Monday, 17 March 2008

5. Travel to Vienna /Florence: Florence in February


So I am going to Florence, Italy, at last. I have managed to get to Oslo in time for my flight to Vienna on friday (22 February) and then see a wonderful NABUCCO with the great Maria Guleghina on the same day. And on Saturday (23 February) I saw Cav/Pag with Jose Cura as Canio and as the Prologue and I got some great photos of him at the stage door. And now Sunday (24 February) I am going to Florence via Venice by train.

I have already my train ticket so on Sunday all I have to do is to get up early since my train leaves at 0630. And since the train leaves from Wien Südbahnhof I have a hotel near to the train station. Everything goes as planned. I just did a longer stop at the train station in Venice, Italy and took a later train. But I am still arriving in Florence in time to maybe get a ticket for Elektra at Teatro Comunale di Firenze. But I am too tired.

So that was Sunday, a long train trip and no energy to try to get a ticket for Elektra on February 24th.

On Monday 25 February Jose Cura is in Istanbul for a concert, but I am still in Florence and not impressed by hotel Majestic or the city itself. It is February and it is cold and the buildings seem just gray and unappealing. I took a long walk trying to see the Duomo or the Teatro and managed to miss them both. But I found a cafe and had a nice rest there and later I found out how close I was to the Teatro from there and that it really was not that far from my hotel had I just walked in the right direction. Later in the evening I try some Italian food at an Italian restaurant. Wow, that really makes me believe that only ones that can make Italian food (spaghetti, pizza) really tasty and good are Norwegian. (As you can guess this was not a Michelin restaurant).

Finally, Tuesday 26 February Agnes Baltsa sings Klytämnestra in Teatro Comunale di Firenze and I have a ticket. Or rather I had a paper that I could make into a ticket at the Teatro. So I went there. Instead of yesterdays 2,5 hours walk, it was just 30 minutes to go from my Hotel to the Teatro. OK, after a long wait standing there after a few others, finally my time. But no I must wait in the office too. And when she is finally ready for me it takes her ages to find my ticket. FINALLY! And as bonus I meet another Baltsa fan there, she is from Germany and last time we saw each other was in Miskolc, Hungary where Agnes Baltsa sang in the Verismo Gala (2006).

2008-02-26 Elektra (R.Strauss), Teatro Comunale di Firenze

Klytämnestra = Agnes Baltsa
Elektra = Susan Bullock
Chrysothemis = Christine Goerke
Aegisth = Stanford Olsen
Orest = Matthias Goerne
Der Pfleger des Orest = Uwe Griem
Die Vertraute = Marcella Polidori
Die Schleppträgerin = Cinzia Rizzone
Ein junger Diener = Saverio Fiore
Ein alter Diener = Franco Boscolo
Die Aufseherin = Stefannia Kybalova
Erste Magd = Manuela Bress
Zweite Magd = Silvia Mazzoni
Dritte Magd = Larissa Schmidt
Vierte Magd = Sabrina Testa
Fünfte Magd = Daniela SchiIllaci

Seiji Osawa, conductor

Later that evening we find out that we sit side-by-side even if I ordered my ticket from Norway and she from Germany. She loved it all. I was bored. Agnes Baltsa was great and the production was very good. But unfortunately I do not love Richard Strauss' ELEKTRA. Elektra has some wonderful tunes here and there but a thoroughly depressing libretto, and it is in 1 act and last 1 hours and at least 40 minutes, in Florence 1 hrs and 50 minutes. And even I love Agnes Baltsa but now I have seen her in Klytämnestra in 3 different productions, so I do not think I will go to Munich for that production there.

Florence: boring and I met a friend but managed to loose her. How? Just from going to get my jacket and going to the WC and she was nearby, but suddenly she wasn't. I was worried that she might be inside the building as they started to close it. And no luck in seeing Agnes Baltsa at the stage door. I tried to wait, but I was tired too. So I went to my hotel.

On Wednesday 27 february, I am going back home. To get home I have to take the train to Roma Termini and there take the airport train to Rome Airport and there I take Norwegian Air to Oslo. Eurostar Italia 9391 Firenze S. M. Novella 08:25 - Roma Termini 10:03 (train) & DY1873 Roma-Fiumicino 1350- 1710 Oslo (Norwegian Air). I had originally a ticket back from Milan to Oslo. But I found out that going to Milan would be a great hassle from Florence. So my trip got even more expensive.

End conclusion: I should just have gone to Vienna. It would have been a cheaper air ticket and the cold, boring time in Florence would have been avoided. BUT: I love Agnes Baltsa.

AND I would just love to be in Athens, Greece now. Agnes Baltsa is singing Isabella in Italiana in Algeri by Rossini. It could have been money reasons for not going, but really it is a matter of health. New country and more stress than I can handle right now. But really I want to be there....

THE END of my February Travel to Vienna/Florence

For more reviews from my travels, see


C Bailey said...

hi thanks for the nice comments - your blog came up from a google search.

I and some friends are traveling to Italy next week. We are going to Teatro Comunale di Firenze (Florence) to see L'Elisir D'Amore.

I would love to have an inside scoop on a "must see" while in Italy. All the operas in Milan of course are sold out. Any suggestions?

Also, do you know the train system and what would make sense going from Milan to the theatre in Florence?

Thanks again for a nice blog entry,


operaduets said...

Travel by train is simple in Italy. Going from Milan to Florence would absolutely make sense. Find a nice hotel in Florence to stay after the opera.

Train tickets etc:

Find a nice hotel:

To find opera performances:

I like Teatro Regio in Torino, they are playing THAIS.

I hope you'll enjoy your stay in Italy.