Thursday, 30 October 2008

In the middle of September and November (mostly private)

Suddenly it is ca. 1 month since I saw José Cura as Dick Johnson in LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST in London and also ca. 1 month till I see his younger brother JUANJO CURA in Berlin.

But in-between I must prepare for my colonoscopy on November 3. I am so excited a weekend of no eating instead of the Phosphoral I complained about in my last post. Just no eating but drinking a lot of clear liquids and some clear soup is allowed. On Sunday I will take Toilax, it is just 4 pills, that can't be bad. But Monday morning a liquid in, you know where. I hope my bus ride will go OK. But I am hopeful.

Until November 22 I predict a lot of listening to music on my IPOD. Agnes Baltsa, Josep Carreras and José Cura.

I have bought air plane ticket to Berlin. And a concert ticket. I only have the hotel left.

UPDATE 2008-11-03: I predict also a lot of listening to Juanjo Cura now that I have his 2 CD's on my IPOD (as you can see from my comment)

For more reviews from my travels, see

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Wonderful to live in Norway, except

that the reason this time is that I have a disease that are treatable but not curable, yet anyway, and with Norway's health system I don't have to pay all the super-expensive medicine. Unlike if i lived in USA, health insurance or not. But I still don't like my disease, but it is bearable. Except that on November 3rd I am scheduled for a colonoscopy. But what I really hate and dread is Phosphoral that I need to drink to empty myself. WHY CAN'T They just make something that TASTES OK or even GOOD. So I have ANGST. Colonoscopy can be very painful, but I am sure they will do something to help that. But I have to DRINK to something that TASTES so TERRIBLE that I even decided to just help myself out of the hospital last time I had to take the other sip of that TERRIBLE thing.


I have decided to OK an stomi operation, but it is still the PHOSPHORAL thing that terrifies me. Otherwise I am usually most concerned whether my Chrohn's will hinder me in my Opera Duets TRAVEL. If only opera did not just cure head-ache but fear of drinking that TERRIBLE THING

For more reviews from my travels, see

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Next Month I will see Juanjo Cura in Berlin, and so can you if you want to

November: Berlin
2008-11-22 Juanjo Cura, Kammermusiksaal Philharmonie (Berlin)
Juanjo Cura, tenor

JUANJO CURA und sein Ensemble
Der weltbekannte argentinische Sänger

Javier Tucat Moreno, Piano
Malys Im, Kontrabass
Guillermo Destaillats, Bandoneon

Juanjo Cura singt weltbekannte Boleros und Lieder - Balada para un loco, Caminito, Por una cabeza, El dia que me quieres, Volver, Sueno de juventud, Pasional, Garganta con arena und internationale Tenorarien - O sole mio, Granada u.a.

Termine Veranstaltungsort Veranstaltung Tickets
22.11.08, 20.00 Uhr Kammermusiksaal / Philharmonie Juanjo Cura - Argentinischer Sänger Buchen Sie Ihre Karten über ticket-online

WHO IS Juanjo Cura? The younger brother of José Cura. Juanjo Cura is very famous in Argentina. More info on his website.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

My second Fanciulla del West 2008

Another Fanciulla on Monday 2008-09-29. This performance also started at 19. And as ususal I started with a Pizza (Funghi) at Piazza Cafe, but this time I was inside the cafe and not sitting outside. Another great Pizza Funghi. Lovely.

And then it was opera time. This time I was careful to arrive in good time before the opera starts. Fewer JCx members this time. I got to see the whole opera in my wonderful seat in the orchestra stalls. The only time we get to applaud the conductor Antonio Pappano before the opera starts is before act 3. SO both act 1 and act 2 starts suddenly from blackness to lights and music.

The only difference from Friday 26 to Monday 29 is the singer that is Sheriff Jack Rance, Silvano Carroli, the original Rance from 1977. So 31 years after this production was first played he is back, he also sang in the same production in 1978, so this was also 30 years celebration. And in 1982 it was taped on video with Placido Domingo as Dick Johnson, Carol Neblett as Minnie and Silvano Carroli as Rance, conducted by Nello Santi.

So how was he compared with himself almost 3o years ago or compared to our other Rance, Claudio Sgura. He was much older and somewhat lacking in force especially in act 1, in act 2+3 he was better. Anyway the opera changes a bit when Jack Rance is young and dashing (Claudio Sgura) or if he is more of an old rogue (Silvano Carroli 2008). Comparing 1982 performance with 2008 is almost impossible, it is to compare younger, domineering to older, domineering.

Many said this was the best performance of Silvano Carroli and the cast. It was certainly musically good. After a long wait at the stage door we finally met Jose Cura and his family and Eva-Maria Westbroek. I did not see Silvano Carroli. José Cura was still there talking when I left for my hotel. After all I was going home the next day.

TUESDAY 2008-09-30

Up early. To Paddington to take the Heathrow Connect to Heathrow and then a wait at Heathrow airport SK804 London Heathrow - Oslo 1020 (English time) -1330 (Norwegian time). Everything went smoothly. In Oslo I decided to fly home 1610-1757. And at 1900 I was home. GREAT LONDON trip.

LUCKY to be well enough for this experience. Because I don't feel well enough now.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Sunday, 5 October 2008

My London weekend 2008

SATURDAY 27.September 2008

After Friday's (26.september 2008) travel and opera night, it was a clear Saturday and the Annual Meeting with Dinner for the José Cura Connexion. It started at 12 and ended 1630. Even if we were supposed to be finished with dinner and socializing long before 1600. And when you have an organizer than can give good directions to how to get to the place everything went wonderfully. And I was even lucky enough to meet (by coincidence) 3 other members of the club, and so we naturally found it. It was wonderful to meet so many people from different places, all fans of José Cura. Meetings can be tedious but here it was just enough talk and speeches and decisions. PERFECT.

The Dinner was wonderful even if I did not love my vegetarian dish. The fish might have been more to my liking. But I can blame no one than myself. But the food or drinks was not the reason, it was the people. And we had a lovely time. José Cura and family was expected to be there for the whole meal but the weather conditions at Heathrow was bad so his wife and children would not land until midnight. I felt really sorry for Cura but more for his wife and children, waiting in an airport is no fun... But José Cura and his eldest son came in the end which was really generous of them.

But all good things has to end and 1630 I went back to my hotel again.

In the evening I went to the Covent Garden Piazza and ate another Pizza Funghi at Piazza Cafe. This time it only took 10 minutes before my pizza was ready. It was as good as on Friday but looked quite differently, darker.

SUNDAY 28. September 2008

Relaxed, relaxed and relaxed again.

In the evening I went to Piazza Cafe, but this time it was a Sunday so it was closing already. So what then, well I found a Pizza Hut Restaurant near Leicester Square Tube station and I had a Vegetarian Pizza there, Pan small pizza. Not bad but nothing near Pizza Funghi at the Piazza Cafe. After a Pizza in the evening/night I could finally go back to my hotel and have some sleep. (when I write go, I mean with tube).

For more reviews from my travels, see

Friday, 3 October 2008

Fanciulla del West, London 2008-09-26

Since I promised to continue today about the performance on Friday 26. September 2008 here is more:


Lost 15 minutes. But it was OK I had after all seen this production in 2005.

Jack Rance = Claudio Sgura. New Sheriff in town. Loved him even if he seemed a little too young, but he was like a young and attractive Silvano Carroli. He really reminded me of SC of ROH video/DVD.

Ashby = Erik Halfvarson. So unlike Robert Lloyd's more elegant Mr Ashby. This was a man who was drinking from his bottle all the time.

Minnie = Eva-Maria Westbroek. This is her favorite opera and her dream role but I find her too ... over-acting. She made me miss Andrea Gruber as Minnie. And wondering what would have happened if Sylvie Valayre had been ROH's Minnie. SV was a wonderful Minnie in Zurich 2004 and Berlin 2006.

Dick Johnson = José Cura. WOW, even better actor and absolutely wonderful.

Jake Wallace = Vuyani Mlinde. THANK YOU, ROH: no black-face-painted as AL JOLSON, just a black man in his own skin. BUT, I never saw him in the line-up at the front for the applause in the end of the opera. WHY: Jake Wallace is a short role but really important to be able to show our appreciation for his art. He was not just a part of chorus or ensemble. As important as Trin or some of the other miners (all white persons, by the way) that got their own line-up. He should have been up there with Cura, Westbroek, Sgura, Bonaventura Bottone, Erik Halfvarson.

(I just hope somebody will say I am wrong, he was there, I must just have missed him. And for the record I don't believe this is necessary racism, but it might just be a blind spot at the ROH.)


I am so GLAD that Wowkle (Clare Shearer), Billy Jackrabbit (Graeme Danby) managed to made some of their UGH into something less offensive (ah, eh, oh). That made this act better for me. Westbroek and Cura was really good together. And Sgura was just perfect.

What was wrong? The roof of the cabin, if you lived with kind of roof you would have snow inside. Another snowy issue. All the opening of the door, Wowkle exclaiming "it is snowing" (a blizzard, you know) and then Johnson also IT IS SNOWING. BUT no snow was seen from the opened door, it should have been snowing inside so that we understood why Johnson needed to stay in Minnie's cabin, you know, because of the blizzard. And how heartless it was that earlier Wowkle with her little baby on her back was made to go out by Minnie and later Johnson kicking her out when she hesitated because of the SNOW. The snow that never was...


GREAT. Great aria: Ch'ella mi creda. Minnie was really good.

AND of course I met a lot of friends from the Jose Cura connexion. We waited at the stage door. Cura, Westbroek, Sgura came, and probably others that I did not know.

0030 Norwegian time in my hotel---

For more reviews from my travels, see

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Travelling to London for Fanciulla and Jose Cura

Friday 26. September 2007:

Arrived in Oslo Bus Terminal at 0530 after a 7 hrs bus ride. Slept well in the bus. Not the same as in a bed but enough. Only thing is that 0530 is not my favorite time of day. I then took the airport bus to Oslo Gardermoen. Found me something to eat and drink in the Airport.

I had 80 GBP or maybe with the coins almost 90 GBP already from my travel in 2005 also to see Fanciulla, no, I remembered wrongly from 2007 Stiffelio in London. Then I withdrew 100 GBP. That was enough for the whole weekend Friday to Monday. Only time I used my credit card was when I paid for my hotel.

Finally it was time to travel from Oslo to London Heathrow Airport SK805 0slo - London Heathrow 1040-1205. Of course 1040 is the Oslo time and 1205 London time. My watch showed all the time the Norwegian time. So I had to remember that ex. 1205 London time is 1305 Oslo time. I chose Heathrow because I felt more sure how to get to London. This time I took the Heathrow Connect and not the Express, mainly because Connect was cheaper and only 10 minutes more (25 mins in stead of 15). With a return ticket, naturally. And soon I was at Paddington station and had to go to South Kensington so I bought a Daycard for zones 1-2. South Kensington because my hotel was 4 minutes walk from that station. Because of the confusion caused my the hotels map and the direction the map talked about it took me 1 to 1,5 hrs extra to find my hotel. Stupid, I should have known, never trust a hotel own map and directions, use GOOGLE maps. Of course, finding the hotel was really easy when I knew, which road to go straight down... but the hotel direction was like go that road and then another... SO when I arrived at the hotel I was both tired and kind of angry and not really thinking this hotel will be OK. I really wanted to get back at the hotel and just change to another, but in the end I was too tired to bother with a quarrel, and the hotel was OK. But I got a cold, that bloody Air Condition.

So I relaxed at the hotel room. Then I went to Covent Garden with the tube, and I ate the most wonderful Pizza Funghi at the Piazza Cafe. But then it had taken forever to get the pizza and even though I had had a quick look at my opera ticket I never saw that it was 19 pm and not 1930 as I had convinced my self. Pizza was still good but it cost me 15 minutes of the beginning of the opera, it is not that bad, Minnie and Dick Johnson had not arrived at the stage yet. I was lucky, the staff in ROH let me in and decided that I could see the opera live from a balcony box. Not that lucky was that is was on wrong side of much of the Johnson/Minnie action. Looking at a TV relay would have been better. But Act 1 was really special, balcony box. But too many people had their head far out of the boxes and I was naturally in the second row but I could enjoy the chair and the music and singing.

More about Fanciulla in London September 26, 2008 tomorrow...

For more reviews from my travels, see