Saturday, 4 July 2015
Last Saturday I attended the last performance of the Dutch National Ballet's Cool Britannia at the Stopera (the national opera house and concert hall of the Netherlands which also serves as Amsterdam's town hall) (see Going Dutch 29 July 2015). There are some beautiful shots of that magnificent building as well as glimpses of some of the performances on stage in the video of last year's opening gala.
There are still a few tickets left if you want to attend this year's gala on the 8 Sept 2015. EasyJet are offering some really good deals from Southend to Amsterdam and if you want a cheap place to stay you could do worse than the Bastion in Amstel. This is the Dutch equivalent of Travelodge in that it offers clean and comfortable accommodation at a reasonable price. I paid 114 euros last week which included an all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast.
The hotel is not situated in the smartest neighbourhood of Amsterdam - local landmarks include a high security prison and a funeral museum - but it is very handy for the Stopera. Take line 51 on the underground (well actually it is more like Manchester's Metrolink than London's tube) from Overamsteal to Waterlooplein both of which are marked on the underground map. You can buy a 24 hour ticket for the buses, trams and metro but not the overground for 7.50 euros. The hotel is also handy for the airport. Buy a ticket for RAI rather than Central Station which will save you a couple of euros, Then take the underground one stop to Overamstel. It is actually a good deal less hassle and almost always cheaper to get to Schiphol than Heathrow from most parts of Britain. Prices of meals and accommodation are more like Manchester than London once you get there.
We have two other treats in store before the gala. The Dutch are coming to the Coliseum with Wheeldon's Cinderella next week. They have published the casts on their website. There are still a few tickets left for the show but they are selling like hot cakes.
Treat number three will be the visit of Ernst Meisner, artistic coordinator of the Junior Company to the London Ballet Circle on the 20 July. If you want some background on Meisner read Meet Ernst Meisner and his talented young dancers 6 Dec 2014.
The best peanut butter comes from the Netherlands and in my humble opinion so too does some of the world's best ballet.