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The Connoisseur’s Diary

What to see and where to be seen this autumn

6 October 2009

12:00 AM

6 October 2009

12:00 AM

2nd October
New York: Opera
Verdi’s Aida opens at the Met, conducted by Daniele Gatti, former principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Lithuanian soprano Violeta Urmana sings the title role.

4th October
Paris: Racing
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is a Group 1 flat race held at the Longchamp course and one of the most fashionable race meetings in the calendar. It is one of the four French Classics and has a prize of €4 million, the second biggest prize on the turf after the Japan Cup (on 29 November).

4th October
Japanese Grand Prix
This year’s race takes place at the Suzuka Circuit, the only figure-of-eight F1 track and one of the most challenging. The 2008 race was won by Spain’s Fernando Alonso for Renault.

9th October
Cheltenham: Literature Festival
This year marks the festival’s 60th anniversary. Guests include Sebastian Faulks, Hermione Lee, Jeremy Paxman, Judi Dench, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Sophie Dahl and the Man Booker Prize winner (to be announced on 6 October).

13th October
Glyndebourne on Tour
The company will visit six venues staging performances of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Verdi’s Falstaff and Janácek’s Jenufa. The tour starts at Glyndebourne and will finish at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth on 5 December.

16th October
Brazilian Grand Prix
The penultimate grand prix in this year’s calendar takes place at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo. Last year’s race was won by Brazilian Felipe Massa for Ferrari.


17th October
Malta: Yacht Race
The Rolex Middle Sea Race covers one of the most beautiful courses in the world. Yachts race 606 nautical miles, setting off from the Valletta Grand Harbour in Malta. They then sail around Sicily, through the Straits of Messina and back again. The event is hosted by the Royal Malta Yacht Club.

22nd October
Battersea Park: Affordable Art
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Affordable Art Fair now takes place biannually in London and annually in Bristol, Paris, Amsterdam and New York. The Autumn Collection includes paintings, prints, sculpture and photography priced between £50 and £3,000. Until 25 October.

22nd October
London: Ballet
Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty opens at the Royal Opera House, starring Sarah Lamb as Princess Aurora and Ivan Putrov as Prince Florimund. Until 23 January 2010.

1st November
London: Vintage Car Race
Over 500 cars take part in the Royal Automobile Club’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. Only pre-1905 cars can enter and drivers, the majority of them in period costume, can go no faster than 14 miles an hour.

1st November
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
The inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is also the final race of the F1 season. Taking place at the brand new Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island, this is the first ever race in F1 history that starts in daylight and ends in the dark. The circuit will be floodlit and up to 50,000 spectators are expected to watch the race, which starts at 5 p.m.

3rd November
Melbourne: Racing
Held at the Flemington Racecourse, the Melbourne Cup is the biggest race in Australia and one of the most prestigious two-mile handicaps in the world. The day is a public holiday in Melbourne and more than 100,000 people are expected to attend.

6th November
California: Racing
The Breeder’s Cup is a two-day meeting established to mark the end of the year in thoroughbred racing. The prize money for each of the Group 1 races is between $500,000 and $5 million, with most worth $1 million or more. The 2009 meeting is held at Santa Anita Park.

8th November
Miami: Literary Festival
What started as a two-day street fair in 1984 is now the biggest literary festival in the US. This year’s guests include Margaret Atwood and Al Gore, who will speak at the show’s main attraction, the Festival of Authors. Until 15 November.

16th November
Olympia: Antiques Fair
Now in its 17th year, the Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair has become one of the most important antiques events of the year. Attracting over 20,000 visitors, the seven-day fair features around 200 exhibitors from across the UK and will include Chippendale armchairs, Lalique glass vases, 1920s Cartier earrings and Lowry oil paintings.

19th November
Paris: Photography Exhibition
Photo Photo is the world’s most important exhibition of 19th-century-to-contemporary photography, taking place at the Carrousel du Louvre until 22 November. Five hundred international photographers will show their work to 38,000 visitors.

28th November
Paris: Debutante Ball
The charity Bal des Débutantes has been held at the Hotel de Crillon, overlooking Place de la Concorde, every November since 1991. Daughters of the rich and famous wear international haute couture and are escorted by ‘cavaliers’ for a night of dinner and dancing. By invitation only.

28th November
Newbury: Racing
First run in 1957, the Hennessy Gold Cup is famous for being one of the late Queen Mother’s favourite races and is the social event of the winter season. The 2008 race was won by Madison du Berlais, ridden by Tom Scudamore.


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