June saw us sponsoring the BBC's Justin Webb in conversation with former Labour minister Alan Johnson at the CVHF. Both had penned memoirs of their very different experiences growing up in the Sixties and Seventies. Quickly establishing a rapport, their very personal analyses of their personal and professional journeys were nothing short of revelatory. At times poignant, witty and fascinating, they held the audience of over five hundred enthralled in a session that was afterwards lauded as "quite one of the best Chalke talks of 2022".
Simon and Monique Gudgeon, old friends of mine, bought a piece of land with some water thirteen years ago at Pallington, near Dorchester, Dorset. Following years of digging, landscaping and planting, their shared vision of creating a unique backdrop before which to exhibit Simon's and many other artists' sculptures has become an enthralling reality. We were delighted to entertain over a hundred local clients at this remarkable venue who were able to enjoy wandering around the lakes, admiring the many sculptures so artfully placed in and around the water, trees and shrubs in glorious weather.
Continuing their long association with Dorset Opera, Church House this year returned to see the superb staging of Puccini's 'Manon Lescaut' at The Coade Theatre, Bryanston. Although not on the same level as his Tosca or La Boheme, Puccini's evocation of the tragic love story has several fine moments, and the intensity of the doomed heroine's attenuated desert death scene brought the house down. Dorset Opera is a charity which offers the opportunity for young people to work alongside artists of international standing in putting together two operas each year and has provided many with the start to successful performing careers.
Dorset Opera photos copyright Julian Guidera.