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Published: September 3rd 2016
We ordered taxis via hotel reception for both ends of our trip to Lviv. As a result we're less 'run-raggedd', as they say in our part of the country, and prices are so low here we kept within budget....
2016 Lviv is a café society.... there's loads of people about, young and old, all chilling, drinking coffee, molten chocolate, or a beer or two.
It feels poles apart from Kiev... in the capital it's all of a rush down in the metro, honking traffic and big, big buildings. Here it's meandering folk, trams and smaller scale 19C buildings, in a grid of straight streets around the main Town Hall Square.
As we paced out the Lonely Planet suggested walk of Lviv we realised that we're almost sated with city tourism after 2.5 weeks......
So we sat with a chocolatey milkshake at the Lviv Chocolate Shop for a hour watching the world. The shop itself is four storeys of chocolate indulgence.... Chocolate moulded into Cinderella slippers, animals and medallions..... up a staircase that's all chocolate brown.... and yes, you can order a cup of melted chocolate to drink.
We had bought tickets at Lviv Opera for tonight
to see Verdi's Aida, to start at 6pm (!)
So we went back and digested our small but rich cocoa-laced lunch in the hotel room until 5pm then went to eat at a Ukranian restaurant nearby. After a huge circular hunt we found the noshery location, different to that stated on Google Maps.... and in reality it was a block down from the hotel in the opposite direction to that expected.
We ate pickled herring, grated cheese and grated beetroot in a magnificent mayonnaise based concoction called 'Secret Salad'.
Then Marion had cheese and potato dumplings, and I had two fat sausages.... a bit like Toulouse sausages but more rustic. Yum.
Timing was just right for Aida's early start.
The story, which may not be quite right, as picked up from the performance:
Ramades, a fat, pony-tailed 45 year old man living in Egypt, fancies a beautiful 30 year old Nubian slave, Aida. And she fancies him. But the King's daughter, 40 year old dark haired woman, Amheris, fancies Ramedes too. Her dad, a 40 year bald chap (he's the King, remember?) sends the fat lad with ponytail off with an army of limp
wristed men to knack the Nubians. When he gets back he's won but Amheris tells Aida that he got killed in battle.... so Aida gets upset and spills the beans and says she's always loved him (especially when he was still aboot.
Aida's dad, 40 year old with a black beard in handcuffs, doesn't like being attacked, or his daughter being in slavery. But, stupidly, he gets captured on his way to sorting things oot.
This man with the beard is now without chains (I got a bit mixed up here) and hides. Meanwhile, the fat lad has a tryst with Aida, and Beardie manages to get some battle info that will help back home with the Nubians. He steps out to say 'I hord that.... and I see that you do fancy my daughter'.
The fat lad Ramades is shocked and confused, but is just getting some entente cordiale on the go with his potential a Dad in Law when the Bald King steps out with Amheris and says to his top warrior, 'Aha! I saw that collaboration with the Nubian enemy, you traitor' and puts Ramades in the slammer.
Later in the 4th Act
Amheris comes to the dungeon and says she can sort it all oot if Ramedes will denounce Aida and marry her instead. But he gives Amheris the elbow and he dies in a dark cellar with Aida in his arms. The End.
Great fun. The only thing that spoils it was that the fat lad couldn't hold his pitch when he got emotional.... the slip of a semitone kept jarring with the fine orchestral accompaniment and / the person he was duetting with. The only other incongruity was that dads and daughters all seemed to be about the same age.
Great bass clarinet, harp and other instrument playing, across the board. Fine costumes and set. Lovely, well kept venue.
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