Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Stockholm, well, I found the Opera House

- and the opera was good.

I stayed in Radisson Blu Gardermoen Airport Hotel the night before my morning flight to Stockholm. I ate pizza at Peppe's Pizza at the airport. My Norwegian Air flight at 0800 took me to Stockholm aiport Arlanda and there I also stayed in a Radisson Blu Hotel, Radisson Blu Arlandia Hotel. My Gardermoen hotel is just a short walk from the airport, but Arlandia was 5 minutes away with free shuttle bus (no 14). But now I see that it was another Radisson Blu hotel that I should have chosen Radisson Blu SkyCity Hotel Arlanda. I bought a Return ticket for the express train ArlandaExpress (SEK 460,-). I had to wait for the shuttle bus to come to my hotel. It was a nice hotel. I found Arlanda airport confusing and did not like it.

The ArlandaExpress goes to Stockholm City Terminal in just 20 minutes. It would have been cheaper to take a bus but I found it confusing and liked the idea of just 20 minutes into Stockholm. 197 km/h was the fastest it went. I had a my Chickenburger with pommes frites and Cola light near the train station. With only the map in my memory I had no trouble finding the Opera House on Gustaf Adolfs Torg. It was a sunny day in Stockholmn, Sweden with 16 to 17 degrees Celsius. No visit to the famous Operakällaren. I went a bit further to the Cafe Milano where I had a wonderful salmon with spinachs and citron-sauce. While I waited for my meal I thought I was going crazy it was such a noicy café, I just wanted out and breath. Then my salmon arrived and it was wonderful and the noice seemed even to go to a more comfortbale level. But I was half into my meal a voice of women singing some rock/pop song and I lost my appetite completely. I was only able to complete my glass of Pepsi Max. Finally I could leave after paying SEK 250,- for the experience. How wonderful it was go out into the streets of Stockholm and breath fresh air and enjoy some quiet time even as it was a lot of people enjoying such a sunny day.

I came to the Opera House, such an old house some hour before the opera started. It was quiet, only a few employees and some visitors. They don't open for the audience to get into the theatre room until 30 minutes before the opera. To get to the toilet we have to go the garderobe and they had to open up just for the people who needed to go to the WC. Naturally I was one of those who had to ask where to go... It was a lot of people waiting for this Sweden premiere of Verdi's opera Stiffelio.

April 16, 2011 premiere of Stiffelio. Before the opera started Birgitta Svendén, the opera intendant, came to announce we would have 2 Stankars, Marcus Jupither acting the role and Karl-Magnus Fredriksson to sing from the side of the stage. Both baritones was obviously immensely popular in Stockholm. The conductor Pier Giorgio Morandi with orchestra, choir and soloists made all a strong and good impression already from the ouverture. In this production we are introduced to 2 addittional characters, a boy and a girl, the children of Stiffelio and Lina. The regissör chose them to accentuate the dilemma of Lina. Unfortunately I felt they only made the story stranger. This was wonderful children actors acting how it is to child in a sect that care not of protecting children from realities children should be protected from. For me the children did not change Lina as much as it made Stiffelio to an even more manipulative person. Stiffelio was in this production a charismatic leader who uses the children for his own profit. They must see and hear and be the light of the sect. Lina does not protect the children much but she is like the whole congregation under the heavy thumb of Stiffelio. The divorce scene starts with "Fritz? ... S'avverta Mamma, che qui l'attendo". So the boy comes in with mamma Lina. And they are present there until finally Lina takes them out. Poor children. Would not a divorce make 2 innocent children into social outcast. So little does Stiffelio care. Just like Stankar is Stiffelio only consumed with his own feelings of betrayal. The scenography is mimalistic and shows with simple means how the ceiling loweres and certain points in the opera. The regie is always telling that this is a rather fanatic sect with very little open space for the individual.

Stiffelio - Lars Cleveman
Lina - Lena Nordin
Stankar - Marcus Jupither
Raffaele von Leuthold - Jonas Degerfeldt
Jorg - Michael Schmidberger
Federico - Karl Rombo
Dorotea - Sara Olsson

After the opera I was walking back to the city terminal and ArlandaExpress. And now I felt the curse of the Swedes not understanding Norwegian as well as we understand Swedish. Anyway in the end I got the right turn. Advise: alway ask the taxi driver, they will not send you astray. During the opera I was freezing and I was feeling sick and close to tears as I left the opera house, it was not a good time to be sent to so many false turns. And I had to wait until 2305 for the train to start. Shaking I managed to spill most of my Coke (not light, because I felt really sick and then I chose the red Coke and not the white Cola light). The train travel was allright because of the female conductor. She cared and I needed that. Then in Arlanda a wait for the shuttle bus. Then finally rest. But I was in doubt about my leaving the next day with a really early flight (0645) for Barcelona. Of course I would lose a lot of money and then come back to Oslo. The train tickets was too expensive, but Norwegian had cheap tickets. So I arranged the clock for wake upp call at 5 not sure if I was going by a 0645 flight to Barcelona or a 1530 flight to Oslo.

For more reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com

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