Saturday, 29 January 2011

Andrea Chenier in Berlin 29.1.2011

Maria Guleghina sang a wonderful Maddalena di Coigny. It was brave to do so when suffering from bronchitis. But I really wish she would take better care of herself and not think too much about her fans. We do love her well enough to see her healthy and sound even if we must suffer not see her onstage but another soprano. Get well and sleep well!

I worried about Salvatore Licitra as Chenier and about the baritone who sang Gerard but they only got better and better. The tenor used his lyrical instrument to the fullest. He gave a really beautifully sung Andrea Chenier. The baritone did not seem to have the right powerful voice in act 1 but that soon changed. He gave a really thrilling Nemico della patria. It was a truly believable duet between Gerard and Maddalena.

I loved the Regie. It was traditional and naturalistic at the same time as it was innovating using the space to maximize the history at the same time as it was minimalistic.

After the opera I got the change to give Maria Guleghina my get well wishes. Sleep well, my favorite Diva! Take care!!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPAD

Friday, 28 January 2011

Soon off to see Andrea Chenier in Berlin

Today it is one month since my birthday when I met Maria Guleghina in Oslo and now I am off to see Maria Guleghina as Maddalena di Coigny in Deutsche Oper Berlin.

I am tired already. How will the travel be? I hope I will enjoy Andrea Chenier in Berlin.

Musikalische Leitung - James Allen Gähres
Inszenierung - John Dew
Bühne - Peter Sykora
Kostüme - José Manuel Vázquez
Chöre - Thomas Richter
Andrea Chenier - Salvatore Licitra
Charles Gérard - Seng Hyoun Ko
Madeleine von Coigny - Maria Guleghina
Bersi - Diana Axentii
Gräfin von Coigny - Katarina Bradic
Madelon - Liane Keegan
Roucher - Ben Wager
Pierre Fléville - Krzysztof Szumanski
Der Abbé - Peter Maus
Matthieu - Nathan De’Shon Myers
Incroyable - Burkhard Ulrich
Der Haushofmeister - Sergio Vitale
Dumas - Sergio Vitale
Fouquier-Tinville - Hyung-Wook Lee
Schmidt, Gefängniswärter - Seth Carico

Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin

Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin

For more reviews from my travels, see

Friday, 21 January 2011

Watching Verdi - Un Ballo in Maschera / Abbado, Domingo, Ricciarelli

I have just watched the DVD of Verdi's Ballo in Maschera from Royal Opera House, Covent Garden conducted by Claudio Abbado. This is a historical recording from 1975 with Plácido Domingo as Gustavo, Katia Ricciarelli as Amelia, Reri Grist as Oscar and the superb Piero Cappuccilli as Renato. It is subtitled in English. The subtitles are big white 1975 text. Not everything gets its translation which can make the novice sometimes a little lot but everything is explained in the inlay.

Who is singing Horn, Ribbing or Ulrica? They are not mentioned not even after the opera on the DVD and not elsewhere. I recognize Gwynne Howell, I think.

Chorus Director of The Royal Opera House Chorus : Robin Stapleton.
Leader of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House : Meyer Stolow.
Conductor : Claudio Abbado
Director : Otto Schenk
Designer : Jürgen Rose
Original Stage Lighting : William Bundy

Director for television - John Vernon

"The names of the characters correspond to the version of Boston by Verdi, except for the main  character, Gustavo, in which case, the name of the original version set in Sweden has been respected."  = why not alter all character's name to the orginal version ???

This is a beautiful video production of a beautiful opera production. A young and healthy Claudio Abbado lead a fantastic cast.

Plácido Domingo as Gustavo
He is Gustavo III of Sweden and he lives and breaths in this role. He is in glorious voice. His acting is superb.

Katia Ricciarelli as Amelia
Oh, so young and with such a curly hear. She sings, she acts, a lovely, wonderful portrayal that makes us realize that Amelia is YOUNG.

Piero Cappuccilli as Renato (Anckarström)
He is a powerhouse. He is a magnet. Where Gustavo dances around, he is serenity until it is broken. He loves Amelia and his King.  This portrayal is of a man who really loves his wife not just a man filled with pride. A glorious voice and superb acting. He touched me in this role.

Reri Grist as Oscar
What a singer, actor? She captured Oscar's boyishness perfectly.

Ulrica/Madame Arfvidson (Elizabeth Bainbrigde)
In the swedish version she is a gypsy. And here she lives in a tent camp. Seldom is the scenes really working, but here is does. It doesn't feel stupid as in do they really expect us to believe this? We believe. Not in any supernatural power, but that a smart woman can delude people and maybe even herself. She has enough power in her voice, even if it is just barely, to really capture us and believe. This is one of this roles where just a mezzo soprano voice seldom does it, a real alto is required. Or at least deep voice that can cast shadows.

I can with truly recommend this DVD. It is worth watching, maybe even worth finally buying a new DVD machine so that I can watch it on my TV rather than on my computer.

This review is from: Verdi - Un Ballo in Maschera / Abbado, Domingo, Ricciarelli, Royal Opera (DVD)
After spend some time in researches , I founded a complete list of the cast on this '75 ROH production:

Amelia - Katia Ricciarelli
Gustavo III - Placido Domingo
Anckarstroem - Piero Cappuccilli
Oscar - Reri Grist
Mlle. Arvidson - Elizabeth Bainbridge
Silvano - William Elwin
Samuel - Gwynne Howell
Tom - Paul Hudson
Un giudice - Francis Egerton
Amelia's servant - John Carr
ROH Chorus and Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

For more reviews from my travels, see

Monday, 10 January 2011

35. Edita Gruberova, soprano

My photo of Edita Gruberova in Vienna 2003-06-27 (Signierstunde)

I saw her as
Elvira (I Puritani) 1995-09-02, 2005-06-22
Elisabeth I (Roberto Devereux) 2001-05-12, 2002-09-30
Lucia di Lammermoor 2000-06-22

LINKS to more information about this artist (agency, schedule etc.):
Personal/other websites

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Reading: I Never Walked Alone by Shirley Verrett

In her autobiography Shirley Verrett makes an point of owning her own mistakes. She is gracious towards others and at the same time very frank. Reading this book makes one love the person Shirley Verrett.

Shirley Verrett (May 31, 1931 – November 5, 2010). Wikipedia article.

I read this book on Kindle on IPad.

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Sunday, 9 January 2011

Reading: Elizabeth I and Foreign Policy, 1558-1603 by Susan Doran

I have just read Elizabeth I and Foreign Policy, 1558-1603 by Susan Doran on Kindle for IPad. And I can really recommend this book. It is full of information and still easy to read. It is not really an general interest book but it gives an insight of what a difficult reality that Elizabeth I of England had to negotiate.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Reading: For a Queen's Love by Jean Plaidy

I have read For a Queen's Love: The Stories of the Royal Wives of Philip II (A Novel of the Tudors) on my Ipad. I used Kindle for IPad, it was a great reading experience. But unfortunately for me this is a novel. It is a historical novel, an enjoyable read but one can not trust it to be true. Or rather it is not completely true. Had I not been reading true history about Philip II of Spain and of Elizabeth I of England I would have believe everything.

I bought the book from Amazon Kindle Shop where I could not see the year this book was written and in my haste I did not note that it was fiction.

From wikipedia: Eleanor Hibbert (1 September 1906 – 18 January 1993) was a British author who wrote under various pen names. Her best-known pseudonyms were Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt, and Philippa Carr; she also wrote under the names Eleanor Burford, Elbur Ford, Kathleen Kellow, Anne Percival, and Ellalice Tate. By the time of her death, she had sold over 100 million books.... For a Queen's Love (March 2, 2010, ISBN 0307346226) previously published as The Spanish Bridegroom (1954).

An enjoyable read but not to trust completely on Elizabeth I, Don Carlos, Elisabeth of Valois, Catherine de Medici. 

For more reviews from my travels, see

Friday, 7 January 2011

2011 began with a dentist appointment and hospital treatment

The Holidays are Over. And the pains start up again. I had not only had eczema and pains in hands and shoulders when the eczema went away but a tooth ache.

Then on Sunday January 2nd when I was finally back home my PAIN started an UP tour and made it almost impossible to sleep. I went to work, Tired and with Tooth ACHE all over. My head was not really ready to any work on the PC. Before I went to work I had gone to the dentist to ask for an appointment, and I got one for Tuesday. When at work my co-worker said I should try to get an appointment for today (that was Monday). No luck in the phone. But then I went to my dentist, sat there, cried there, needed pain-killers and I got my appointment. My dentist said it was good that I insisted to get treatment the same day. They are so good and kind there so they understood my crying as insisting to get treatment.

It was good to have a second appointment for Tuesday because that was needed. Thus came the first work week in 2011

Monday 3rd: Work 1 hr, Dentist (waiting 30 minutes, treatment 1hr)
Painful night even with painkillers

Tuesday 4rd: Off from work because of pain, Dentist (2hrs in the "chair")
A littles less painful night but still with painkillers (I felt like a zombie with a numbing pain)

Wednesday 5th: Early up. Taking the bus to hospital for Remicade treatment for my Morbus Crohn. I am better, but the painkillers that I have used still makes me a little tired, sleepy.

Thursday 6th: I have breakfast at the hotel because today I am also going to the hospital and I was tired to take the bus "att og fram". Today I have to talk to a surgeon, a doctor and a nurse about gall bladder operation, and naturally have another blood test just like the day the before. I say yes to an operation, because it seemed to be the smartest option.

Friday 7th: At work. I am normal. I am still a bit tired, but NORMAL.

So now I am ready for OPERA Adventures!!!!!!!!!!111

For more reviews from my travels, see