Thursday, 9 October 2014

Simply the best Elvira of all times: Ditte Højgaard Andersen as Svava (Nordfjordeid 2014-10-05)

More photos from

The Opera Nordfjord production of I Puratani by Bellini was called Søner av sola (Sons of the Sun) and was called a fantasy opera. Norse mythology in stead of Civil War in England. New translation by young Norwegian Jostein Avdem Fretland.

Two Danes as the protagonists Svava (Elvira) and Vakar (Arturo): Ditte Højgaard Andersen & Bo Kristian Jensen. Trond Gudevold was Svava's uncle Svidre (Giorgio) and Bjørn Gisle Seter was Svavna (Valton), King of the Volunds. Then as the other man who loves Svava and had the King's promise to have her Snjodainn (Riccardo), a great Volund leader,  was the great Trond Halstein Moe. The other tenor of the group Stallarhrut (Bruno) was Petter Wulfsberg Moen. As Arnaviv (Enriquetta), Queen of the Egds was Gro Bente Kjellevold. ¨

The two lovers comes from different people Svava of the Volunds and Vakar of the Egds.No politics is involved, it is just two different people and maybe different Gods. The cast of two Danes and the rest Norwegians was great. Fabulous singing of the soloists, a great chorus and orchestra conducted by Michael Pavelich, the man himself.

Michael Pavelich also had the Regie, Scenography was by Sunniva Bodvin. Costume design by Anne Gotaas. Light design by Hans Åke Sjöquist. Masks by Maren Togstad. Assistant regie and choreography by Marit Grytnes Dullaert.

In this new production there was an added element Herkja, a Volve working for Svidre played by Jannik Bonnevie. The opera started with the vigorous prelude of Puritani and then full stop and then words, words and words and then finally the opera started again. I was bored while she explained the background or something. But then it started. Puritani is not Norma, it has many good parts but Norma has a story that makes sense and you can feel for Norma and Pollione and Adalgisa. Puritani, yes even in this Norse fantasy opera version has the same weaknesses. But the aria, and duets and ensembles are just smashing wonderful. And we had Bel Canto here and also stupidity as sometime come with bel canto repertoire. Trond Halstein Moe, the old wolf of Norwegian opera (I probably read to many novels about shifters) was wonderful as the young and dashing Snjodainn, powerful and so bel canto. I was surprised how little stage time Svavna, Bjørn Gisle Seter, had, but yummy. Trond Gudevold as Svidre and Ditte Højgaard Andersen in duet was amazing. Trond Gudevold was like a bel canto God, Ditte was the Godess of all. Gro Bente Kjellevold was great to stand out. The tenors Stallarhrut, Petter Wulfsberg Moen had such a beautiful tenor voice, but poor Vakar or rather Bo Kristian Jensen had all those nasty high note to press out.

It was a beautiful production in Nordfjordeid but I am sorry to say I am not totally on board but I think it is the opera's fault. I Puritani, I am sorry, but I can not love you.

Still it is totally you have to go and see and experience this. Because you listen to Met on Demand for hear some Puritanis and not even Joan Sutherland or Edita Gruberova are better than Ditte Højgaard Andersen!!!

For reviews from my travels, see

Monday, 6 October 2014

After Verona, what then?

After a great night in the Arena I slept well in my B&B but I had this great idea to go to Milano because I thought that would be fun and my airport to back home is Milano Airport Malpensa. 

Then I got the headache of the century or at least decade. Milano is not my kind of city, Verona is much better. A 4 star hotel cheaper than B&B in Verona but with the worst pillows, they were hard, no help with 2 pillows or 4 when all were so hard. After the struggle of finding the centrally situated hotel in Milano I rested on those hard pillows, or the one that was almost a bit soft, naturally my headache was still aching. So I went to the Duomo, just to eat pizza there. Great pizza, but it was a rather cold September night at 1900. Why such a long walk? Just walking and so many other nice places I could even sit inside and not freeze and eat well. But done is done. Eating food helps when in headache mode. But I had one of the worst night, up and up and down to sleep some more but first time I woke was 2330. So up every hour or so it seemed. Then finally morning, headache still there not in in complete killing me modus. Got lost going to the Milano Centrale and I am accusing the Maps in my Iphone. Finally accepting defeat I went to the nearest hotel and asked for help. Finally taxi to Milano Centrale stazione. Should have asked for taxi in my own hotel but the person say just go left, right or right, left and then I would be there. He should a least have given me a map. 

So that is Milano for you, stress and more stress, not nice like Verona and other Italian cities. So finally Malpensa airport and via Zurich to Oslo. Then I stayed with my aunt and uncle. Sunday I should have visited my dad but my headache was still on. So I took the plane back home. And then my headache took a rest, and I could rest without all that clawing in my head. Sunday 28. September was a good day, not like Friday.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

A travel to the wonderful Opera Concert in Verona 2014-09-25

Oh, yes, it was a great concert but first one has to arrive. As usual I was thinking cheap flight, decent hotel and no stress. 7 hrs bus ride in the night to Oslo Airport, 4 hrs wait in airport. 2 hrs flight to Frankfurt, 1 hr in airport (or less, remember find gate and boarding), then 1 hour flight to Milan, Malpensa airport. Malpensa airport and walk, walk up and down to finally get to train. The MalpensaExpress directly to Milano Centrale except all those stops, 45-50 minutes train ride. THEN train to Verona Puorta Nuova, that is 1,5 hour. So 1730 in train station. Something to eat there and then off to my B&B. More like private living but no hotel was free in my prize class and close enough. It was good enough. Relaxing a bit until walking to Piazza Bra. Was lucky to met friends so that we could have food and drink together. Should not have chosen pizza. Now Concert.
Welll, we got our seats all right but a lot of double bookings in row 1 - 2. Polite complaining, standing up waiting for staff to help. Arena di Verona was not full, except in poltrone and poltronissimo there it was reasonable full. 

20 minutes late it started and the presenter talked and talked.
L'Opera è la grande bellezza, 

Carlo Guelfi

Presentatore Michele Mirabella

Orchestra Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini
Massimo Zanetti, conductor
Coro Teatro Regio di Parma, Coro Università degli studi di Perugia, Coro dell’Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia e le Voci Bianche Adamu

Regìa e progetto scenografico di ENRICO STINCHELLI
Coreografie di “Modulo Factory

Almost 7 minutes of talk by presenter before and then a lot of talk later on too.
Orchestra & ballet
"1. Terzo ballabile Macbeth"
Carlo Guelfi, baritone
2. Pietà, rispetto, amore (Macbeth) "
Jose Cura & Maria Guleghina
"3. Già nella notte densa (Otello)"

Jose Cura
"4. E lucevan le stelle (Tosca) "
Maria Guleghina
"5. Vissi d'arte (Tosca) "

Orchestra & ballett & chorus
"6. La Traviata - matadori & zingari"

Carlo Guelfi, Maria Guleghina
"7. Donna, chi sei? (Nabucco) "

Chorus & Orvhestra
"8. Patria oppressa (Macbeth) "

Jose Cura, Carlo Guelfi
"9. Desdemona rea...Sì pel ciel (Otello)"

fanfara dei carabinieri (2 minutes)
"10. korpsmusikk"

fanfara dei carabinieri
"11. Gloria all'Egitto, Aida con marcia trionfale e balletto"

fanfara dei carabinieri (2 minutes)
"12. ukjent korpsmusikk"
Maria Guleghjina
"13. Nel dì della vittoria (Macbeth)"
Jose Cura
"14. Vesti la giubba (Pagliacci) "

Carlo Gulefi, Chorus
 "16. Te Deum (Tosca)"

Maria Guleghina, Jose Cura & Chorus
 "17. In questa reggia (Turandot) "

Carlo Guelfi
"18. Nemico della Patria (Chénier) "

"19. Va’, pensiero (Nabucco)"

Jose Cura, Chorus
"20. Nessun dorma (Turandot)"

Maria Guleghina, tutti
"21. Finale Turandot TUTTI"

Jose Cura, tutti
22. National Anthem of Italy "Fratelli d'Italia"

What to say? Carlo Guelfi got better as the night progressed, Jose Cura and Maria Guleghina was on target all the time. The presenter just made it take longer take but the audience applauded a lot that he was saying so maybe it was allright. A super night of opera arias, duets, ensemble, ballet & corps music. Then I saw Maria Guleghina after the concert, she was freezing so she needed to get into the warm bus car right, and it was cold in Verona. Then we waited ages for Jose Cura to come and he came with his wife and company. Photos.

For reviews from my travels, see