Thanks, George and Stanley. It was one of those rare and special evenings and the atmosphere meant you ended up being incredibly civilized, actually talking to your neighbours and enthusing about opera, life, the universe and stuff... the lass sitting next to me (who had inveigled her way into a press seat) told me that as a child, she was involved in a production in which her father was singing. She was one of the children shoo'd away by Balstrode ('you little barnacles!') and since then, she's seen the opera many times. When it came to that line, we exchanged a knowing smile.
I love the fact that the boat was hauled up on the beach for real. So unlike the usual limp rope wobbling away into the wings as the singers grunt manfully at a flimsy looking capstan.
Yes, when Grimes brought in the rope and Balstrode tied it to the capstan, I thought 'oh yeah, as if they're really going to... oh my word, they are!'