Sunday, 18 December 2011

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen

Traveling to Copenhagen, Denmark in December. COLD, freezing, too many students also going "Home for Christmas".

The night bus was full. The night bus was full. Really full. So with 2 buses and some maxi taxis all got their chance to come home. Wonderful. I was lucky to find a seat in the first bus. Even luckier in actually getting some sleep there, sitting upright in my sleep. Luck, luck, luck in a really full bus but at least I was not freezing and I got some sleep, how many minutes, hours that I don't know. From Oslo airport bus to Gardermoen airport. Everything went well. And I could have some breakfast there. And it was the normal breakfast, Pizza Vegetar with Pepsi Max. Oh, I meant unnormal, because normally I don't eat.

I had plans beyond going to the new opera house in Copenhagen that I would also eat, I mean eat out, in restaurants. Well, unfortunately my quest for food started at the BurgerKing in Copenhagen Airport. I thought I was saying CHICKEN BURGER and Pepsi Light, she interpreted it as Cheeseburger Menu. Tiny, tiny cheese burger with a very BLAND taste. And the pommes frites, depressing. Pepsi Light was OK, but I wanted FOOD. I was in the wrong place of course and I am sure if only I had corrected the mistake at once, but I was sleep-deprived, or so I tell myself. The only good thing that happened at Burger King was that I decided to stay at Hilton Hotel in Copenhagen Airport. Then my Quest for Food dozed off while I slept for 2 hrs in my wonderful Hotel Hotel bed.

After buying the 24 hrs tickets for train, metro, buses in the Copenhagen area (70DKK) I took the train to Copenhagen Main Train Station and bus 66 to the Opera. Alas, too early, the opera house was not open yet, so I could not have my dinner there. My phone was almost empty, my mother wanted the phone number for my hotel. So I decided to go back. I took bus 66 back but at the wrong station I was off. Then I took another bus thinking that would take me to the train station but that was a misunderstanding. The bus was slow, the lights turned to red all the time. I asked the driver and he pointed me to another bus. But then I saw a sign that indicated that I could take the metro to the airport. So I did. But the strike made the train stop longer at the Main Train Station, so I had time to get a bit nervous. And the train was so slow. But at least I had a seat unlike on the bus. Then back to hotel room. Just to turn back. Another train to Main Train Station, but TAXI to the opera. NOT CHEAP. Almost the double as the 24 hrs ticket. But I was in time. Luckily I had enough money to buy the program. Met a lot of friends, some new. But my Quest for Food, had been reduced to some tiny, but delicious Chicken Burger at McDonalds. McDonalds, your friend in need.

Thanks to my high (or) minimal survival skills I managed to enjoy the operas.

I enjoyed Cavalleria Rusticana. I actually did enjoy it. Irene Theorin was Santuzza in this production by director Kasper Holten with set designs by Mia Stensgaard and costumes by Anja Vang Kragh. She was on the stage during the whole opera with just a few seconds off. The director was really good in how the actions of Turriddu, Santuzza, Lola, Mamma Lucia and Alfio really reflected the persons' reality. The chorus did not get the individuel treatment. Here the chorus are mostly just a crowd, a menacing group, that acts with cruelty almost all the time. The director is really using the chorus to hammer us with the cruelty of the situation of Santuzza. This is the modern way of opera production: nothing is allowed to be nuanced, not if one can just hammer it down. Still. I enjoyed it. The music was beautifully played. Irene Theorin was close to an ideal Santuzza, even if one could still notice a wide vibrato. José Cura sang one of his best Turriddus. Hanne Fischer was a joy as Lola, what a voice, lush, beautiful, and full. One could actually believe Turriddu to fall for her, and to be so blind to Lola just being so totally self-sentered. Randi Stene was wonderful as Mamma Lucia. The role doesn't give her much to work on, sadly this production makes her even more invisible. Mamma Lucia is here reduced to a woman who almosts begs the people to buy her wine. Fredrik Zetterström was Alfio. Either he had a cold and could not sing out, or the role was simply beyond his vocal means, but as an actor he owned the role.

I also enjoyed Pagliacci. Yes. José Cura was Canio in this production by director Paul Curran with set designs by Mia Stensgaard and costumes by Anja Vang Kragh. There was so much to enjoy in this production but then there was the bafflements. The Church and the church step with the Virgen Mary statue from Cavalleria Rusticana was now bombed and American flags was everywhere. A depressed Italy? after a the war with nurses, wounded soldats (American?) is present but what are they doing to this Pagliacci production? It is just a blackdrop and it is not utilized in any way that I could see. The cast was wonderful with José Cura being the best Canio ever, Sine Bundgaard was a magnificent Nedda, and Michael Kristensen as Beppe and Palle Knudsen as Silvio was two additional beautiful voices. The prologue with Tonio, Fredrik Zetterström was met with a thunderous applause. The poor guy was so close to losing his voice several times during the prologue, but he was so good an actor one could forget almost everything.

When the prologue started we are looking at a stage curtain of the church and churh steps with the Maria statue and Silvio is painting on it. Then they come on the stage, Beppe, Tonio, Canio and Nedda. They are carrying their stuff. Here we see what a life Nedda is suffering. Always asked to carry more than the rest of the guys. Not respected by Canio or really anyone. She is on the bottom in this troupe.  It is not Tonio who is last and least important, but Nedda. (But without her who would come to see them.) For the first time I could really feel for Nedda and the duet between her and Silvio made even more on Nedda's side. And then there is her voice.... magic. A great Vesti la giubba by Cura, his whole performance was simply gold. In the end Canio kills Nedda by slicing her throat or something, but it is opera so she could still say SILVIO. Then Silvio is killed by the same method. In the end LA COMMEDIA E FINITA, and Canio kills himself too. 3 deaths, and almost an Otello ending.

José Cura came out after the performance I gave him my photobook of my best Cura photos. He seemed to like it. He complimented me on it. I was totally happy. "I'm in heaven".

Then it was going back again. Tired, hungry, waiting for bus 66, but luckily not alone. Oh happiness, oh friendship. Finally the bus comes. We can sit, be warm, and talk. We both loved it. We both wanted food. So naturally at Main Train Station we found some food. Not an restaurant not really great decent food, actually I missed to have another, or 2 or 3 chicken burgers. Took a bite at my hotel, and no more. 0030 in the hotel.  Then up at 0600. Paying. Security, food?. 0815 SAS flight to Oslo. Then finally eating the muffins from Copenhagen Airport's Starbucks. Tried to drink up all the cola zero before Security again. Finally Vegetar Pizza (1 slice) and Pepsi Max in PizzaHut. Then wait. Until 1230. Going to gate. The Take off time 1335 was 1415 then they tell us that most airports are almost impossible to land because of snow. So it could be an round trip to Oslo. But we landed after a few trial rounds at 1515.  So now I think I am tired.

Tomorrow is work day with a LONG meeting and up early, travel... SLEEP...

For more reviews from my travels, see
If you want to see more photos from my OperaDuets Travels, go to

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