Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Classics

Mr Byatt, Zhi, AS, Lu,  me
9:30am Sunday - the perfect time for a press conference? As our American friends would say: go figure!  It was for the Beijing Music Festival, China's most respected classical music jamboree which kicks off in October, and in which we have four major events this year: Halle Orchestra, London Sinfonietta with George Benjamin, James Galway, and Northern Ireland Opera's Noyes Fludd. Didn't have to do anything other than sit and smile and try to look like a VIP which is hard anytime, but particularly on a Sunday morning.
From there to lunch with the Byatts and Lu Jiande, an English Lit scholar with crisp Oxford accent, and the writer Zhi An. We chose the ornate Fangshan restaurant overlooking Beihai Lake, famous for its imperial court food, although our meal looked just like any other (very nice) Chinese spread. 
Stuffed, we made our way across to the other side of the lake to the old National Library of China building where Byatt, Lu and Zhi did an 'in conversation' event. Huge, slightly musty hall, packed with students majoring in English plus the odd - because it's a publicly accessible library - retiree who'd wandered in by accident. 

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