Sunday, 4 March 2012

A great operatic night of Turandot (2012-03-03)

2012-03-03 Turandot (Puccini), Deutsche Oper Berlin

Turandot = Maria Guleghina
Liu = Manuela Uhl
Calaf = Roy Cornelius Smith
Timur = Stephen Bronk
Ping = Alexey Bogdanchikov
Pang = Jörg Schörner
Pong = Yosep Kang
Althoum = Peter Maus
Mandarin = Hyung-Wook Lee
1st voice = Kathryn Lewek
2nd voice = Rachel Hauge

Jesus Lopez Cobos, conductor

Director - Lorenzo Fioroni
Stage-design - Paul Zoller
Costume-design - Katharina Gault
Choir Conductor - William Spaulding

Giacomo Puccini


Online-Karten: € 28,- | 48,- | 69,- | 86,-
[zuzüglich € 2,- Service-Gebühr]

Samstag, 03.03.2012, 19:30 Uhr
Dauer: ca. 2 Stunden 30 Minuten | Eine Pause
Dramma lirico in drei Akten
Libretto von Giuseppe Adami und Renato Simoni, nach dem Schauspiel von Carlo Gozzi
Uraufführung am 25. April 1926 in Mailand
Premiere an der Deutschen Oper Berlin am 13. September 2008

BRAVA, Manuela Uhl!

BRAVO, Roy Cornelius Smith!

BRAVA, Maria Guleghina!!!!!!

I saw this production in 2010 with Maria Guleghina and Jose Cura as Turandot and Calaf. The Regie was the same, offensive nonsense. In 2010 I said not even Maria Guleghina could save it. But she was the saving grace now. She sang the most wonderful IN QUESTA REGGIA and her duets with Roy Cornelius Smith (Calaf) was also pure magic. Manuela Uhl was a fantastic Liu vocally but the this was not the best production to showcase her talent. She did well as she acted like the director wanted her too, but that meant she was not able to really be Liu at the same time.

Remembering this Turandot from 2010 made it possible for me just to take in what was right about this Turandot and ignore the nonsense. The singers was in their best form. The chorus sang well. Jesus Lopez Cobos is a wonderful conductor.

It was an amazing operatic evening. Roy Cornelius Smith was just great as Calaf. Maria Guleghina simply was a great Turandot. Biggest surprise for me was Manuela Uhl in her great scene, it was simply unbelievable singing. BRAVA!!!!

For reviews from my travels, see

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Aida in black and white

Aida is an Ethiopian slave in Egypt. But she is the daughter of Amonasro, the King of Ethiopia, so she is also the Ethiopian princess.

It is so easy, too easy to decide that a slave must have black skin. When we are thinking of slavery we are too often just thinking about the Black slaves in the US, mostly we choose to think only of the slavery in Southern USA. It is important to know about it and we should know more and care deeper about the hideousness of slavery and understand that although slavery was in the end becoming illegal because the racism that were underneath it was never truly tackled a slavery by another name was allowed. How could the Slave that became the Help be free to choose an occupation, to be able to talk back to Whites without fear, to be paid a livable salary when laws made people of the "wrong" color less and with a protection that was not there.

Slave and slave-owner. It is an black and white issue. Slavery is always wrong. But it is old. Much older than USA, older than the modern Europe, too. It was not always about the color of your skin. But is was always a way to get rich and powerful. Slave trade was and is lucrative. Yes, it is not over yet.

To accept slavery is to accept that we can all loose our worth as humans. It is to say that kidnappings should be legal, and that the kidnapper should be able to do what ever he/she wants without anyone stopping it. However kind the slave-owner is or however humanely the slave-owner treats the slave, slavery of any kind should not and must not be accepted anytime anywhere.

Aida, the Ethiopian princess, was kidnapped by some Egyptian soldiers. They thought of it as a normal part of being a soldier: you win the battles, you take men, women and children to be slaves in your home country. But it was not just an Egyptian thing, or African thing to do this. These kind of kidnappings where people became slavery could happen everywhere. Although it was then thought as natural or normal to do this we should never think that made it RIGHT.

Anyway Black/White. Is there any real need to paint the Ethiopians black, so African, while making the Egyptians so white, so European? Aida is not Otello, Radames is not Desdemona. In Verdi's Otello he is called the Moor, and it is refered to his blackness and Desdemona is pure and golden, racism is a part of the whole story. In Aida we have Celeste Aida, forma divina (heavenly Aida, divine body) so she can be of any color. The conflict in Aida is not so much that she is a slave and he is the leader of Egyptian army. No, it is she is Ethiopian and he is Egyptian, she loves her country but Radames, the enemy.

Why don't we see that Ethiopia and Egypt are like Norway and Sweden, brother countries almost as alike as twins, yet rivals. From the time that White Men went to Egypt to steel artifacts, archeology, get rich, and from the time Whites saw the pyramides Egyptians have been seen as honorary Europeans. Ethiopia they also that Pharaohs and pyramides, in fact Egypt was part of Ethiopia. But that is history that is ignored.

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