Sunday, 13 December 2009
First time December 12: JC in Oslo
If I had been thinking clearly earlier then I would have asked the whole week free from work but still I am lucky to get Monday 14, Thursday 17 and Friday 18 off. But I still have to work on Tuesday and Wednesday. But most importantly I will get to see Cura at all 3 performances in Oslo, 2 Fanciullas and 1 recital.
Friday I took the evening plane to Oslo, and traveled to my parents' place. I slept well. After breakfast and early dinner I took the bus to Oslo. Then I got a physical reminder that I had not taken any pills against head-ache with me. But at my bus ride home I realized I had some medicine. It helped a bit.
Back to Oslo and to Oslo's new opera house. It was the first time for me. And it was the first time for Jose Cura in Oslo. He sang Dick Johnson in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West. It is almost one of his calling cards. Among many people also a quite a number of Cura fans. Jose Cura Connexion was well represented there. Old and new friends together.
It was to be a magic night. But at the beginning of the opera I really thought that it would be a boring opera night. I was so totally wrong about that. I have never seen this opera without having moments of boredom but not in Oslo. The Robert Carson production from Vlamse Opera held me in its grip. It was first time I saw this production so I cannot say how much influence the presence of Jose Cura did have to the ensemble of Den Norske Opera. It was no doubt that this was one of Jose Cura finest Dick Johnson. The singing and everything was simply the best Dick Johnson that I have seen Cura do. Paoletta Marrocu was a wonderful actress as Minnie, her voice could be unruly but in sum it was a wonderful Minnie. Jason Stearns as Sheriff Jack Rance was all that one could wish for in this role. Fanciulla del West is not the kind of opera where it is enough to have a great soprano, tenor and baritone. This opera is like Wolf-Ferrari's SLY an opera that needs a great ensemble that can act all it different characters.
Conductor: Joseph Colaneri
Director: Robert Carsen
Set design/ costumes: Paul Steinberg
Lighting design: Robert Carsen and Peter van Praet
This production of La Fanciulla del West, The Girl of the Golden West, started with the men sitting in a cinema seeing a Western film. As the prelude ended in the orchestra the men found there western hats and started to act as they were in a saloon drinking with empty hands and then was shooting with empty hands. I thought that it must be hard to remember all that you must when you don't have the props. But it was just the beginning. When Ashby (Magne Fremmerlid) came then it was really something to drink sat on the table. And when Minnie came, she had real gun. And by then it had started to look as a saloon. And she gave all "real theater" whiskey. By the time the bandit Jose Castro came all had real pistols.
So this production was acted like a fantasy but with each new person coming in a new layer of reality was put in. In the end of the opera it is a dream, the miners go into the cinema to see the western film The Girl of the Golden West after Minnie is now dressed like a movie star and so is Dick Johnson, he came out with a sigarett in his mouth very macho and glamorous.
Nex time. Fanciulla 2009-12-14 and Canciones Argentinas 2009-12-17 in Den Norske Opera & Ballett: www.operaen.no
For more reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com