Thursday, 18 May 2017

Holiday week: Maria Stuarda in Genova 2017-05-17

The bus trip from Bonn to Genova lasted 15 hours, from May 15th at 19 to May 16th at 10. It was OK. I could sleep and/or listen to music from my iTunes library. It was not bad in the beginning but then the smell from the toilet became harder to ignore. I had to put kleenex in my nose just to breathe without gagging. But that was just the last hours. Kleenex saved me! No foods to buy on the bus. Luckily I had some Cola with me but not enough food. I had been foolish enough to believe FlixBus promise of cheap food and drinking on the bus. One hour before Genova the bus stopped and we could go to a beautiful toilet and buy food and drink. Not a moment too soon but at this point we were only 4 or 5 passengers left.

The Australian woman complained that Europe was so cold, but Italy was nice. I, as Norwegian, was almost having heat stroke. And it was only 10 in the morning! Different perspectives... The hotel was too far away and I had too much luggage so I took a taxi. Hotel Columbus Sea sounds and looks impressive from a far. But far away from the center it was no matter what the nice receptionist said. Cheap it was. Yellow walls, carpets and worn it looked. The bed was hard and it was a noisy room with a view not to the sea but to traffic. And the room had a smell that was making me crazy. Opened the window and tried to get the smell out but it was more noise in than smell out. The hotel room made me slightly depressed. I was allowed to pay only for the one night and not for the booked 2 nights. Nice! 

The breakfast on the National day of Norway, May 17th, was a meager affaire. But things were looking up. Taxi to my new hotel, Grand Hotel Savoia. The day before I had been looking to see which hotel would be perfect for me. After the disappointment I deserved something really great like a 5 stars hotel for 3 times the price of my previous night. And voila! 

Google maps is a wonderful app but in Genova there are many small streets called vico that Google maps insists is the best route. They are small, shabby and smelly. Via is more like our normal streets. Genova with piazzas is beautiful. In the night it will be safer to avoid vico. The heat was hard for me and the walking tough for my feet. Finally it was time for opera.

Donizetti: Maria Stuarda. Teatro Carlo Fenice, Genova 2017-05-17 at 20:30-23:20.

Maria Stuarda Elena Mosuc
Elisabetta Silvia Tro Santafé
Roberto, Conte di Leicester Celso Albelo
Giorgio Talbot Andrea Concetti
Lord Guglielmo Cecil Stefano Antonucci
Anna Kennedy Alessandra Palomba

A great cast, especially Elena Mosuc, Silvia Tro Santafe and Celso Albelo. The production was good enough, the costumes beautiful for singers. The chorus was dressed in black always, a way to get the cost down but... The sets was moved around as the music starts so the stage hands also got their own applause. This was the premiere. The singers was acting as themselves on stage and then when see through curtain was raised they became their roles. It was a waste to do it like that and it did nothing for the opera. Then it was the costumes. They were beautiful but to see men in dresses made me wonder if that was historically correct. It had to be that. Elena Mosuc was a wonderful Maria Stuarda, Silvia Tro Santafe was a splendid Elisabetta and Celso Albelo was a powerful Leicester. 
Naturally Elisabeth in the opera of Donizetti is just a really jealous women instead of a queen which reign is threatened by the Scottish queen Mary Stuart. Leicester is a toddler of a man. He does not understand powerful women, he just wants what he wants. Disaster is assured. Like most Stuarts, Mary Stuart knew how to die splendidly. And we saw that in Elena Mosuc singing the end of Maria Stuarda. Brava, Elena! Brava, Silvia! Bravo, Celso!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Holiday week: Peter Grimes in Bonn 2017-05-13

I start my holiday week with a night bus to Oslo Gardermoen. It arrived there at 5 in the morning and my flight to Frankfurt will start at 9 so I have plenty of time. This time I have extra luggage, it is big and it is not black. Four wheel on that piece of luggage so I have to lay it down for it to stay put on an uneven surface. When on 4 wheels it is easy and no drag, but sometimes it would not work unless I just use 2 wheels and then I feel it is heavy. In the end my backback also feels quite heavy and my hand bag, too. Then I also have a plastic bag with me. What was I thinking? I was thinking that a week is a long time and I will need a lot. I wonder how much I have packed that I will never use on this trip.

Arriving in Frankfurt was easy. Waiting for my baggage was boring. A mother had to use the wc and took a long time to come back to her child and her luggage and so I did not feel I could leave even after my luggage was there. Then I had to go to wc with all that luggage with me. Then I went to the train station and unfortunately I had not earlier bought my train ticket to Bonn so now it was not so cheap. Later than needed I arrived in Bonn. Then I went to Hotel Ibis Bonn. At 1500 I was in my room. The opera starts 1930. I ate a Pizza Margherita at the restaurant nearby, Tuscola. It was too big for me and I did no want to take the rest to my hotel room because it didn't taste that well. 

Then I walked to the opera house. I met other Jose Cura fans there. And then the opera began. Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten.

Peter Grimes - José Cura [P] / Johannes Mertes [11.6., 22.6., 30.6.]
Ellen Orford - Yannick-Muriel Noah [P] / Johanni van Oostrum [13.5., 26.5.]
Balstrode - Mark Morouse
Auntie - Ceri Williams
1. Nichte - Marie Heeschen
2. Nichte -  Rosemarie Weissgerber* [P] / Panagiota Sofroniadou [10.5., 26.5., 22.6., 8.7.]
Bob Boles - Christian Georg
Swallow Leonard Bernad
Mrs. Sedley - Anjara I. Bartz [P] / Susanne Blattert [10.5., 26.5., 22.6., 8.7.]
Pastor Adams David Fischer [P] / Jonghoon You [10.5., 26.5., 8.7., 15.7.]
Ned Keene - Fabio Lesuisse* [P] / Ivan Krutikov [10.5., 13.5., 26.5., 11.6., 22.6., 30.6.]
Dr. Crabbe - Goswin Spieß [P] / Jan Löcher [10.5., 26.5., 22.6., 8.7.]
Hobson - Daniel Pannermayr
Fischersfrau - Asta Zubaite [P] / Marianne Freiburg [10.5., 13.5., 26.5., 22.6., 8.7.]
Fischersmann - Nicholas Probst
Ein Anwalt -  Georg Zingerle [P] / Dong-Wook Lee [10.5., 26.5., 22.6., 8.7.]
John (Der Lehrling) - Jaydon Morouse [P] / Moritz Hamelmann / Clemens Risse
William - Clemens Risse / Mika Wagner

Chor / Extrachor des Theater Bonn
Beethoven Orchester Bonn

Musikalische Leitung: Jacques Lacombe
Inszenierung und Ausstattung: José Cura
Licht: Thomas Roscher
Choreinstudierung: Marco Medved
Regieassistenz und Co-Ausstattung: Silvia Collazuol
Regieassistenz und Abendspielleitung: Christian Raschke
Bühnenbildsassistenz: Ansgar Baradoy
Musikalische Assistenz: Stephan Zilias
Inspizienz: Karsten Sandleben

It is a dark tale of persecution of the people who are different and therefore may easily be believed to be guilty. A fishing village with a fisherman who is not like the other people there, Peter Grimes. This man is loved by Ellen Orford and he loves her back. He needs another boy from the poorhouse to work with him. He has a problem, the village people believe he drowned his last boy.

PROLOGUE 

"An English fishing village. During a coroner’s inquest at the town hall, the lawyer Swallow questions the fisherman Peter Grimes about the death of his apprentice during a storm at sea. Though the room is crowded with villagers hostile to Grimes, Swallow accepts the man’s explanation of the event and rules that the boy died accidentally. He warns Grimes not to take on another apprentice unless he lives with a woman who can care for the boy. When the hall empties, Ellen Orford, the schoolmistress, asks Grimes to have courage and promises to help him find a better life."

http://www.metopera.org/Discover/Synposes-Archive/Peter-Grimes/#sthash.qJ5HeE5C.dpuf

I loved Jose Cura's Regie and acting in Peter Grimes. Peter Grimes is separated by the other people at the Coroner's Inquest by a curtain that makes the other people as shadows while Peter Grimes with his shaggy hair and beard stands right before us. Brilliant use and it is also used later in the opera. Peter Grimes is haunted by the death of this boy and of the other boy that also died. We see this physically played out. The new dead one is then greated by other dead boys dressed in white. The boys are angels now. Ellen Orford (Johanni van Oostrum) comes out and takes him away from his now staring of the imagination of the dead boy.

ACT I

"On a street by the sea, the women repair nets as a group of fishermen head for the Boar, a tavern kept by Auntie. Other villagers arrive: the Methodist fisherman Bob Boles, the widow Mrs. Sedley, and Balstrode, a retired sea-captain who warns that a storm is approaching. Grimes calls for help from the harbor to land his boat, but only Balstrode and the apothecary Ned Keene lend him a hand. Keene tells Grimes that he has found him a new apprentice at a workhouse. When the carrier Hobson refuses to fetch the boy, Ellen offers to go with him. The villagers make hostile comments, and she accuses them of hypocrisy (“Let her among you without fault cast the first stone”). As the storm rises and the crowd disperses, Grimes is left alone with Balstrode, who tries to convince him to leave the village. The fisherman explains that first he has to make enough money to open a store and marry Ellen.

That night, as the storm rages, the villagers gather at Auntie’s tavern. Auntie’s “nieces” are frightened by the wind and Bob Boles gets into a fight with Balstrode over one of them. When Grimes enters, there is a sudden silence, and he begins talking to himself, mystifying everyone (“Now the Great Bear and Pleiades”). The drunken Boles tries to attack Grimes. In an attempt to restore quiet, Ned Keene starts singing a sea shanty (“Old Joe has gone fishing”). When Hobson and Ellen arrive with the new apprentice, John, Grimes immediately takes the boy back into the storm and to his hut."

- See more at: http://www.metopera.org/Discover/Synposes-Archive/Peter-Grimes/#sthash.qJ5HeE5C.dpuf

The synopsis above refers to the Metropolitan Opera production and not to Jose Cura production in Bonn. So many little things are different here and I wish I could remember it all clearly enough to to mention them all. Peter Grimes doesn't himself any favors by being so different from all the others but he just can't help being the odd one. He is kind but he has a suddenness and semi-violent strike. Ellen Orford, the school-mistress, and Peter Grimes, the fisherman, makes up an odd couple. But she is also an outsider. Ellen is kind to everyone and so she sees in Peter a person worthy of love and affection. 

ACT II

On Sunday morning, as Ellen and John are watching the villagers go to church (“Glitter of waves”) she discovers a bruise on the young boy’s neck. Grimes comes to take John fishing. Ignoring Ellen’s concerns, he hits her and drags the child off. Auntie, Ned Keene, and Bob Boles have observed the incident and tell the congregation about it as they come out of church. The men decide to confront the fisherman, and despite Ellen’s protests, Boles leads the angry mob off to Grimes’s hut. Ellen, Auntie, and the nieces remain behind, reflecting on the childishness of men.

At his hut, Grimes orders John to dress for work. He dreams of the life he had planned with Ellen, but his thoughts return to his dead apprentice. As he hears the mob approaching, he rushes John out the back door. The boy slips and falls down the cliff; Grimes escapes. Bob Boles and the Rector find the hut empty and orderly and decide that they have misjudged Grimes. The villagers disperse, except for Balstrode, who looks over the cliff and knows better.

- See more at: http://www.metopera.org/Discover/Synposes-Archive/Peter-Grimes/#sthash.qJ5HeE5C.dpuf

Grimes has a problem with affection or maybe it is just having other people's hands close near or on him that freaks him out. He do not understand how to be affectionate even though he loves Ellen and does care for every new apprentice he takes. But he is always too sudden and almost violent even in his most affectionate state.

ACT III

A dance is under way in the town hall. Outside, Mrs. Sedley tries to convince Ned Keene that Grimes has murdered his apprentice. Balstrode enters with Ellen and tells her that Grimes’s boat has returned but that there is no sign of him or the boy. He has also found John’s wet jersey, and Ellen remembers embroidering the anchor on it (“Embroidery in childhood was a luxury”). Mrs. Sedley has overheard the conversation and informs Swallow that Grimes’s boat is back. Once again, the crowd sets off on a manhunt.

Grimes, deranged and raving, listens to the villagers shouting his name in the distance. He hardly notices Ellen and Balstrode, who try to comfort him. Ellen asks Grimes to come home, but Balstrode tells him to sail out and take his own life. He helps Grimes launch the boat, and then leads Ellen away. As dawn breaks, the villagers return to their daily chores. Swallow tells them that the coast guard has reported a sinking boat, but no one listens to him.

- See more at: http://www.metopera.org/Discover/Synposes-Archive/Peter-Grimes/#sthash.qJ5HeE5C.dpuf

Mrs Sedley is always causing trouble about Grimes. She has a sneaky way but pretend to be a very godly women. Of course godly women can be smoking pipe and have a drug habit. Mrs Sedley loves gossip. Ned Keene who provide Mrs Sedley with her drug and provide boys from the poorhouse as apprentices and so on, should not be one of the men ganging up on Grimes. But hypocrisy is rampant. Poor Grimes is visited and haunted by the angels, 3 boys dressed in white. He is so alone, also in himself is he alone. Ellen Orford and Balstrode try to talk to him. Ellen still believes in a happy end for Peter, but Balstrode knows. He tell Peter Grimes to go out to sea and when he is furthest away and on deepest water to cut a hole in the boat. The desperately unhappy Peter Grimes does that. Ellen is shocked by Peter's decision and the Balstrode, the nearest of friend of Peter, could say that.

Peter dies and nobody else care in this village. 

An amazing production. Britten' music is not for everyone and story is dark. This is right production and it thanks to Cura for all this.

May 14th, 2017

Another night in Bonn. From Ibis Bonn to Hotel Europe. Closer to centrum but Ibis was better. Europe was ok but more for young folks. Ibis was cheap and for everyone. Bored. I bought shoes, sandal like Ecco, and socks. I walked a lot and it was hot, too hot for the socks and shoes from home. Bored in Bonn

May 15th, 2017
Another boring day and I think it was this day I bought the shoes and socks. My feet loved it. I waited until it was time to finally leave hotel Europe for the last time to catch my Flixbus to Genova. Bus trip from 19.00 till 10 next morning.


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


Monday, 1 May 2017

April 1, 2017: Lucrezia Borgia in Valencia (review & travel)

It all depends on how one sees things. I prefer to see opera live, still I adore to see opera on TV, internet or DVD or simply listening to opera on Ipad or CD. And then it is travelling and a little holiday time abroad, that is good, too. Plus I did not know until I arrived in Valencia, Spain, that Lucrecia Borgia was going to be recorded and sent live on the very same day that I had a ticket. There I was again, in Valencia.

This time my route was night bus to Oslo Gardermoen on Thursday 30. March. Then my flight to Alicante airport. First time for me in Alicante! To arive at OSL at 5 in the morning and have a flight at 6 already was NOT a joy. Arriving in Alicante before ten. Airport bus from Airport to Train station. Me not a fluent Spanish speaker at all, I am all single words in Spanish sometimes arrived to the shortest possible sentence. The bus driver was kind but not too fluent in English. But the question that settled where I was going was like Driver: "Benidorm?" and Me: "Valencia!" Tren, train, yes.

In Alicante train station I got a chance to eat. I had to, my train was not before 1400. Train trip, many photos. And then to my hotel in Valencia. 2 nights from Friday 31. March to Sunday 2.April.

April 1 in Valencia, photos and the main course opera in the evening. Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia with Mariella Devia. What a night of opera it was!

2017-04-01 Lucrezia Borgia (Donizetti),
Palau de les Arts (Valencia)

Lucrezia Borgia = Mariella Devia
Gennaro = William Davenport
Alfonso I d´este = Marko Mimica
Maffio Orsini = Silvia Tro Santafé
Don Aposto Gazella = Alejandro Lopez
Ascanio Petrucci = Simone Alberti
Oloferno Vitellozzo = Andres Silbaran
Rustighello = Moises Marin
Gubetta = Andrea Pellegrini
Astolfo = Michael Borth
Jeppo Liverotto = Fabian Lara
Ujer = Jose Enrique Requena
Una Voz = Lluis Martinez
 
Fabio Biondi, conductor

Stage Director: Emilio Sagi
Scenography: Lorenc Corbella
Costumes : Pepa Ojaguren
Light design: Eduardo Bravo

New production: Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia

Another wonderful Lucrezia Borgia. This time it was Mariella Devia as Lucrezia. To compare Mariella Devia to Elena Mosuc in this role is like comparing a mother to a daughter when they are equally astounding and look the same. Of course, this is opera so it was the sound that was alike, same quality, except Mariella Devia is older than Elena Mosuc so it was the older diva against the younger. Who wins? I would say both. Great singing and acting from both.  I loved Mariella Devia as Lucrezia just as I did love Elena Mosuc in the same role. Brava, Mariella Devia!!

In both productions we had Marko Mimica as Alfonso d'Este. This is really a bass to go and see. Great acting and voice. Bravo, Marco Mimica!!

William Davenport was singing and acting the demanding belcanto role of Gennaro. There was many things to admire in this tenor. His voice was not so sure on the track but with age and more stage experience he will a be a tenor to look for. Bravo, William Davenport!!

Silvia Tro Santafe was Maffio Orsini. A great mezzo soprano voice and  a sure stage presence she presented this important person right on stage. Brava, Silvia Tro Santafe!!

With great singers and personalities in all the smaller roles this was a great production. Emilio Sago has created another triumpth for the stage! Perfection from Valencia.

And think, the Borgia had family ties to the city of Valencia and the region of Valencia.

Viva, Valencia!!!

On April 2 it was time for the long travel home with a night in Alicante, too. A quarter past 1300 I was on my way from Valencia to Alicante. Another beautiful city! And in the end a good night sleep until April 3rd and 1545 my flight to Oslo. SO it all ended with another night bus and so 5 or rather over 5 in morning on April 4th I was home. So tired that it has taken me a whole month to write this. Or rather, there are things that are more amusing than blogging, and then there was work...

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

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