noritaka Tatehana, 2012-2014.

These fierce shoes wouldn’t exactly be the best choice for long leisurely strolls but could make for a dazzling pair of party shoe. My favorite pair would have to be probably have to be the red (officially dyed pink but dusted with gold to make it look red, though they mysteriously change color depending on the angle) hand painted shoes that have a bit of a renaissance feel to them. They’re also what I imagine the chopines worn in Venice might have looked like during the Renaissance. In second place come the dramatic sparkly studded heels seen in the background.

Image-makers 21_21 Design SightNoritaka Tatehana.

21_21 Design Sight

Image-Makers 21_21 Design Sight

PinQ & Pomco, Zatsuran #6, 2012Zatsuran #06, PinQ & Pomco, Photographer Hal, 2012.

Photographer Hal’s images in Gallery 1 shows couples tightly confined inside sealed vacuum packaging and although very interesting I can’t help but feel a little claustrophobic by just looking at them.

Image-Makers Exhibition 21_21 Design SightThe Floating World, Noritaka Tatehana, 2014.

These exotic shoes were inspired by the distinctively tall footwear worn by oiran (high-ranking courtesans) during the feudal period in Japan yet look more like stunning ornament or sculpture than shoes that are made for walking.

Image-Makers Exhibition 21_21 Design Sight One Spinning Automaton, Jean-Paul Goude.

Image-Makers Exhibition 21_21 Design SightThree Muses, Jean-Paul Goude.

I find Goude’s photographs of model turned pop singer Grace Jones absolutely stunning. She looks as sharp and beautiful as a panther in the bold images. ♫ Link -This is life ♫

Image-Makers Exhibition 21_21 Design SightDavid Lynch lithographs.

Image-Makers 21_21 Design SightIf you find yourself in Tokyo at the moment then this is an absolute must-see exhibition so make sure you find the time to stop by and check it out!

Trendy Fashion for Pet Pooches

Dog raincoatShopping for your pet pooch who’s trendy to the point of rivaling you, has never been as stylish or fun as it is here in Tokyo. Colorful raincoats, pet IQ training toys, doggie carrier bags that look like luxury handbags and bedazzled leashes are just some of the must-haves.

Pet toys

Pet IQ Training Toys

Dog CarriersStylish pet carriers that look like luxury handbags but with breathable fabric inserts to the sides to make for comfortable travel.

Dog FoodBanana, apple, avocado and cheese flavored treats are just some of the many options available in the dining department for your pet.

The Art of Ikebana – Lesson 1

Ikebana VasesI’ve recently begun the journey towards honing the skill and art of Japanese いけばな (ikebana) flower arranging. In my journey I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the best ikebana artists here in Tokyo to help instruct and inspire me.

Ikebana with Linnea NilssonAs I’m just starting out my first lesson is to create a basic upright style moribana arrangement where the stems need to be precision cut and precision placed at fixed angles on a spiky kenzan. There are three main parts to the arrangement which are the shin placed at a 10˚~15˚ angle, soe at 45˚, and hikae at 75˚. After the three main stems are perfectly placed it’s time to accessorize with jushi subordinate stems that add volume and depth to the arrangement as the kenzan is not supposed to be visible.

Ikebana MaterialsThe studio is filled with interesting add-ons that can make fabulous arrangements truly spectacular despite what they might look like carelessly piled in the studio corner. But I’m far from the stage where I get to go off textbook so it’ll have to be something to look forward to in the future as I progress.

Ikebana Materials

Ikebana VasesThere are also many interesting vases in the studio but again those will have to wait until I get a little further along.

Linnea Nilsson's IkebanaHere’s my first ikebana arrangement in its completed stage. What do you think?

Tokyo Bvlgari Italian Jazz Lounge

Bvlgari Italian Jazz Lounge Tokyo

I’ve now returned home to Tokyo, Japan and to fête the occasion I was indulged with a wonderfully luxurious evening spent at Bvlgari Ginza Tower. The evening included exceptional live Italian jazz music by Francesco Lomagistro & Berardi Jazz Connection Quintet enjoyed in great company and with flowing Dom Pérignon vintage champagne alongside a selection of small bite creations by Michelin starred executive chef Luca Fantin.

Francesco Lomagistro & Berardi Jazz Connection Quintet

Francesco Lomagistro & Berardi Jazz Connection Quintet

Bvlgari Italian Jazz LoungeFrancesco Lomagistro & Berardi Jazz Connection Quintet was full of energy and put on a terrific performance.

Bvlgari Italian Jazz Night with Linnea Nilsson

Bvlgari Italian Jazz Night with Linnea Nilsson

The First Georgians at The Queen’s Gallery

The First Georgians Exhibition The Queen's Gallery Buckingham PalaceThe Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace is currently exhibiting The First Georgians: Art & Monarchy 1714-1760. Now I’m not sure if it’s baby George that’s causing a bit of a Georgian hype/revival with several exhibitions and a BBC tv mini-series with Lucy Worsley entitled The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain recently aired. Regardless, my lust after fine paintings, etchings, sculpture, porcelain and furniture drew me out.

The Queen's Gallery Buckingham Palace

William Hogarth

The exhibition explores the taste and royal patronage of George I and George II in a period of dramatic change across Britain. Satirist William Hogarth’s moralizing art print series including  A Harlot’s Progress, 1734 and Marriage à-la-Mode, 1745 tell cautionary stories.

The First Georgians Exhibition Buckingham Palace

 

Chelsea PlatesChelsea plate, soft-paste porcelain, c.1755.

Botanical Illustration

The First Georgians ExhibitionMeissen porcelain tea and coffee service, c.1730.

Georgian English Furniture

The First Georgians Exhibition Buckingham PalaceThis would make a suitably fierce, regal throne/desk chair to help me make those tough decisions from while writing my dissertation. Though I’m not entirely convinced over its comfort in the long run.

Georgian Furniture