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A blog about Belgian culture in London. A blog about the arts in London, Brussels and Milan, from a Belgian point of view.

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April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

Yes, this is the beginning of T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland…

In August I visited Tracey Emin’s exhibition “Love is what you want” at the excellent Southbank Centre (ok, at the Hayward Gallery, to be more precise).

I’m still not sure what to make of Emin’s work (I slightly suspect part of her success can be attributed to the fact that she is attractive), but I nonetheless enjoyed the show. It was so personal – as is all her work – that I felt I actually knew her after visiting the show. Weird.

The picture, by the way, is called “I had it all”.

Svetlana Zakharova, Swan Lake

Svetlana Zakharova, Swan Lake (© Archivio Fotografico del Teatro alla Scala, Brecia/Amisano)

For five years I worked at one of the most famous and, more importantly, best opera houses in the world. This means I had the chance of attending many outstanding opera, ballet and classical music performances.

I would like to share them here. Let’s start with a ballet, let’s start with THE ballet: Swan Lake. This is Svetlana Zakharova and I have yet to see someone who’s better suited to the role: the legs, the arms, the technical perfection! She is divine.

Venezia. This summer I finally fell in love with it, which makes me slightly ashamed to say that the first time I had seen it I had found it “disney-ish”.

Its majesty is nowhere better to be felt than when viewing the Redentore, Palladio’s church on the Giudecca, from a boat.