Friday, May 09, 2014


9 May 2014

We had a lovely holiday in Antwerp last week. Antwerp is Belgium's second largest city and the de facto capital of Flanders. It was also the main port in Northern Europe until overtaken by Amsterdam. The historic centre of the city is very pretty and the main square, Grote Markt, has a lot of similarities to the Grand Place in Brussels (which we visited in May 2013) and the main square in Bruges (which we visited in June 2009). Antwerp was the home of the painter Peter Paul Rubens and it was interesting to see several of his works in their original setting in Antwerp Cathedral, and to visit the Rubenshuis museum to see the building where he lived and worked. We also visited the Antwerp Opera House to see the Vlaamse Opera production of Bela Bartok's one-act opera 'Bluebeard's Castle' combined with a staged version of Schubert's 'Winterreise'. This was a spectacularly bizarre evening in the theatre, which demonstrated the incredible visual imagination of the director, Kornel Mundruczo. It incorporated close-ups of the singers captured by an actor with a video camera and projected on a large screen at the back of the stage, an impressive model railway, two large flying fish and a huge stage set which gradually exploded into its constituent parts. It was fascinating to watch but somewhat distracted from the music – which was excellent. All three singers (Stefan Kocan, Asmik Grigorian and Toby Girling) and the orchestra (conducted by Martyn Brabbins) were very impressive. Antwerp is also known for its restaurants and we had some excellent meals, sampling French, Italian and Flemish cuisine in some amazing old buildings. We also enjoyed a visit to Antwerp Zoo which sits directly alongside the fantastic Antwerp Central Station – one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world and the setting for that brilliant 'Sound of Music' flashmob performance in 2009 (well worth another look at:

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home