Thursday, 29 March 2018

Roberto Devereux in Parma and Easter Holiday 2018

I was just thinking that it would be like another travel. I thought I was well. Summer time changed my plans but I thought it was a little thing. But it changed everything. I did not have enough time to eat properly before I took the bus to Gardermoen. Since the night bus would make me too late for the plane I had to go via Oslo Bussterminal and then the airport train. Saturday is over.

Palm Sunday and Summer time. My watch and I are on Wintertime.  The plane leaves at 6am, for me that’s 5. Little time too sleep and very little food do I have in me. Of course, I am on time for the plane to Malpensa airport Milan. Then it is too trains to Parma. I ate just one Foccaccia that day. Still I thought I was well. I changed my hotel after walking all the way to that hotel and then changed it to NH Parma close to the train station. Just being practical after all I will travel by train back to Malpensa tomorrow.

Going to the Opera after walking too much, no food, little drink. Roberto Devereux by Donizetti is boring compared to Anna Bolena and Lucrezia Borgia. I was ill. Pain and stomach noise. I survived and left while they were still applauding and cheering. Walking back to my hotel according to Google maps I never stopped walking until I taking the train to Milan.

2018-03-25 Roberto Devereux (Donizetti), Teatro Regio Parma

Elisabetta = Mariella Devia
Sara = Sonia Ganassi
Roberto Devereux = Stefan Pop
Il Duca Di Nottingham = Sergio Vitale
Lord Cecil = Matteo Mezzaro
Sir Gualtiero Raleigh = Ugo Guagliardo
Sebastiano Rolli, conductor

Director - Alfonso Antoniozzi
Sets - Monica Manganelli
Costumes - Gianluca Falaschi
Lighting - Luciano Novelli
Chorus master - Martino Faggiani 
Production from Teatro Carlo Felice,Genova; Teatro La Fenice di Venezia

Night to Monday was being ill and trying not to vomit until the night was nothing other than bed to wc again again and vomiting all the time. Somehow I was able to take the trains and arrive at Malpensa and then the direct plane to OSLO Gardermoen. On the plane I became the sick person on the plane. They took well care of me. Easter has been canceled for me. 

This has been written on a hospital bed and after Easter I hope to come home.


Sunday, 11 March 2018

Norma in Oslo 2018-02-28

2018-02-23 Norma (Bellini), Den Norske Opera & Ballett (Oslo)

Norma = Hrachuhi Bassenz
Adalgisa = Dshamilja Kaiser
Clotilde = Tone Kummervold
Pollione = Arnold Rutkowski
Flavio = Thor Inge Falch
Oroveso = Anders Lorentzson

Antonino Fogliani, conductor
Den Norske Opera & Ballett
Chorus & Orchestra

Regie - Sigrid Strøm Reibo
Scenography = Katrin Nottrodt
Costumes = Esther Bialas
Claudia Lehmann / Konrad Hempel, realized by IXA (Institut for experimental affairs)
Choreography - Oleg Glusjkov

It was still winter in Norway and a birthday gift was about to be received. How would it be and who would be with me to the opera house in Oslo to see Bellini's opera NORMA.

Lucky to be over my pneumonia I came to Oslo and I stayed in a small apartment that my cousin found for me. It was OK. Cheaper than a hotel but very, very basic. But the main thing was that I was rested for my evening night out.

So we met 3 first cousins and one of use had her husband with her so everything was perfect.

I was the opera aficionado and the other 3 was the opera novices. So I told them about the opera. Then the opera started.

ACT 1:
For me everything started just wonderfully. For them it was a slow start and they were right. Norma starts slow. But in other to fall into this bel canto world is that not the perfect way? We were just slowly soaked into the world of Norma. It was a revolving stage and it was simple: boxes that contains, hides, opens.

Oroviso, the druid appears and then the chorus came from the audience room to the stage. Oroviso was in costume as the Grand Druid, but the chorus came in their ordinary cloths. The voice of Oroviso changed all those ordinary everyday today's people into members of the druid religion. Ordinary cloths were changed into costumes belonging to the opera Norma. We were inside the opera.

Norma is comin... No it is Pollione and Flavio. Pollione who is not well and has asked us be merciful. No mercy is needed, this Pollione is on fire and he is strong and melodic, young too. I love another tenor!

Norma is coming. Norma! Who and what will we see? I know this opera so I am also looking for Adalgisa. Adalgisa is there but she is just another apprentice of Norma in the ceremony. Sediozi voci - Casta diva - Bello ... Wonderful singing.

Adalgisa. Finally alone she is on stage and finally we see Adalgisa. What a voice she has, beautiful and so big, powerful.

Pollione is upon Adalgisa. He loves her but does not care for her difficult situation. Leaving her gods and fatherland. She has given a sacred oath to be faithful to her gods and serve only them. She is devoted but now a man is between her and her duty. Devoted to fatherland, druidism and Norma, the chief-priestess and her best friend. Now she is in love and the man she loves is the enemy!!

Finally we are in Norma's private room. This is when the opera gets dramatic while it still the most amazing belcanto music and singing. Norma is conflicted. She is a Druid high priestess but she loves Pollione, the father of her children and he is the enemy. Fatherland/religion and a love that is against her religious vows and also goes straight against her love of the fatherland. She has betrayed both. Yet, she is still devoted. So her love for her children becomes tainted. She loves her sons because they are her sons and Pollione's. It is a love that she has to hide. The most violent conflict is all about love and duty. A choice she dreads. She wants Pollione to take her and her children to Rome as he has been called back to Rome from Sigambria.

Adalgisa arrives. Her conflict is to go with Pollione to Rome thereby leaving Sigambria and her sacred vows. Norma loves Adalgisa. Norma gives Adalgisa want she would have wanted her self, a release from the vows and freedom to seek love even if that means leaving the fatherland. One of the most beautiful belcanto duets comes. Oh, rimembrenza! Norma remembers her first love with Pollione while Adalgisa tells of the more recent love meeting with the same Pollione.

Pollione enters just as Adalgisa is telling who the man is. A furioso trio starts. It is the most divine belcanto and it is the most dramatic musical moment. Norma loves and hates Pollione and she loves and hates Adalgisa. She goes from defending Adalgisa to wishing her dead. Pollione is not conflicted. Adalgisa cannot and will not go with Pollione. He has betrayed Norma and he even has two sons with the woman that Adalgisa loves as a mother.

ACT 2:

Norma is contemplation murdering her children. Their crime is to have Pollione as their. Norma loves her children so sometimes the reason to murder is so that they will not end up as Roman slaves. Norma wants to punish Pollione so that is a reason to murder them. In the end she cannot kill them. "They are my children!!"

Adalgisa comes in. She has been called by Norma. Adalgisa is willing to do all what Norma says. Except she will not go back to Pollione. That love has ended. Adalgisa's loyalty is only to Norma now. Norma pleads with Adalgisa to save her children, to protect and love her children when she goes to Rome with Pollione. In the famous duet "Mira, o Norma" Adalgisa gives a counter offer: the children will be with Norma and she will go to Pollione and persuade him to be faithful to Norma. Norma wants so much to believe this is possible and Adalgisa is too young to know that life does not happen like that.

The warriors of Gaul wish to go to war already with the Romans. Oroviso is very sad but he has to ask them to be faithful to the religion and what Norma (high priestess) says.

As Norma fondly is thinking about Pollione coming back to her and all happiness will come back Clothilde tells Adalgisa has not been successful. Now Norma hates Adalgisa, too. From best friends for ever to hate, that is Norma. Now Norma is ready to kill all Romans so she calls out. Gaul is now ready to go to war!

Pollione is back. He is madly searching for Adalgisa. He is caught. Finally Pollione is in her hands. She demands the prisoner and the right to secretly interrogate him. Because she is Norma she gets her will.

"In mia man alfin tu sei!" Norma and Pollione. Death threats against Pollione and then Adalgisa. At the same time Norma wants him back. In order for the war to successfully a victim must be found. Who will die? Pollione wants to die to save Adalgisa.

After this duet of passions and pleas all of Gaul is coming back to hear Norma's decision. An unfaithful priestess will die. Pollione is desperate. Norma cannot name Adalgisa, the young woman who has just started the same path Norma already had thread. Norma names herself as the priestess that has been unfaithful to her religion and orders the pyre to be lit.

Pollione suddenly understands what a wonderful woman he is losing in Norma (typical opera thing). So he is willing to die with Norma. Then Norma starts thinking about her innocent children. Oh my God, the children!!

Oroviso is the father of Norma. He is horrified that Norma is guilty. Norma pleads with her father to take care of her children. In the end Oroviso is in tears and accepts. Norma and Pollione go to the flaming pyre, to their death.


Bravi, tutti!
We all loved Act II the most for its drama.

But did it have to end this badly. The two lovers dies united as in the typical end of opera. Norma and Adalgisa could have raised the two children together in secret. Afterall Norma is not just about epic love. There is Epic Friendship. The two women should have forgotten Pollione, the useless man, and lived happily ever after. But no, Norma had to go bananas in true operatic fashion. BEL CANTO!!

For reviews from my travels, see

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Last opera/concert in 2017 was in Verona in July.

What a wonderful holiday I had in Verona, Italy. Wonderful weather and wonderful food. The sun was so hot that I had to eat my favorite pizzas inside the restaurant.

The event was a Zarzuela concert in Arena di Verona 2017-07-21 with Placido Domingo, Ana Maria Martinez and Arturo Chacun-Cruz with Antalogia de la Zarzuela.

2017-07-21 Anatalogia de la Zarzuela - Placido Domingo, Arena di Verona

Placido Domingo
Ana Maria Martinez, soprano
Arturo Chacun-Cruz

Orchestra dell'Arena di Verona
Jordi Bernacer, conductor

Regia - Stefano Trespiti
Lights - Paolo Mazzon

Con la partecipazione straordinaro della Compania Antionio Gades. Direzione artistica Stella Arauzo

Geronimo Gimenez - Intermedio da La Boda de Luis Alonso
Compania Antonio Gades. Coreografia: Mayte Chico e Stella Arauzo

Reveriano Soutully & Juan Vert - Quiero destarrar da La del soto del parral
Placido Domingo

Pablo Sorozobal - Ne corte mas que un rosa da La del manojo de rosas
Ana Maria Martinez

Jose Serrano - Te quiero, morena da El trust de los tenorios
Arturo Chacun-Cruz

Manuel Fernandez Caballero - No cantes mas La Africana da El duo de la Africana
Placido Domingo & Ana Maria Martinez

Enrique Granados - Intermedio da Goyescas
Orchestra dell'Arena di Verona

Jacinto Guerrero - Mi aldea da Los Gavilanes
Placido Domingo

Reveriano Soutully & Juan Vert - Amor, mi raza conquistar da La leyenda del Beso
Ana Maria Martinez & Arturo Chacun-Cruz

Manuel de Falla - Danza ritual del fuego da El amor brujo
Compania Antonio Gades. Coreografia: Antonio Gades

Pablo Sorozobal - No puede ser da La tabernera del puerto
Placido Domingo


Manuel de Falla - Farruca da El sombrero de tres picos
Compania Antonio Gades. Coreografia: Jose Huertas

Federico Moreno-Torroba - En mi tierra extramena da Luisa Fernanda
Placido Domingo & Ana Maria Martinez

Federico Moreno-Torroba - De este apacible rincon de Madrid da Luisa Fernanda
Arturo Chacun-Cruz

Federico Moreno-Torroba - Tres horas antes del dia da La marchenera
Ana Maria Martinez

Federico Moreno-Torroba - Luche la fe por el triumfo da Luisa Fernanda
Placido Domingo

Georges Bizet - Entr'acte da Carmen & flamenco
Compania Antonio Gades. Coreografia: Antonio Gadez & Carlos Saura

Pablo Sorozobal - Hace tiempo que vengo al taller da La del monojo de rosas
Ana Maria Martinez & Placido Domingo

Manuel Penella Morena - Me yamaba, Rafaliyo da El Gato montes
Placido Domingo, Ana Maria Martinez & Arturo Chacun-Cruz


Zarzuela aria with Placido Domingo & dance (+ a white horse)

Emilio Arrieta - Pensar en el da Marina
Ana Maria Martinez

Jose Serrano - La roca fría del calvario da La Dolorosa
Arturo Chacun-Cruz

Federico Moreno Torroba - Adios, dijiste da Maravilla
Placido Domingo

Great singing in Arena di Verona. Zarzuela music with some real flamenco.

Placido Domingo as baryton, Arturo was the tenor and Ana Maria Martinez was the soprano of the evening. Of course was fun to see them all three in the famous duet of El Gato Montes, the opera by Manuel Penella. The zarzuela was semi-staged. I had a good seat but it did not give me close-up to the singers. Only in my photos does it look like I had a good view, but in real life I felt a bit cheated from the ticket prize I thought I would get more. Still, I had a wonderful Summer Holiday with the best pizzas of my life and the singing was good. In all, it was a warming experience!

OperaDuets Travel & Photos.

For reviews from my travels, see

Sunday, 1 October 2017

I love Maria Guleghina, so I travel to Berlin for a concert 2017-06-13

2017-06-13 Viva Opera! - Maria Guleghina, Philharmonie Berlin

Maria Guleghina, soprano

Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz
Arkady Beryn, conductor
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Un Ballo in Maschera - "Ecco l'orrido campo" (Act 2, Amerlia) - with orchestral prelude
La Forza del Destino - Ouverture
La Forza del Destino - "Pace, pace mio Dio" (Act 4, Leonora)
La Traviata - Ouverture
Macbeth - Nel di della vittoria (Act 1, Lady Macbeth


Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945)
Cavalleria Rusticana - "Voi lo sapete, o mamma" (Santuzza)
Cavalleria Rusticana - Intermezzo
Umberto Giordano (1867-1948)
Andrea Chenier - "La mamma morta" (Act 3, Maddalena)
Giuseppe Puccini (1858-1924)
Manon Lescaut - Intermezzo
Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)
Don Pasquale - Ouverture
Giuseppe Puccini (1858-1924)
Tosca - "Vissi d'arte" (Act 2, Tosca)


Giuseppe Puccini (1858-1924)
Gianni Schicchi - "O mio babbino caro"

The tenor has bronchitis so what does a Prima Donna do? She sits with the conductor and creates a new programme and she does not fail her audience!

Maria Guleghina did not only sing like a goddess she acted out every one of this different women in so very different circumstances.

Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera: In the end of the orchestral prelude and in walks Maria Guleghina and soon she is Amelia and she is the a horrid place, scared but brave she soldiers on to pluck the plant she needs to stop her unwanted feelings. Maria Guleghina makes us see and experience this operatic scene in the concert hall.

Leonora in La Forza del Destino: Next time we see Maria Guleghina she is Leonora and she imploring God for peace but peace does not come, strangers do. Again she makes us see and feel the scene in all its glory like in the perfect production.

Lady Macbeth in Macbeth: Maria Guleghina is the perfect Lady Macbeth and we see it all even in this concert hall. The Lady has decided and the king will die while staying at Macbeths. Macbeth will be king as foretold. This lady is ready to whip up all the spirits of hell. Very well sung and acted, and afterwards the graceful Diva comes and blows kisses to her fans.


Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana: Santuzza is in trouble and just have to tell the mother of her lover Turridu about it all. Turridu has run back to Lola even if Lola is now married and Santuzza is excommucated. Maria Guleghina communicates so deeply that we feel it all. Poor Santuzza!

Maddalena in Andrea Chenier: Maddalena is telling Gerard how her mother died and how the revolution changed her life. An aristocrat saved by Bersi. Again Maria Guleghina is the perfect Maddalena and acting her heart out plus the divine singing.

Tosca: Maria Guleghina sings Vissi d'arte and as Tosca she can be herself an opera singer who must juggle Love and Art. She has poured every bit of her self all evening and is now tired since she was not 100% well at the beginning. Still even with one slip it was an amazing Vissi d'arte.

Applause, never ending applause.
Then, the ENCORE: O mio babbino caro. Naturally this is an artist that can be like a teenage daughter pestering her father at the same time she is totally charming, adorable. And with this gift the concert ended, and the Diva could finally have herself a Summer Holiday and heal from her bout of brochitis or something.

The audience went happily in the night.

For reviews from my travels, see

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Holiday week. Don Carlo in London 2017-05-19

So my Opera Holiday Week was ending with a climax. What can go wrong with Don Carlo, my favorite opera, in my favorite production in one of the best opera houses in the world?

First and formost, never assume that nothing can go wrong. Manage that and you are good and ready to go.


I was travelling to London via Oslo from Milano Airport. What idiocy was this and who is to blame? I was, naturally, to blame for that, I was sick and could not travel to another place but I could for a small amount of money change that to a travel from Milano to London. Unforfunately with Norwegian Air it meant going via Oslo.

Since I was Genova it meant the plane from Milano could not be an early flight because I needed to able to travel from Genova to Milano Malpensa Airport. I really hate waking up early but I could manage travel from Genova Piazza Principe to Milano Centrale 08.18-0955. Then it was off to Malpensa Aeroporto with Trenord 1025-1123. Then I had time to get to gate in time of my flight to Oslo 1355-1635. Finding a place to eat a meal at Oslo Gardermoen airport, and then my flight to London Gatwick airport 1845-2005.

And so I arrive at Gatwick airport and I am trying to get the best idea of how to get to my hotel, Strand Palace Hotel. Slightly confused but eventually I manage to buy a ticket from a train to London. The train trip was relaxing. It was dark outside and raining. In the end I ended of at what was that day the nearest train station/metro station to my hotel. I think I took another train/metro station to get there. It was raining heavily and then I took a taxi to avid more trains and walking in this rain. Still I ended up being totally soaked when I sat down in the taxi. It took much longer to get to my hotel because of the crazy traffic. So it was 2200 or so when I finally walked into this grand hotel. When I came to my room I suddenly remember that in London the hotel rooms are small, SMALL. Because I was so late I had no other real choice but McDonalds so there was no festive mood that day. AND the day was May 18th, 2017 and it was downer.

May 19th, 2017 Opera day.

It was also a cloudy, cold and rainy day. I had been in Bonn and Genova and it had been hot. I was now almost freezing. I was getting "dinner" at Pizza Hut. London is really boring when it is mostly raining. In between finding something to eat, I was tracking the paths between the hotel and the opera house, and hotel and McDonalds, hotel and Pizza Hut, hotel and some shops to buy Pepsi Max or Cola light and some food. Then show time, opera time.

2017-05-19 Don Carlo (Giuseppe Verdi), Royal Opera House (London)

Don Carlo - Bryan Hymel
Rodrigo - Simone Piazzola
Elizabeth of Valois - Kristin Lewis
Princess Eboli - Ekaterina Semenchuk
King Philip II - Ildar Abdrazakov
Grand Inquisitor - Paata Burchuladze
Frate - Andrea Mastroni
Voice from Heaven - Francesca Chiejina
Tebaldo - Emily Edmonds
Count of Lerma - David Junghoon Kim

Bertrand de Billy, conductor
Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House

Director - Nicholas Hytner
Designer - Bob Crowley
Lighting designer - Mark Henderson
Movement - Scarlett Mackmin
Fight director - Terry King

Co-production with
Norwegian National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, New York

I love the production of Nicholas Hytner and I have enjoyed the DVD from The Royal Opera House (London) with Rolando Villazon and the video from Metropolian Opera (New York) from Met Opera on Demand (app on Ipad) with Robert Alagna as Don Carlo. I will always regret not going to Oslo and see the production with the Norwegian National Opera and Ballett. So I was really excited to see it in the The Royal Opera House (London). So, I was disappointed.

In 2017 it was still a great production and there was many great singers as Don Carlo really is an opera that need great singers. I think Jonas Kauffmann was originally to sing Don Carlo, and another soprano was to sing Elisabeth de Valois. I know that Kristin Lewis can be a really great Elisabeth because I have experienced her live in theater. Bryan Hymel was new for me and even Kauffmann was intended to sing at first I was still open to Bryan Hymel.

Don Carlo does not work if the singer is not on form. From both Don Carlo, Bryan Hymel, and Elisabeth, Kristin Lewis, it was a weak performance on May 19, 2017, that was my impression. It was cold and it rained heavily in London so I think they was under the weather. I believe that had I been there on another day it could have been spectacular. The opera really suffer from the main people, Don Carlo and Elisabeth, being not their best.

We had Ildar Abdrazakov as King Filip, he was great as always. As Rodrigo of Posa we had the wonderful Simone Piazzola. Ekaterina Semenchuk was the enchanting Princess of Eboli. We even had Paata Burchuladze as the Grand Inquisitor. And last we had Andrea Mastroni as Frate. A great cast, but Don Carlo and Elisabeth had already sunk the boat.

It should have been the highlight of my opera holiday week, but it was too rainy and dark and then the opera did not light up the mood. I loved my hotel though. Strand Palace Hotel!! Small hotel room but lovely staff. 

No blunder even with Londons weird time zone. The British, always so different then the normal Europe.

Saturday May 20th, 2017. Home trip.

Check out at Strand Palace Hotel 1200. Then travel home 1535 (Heathrow, London time), arrived 1845 (Oslo, Normal time). Eating in Oslo Gardermoen Airport and waiting, waiting for 2235 when the bus will travel north and west to arrive home on Sunday May 21st 0530. Normality resumed.

For reviews from my travels, see

Friday, 19 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!

Wednesday, 17 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.


"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."

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.


"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."
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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. 


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.
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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.


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.
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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 can  thank 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