Having seen him sing Don Alfonso in the COC’s Così fan tutte three times as well as having attended his RBA lunchtime recital and having interviewed him one would be forgiven for thinking that I might have had my fill of Sir Thomas Allen. But no, Durham University organised a reception on Thursday evening for alumni at which Sir Thomas was the guest of honour in his capacity as Chancellor. It was one of the filthiest nights of a filthy winter and a very nasty walk from the conference I was attending to the Music Room at Hart House but around fifty people turned up. They were mostly Durham grads but the Dean of Music from UoT was there, as was the Chancellor of Queen’s (which was rather a surprise). It was basically a drinks and canapés do but our esteemed Chancellor was prevailed on to sing a few numbers with the help of Rachel Andrist. We got a ballad I didn’t recognise, Deh vieni alla fenestra, The Foggy Dew (arr. Britten) and Cole Porter’s Miss Otis regrets. Fun, and a very welcome opportunity to hear something from Don Giovanni from a master of the role.
I had an interesting conversation with Sir Tom and Rachel about music in hospitals and now have a “to do” to sort out who to talk to at Sick Kids. Oh yes, and to cap a filthy night, the lemur and I were engulfed in a tidal wave of filthy slush on our way to the subway and home.