Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Macbeth in Firenze 2018-07-13

2018-07-13 Macbeth (Verdi), Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Firenze)

Macbeth = Luca Salsi
Lady Macbeth = Vittoria Yeo
Macduff = Francesco Meli
Banco = Riccardo Zanellato
Malcolm = Riccardo Rados
Dama di Lady Macbeth = Antonella Carpenito
Medico = Adriano Gramigni
Un Sicario = Giovanni Mazzei

Riccardo Muti, conductor
Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

Opera in concert with Riccardo Muti conducting. 

Giuseppe Verdi is a genious but he has some weakness. The witches are not scary because the music are not scary and this time when it is just an Opera in concert version especially with Muti conducting it is just beautiful Verdi singing.

Riccardo Muti Is a genious but he is all about the correctnes of music and with Macbeth that does not work. So there was beautiful music with beautiful singing but I was bored. If had not known the story I would would not get that it was was not working because there should have been som drama. No drama. Beautiful singing from everybody except when the children was singing. 

I realized one thing and that was that Macbeth needs a chorus that does more than just sing beautifully but with Muti we cannot have that because he just want the music and singing to be precise. 

In the middle of the opera when only the orchestra was playing I was so bored that I just wanted to go back to my hotel. Beautiful music and utterly boring. 

The concert version of Macbeth was a 50 years celebration of the debut of Riccardo Muti in Firenze.

Norma in Frankfurt 2018-06-23

2018-06-23 Norma (Bellini), Oper Frankfurt

Norma = Elza van den Heever
Pollione = Stefano La Colla
Adalgisa = Gaëlle Arquez
Oroveso = Robert Pomakov
Clotilde = Alison King *
Flavio = Ingyu Hwang

Antonino Fogliani, conductor
Oper Fankfurt's Chorus
Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester

Director - Christof Loy
Set Designer - Raimund Orfeo Voigt
Costume Designer - Ursula Renzenbrink
Lighting Designer - Olaf Winter
Chorus Master - Tilman Michael
Dramaturge - Konrad Kuhn

* Member of the Opera Studio

Frankfurt was a disappointment after Marseille. It was colder and the production was annoying.

Elza van den Heever was an amazing Norma, Gaelle Arquez also as Adalgisa, and so was Stefano La Colla as Pollione.
An amazing Norma except that the production was an distraction. Personregie was phenomenal, but the change of time, place and even how Norma and Pollione met (in the overture) made it hard to enjoy. The singing and acting would have made it the greatest Norma I have seen live and recorded but the scenography etc was annoying. 

Elza van de Heever has everything in her voice and she can sing and jump on a table. Gaelle Arguez has a dark mezzo voice and it has great volume. Stefano La Colla was a full-voiced Pollione, a beautiful and mature tenor voice.

The director Christof Loy loves Norma and bel canto but he decided to make this about 2WW love between German officer and Netherlands partisans. The story he wanted to tell did not fit the libretto of Norma.

In Oslo I saw the best Norma and it seemed in the beginning that Frankfurt would use the same production. But some disagreement made the hastily get Christof Loy. DISAPPOINTMENT!!

Ernani in Marseille 2018-06-16

2018-06-16 Ernani (Verdi), Opéra de Marseille (Marseille)

Elvira = Hui HE
Giovanna = Anne-Marguerite WERSTER
Ernani  = Francesco MELI
Don Carlo = Ludovic TÉZIER
Don Ruy Gomez de Silva  = Alexander VINOGRADOV
Don Riccardo = Christophe BERRY
Jago = Antoine GARCIN

Lawrence Foster, conductor
Orchestre et Chœur de l’Opéra de Marseille

Mise en scène - Jean-Louis GRINDA
Décors - Isabelle PARTIOT
Costumes - Teresa ACONE
Lumières - Laurent CASTAINGT

PRODUCTION Opéra de Monte-Carlo / Opéra Royal de Wallonie

I loved Marseille. It was hot, 27 - 30 degrees Celsius. I also loved Ernani in this production. Hui He was wonderful as Elvira. It is a demanding role and despite Marseille being her first time as Elvira she was really good and will be absolutely amazing with time. 

Francisco Meli was amazing as Ernani. Ludovic Tezier was also great as Don Carlo, King of Spain.

Alexander Vingradov was also great as Don Ruy Gomez de Silva.

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