My Weekend: Alex Beard

Alex Beard 5 - Francesco Guidicini courtesy of the Royal Opera House
Francesco Guidicini courtesy of the Royal Opera House

Friday night

I have a regular poker night with eight old friends. Last time, it was 30 years almost to the day that we started our poker school and we celebrated with a few bottles of decent wine. We play for fun, to catch up on life, but these days I only rarely manage to join in as on Friday nights I’m most often in the Royal Opera House for a show.

Saturday morning

I get up around eight, have coffee, read the newspaper and make my special breakfast concoction: granola, oats, yoghurt, nuts, pomegranate arils and seeds. I make it almost every morning. Saturday breakfast is when I have a proper catch-up with Kate. We’ve been married for 23 years now and have a daughter at university and a son who’s studying for his A-levels. After breakfast I go for a bicycle ride, about 50 miles, a circuit through all the major parks of London, plus some bits on the roads between them. I love that ride. It’s a great way of clearing my head and keeping fit.

Saturday afternoon

I love cooking, so on weekends I tend to cook for the family. When I cook I love listening to music. There’s a programme on BBC Radio 3, Building a Library, which I always listen to, usually on the iPlayer. The iPlayer is one of the greatest inventions of all time. I grew up with music. My mother was a flute teacher and my father an enthusiastic choir member. They instilled in me a love of classical music and opera, joined by a more new-found love of ballet. As for my own musical skills, I’m a shockingly bad musician. I played the cello very badly but sang pretty well until my voice broke.

In the afternoon I shop for groceries, getting things for Sunday lunch. After that, it can be time to prepare to go the Opera House. After premieres and first performances of revivals, Kate and I usually catch up with the cast afterwards.

Sunday daytime

On Sunday I get up around eight, make my usual Sunday fry-up with bacon, eggs etcetera for the family, and after a good chat about all the news go for a one-and-a-half-hour combined jog and walk. We live in Hammersmith, and our house is only five to 10 minutes’ walk from the river Thames, so Kate and I potter along there quite often. After that I make Sunday lunch, joined by a couple of friends and their kids.

Sunday evening

I recently went to the Olivier Awards ceremony. I had several guests in the director’s box and stayed for the post-show party. I got home at 11pm and then faced the big decision of which book to read. I settled on To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Our resident choreographer, Wayne McGregor, is putting together a work based on Woolf’s writings, opening in mid-May, so I thought it was high time to get reacquainted. Mrs Dalloway next...

As told to Elisabeth Braw