March 3, 2010
Ah the sun. That’s what we like so much about Victoria: we get a lot of sun. According to the local Gonzales weather station, we get 2,223 hours of sun annually while (Vancouver gets only 1928 and Seattle even less than that) making Victoria is one of the sunniest places in British Columbia, and we get more sunshine than most other cities in Canada except those in the southern Prairies. And you can see the benefit in the city’s plentiful and lush gardens. We have to grow drought-tolerant oak trees for heaven’s sake! And where else in Canada, except maybe in central BC will you find banana and palm trees?
To go even further, Victoria gets only approximately 26 cm (10.2 in) of snow annually, about half of what Vancouver gets. Most winters will see no snow at all. When snow does fall, it rarely lasts long on the ground. Victoria averages just 2–3 days per year with at least 5 cm (1.97 in) of snow on the ground. Again the Gonzales weather station: ‘One of the most striking features of Victoria’s climate is the distinct dry and rainy seasons. Nearly two-thirds of the annual precipitation falls during the four wettest months, November to February. Precipitation in December, the wettest month (109 mm/4.3 in) is nearly eight times as high as in July, the driest month (14 mm/0.55 in). During the summer months, Victoria is the driest major city in Canada.’
I was able to track down perennial primroses yesterday and when I found them I realised that I already knew about them. In fact we have some in the garden. What I was hoping to find though was plants with flowers similar to the annual primroses. Those I didn’t find, but the ones I got will be very beautiful and will help to fill in some area that need a bit of spring brightness. Well, many areas need a bit of spring brightness, but some accents here and there will be beneficial.
I went last night to see The Pacific Opera Victoria production of Capriccio the final opera by Richard Strauss. It is subtitled A Conversation Piece for Music. The libretto is by Clemens Krauss. It was first performed in 1942 in Munich, which would have been right in the middle of World War II, a fact which puts a somewhat different complexion on the piece. Simply summarized, the plot is a long discussion about which is more important: words or music. The production runs for 137 minutes without intermission. It was a long slog. I am no expert in opera by any means and there were elements that I really enjoyed about the production. The set was quite functional although, as a designer, there were things about it that I would have changed. The costumes and lighting were both perfect although there was a problem with reflections when the down right door was opened. Fabulous singers and Timothy Vernon’s orchestra was stupendous (although I continue to object to orchestras that ‘warm up’ in front of the audience, filling the theatre with the screeching and squawking while we are waiting for the performance to begin. I noticed with pleasure when seeing Don Giovanni in Jerez, Spain while Fernando and I were there in January, that the orchestra refrained from this. There was the brief tuning before the conductor arrived and then they launched into the production. If you want to warm up, don’t do it on the stage. I think Mr. Vernon might have dressed up a bit a well.) But who can sit through a discussion of the relative merits of words over music, or vice versa, with all the esoteric twists and turns that such a discussion would take for 2 hours and 13 minutes, in German, without a break. It is ridiculous. At the very least, it’s mean.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed it, even though I nodded off occasionally and I defy anyone to tell me that most of the audience didn’t do the same at some point of other.