Mantua Trame Sonore chamber music festival – including a Bach cello suite in the Rotunda and three short concerts by my choir Polymnia in the Basilica di Santa Barbara, Palazzo Ducale. An honour to perform in the church where Monteverdi worked, and a pleasure to sing for such appreciative audiences. Another highlight of our tour: a joint concert with the Coro Ars Nova of nearby Carpenedolo, a strong local choir built up from nothing over the past 20 years by their energetic choir master.
Pallazo Te, Mantua – better value than the more famous Palazzo Ducale, which is impressive but stuffy, whereas this summer palace for the Gonzaga dukes is light and airy and packed full of fabulous frescos, some of them (such as the Camera dei Giganti) rivalling the best comic book art. A bonus during our visit was the periodic free performances by local musicians, as part of the chamber music festival, very much at home in the Renaissance galleries.
Spotlight – slow-paced but powerful film dramatisation of the Boston Globe’s uncovering of child abuse amongst the city’s Catholic priests, when no one wanted to know. Especially interesting in the light of the reflection that the internet might have made this kind of journalism impossible now. "The Spotlight team had identified 12 priests who they knew had been implicated in child sex abuse. They wanted to get the names out there, but Baron told them to hold their fire and aim for the bigger target: the Catholic church itself. 'Would an editor have that sort of restraint now?' asks [Josh Singer, co-writer of the film Spotlight]. 'As opposed to just throwing what you have up on the web? If you’d just run those names it would have been a he-said-she-said with every single one. Instead of talking about the bigger story, which is the system.'" (Article by Henry Barnes in The Guardian.)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – catching up with this at last on DVD, found it great fun but disappointingly reprising many of the same story tropes of the original Star Wars. A good new central female character though in Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, who is our grand-daughter’s second favourite character from the film (her first being BB8, naturally).
In Treatment, series 3 – a stronger tighter series than the previous two, with the issues of Paul’s clients bleeding into his own life and his own therapy in a clear and plausible way. We still think he’s a dangerously unsafe psychotherapist, though, by UK standards.