Saturday, 4 March 2017

Anna Bolena in Lisboa 2017-02-12

My first time in Portugal and Lisboa, My first time flying with TAP Portugal. My 3rd Anna Bolena and the second in this production.

Why Lisboa? Elena Mosuc as Anna Bolena. I loved her as Lucrezia Borgia and now I got to see her in another Donizetti role. What a voice that woman has and she is getting better, is it possible?

Of course, since it was my first time in Portugal and Lisboa, it was also my first time in Teatro Sao Carlos. An very elegant opera house in the hills of Lisboa. And almost did not get in time. I walked back to the hotel when I was trying to head to the theater, I had to take a taxi. That was a blessing since it was really uphill. The traffic could be fierce or annoying.

First I had to come to Oslo. So thsi time I took the day bus to Oslo on Friday the 10th of February and since my flight to Lisboa was rather late on Saturday the 11th I thought I might stay at relatives in Oslo and be with them until the flight to Lisboa. But it felt like it was late to suddenly call my elderly relatives to stay with them. It did not feel right so I stayed in a hotel in Oslo city centre. It was nice and relaxing but I soon discovered that I had miscalculated what I had in my backpack. I needed more ostomy supply and so my relaxing day in Oslo became a search for some very special ostomy supply. No luck, really, execpt that I was given a crisis package for my isleostomi. That would have been just what I needed if it wasn't for the fact that I needed convex skin barrier that fitted my pouches and ostomy. Luckily my stoma created no difficulty this time so I had enough stuff with me.

While staying in Oslo I also shopped for cloths that was more suited for Lisboa since there climate would not be like the rather cold weather in Norway. Oh yes, 50 % off, Great except it did cost me NOK 1000,- Cheap, well??  But I thought I needed it and I used in in Lisboa. It was blue skies and hotter than Oslo but then the skies went grey and the wind came and so came the cold.

Saturday 11th: 1840 flight with TAP to Lisboa. then bus from the airport and I would my hotel in the city, the wonderful Hotel Mundial. Earlier that day I had decided against staying in a hotel close to the airport and to chose a city hotel. It was a good choice. Lisboa is on London time but my Iphone saved me from making mistakes. And my watch was always on Norwegian time. I stayed to night in this wonderful city hotel. I went to eat out before the opera. As usual I had miscalculated the time and then the combination of me and Google maps meant that I started walking in the wrong direction so Google maps thought I was going to the hotel while I thought I was going to the opera. Luckily at the hotel there were a taxi and I was driven to the opera house.

I was there in time. Sunday February 12th, 2017. Lisboa time: 1600

2017-02-12 Anna Bolena (Donizetti), Teatro Nacional São Carlos
(Lisboa)

Anna Bolena = Elena Mosuc
Enrico VIII = Burak Bilgili
Giovanna Seymour = Jennifer Holloway
Lord Percy = Leonardo Cortellazzi
Smeton = Lilly Jørstad
Lord Rochefort = Luís Rodrigues
Hervey = Marco Alves dos Santos
 
Giampaolo Bisanti, conductor
CORO DO TEATRO NACIONAL DE SÃO CARLOS
Maestro titular Giovanni Andreoli

ORQUESTRA SINFÓNICA PORTUGUESA
Maestrina titular Joana Carneiro

Encenação - Graham Vick
Cenografia - Paul Brown
Desenho de Luz - Giuseppe Di Iorio
  
Production - Fondazione Arena di Verona




I loved the production just as much as I did in Sevilla December 2016. This time it was different. Different singers and different feeling of the characters.

Burak Bilgili as Enrico had a smirk on his face that make him an instant villain. Jennifer Holloway as Giovanna Seymour was very tall and did not seem to be so unwilling to become queen and her relationship with the queen seemed hypocritical. Other than that it was amazing singing and acting from all.

Leonardo Cortellazzi was a wonderful Lord Percy, Lilly Jørstad was fantastic ad Smeton, Elena Mosuc was a gorgious Anna Bolena. Luis Rodrigues was great as Lord Rochefort. Among this gigant one could forget Marco Alves dos Santos as Hervey but we really should not forget him.

If one did not like the characters that Burak Bilgili and Jennifer Holloway brought in Enrico and Seymour it was a valid intepretation. Historically we know very little about Jane Seymour. The singing of all singers was at the highest standard. Also we had a great chorus and orchestra lead by maestro Bisanti.

In Sevilla and also in Parma the singing had been more come scritto, but here the singers was allowed to created a flourishes in their musical line. Excellently sung but I longed for the clarity of the come scritto approach. I am not a musicologist but those were my feelings,

After the opera I could walk downhill to my hotel. The breakfast seating of Hotel Mundial was decided by hotel employees. The breakfast itself was wonderful. So it was Monday 13th, 2017 and I was heading home in an old plane and sitting on the back seat longing for Norway and my home near a Norwegian fjord.

Beautiful Lisboa but Sevilla will be closer to my heart. Elena Mosuc as Anna Bolena, the voice and acting, sublime. A new tenor to love: Leonardo Cortellazzi. This is the time for the Italian tenors to get to the opera ceiling. Divine voice, graceful acting, ah!

Finally in Oslo and deciding to fly home and I wished ...

Work, again.

 
For reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Happy New Year 2017 - Anna Bolena in Parma 2017-01-22

Happy New Year!!

Sorry that I haven't been writing more in my blog, But, finally, here is my first blog post in 2017. This time I am writing from my "office" and not in my living room.

My travel to Parma, Italy was suddenly decided because I thought the photos from the production looked interresting and now I have this great love for this opera by Donizetti: Anna Bolena.

First my travel to Parma was planned and I found out that travel with Lufthansa to Milano and the train to Parma was the best choice. I have been to Parma before but the latest was in 2005. The cheapest option for me was to Milano Malpensa from Oslo Gardermoen on January 21th and from Milano Linate to Oslo Gardermoen January 23rd. My opera ticket was paid for but I hadn't decided on hotel or even if the hotel would be in Parma or Milano or a combination. Just before my travel to Milano I decided on the hotel, NH Parma. So it was 2 nights in Parma. I loved the hotel. It was close to the train station and to the opera house. And it was cheaper to have the hotel room in Parma than in Milano and it was very convenient, too. Not far from the hotel in Parma was a very nice pizza restaurant and the pizza was absolutely wonderful. Pizzeria Da Luca, ecellentissimo, and very much worth the difficulty in finding it.

2017-01-22 Anna Bolena (Donizetti), Teatro Regio Parma

Anna Bolena, wife of Enrico VIII = Yolanda Auyanet
Enrico VIII, King of England = Riccardo Zanellato
Giovanna Seymour, bridesmaid of Anna = Sonia Ganassi
Lord Rochefort, brother of Anna = Paolo Battaglia
Lord Riccardo Percy = Giulio Pelligra
Smeton, pageboy and musician of the queen = Martina Belli
Signor Hervey, officer of the king = Alessandro Viola
 
FABRIZIO MARIA CARMINATI, conductor
ORCHESTRA REGIONALE DELL’EMILIA ROMAGNA
CORO DEL TEATRO REGIO DI PARMA

Direction ALFONSO ANTONIOZZI
Scenes and video design MONICA MANGANELLI      
Costumes GIANLUCA FALASCHI
Lights LUCIANO NOVELLI
Choreography and Assistant Director
SERGIO PALADINO
Chorus Master MARTINO FAGGIANI
 
New production
In coproduction with Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova

On January 22nd, 2017 I saw Anna Bolena in Parma and it was a very different production than the one I saw in Sevilla on December 10, 2016. In Sevilla it was a traditional production and the costumes was historical correct and everything was done to make it historical. In Parma it was more modern. The dresses in Parma looked like something from the 1940's The acting was excellent and the singing superb from everybody.

What I did not like was that the actions on the stage under the Sinfonia. Why can't they just have the curtain down under the sinfonias or ouvertures. Worse still, it did not make sense. There was the 5 men who created the throne/stool for Anna Bolena was awakens by 5 women dressed in white who was acting during opera as angels/demons. Men in black and women in white but they did not offer more understanding to the story. Luckily one could ignore them and they did not prevent you from understand why the persons acted the why they did.

What I liked was that every action from the main persons was well thought out and no accidence. Sonia Ganassi was outstanding as Giovanna Seymour. I really loved everything about how she sang and acted, she was Giovanna Seymour. I even noticed her the moment she came on stage even though Giovanna Seymour is dressed so modestly.  One starts wonder how did the king notice her enough to fall madly in love with this woman. Giovanna Seymour in Sonia Ganassi has a magnetism, so...

Yolanda Auyanet was a wonderful Anna Bolena. She looked perfectly regal. The personal regie was stunning and everything made sense, Giulio Pelligra was a joy as Percy. What an amazing tenor voice? Riccardo Zanellato was another perfect choice in the role as the king Enrico. And Paolo Battaglia was another great bass in the role of Rochefort.

Martina Belli was equally perfect as Smeton vocally and acting. BUT she was obviously a woman this page Boy. Did that really matter if Smeton was a woman or a boy? The voice was mermerizing.

In all a wonderful opera matinee (the opera started 1530). A splitting headache in the first part was not ideal but after taking paracet in the cafe in the interval the second part of the opera was more pleasant for me.

My photos: Anna Bolena, Teatro Regio de Parma 2017-01-22

But my head
ache meant that a second visit to the pizzeria was avoided as the place had been loud with clatter the day before. So I just bought the cola light that was cheaper to buy in a grocery shop than in the hotel and then I had some food at the hotel.

On Monday 23rd, 2017 I was on Paracet so that went ok. My head ache was subdued. Train to Milano Centrale, bus to Linate airport and delayed flight from Linate to Frankfurt and walking hard to get in time for the flight to Oslo just to find that was also delayed which was almost ok. Then after hours in Oslo, night bus home. Sleep a bit home and then WORK.

For reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Anne Boleyn and Anna Bolena, history and opera

 Wikipedia (english):
Anne Boleyn (/ˈbʊlɪn/, /bəˈlɪn/ or /bʊˈlɪn/)[3][4][5] (c. 1501[1] – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII, and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right.[6] Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution by beheading, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the start of the English Reformation.

Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547) was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII.
Henry is best known for his six marriages and, in particular, his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled. His disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority and appointing himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Despite his resulting excommunication, Henry remained a believer in core Catholic theological teaching.

Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland, KG (c. 1502 – 1537) was an English nobleman, active as a military officer in the north.[1] He is now primarily remembered as the betrothed of Anne Boleyn, whom he was forced to give up before she became involved with King Henry VIII.

Jane Seymour (c. 1508 – 24 October 1537) was Queen of England from 1536 to 1537 as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort following the latter's execution in May 1536. She died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of her only child, a son who became King Edward VI. She was the only one of Henry's wives to receive a queen's funeral, and his only consort to be buried beside him in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

George Boleyn, 2nd Viscount Rochford (c.1503 [1] /c. April 1504 [2] – 17 May 1536) was an English courtier and nobleman, and the brother of queen consort Anne Boleyn. This made him the brother-in-law of King Henry VIII and the maternal uncle of Queen Elizabeth I of England. A prominent figure in the politics of the early 1530s, he was convicted of incest with Anne during the period of her trial for high treason. They were both executed as a result.

Mark Smeaton (c. 1512 – 17 May 1536) was a musician at the court of Henry VIII of England, in the household of Queen Anne Boleyn. Smeaton, the Queen's brother George Boleyn (Viscount Rochford), Henry Norris, Francis Weston and William Brereton were executed for alleged treason and adultery with Queen Anne.

OPERA
Anna Bolena is an opera by Gaetano Donizetti. It is a tragedy. The 5 main characters all have flaws.

Anna Bolena (Anne Boleyn) wanted a crown so she chose Henry the 8th (Enrico), the King of England not Percy. Sir Riccardo Percy (in reality it was Henry Percy who was betrothed to Anne, but the opera could not have with the name Henry, Enrico in Italian). The real Anne Boleyn might possibly be a much better person than she is usually portrayed even in the history books. (19 May 1536)

Giovanna Seymour (Jane Seymour) fell in love with a king who already is married. She also was a close friend of the Queen, Anna Bolena herself. Giovanna wants to be free from the king's love since he is not free to marry Giovanna. She loves the King and the Queen.. She is flawed but the most virtous of the 5. The real Jane Seymour was also probably a more complex person, or may not. (24 October 1537)

Smeton (Mark Smeaton) is a young musician in the court. In the opera Smeton is more of a teen ager than a 23-24 year old person and beloved by Anna Bolena in an innocent way but he is in love with her. In love and a social climber, perhaps. In love in the opera, social climber in real life. But both showed he was just unlucky and a pawn in Henry's game. (17 May 1536)

Sir Riccardo Percy (Henry Percy) is mortally in love with Anna Bolena. He is a foolish, young man who plays right into Enrico's deadly plan to get free to marry Giovanna Seymour. The real Henry Percy was once bethrothed to Anne Boleyn but the bethrothal was without permisson of either the king or father. Anne Boleyn was not noble enough for young Henry Percy decided his father. (29 June 1537)
In May 1536 Northumberland, by now a man in broken health, formed one of the jury for the trial of Anne Boleyn. Anne is said to have confessed a precontract with him in the hope of saving her life.[1] He collapsed following the verdict and had to be carried out.[11]
Lord Rochefort (George Boleyn, 2nd Viscount Rochford) was Anna's brother and friend of Percy. He led Percy into his sister's room, it was supposed to be empty but Smeton was already there. And so Enrico had his evidence of adultery as he wanted. How Rochford thought the king's castle could be safe and how to stop the King to enter the Queen's room...

Enrico VIII (Henry VIII of England) is the king and he decides. Enrico has fallen out of love in Anna Bolena and is now in love with Giovanna Seymour. He wants to be loved as the man Enrico and yet he uses his role as king to get his way. He now hates Bolena and thinks she only wanted a crown and in that way he thinks he is not that guilty of all the deadly schemes he makes. Seymour is now his love and conviently he thinks FAMA, means that Seymour wants to be queen, but for Seymour the word means her virtue. Giovanna tries to save the life of the Queen, but Anna must accept to no longer be queen. Anna refuses and the King wins. Naturally he would have won anyway because he is The King.

The day after Anne's execution in 1536 the 45-year-old Henry became engaged to Seymour, who had been one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting. They were married ten days later.[103] On 12 October 1537, Jane gave birth to a son, Prince Edward, the future Edward VI.[104]
Percy married another woman, and died not by the King's hand.

For reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com

Saturday, 24 December 2016

The English Court in Seville: Anna Bolena 2016-12-10

I have always wanted to se Seville, Spain, and now I have been there. I loved it!!!

Not to hot, blue sky and Seville is beautiful.

I arrived in Seville at 2010 in the evening on Friday 9th December after night bus to Oslo Gardermoen Airport, flight to Malaga airport and bus to Seville. Nettbuss.no, Norwegian.no and ALSA.es. I used the apps on my Iphone and wallet. In Oslo we had to wait an endless hour until we could be up in the air. I wondered if I would be on time for the bus ride from Malaga airport to Seville and I was lucky. When I arrived in Seville I decided to take taxi to my hotel. So after all that travel I had a nice meal in my hotel room courtesy Room Service. On Saturday I walked in Seville and shot many photos. It was just so beautiful and the Royal Tobacco Factory in Seville was now University of Seville. I walked 9,8 kilometres that day according to my phone.


2016-12-10 Anna Bolena (Donizetti), Teatro de la Maestranza (Seville)

Anna Bolena = Angela Meade
Enrico VIII = Simón Orfila
Giovanna Seymour = Ketevan Kemoklidze
Lord Percy = Ismael Jordi
Smeton = Alexandra Rivas
Lord Rochefort = Stefano Palatchi
Hervey = Manuel de Diego

Maurizio Benini, conductor
REAL ORQUESTA SINFÓNICA DE SEVILLA Artistic and Musical Director, John Axerold
CORO DE LA A.A. DEL TEATRO DE LA MAESTRANZA Director, Íñigo Sampil 

Director - Graham Vick
Design - Paul Brown
Lighting - Giuseppe di Iorio
Production - Fondazione Arena di Verona

I love Gaetano Donizetti and Anna Bolena is a beautiful opera. Angela Meade was a wonderful Anne Boleyn. Ketevan Klimoklidze was a lovely Jane Seymour. Alexandra Rivas was an amazing Smeton. Visually one would never mistake one for another but vocally they was quite similar although Anna is a soprano role, Jane mezzo and Smeton is an alto. Maybe the three roles can be sung by mezzos.

Simon Orfila was Henry the 8th, Ismael Jordi was Richard Percy. The production was very historical and the costumes, too. Maybe too much historicality,  The music was mesmerizing and the singing good. Loved it!!!

Sunday 11th December: an early bus ride to Malaga Airport, flight to Oslo Gardermoen Airport, and then night bus home.

For reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com

Friday, 28 October 2016

2016-10-25 Lucrezia Borgia (Donizetti), Palacio Euskalduna (Bilbao)

Finally I was off to another Opera Travel. Last travel was already in June 2016 to Hamburg to see Fanciulla del West with Jose Cura. And now july, august, september had already and no opera live and no opera travel.

My plan to see Jose Carreras concert in Halden, Norway did not happen. In October I had planned also to go to Parma, Italy to see Verdi operas, Don Carlos, Giovanna d'Arco and Il Trovatore, and I had to stay home. BUT to Spain I went.

On Sunday October 23th, 2016 I took the bus to Bergen. After being coldly received and rejected at the DaStefano restaurant in Bergen. The "best pizza restaurant" rejected me since I had no reservation, how could I have known I needed that?, and was rather unwilling to point me to another restaurant for my pizza hunger. Wow, was I hungry and defeated.

I had noticed a restaurant on my way to my hotel so I went there. I went past Peppe's Pizza since their pizza sauce is too spicy for me. In Egon Restaurant I bought Pizza Margherita and a big Coca Cola zero. I would have eaten to whole pizza if not after 3/4 of the pizza I could no longer ignore that the wonderful pizza bun, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese tasted 100% oregano. I love oregano but this was too much. Nice place, though.

It was nice to wake up on Monday October 24th, 20016 to no stress even as it was the day I was traveling to Bilbao, Spain. Leisurely eating breakfast at the hotel. Check out and directly outside the door was the bus to Flesland Airport. Fixing my tickets there took some time but in the end I had all my tickets to Bilbao and back to Bergen. So no stress with my flight to London Heathrow airport and a nice stay in Heathrow until my flight to Bilbao.

British Airways was wonderful and the food too. Understanding English is a must when using British Airways something that might be a shock if you thought Iberia was flying you to and from Spain.

Luckily for me I dressed for the cold weather in Bergen and had my Helly Hansen jacket on. Even in Spain the summer is over and autumn has come. In the day when the sun is shining it was very nice with 23 degrees Celsius, but morning and evening could be cold. Of course, this was still Spain so it was hotter than in Norway, but it was Northern Spain...

I loved my hotel in Bilbao even it was without breakfast but it was perfectly placed and I remembered still where to go.

On Monday I had to eat in my room. My spaghetti bolognese from room service was ok. On Tuesday October 25, 2016 I chose to try another pizza and this time it was Pizza Prosciutto and it was lovely. it was the perfect Italian pizza in an Italian restaurant. Lovely and friendly, just as one wants a restaurant to be. Loved it!! Breakfast on this day had been a not quite warmed up breakfast at McDonald's, I ate it not gladly. So I really needed the Tagliatella restaurant experience to cheer me on. Unfortunately I went back to McDonald's to eat something before the opera, unfortunately the chicken wings was too spicy so it was mostly 100% loss. BUT the OPERA was a WIN.

2016-10-25 Lucrezia Borgia (Donizetti), Palacio Euskalduna (Bilbao)

Lucrezia Borgia = Elena Mosuc
Gennaro = Celso Albelo
Alfonso I d´este = Marko Mimica*
Maffio Orsini = Teresa Iervolino*
Don Aposto Gazella = Jose Manuel Díaz
Ascanio Petrucci = Zoltan Nagy
Oloferno Vitellozzo = Manuel de Diego
Rustighello = Mikeldi Atxalandabaso
Gubetta = Fernando Latorre
Astolfo = German Olvera*
Jeppo Liverotto = Jesús Álvarez*
 

José Miguel Pérez Sierra, conductor
Euskadiko Orkestra Sinfonikoa
Coro de Ópera de Bilbao

Scene Director-  Franceso Bellotto
 Director of the Chorus - Boris Dujin
 
 Production - Torino, Bergamo and Sassari theaters
 
 *Debuting at ABAO-OLBE


I have started to love Donizetti operas very much. In Bilbao I saw the most perfect Lucrezia Borgia. The production was amazing. The cast was splendid. Elena Mosuc was the most perfect Lucrezia Borgia. Celso Albelo was also stupendous. Marko Mimica was such a great Alfonso.

As Maffio Orsino we heard and saw Teresa Iervolino. Unfortunately her voice which was a lovely mezzo soprano voice was not penetrating the wall of male voices. Elena Mosuc voice would ring through the whole chorus. Teresa Iervolino did not had that power, but I might be wrong after all I was sitting in front row where one sees well but hears maybe not that well.

Another tenor to enjoy besides the Celso Albelo was the wonderful, thrilling tenor voice of Mikeldi Atxalandabaso as Rustighello. A wonderful find!!!

I loved the production so much. It felt historical and real.
Scene Director -  Franceso Bellotto
Scenography - Angelo Sala*
Costumes - Cristina Aceti*
Choreography - Martín Ruis*
Light - Fabio Rossi*
The regie was right, the costumes and scenography was wonderful and singers and chorus alike was acting so it felt real. I even, after a while, liked the choreography by Martin Ruis. The orcs, I mean soldiers of Alfonso was allright. The woman and boy as Lucrezia and young Gennaro worked in the opera even as I do no generally enjoy ballet in opera. The main thing is that it worked and added a dimension that was emotional and after a while felt real. Lucrezia and Gennaro remembers and feels those two and see them in their inner eye. It meant that no longer is there an incestuos meeting but a mother and son that meets. The mother wants her son. The son wants his mother. Alfonso loves Lucrezia and he thinks Gennaro is a rival. In this production Alfonso is ashamed when he finds out that he was gloating over a mother's loss of her child. Wonderful production even if Lucrezia is still poisoning people here she is a mother under all her actions.

I have seen on video the Lucrezia Borgia from La Scala with Mariella Devia, Marcelo Alvarez and Michele Pertusi with Daniela Barcellona as Orsino and I thought nothing could be better than that. This experience in Bilbao was brilliant and at least on par with La Scala but also better. Elena Mosuc, what a voice and her acting was so brilliant. A beautiful voice and not only that every note was enjoyment for the listener and deeply acting not only through her body but voice too. Celso Albelo won me over. A robust voice even in the higher register. He sang ‘T´amo qual s´ama un angelo’. It was so touching. There was changes in the score from La Scala to Bilbao. Equally beautiful but musically I liked the score from La Scala better. Marko Mimica was a stunning, young Alfonso with his Lucrezia. So young and powerful. His voice rang out.

Chorus and orchestra was great under the hands of José Miguel Pérez Sierra.

And so it ended "Era desso figlio mio". Era dessa Lucrezia Borgia!!!! Brava, Elena Mosuc!! Bravo, Celso Albelo! Bravo, Marko Mimica! Bravissimi!

THE END.

Back to my hotel to get a good night sleep. Chicken wings are still uneatable,

Wednesday October 26, 2016 off to Bilbao airport. The bus costs only EUR 1,45. I was traveling via Heathrow but this time I have even better time. I was trying to follow the transfer signs (they are purple). Suddenly no purple anywhere and I have exited. I am on terminal 5, my next flight goes from terminal 3. Head-ache does not really help does it. It was probably the reason I cried a bit even though this was hardly any crisis. OK. The answer is buying Paracetamol at Boots and take the Heathrow express to terminal 3. Then security and now I find a restaurant to eat. Great. No stress this time either. Then my flight to Bergen. And another airport bus, to Bergen centrum, I find my hotel OK.

Thursday October 27, 2016. Wake up and eats breakfast at the hotel. I have an disagreement with my keys so I had no glasses on during breakfast. Then I just rest until I really feel like I must go even if I could stay at my room until 1200. Off to find somewhere to sit and to eat again. Then the bus to Haukeland University Hospital for my meeting with the surguon. I have plenty of time to finish my cheese and ham calzone from Deli de Luca and then up for my talk. I talk to her for 5-10 minutes and I can go back and buy another calzone. Then back, bus again, wrong stop, it is raining but I have only 15 minutes to go and Google maps is useful again. On the bus station waiting for my bus to carry me home. At home it is raining cats and dogs, or even elephants. It is 10 in the evening and pitch dark. HOME. What a wonderful Opera Travel I have had!!!!


For reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com

Sunday, 12 June 2016

My OperaDuets Travel in June: Hamburg and Fanciulla

2016-06-04 La Fanciulla del West (G. Puccini), Hamburgische Staatsoper

Dick Johnson (Ramirez) José Cura
Minnie = Amarilli Nizza
Jack Rance Claudio Sgura
Harry Benjamin Popson
Jake Wallace Stanislav Sergeev
Nick Jürgen Sacher
Ashby Tigran Martirossian
Sonora Kartal Karagedik
Sid Alexey Bogdanchikov
Trin = Joshua Stewart
Bello Viktor Rud
Joe Daniel Todd
Happy = Zak Kariithi
Harry = Benjamin Popson
José Castro = Christoph Rausch
Larkens Alin Anca 
Billy Jackrabbit = Bruno Vargas
Wowkle = Marta Swiderska
Un Postilione = Sergiu Saplacan

Josep Caballé-Domenech, conductor
Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg
Chor der Hamburgischen Staatsoper

Inszenierung: Vincent Boussard
Bühnenbild: Vincent Lemaire
Kostüme: Christian Lacroix
Licht: Guido Levi



It was Jose Cura's Day.

Some people disagree with me but this was the best Fanciulla del West for me, anyway.

This was the performance where I was never bored. I think the orchestra and the conductor did a fine job at least when I was the on June 4th, 2016. I loved Amarilli Nizza as Minnie. I found her absolutely right. She was the perfect Minnie. Jose Cura did one of his best Dick Johnson. Claudio Sgura was a great Jack Rance. The only thing about Jack Rance was that the director seemed to have had less thought about this important role in La Fanciulla del West than he used when thinking out the singer Jack Wallace. The director made Jack Wallace into a blonde but male Marilyn Monroe clone. What a stupid and useless idea that was! Putting Marilyn Monroe into an actual gold-mine, whoops.

I loved it. It was believable except for Marilyn Monroe, the canary in a gold-mine. The kiss in second act with the curtain coming down, it was snowing, a snow storm outside, and then curtain up and wow, suddenly a few seconds in real time could have been hours together with Dick doing more than just kissing Minnie. That was elegantly done. The sets was used in the best manner in this opera production. And even the 3rd act was well done. Bravi, tutti! 

I must apologize to Marilyn Monroe: Sorry but you are still the icon to be used and abused and this time they did it as they were still in kindergarten. Buh!

My OperaDuets Travel in May: Vienna and Boccanegra

Friday 27th of May. A good night sleep, just 30 minutes to the airport and a direct flight to Vienna.A little before 12 the airplane left Frankfurt and after 13 it was in Vienna. Hotel Vienna Amadeus was just 5 minutes walk from Stephansplatz. I relaxed too long at my hotel. I used the the same time as Wiesbaden the day before but the opera in Vienna started 30 minutes before so I had to use McDonald's for food and after my operation I have had problems eating and drinking so I could only eat the pommes frites which I finally had the chance of eating at midnight. 

Wonderful opera in Vienna. And even though I was home 2200 Saturday 28th of May. I was actually still tired on Monday at work. Of course to start the week with meetings are never fun. Simon Boccanegra in Vienna was wonderful and well worth the trip. It was hot, though!

2015-05-27 Simon Boccanegra (Verdi), Wiener Staatsoper

Simon Boccanegra = Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Maria Boccanegra (Amelia) = Barbara Frittoli
Jacopo Fiesco = Ferruccio Furlanetto
Gabriele Adorno = Francesco Meli 
Paolo Albiani = Adam Plachetka
Pietro = Sorin Coliban
Un Capitano dei Balestrieri = Carlos Osuna
Lydia Rathkolb = Anat Edri

Marco Armiliato, conductor
Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper
Chor der Wiener Staatsoper

Peter Stein | Regie
Stefan Mayer | Bühne
Moidele Bickel | Kostüme




It was Dmitri Hvorostovsky's day, it was Francesco Meli's day.

For many people in the opera this was Hvorostovsky's day as he triumphed in the title role of Simon Boccanegra. For me it was the triumph of Francesco Meli. Ferruccio Furlanetto was also great. Adam Plachetka was an amazing Paolo and I would love to experience him as Simon Boccanegra himself. 

Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Barbara Frittoli was soft and suave. They were perfect together but vocally their voices did not had the strength of Ferruccio Furlanetto or Francesco Meli. Furlanetto was the perfect Fiesco and Francesco Meli was the most wonderful and strong Gabriele Adorno. Adam Plachetka was the luxury of Simon Boccanegra.

I am now a fan of the marvellous tenor Francesco Meli. Bravo, Francesco Meli! 

And I adore the magificient bass of Ferruccio Furlanetto. Bravo, Ferrucio Furlanetto!!

This production of Simon Boccanegra in Wiener Staatsoper was just stupendous, perfect.