Lunch with Leila, Dutch Art and Eugene Onegin Ballet

Tuesday was a fun day!  Last year, I started working on my dad’s family tree.  Months ago, I was at the Royal Art Gallery and saw in the complex of buildings, the office for the Genealogical Society.  In the file that I was using to work on, it references a Daniel Morrison who was born in 1669 in either Scotland or England and immigrated to Newbury, Massachusetts in 1690.

I thought that it would be great to see if the Genealogical Society could help me discover Daniel’s place of birth….are we Scottish or English?  Well, Tuesday morning, I walked over to Piccadilly Road, where the complex of buildings are located.  I looked on the list of buildings to see where the society was located…ha! ha! What I thought was the genealogical society was the Geological Society!!!  I don’t think they could help me!!

I have since googled the society and it is located on Goswell Road not far from Kings Cross tube station.  I have it on my “to do” list when I get back from my trip to Dubai and Jordan!

I was suppose to meet with my landlord, Leila, to drop off some keys and have a visit with her as we had not seen each other since before Christmas!!!  When we made the arrangements, she said not to eat lunch and we would do something for lunch together.  I arrived at 1:00 and she said “There are going to be six of us for lunch!”

I had to chuckle!  Leila is the best hostess and does it with such ease.  At the last minute, she invited 4 other friends to have lunch at her home.  As always, it was a very interesting afternoon!  One friend, Ginny, was married to a Lebanese (where Lelia is originally from) whom she met as an exchange student when we went to Beirut!!!  They lived in London for several years and are now living on Long Island.  They come back frequently for visits.  She was a lovely and very interesting lady.

There was a mother and daughter who came.  Forgive me, I can’t remember their names.  The mother is currently living in Beirut but the daughter told me that she lived for 25 years in France.  Another lady, another Leila, lives in London but is originally from Beirut, also.   French was the chosen language of communicating on this day.

I really enjoyed listening to them speak this beautiful language and could, occasionally, pick up a word or two.  It was a lovely luncheon with very interesting company!

We all left around 2:00 and I made my way to the National Art Gallery in Trafalgar Square.  This afternoon, I concentrated on the Dutch painters.  I did make it a point to see a couple of the El Grecos that were hanging with the Venetian Gallery.  I had forgotten that he studied painting in Venice!

I have decided that I am a fan of Dutch paintings done after the Eighty Year War (1568-1648), in which the Dutch gained independence from the Spanish.  This break from Spain caused a break from the Catholic church as well.  Artist were no longer required to paint religious scenes.  The “Dutch Golden Years” became a time where artist started creating art from nature, from everyday life, landscapes, seascapes and still life subjects.

I really like the paintings depicting everyday life.  Some of the Dutch artist on display were:  Avercamp 1585-1634, Brekelenkam 1644-1668, Van de Velde 1636-1672, Both 1615-1652, Ostade 1610-1685, Quast 1605-1647 and Maes 1634-1693.  Just for future reference when I have a minute to research them further.  There was also a room full of Leonardo Da Vinci’s works.  I really enjoy his art!!

I left the museum around closing time at 6:00 and walked up St Martins Lane to the Seven Dial area for a coffee at Neros, a coffee shop chain here in London.  Then, I made my way over to Convent Garden where I walked around until the doors to the Royal Opera House opened.

I had a ticket to see Tchaikovsky’s ballet Eugene Onegin.  I had never heard of it before and am so glad that I took the time to buy a ticket and went to see it!  It was so exquisitely beautiful.  I particularly liked the pas de deux between the two characters of Eugene Onegin (performed by Federico Bonelli) and Tatiana (performed by Laura Morera).  There were a couple of times when Bonelli lifted Morera from a standstill.  It was amazing.

The other dancers Yuhui Choe (who played Olga) and Valention Zucchetti (who played Lensky, Olga’s betrothed) were marvelous as well.  Choe is such a waif of a thing that she seemed to float around the stage.

Of course, like any opera or ballet, there was tragedy and drama.  They performers portrayed the emotions so well that the audience could really feel the sadness.  It was just a great evening!  In February, the Eugene Onegin opera is being performed.  I really, really, really hope I can get a ticket to go!

Today, I have spent the day packing for Dubai and Jordan. I am leaving tomorrow from Gatwick on Air Emirates at 9:45 and will arrive in Dubai at 8:00 tomorrow night (5:00 PM, London time).  David will arrive at midnight.  I am excited to see him.

Saturday, we are meeting our friends Diane and Jose and spending a couple of days with them before flying to Jordan on Monday, Jan 28th.  We will tour there for 8 days and then return for a couple more days with Jose and Diane.  I will return to London on February 8 and David will return to Saudi.

I am not certain if I will be able to post anything while on our trip but you can expect a full report when I return.

Stay warm and healthy everyone!

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