Finally I was off to another Opera Travel. Last travel was already in June 2016 to Hamburg to see Fanciulla del West with Jose Cura. And now july, august, september had already and no opera live and no opera travel.
My plan to see Jose Carreras concert in Halden, Norway did not happen. In October I had planned also to go to Parma, Italy to see Verdi operas, Don Carlos, Giovanna d'Arco and Il Trovatore, and I had to stay home. BUT to Spain I went.
On Sunday October 23th, 2016 I took the bus to Bergen. After being coldly received and rejected at the DaStefano restaurant in Bergen. The "best pizza restaurant" rejected me since I had no reservation, how could I have known I needed that?, and was rather unwilling to point me to another restaurant for my pizza hunger. Wow, was I hungry and defeated.
I had noticed a restaurant on my way to my hotel so I went there. I went past Peppe's Pizza since their pizza sauce is too spicy for me. In Egon Restaurant I bought Pizza Margherita and a big Coca Cola zero. I would have eaten to whole pizza if not after 3/4 of the pizza I could no longer ignore that the wonderful pizza bun, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese tasted 100% oregano. I love oregano but this was too much. Nice place, though.
It was nice to wake up on Monday October 24th, 20016 to no stress even as it was the day I was traveling to Bilbao, Spain. Leisurely eating breakfast at the hotel. Check out and directly outside the door was the bus to Flesland Airport. Fixing my tickets there took some time but in the end I had all my tickets to Bilbao and back to Bergen. So no stress with my flight to London Heathrow airport and a nice stay in Heathrow until my flight to Bilbao.
British Airways was wonderful and the food too. Understanding English is a must when using British Airways something that might be a shock if you thought Iberia was flying you to and from Spain.
Luckily for me I dressed for the cold weather in Bergen and had my Helly Hansen jacket on. Even in Spain the summer is over and autumn has come. In the day when the sun is shining it was very nice with 23 degrees Celsius, but morning and evening could be cold. Of course, this was still Spain so it was hotter than in Norway, but it was Northern Spain...
I loved my hotel in Bilbao even it was without breakfast but it was perfectly placed and I remembered still where to go.
On Monday I had to eat in my room. My spaghetti bolognese from room service was ok. On Tuesday October 25, 2016 I chose to try another pizza and this time it was Pizza Prosciutto and it was lovely. it was the perfect Italian pizza in an Italian restaurant. Lovely and friendly, just as one wants a restaurant to be. Loved it!! Breakfast on this day had been a not quite warmed up breakfast at McDonald's, I ate it not gladly. So I really needed the Tagliatella restaurant experience to cheer me on. Unfortunately I went back to McDonald's to eat something before the opera, unfortunately the chicken wings was too spicy so it was mostly 100% loss. BUT the OPERA was a WIN.
2016-10-25 Lucrezia Borgia (Donizetti), Palacio Euskalduna (Bilbao)
Lucrezia Borgia = Elena Mosuc
Gennaro = Celso Albelo
Alfonso I d´este = Marko Mimica*
Maffio Orsini = Teresa Iervolino*
Don Aposto Gazella = Jose Manuel Díaz
Ascanio Petrucci = Zoltan Nagy
Oloferno Vitellozzo = Manuel de Diego
Rustighello = Mikeldi Atxalandabaso
Gubetta = Fernando Latorre
Astolfo = German Olvera*
Jeppo Liverotto = Jesús Álvarez*
José Miguel Pérez Sierra, conductor
Euskadiko Orkestra Sinfonikoa
Coro de Ópera de Bilbao
Scene Director- Franceso Bellotto
Director of the Chorus - Boris Dujin
Production - Torino, Bergamo and Sassari theaters
*Debuting at ABAO-OLBE
I have started to love Donizetti operas very much. In Bilbao I saw the most perfect Lucrezia Borgia. The production was amazing. The cast was splendid. Elena Mosuc was the most perfect Lucrezia Borgia. Celso Albelo was also stupendous. Marko Mimica was such a great Alfonso.
As Maffio Orsino we heard and saw Teresa Iervolino. Unfortunately her voice which was a lovely mezzo soprano voice was not penetrating the wall of male voices. Elena Mosuc voice would ring through the whole chorus. Teresa Iervolino did not had that power, but I might be wrong after all I was sitting in front row where one sees well but hears maybe not that well.
Another tenor to enjoy besides the Celso Albelo was the wonderful, thrilling tenor voice of Mikeldi Atxalandabaso as Rustighello. A wonderful find!!!
I loved the production so much. It felt historical and real.
Scene Director - Franceso Bellotto
Scenography - Angelo Sala*
Costumes - Cristina Aceti*
Choreography - Martín Ruis*
Light - Fabio Rossi*
The regie was right, the costumes and scenography was wonderful and singers and chorus alike was acting so it felt real. I even, after a while, liked the choreography by Martin Ruis. The orcs, I mean soldiers of Alfonso was allright. The woman and boy as Lucrezia and young Gennaro worked in the opera even as I do no generally enjoy ballet in opera. The main thing is that it worked and added a dimension that was emotional and after a while felt real. Lucrezia and Gennaro remembers and feels those two and see them in their inner eye. It meant that no longer is there an incestuos meeting but a mother and son that meets. The mother wants her son. The son wants his mother. Alfonso loves Lucrezia and he thinks Gennaro is a rival. In this production Alfonso is ashamed when he finds out that he was gloating over a mother's loss of her child. Wonderful production even if Lucrezia is still poisoning people here she is a mother under all her actions.
I have seen on video the Lucrezia Borgia from La Scala with Mariella Devia, Marcelo Alvarez and Michele Pertusi with Daniela Barcellona as Orsino and I thought nothing could be better than that. This experience in Bilbao was brilliant and at least on par with La Scala but also better. Elena Mosuc, what a voice and her acting was so brilliant. A beautiful voice and not only that every note was enjoyment for the listener and deeply acting not only through her body but voice too. Celso Albelo won me over. A robust voice even in the higher register. He sang ‘T´amo qual s´ama un angelo’. It was so touching. There was changes in the score from La Scala to Bilbao. Equally beautiful but musically I liked the score from La Scala better. Marko Mimica was a stunning, young Alfonso with his Lucrezia. So young and powerful. His voice rang out.
Chorus and orchestra was great under the hands of José Miguel Pérez Sierra.
And so it ended "Era desso figlio mio". Era dessa Lucrezia Borgia!!!! Brava, Elena Mosuc!! Bravo, Celso Albelo! Bravo, Marko Mimica! Bravissimi!
Back to my hotel to get a good night sleep. Chicken wings are still uneatable,
Wednesday October 26, 2016 off to Bilbao airport. The bus costs only EUR 1,45. I was traveling via Heathrow but this time I have even better time. I was trying to follow the transfer signs (they are purple). Suddenly no purple anywhere and I have exited. I am on terminal 5, my next flight goes from terminal 3. Head-ache does not really help does it. It was probably the reason I cried a bit even though this was hardly any crisis. OK. The answer is buying Paracetamol at Boots and take the Heathrow express to terminal 3. Then security and now I find a restaurant to eat. Great. No stress this time either. Then my flight to Bergen. And another airport bus, to Bergen centrum, I find my hotel OK.
Thursday October 27, 2016. Wake up and eats breakfast at the hotel. I have an disagreement with my keys so I had no glasses on during breakfast. Then I just rest until I really feel like I must go even if I could stay at my room until 1200. Off to find somewhere to sit and to eat again. Then the bus to Haukeland University Hospital for my meeting with the surguon. I have plenty of time to finish my cheese and ham calzone from Deli de Luca and then up for my talk. I talk to her for 5-10 minutes and I can go back and buy another calzone. Then back, bus again, wrong stop, it is raining but I have only 15 minutes to go and Google maps is useful again. On the bus station waiting for my bus to carry me home. At home it is raining cats and dogs, or even elephants. It is 10 in the evening and pitch dark. HOME. What a wonderful Opera Travel I have had!!!!
For reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com