Inside the Core - June 2024

Inside the Core - June 2024

What rises at night, invoked by all the world, only to die at dawn, reborn in the heart?

This is the first of the three riddles asked by Turandot in the opera of her name, Puccini’s final masterpiece, which was left incomplete when he died before being able to finish it.

At the start of June, I went to Verona for the opening weekend of the Arena Opera Festival, and to watch Turandot. The trip was a birthday present from me to my husband, so my requisites were: as close to his birthday as possible, and the opera to be in Italian so that we would both understand it better than if it was in say German. Turandot fitted the bill, and although I’d never heard of it, I had a little Google and when I saw Prince of Persia, riddles and far eastern princesses, I was sold.

The Arena Opera Festival is held in the Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheatre built in 30 AD (older than the colosseum in Rome!), and still, incredibly, being used as a venue for shows and concerts. I’d been there before for a concert (Zucchero), but seeing an opera there is a whole different level. The scenery, especially that of the palace, was spectacular. We saw them earlier on in the day lifting the scenes from outside the arena using huge cranes. There can be up to six different operas showing during the festival, on different nights, so this scenery often needs to be moved in and out of the arena daily. It’s a huge endeavour.

The weekend was warmer than expected. I’d hoped to be able to escape the Toledo heat of over 30 degrees, but while it was slightly cooler, high 20s, the humidity was much higher, so it felt a lot hotter. But that made for a very pleasant evening, the night of the show (wearing The Dress. Of course). The opera starts at 21:30, and so, armed with cushions for the stone seats, 22,000 people spill into the arena just as the sun starts to set, making it even more magical, and then it begins. It was perfect.

Verona is also a great city. This was my first visit in the summer, but I can also highly recommend it in the winter too, especially around Christmas when it’s lit up with all the lights and decorated Christmas trees in the squares. It’s not a huge place, so you can get around all the touristy spots (Romeo and Juliet’s balcony for example, horrendously busy, but a 'Verona must' to tick off the list), and then escape to spend the rest of your time leisurely wandering the maze of streets and enjoying the food – which, let’s face it, is the only reason I travel!

Verona aside, June has been quite a quiet month of travel for me believe it or not! For the first time in a long time, I had to miss volunteering last week at The Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, which was a shame. Our incredible Yellow T-Shirt Team did us proud though. A huge thank you to you all. We also had a new demo courtesy of our EMF and Optical Radiation Committee, which is very exciting. Check out some of the photos on our social media pages and if you have any ideas for future demos that we could showcase then please let me, or the Outreach Committee know.

We have just had in, hot off the press, some exciting news about our School’s Show, The Science of Superheroes, but you’ll have to wait for that big reveal I’m afraid, so stay tuned!

And, in answer to Turandot’s first riddle, did you get the answer? It’s La speranza – Hope.

Twitter: chai_khaneh
Instagram: @saragoli


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