Tuesday 30 October 2007

My November plan for 2007

As I say on my website www.operaduetstravel.com:
NEXT (november): Tosca in Vienna with José Cura,
Elektra in Budapest with Agnes Baltsa.

But: I also wanted to go to Cologne to see José Cura as Turriddu/Canio in Cav/Pag. So my dream was like November 23 Tosca in Vienna with JC, November 24 Elektra in Budapest with AB, November 25 Cav/Pag in Cologne with JC AND then AGM meeting of José Cura Connexion in Vienna on November 26 and Norma with José Cura in Wiener Staatsoper on November 27.

First: Almost impossible to get tickets to Bellini's Norma in Wiener Staatsoper with Edita Gruberova Norma, Elena Garancia Adalgisa, José Cura Pollione, but one comfort you can hear it over the radio, Thank You, ORF.

So I got tickets to Elektra in Vienna in October (19, been there), and for Tosca in November (23) and cancelled my stand-by for Norma. I also got ticket for Elektra in Budapest with Agnes Baltsa (November 24).

Second: I am late I know, but getting news that José Cura is wonderful in this CavPag really made me think, maybe. November 10th, too expensive with the flight. Could have done it, but I don't... It would be too stressful I think. And then it was November 25 option. But I really think that would be too stressful for me. But I could have done it like. Oslo-Vienna (nov 23) flight, Vienna-Budapest (nov 24) train, Budapest - Dusseldorf (nov 25), Dusseldorf-Cologne train same day, and then from Cologne with train and then flight back to Olso on November 26. That would be crazy....

SO: My itinary is

Friday 23rd: Early flight to Vienna (thank God I have to take the night bus to Oslo to come early enough, it is just a matter of sleeping in your bus seat). If I had to get up earlier than 5 I would have been just .... but sleeping in the bus. Arriving in Oslo 5.30. That's OK.
with José Cura

Saturday 24th: Train to Budapest. Early but not too early. Memo to myself find a hotel in Vienna, Budapest (www.hrs.de).

Sunday 25th: Flight back home via Munich. Early but HOPEFULLY not too early. But this means home in reasonable time.

Of course that leaves out the AGM for JCx. But then I would not need to take out 3 days from work with this plan.

So I think it is OK.

Sunday 21 October 2007

PostFinance Classics: Agnes Baltsa in Switzerland

PostFinance Classics

Agnes Baltsa – emotion and passion in one voice

2007 will see the twelfth edition of the PostFinance Classics. PostFinance has engaged Greek mezzo soprano Agnes Baltsa, a world-famous opera singer.

The programme

  • Agnes Baltsa will sing arias from romantic Italian and French operas.
  • The programme includes excerpts from Don Carlos, Italiana in Algeri, Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci as well as arias by Jules Massenet and Georges Bizet.
  • The singer will be accompanied by the Württemberg Philharmonic conducted by Srboljub Dinic.

Concert brochure (PDF, German)

Concert dates/venues 2007

Geneva, Victoria HallTuesday, 11 December 20078.30 p.m.
Basel, StadtcasinoFriday, 14 December 20077.30 p.m.
Berne, Kultur-CasinoTuesday, 18 December 20077.30 p.m.
Lucerne, Culture and Convention CentreThursday, 20 December 20077.30 p.m.
Zurich, TonhalleSaturday, 29 December 20077.30 p.m.

Advance sales

Order your tickets at PostFinance Ticket:

Have your PostFinance Card ready. Tickets available while supplies last.

The advantages for you:

  • You pay CHF 15 to 20 less for tickets
  • We will send you the programme as a free gift (worth CHF 5)
  • PostFinance does not charge an advance sales or handling fee

In cooperation with:


Friday 19 October 2007

Elektra with Agnes Baltsa, Vienna 2007-10-19

19. Oktober 2007

(51. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung)

Musikalische Leitung: Michael Boder
nach einer Inszenierung von: Harry Kupfer
Bühnenbild: Hans Schavernoch
Kostüme: Reinhard Heinrich
Chorleitung: Janko Kastelic

Klytämnestra: Agnes Baltsa
Elektra: Deborah Polaski
Chrysothemis: Silvana Dussmann
Aegisth: Michael Roider
Orest: Ain Anger*
Pfleger des Orest = Wolfgang Bankl*
Vertraute = Zsuzsanna Szabó
Schleppträgerin = Daniela Denschlag*
junger Diener = Herwig Pecoraro
alter Diener = Marcus Pelz
Aufseherin = Waltraud Winsauer
1. Magd = Janina Baechle*
2. Magd = Zoryana Kushpler*
3. Magd = Sophie Marilley*
4. Magd = Ǻsa Elmgren
5. Magd = Caroline Wenborne

(* Rollendebüt an der Wiener Staatsoper)

Beginn: 20.00

Only Agnes Baltsa could make me see this opera and only AGNES BALTSA made it worth the time

Boring, boring, boring.... But Agnes Baltsa is GREAT. This opera needs so much, it is dark and so much monologue, beautiful music. Elektra is sung by Deborah Polaski, her voice is sometime too weak, the orchestra is heavy, and then where is the excitement the intense feeling, I did not feel it. Her sister is sung by Silvana Dussmann, and her we have a singer and actress who can transmit feelings. But it is Elektra who is supposed to outshine everybody else. Even the brother Orest sung by Ain Anger is more exciting and Aigist too (Michael Roider).

Agnes Baltsa as Klytemnestra is in a league of her own. She owns the stage, she is interesting, you see how this woman is totally crazy in her misunderstandin of it all.

But a great Elektra performance needs an Elektra who is shaking your world, here I did not find that. That Chrysothemis would outshine Elektra, what a concept...

But Klytemnestra is QUEEN!!!!!!! Hail, Agnes Baltsa! The Greeek mezzo... DIVA

UPDATE: Herwig Pecoraro was Junger Diener not Benedikt Kobel as previously stated

Wednesday 17 October 2007

Barcelona's last Andrea Chenier, October 17, 2007

Direcció d'escena / Dirección de escena / Stage Director Philippe Arlaud
Escenografia / Escenografía /Set Design Philippe Arlaud
Vestuari / Vestuario / Costume design Andrea Uhmann
Il·luminació / Iluminación / Light Design Philippe Arlaud
Coreografia / Coreógrafo / Choreography Keith Morino
Producció: The New National Theatre Foundation -Tokio

2007-10-17 Andrea Chenier (Giordano), Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona

Andrea Chenier
= José Cura
Carlo Gérard
= Carlos Álvarez
Maddalena de Coigny
= Deborah Voigt
= Marina Rodríguez Cusí
Comtessa de Coigny
= Viorica Cortez
Madelon = Irina Mishura
= Miguel Ángel Zapater
Pietro Fléville
= Enric Serra
Fouquier Tinville
= Enric Serra
= Philip Cutlip
= Francisco Vas
El mossèn
= Josep Ruiz
= Vicenç Esteve Corbacho
Un Majordom
= Vicenç Esteve Corbacho
= Manel Esteve Madrid

Pinchas Steinberg
, conductor

Photo from Barcelona Liceu: José Cura and Daniela Dessi

"Questo azzurro sofà là collochiam."
In this production the Majordomo said blanco (white) instead of azzurro (blue) because in this production almost all were dressed in white, and then some tricolor. In this production Madame la Guillotine was omnipresent and the director heavy-handedly gave us the message of the revolution is eating its own, all acts ended with people unstage being murdered. In this Andrea Chenier there was no doubt that Chenier and Maddalena died along with alot of people that we had seen alive in other acts, Roucher, Bersi etc. Only children was alive to show the flag and be revoltioneers.

Wonderful José Cura as Andrea Chenier! Anna Shafajinskaia had been called to the Opera house to maybe step in for a sick Deb Voigt. That would have been very interesting!! But La Voigt did not feel that ill. I can understand that to sing in Liceu, it would be hard to say another must sing for me today. Deborah Voigt is not my ideal as Maddalena di Coigny. She is acting very well, althought I find her portrayal to girlish, (loved Maria Guleghina in the DVD from Bologna), and I find it hard to war up to her voice.

Carlos Alvarez was wonderful as Gerard. Very youthful, and this Gerard was really like
Contessa said:
Quel Gérard! L'ha rovinato il leggere!

This Carlo Gerard was destroyed by the reading of books.

I did not take any photos inside the Liceu. I was too nervous, but the good thing with that is that I could concentrate on applauding. BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At the stage door: conductor, Roucher, Voigt, .... No José Cura and I waited a LONG time. But Carlos Alvarez came, but I did not take his photo, I did not take any photos at all in Barcelona. I talked to him. Told him how great I found him in this production and even mentioned how much I liked his Macbeth in the DVD with Maria Guleghina. WOW, Carlos Alvarez!!!!! I talked...
.. but no photos.

Comtessa de Coigny = Viorica Cortez
Madelon = Irina Mishura

Irina Mishura was not Comtessa

Monday 15 October 2007

10 years with Jose Cura and beyond

A story about first time I saw José Cura live, but also about changes from just websites to blogs. (Photo: historic photo of my website)

José Cura
It began in 1997 when I first saw José Cura live onstage. Of course it really started earlier with the first time I heard the name José Cura... But I do not remember that. I remember 1997, October 13th in Vienna and I got a ticket to hear my favorite mezzo (Agnes Baltsa) as Fedora and the 4th tenor as José Cura was often called then as Loris in Giordano's opera FEDORA. Why was I in Austria, in Vienna at that time, what other opera did I probably see before deciding to buy a ticket. And then I made the mistake I have vowed never to do again, I chose the cheap ticket for 300 Austrian Schilling instead of the expensive one.

So my first time with José Cura live was in a restricted view seat. And it was RESTRICTED, almost after if José Cura was there or not. Act 1, no Loris = José Cura, no view, except those three times I could hang out of the box and get a climpse of Agnes Baltsa in her red dress as Fedora. Act 2 with the party in Fedora's house in Paris, I saw very little except when Agnes Baltsa and José Cura was together then I could see them (when I tried to put my head far out of the box). But hardly any of the party business where I sat. Act 3 finally lucky I got to see "all" of it.

I did not find that José Cura was so great then. But then I saw him again a year later in the same role also with Agnes Baltsa as Fedora, I had a better seat, and I found him improved. So Josep Carreras (José Carreras) was almost history for me and José Cura was my next tenor to follow. I do not love him as an opera singer all time, but I find him exciting and interesting to follow. Other tenors might be great more often but often they are boring to follow. If I compare tenor Carreras nowadays or today's Cura, Cura wins without doubt. But when I compare Carreras from the 1980s, 1990s and Cura today, it is harder.

José Cura vs. Josep Carreras
1996 was the best year for me with a wonderful Samson et Dalila with Josep Carreras and Agnes Baltsa in great form in Zurich. In 1998 I got to compare Carreras/Cura as Loris in Zurich/Vienna with Agnes Baltsa as Fedora. And they were both great. In 2000, in Zurich I got to compare Jose Cura as Samson to 1996 Carreras as they both sang with Agnes Baltsa. And I loved them both.

Memories, website, blogs
Before year 2000 I was already on net with my OperaDuets homepage on Yahoo!Geocities. Which seem to just has expired. I call myself operaduets because I love opera as in the acting and interacting and when singing duets it is really the best pluss at that time I had 2 opera singers that were my favorites Agnes Baltsa and Josep Carreras, and I loved (first I didn't) the Opera Duets CD from Sony Classics when Baltsa/Carreras sang opera duets from Werther, Cavalleria Rusticana, Trovatore, Carmen and La Traviata with Placido Domingo as conductor. So OPERADUETS

And then Geocities was no longer my site, I chose Homestead to put my fansite and my travel reviews of opera.... And then after a while I started to pay for using Homestead, I needed the more professional homestead, when my pages and sites grew. And now I have three website I own. First was www.operaduets.com, then www.operaduetstravel.com and latest www.operaduetsphotos.com. Then I have my fansites for Agnes Baltsa, Josep Carreras & José Cura.

And I love Verdi's opera Stiffelio, so I made one about Stiffelio/Aroldo. I love more tenors than I can follow so I made 4tenors.

And now I am blogging...

Today and forward
So now where am I. At home, getting ready to go to Barcelona to see José Cura as Andrea Chenier and to Vienna to see Agnes Baltsa as Klytämnestra in Strauss' ELEKTRA.

Saturday 13 October 2007

Opera - NRK P2 Andrea Chenier

Opera - NRK

P2 lørdag 13. oktober kl 19.30 Opera: Andréa Chenier av Umberto Giordano

Andrea Chénier: José Cura, tenor.
Maddalena de Coigny: Deborah Voigt, sopran.
Carlo Gérard: Carlos Álvarez, baryton.
Bersi: Mariana Rodríguez Cusí, mezzosopran.
Madelon: Irina Mishura, mezzosopran.
Roucher: Miguel Ángel Zapater, bassbaryton.
Pietro Fléville: Enric Serra, baryton.
Fouquir Tinville: Enric Serra, baryton.
Mathieu: Philip Cutlip, baryton.

Kor og orkester fra Gran Teatre de Liceu.
Dirigent: Pinchas Steinberg.

Play recording

Jose Cura in opera by Giordano, 10 years ago and now

It is now 10 years since I first saw Jose Cura live, he sang Loris Ipanoff in Giordano's opera FEDORA with Agnes Baltsa as Fedora.

And today is another chance to hear Jose Cura singing Andrea Chenier from Barcelona, September 29, 2007. From Operacast:




Opera: Giordanos Andréa Chenier (P2)
Andréa Chenier, opera i fire akter, av Umberto Giordano (1867-1948).
Libretto: Luigi Illica.
Andrea Chénier: José Cura, tenor.
Maddalena de Coigny: Deborah Voigt, sopran.
Carlo Gérard: Carlos Álvarez, baryton.
Bersi: Mariana Rodríguez Cusí, mezzosopran.
Madelon: Irina Mishura, mezzosopran.
Roucher: Miguel Ángel Zapater, bassbaryton.
Pietro Fléville: Enric Serra, baryton.
Fouquir Tinville: Enric Serra, baryton.
Mathieu: Philip Cutlip, baryton.
Kor og orkester fra Gran Teatre de Liceu.
Dirigent: Pinchas Steinberg.
Fra Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, 29. september (3 hrs.)