If you've seen Keith Warner's Wozzeck, you've seen one of the most spectacular special effects ever staged in the Royal Opera House. Whose jaw has not dropped at the sight of Simon Keenlyside immersed motionless in a tank full of water for several minutes? In front of 2,000+ people, after 90 hectic minutes on stage?
Many of you will have worked out the sneaky secret behind the stunt, but judging by my emails it seems not everyone.
So here - using only legit production photos to demonstrate - is how it's done.
I appreciate not everyone wants their illusions shattered, so IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW, STOP READING HERE.
I didn't think it was possible to screw up Wozzeck until I saw Carrie Cracknell's 'post-Iraq' ENO production earlier this year, a misreading that replaced the general with the specific, paranoia with logic, angst with social conscience, playing up to the London audience's TV-nourished passion for simple storylines in ultra-realistic settings, no matter how the underlying work is betrayed.
Keith Warner's 2002 ROH production is not perfect, but at least we see that Wozzeck's crisis is an existential one, not a social problem that can be solved by a few quid and a bit of counselling.
Wigmore Hall's 2013- 2014 concert season opens on 7 September with a rare bari-summit. Bryn Terfel and Simon Keenlyside join forces in what is likely to be the recital of the Wigmore season.
Other highlights include a five-concert survey of Bach’s keyboard works by András Schiff. Yo-Yo Ma comes to Wigmore Hall on 29 April 2014 to give his first recital there for more than 20 years. Matthias Goerne returns to Wigmore Hall after a three-year absence on 25 September for the first of two recitals in 2013/14, opening with songs by Schubert and moving on to music by Mahler and Shostakovich in January with Leif Ove Andsnes.
Let's face it, a chocolate-covered Simon Keenlyside is unlikely to materialise any time soon.
So here's the next best thing: Simon Keenlyside-covered chocolate.
Available at the Met's shop (though sadly not online).
I posted this after the reader who sent the photo told me they'd bought this chocolate at the Met shop.
Metropolitan Opera Customer Relations, however claim the chocolate "does not exist and appears to be a hoax that has been posted over the internet." "Unfortunately," they added "we have been unable to trace the origin of this falsehood."
Not quite. The chocolate does exist - but apparently only as gifts for production members. So, sadly, unless you can find your way to Iestyn Davies's fridge, a nibble is out of the question.
I'm guessing Simon Keenlyside did his own grey hairspray* on Monday night and forgot to check the back. I mean, he can't have been going for the caramelised badger look deliberately. Can he?
It was part of his stab at playing Germont much older than I can recall any other singer attempting in this production - even last month's Leo Nucci. Accessorised with a walking stick that he sometimes forgot he needed and a stoop that failed to mask his natural gymnast's posture, he recalled my own brother's portrayal of Polonius. In the school play, aged 16.