Sunday 20 December 2009

3. Marcelo Alvarez, tenor UPDATED

My photo of Marcelo Alvarez in Verona 2006-07-15

I saw him as
Mario Cavaradossi 2006-07-15, 2007-01-13
Romeo 2004-05-30
Werther 2004-10-02, 2006-12-16
Riccardo 2005-04-30

LINKS to more information about this artist (agency, schedule etc.):

Management contact info
Zemsky Green

Personal/other websites
Wonderful website except that it is owned by SONY, and they have not updated it since 2005.

FINALMENTE UPDATED: new website and the com-website sends you to IT. Best in Italian/Spanish, where the links works. English links goes to 404 error page (May 6, 2011)


For more reviews from my travels, see

2. Carlos Alvarez, baritone

My photo of Carlos Alvarez in Vienna 2003-09-20

I saw him as
Alphonse XI 2003-03-11
Carlo Gerard 2007-10-17
Figaro 2003-09-20
Nottingham 2001-05-12

LINKS to more information about this artist (agency, schedule etc.):

Alfonso G. Leoz Lyric Art SL
Full name: Carlos Álvarez Rodríguez
For more reviews from my travels, see

Saturday 19 December 2009

Canciones argentinas, Den Norske Opera, Oslo

December 17, 2009
Magic and reality hand in hand.

The Lights were Out. Then:

The recital started with a Norwegian actor reading one of Pablo Neruda's poem in Norwegian.

It was still dark when Jose Cura came out singing Hilda Herrera's Desde el fondo de ti.

And still in the dark when Giulio Laguzzi sat down to play the piano and Cura found his seat to sing Maria Elena Walsh' Postal de guerra. Then Jose Cura true to his personality asked for light to see the people. It was not the first time he has done that. Not new, but still endearing is his total willingness to show his gratitude to the multitude of people making this recital possible. So applause to the actor that we heard, the people behind the curtain. Naturally the pianist and later the the note-reader too. Cura was singing quietly, passionately and in full voice whatever the songs needed. He talked in the between quietly. In the second half he said in full voice he was sorry that some of the people had not been able to hear but still be was reserving his voice for singing.

I was most eager to hear him singing his self-composed sonetas by Pablo Neruda. For this part he wanted us to sit in the dark with lights on him and the pianist and the note-reader. I loved it.

Hilda Herrera:
Desde el fondo de ti
Maria Elena Walsh:
Postal de guerra
Serenata para la tierra de uno
Alberto Ginastera:
Canción del árbol del olvido
Pablo Neruda / José Cura:

Carlos Lopez Buchardo:
Canción del carretero
Carlos Guastavino:
La rosa y el sauce
Se equivocó la paloma
El único camino
Elegía para un gorrión
Soneto IV
Héctor Panizza:
Canción a la bandera

The extras was 3 Children's songs from Argentina, and Stille Nacht in French, English, German, Spanish and Norwegian. Jose Cura sang Stille Nacht (in the languages) with the audience, the Norwegian version (Glade jul, hellige jul) was sung by the Norwegian Audience without Cura. I think it the audience did a good job. Last extra: ANHELO. He explained the lyric to a light in day when nobody sees and it the night where it is seen by those in need. A beautiful sentiment that we should all follow...

And so did Jose Cura say Merry Christmas to us in the New Opera House of Oslo, Norway. Magic!! and MERRY CHRISTMAS, God jul!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For more reviews from my travels, see

Wednesday 16 December 2009

"Brazilian Helden-Tenor" - What?!

Monday I had a scare.  I heard a woman exclaim "You will love it, I assure you, the Brazilian Helden-Tenor is singing. He is great!!!" Oh, no, I thought, it is not Cura who will sing. But it was the Argentine Tenor who sang.

He was great, Paoletta Marrocu was great. They were all great. I just had a tall man seating in front of me so my seat and view was not too great. But I enjoyed it. People was saying he was even better on Monday 14th than on Saturday 12th. But I had the wrong seat. Viva Argentina!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't cry for me Argentina! for I will go to Oslo to be there when JC sings his Agentine songs. I am really looking forward to listen to his own songs. Pablo Neruda poems composed by Jose Cura, sung by the composer. And the other songs. Will it be extra songs. I hope for a full house for the Argentine songs with Jose Cura.

Magic will happen again on December 17th. Tomorrow!!!

For more reviews from my travels, see

Sunday 13 December 2009

First time December 12: JC in Oslo

If I had been thinking clearly earlier then I would have asked the whole week free from work but still I am lucky to get Monday 14, Thursday 17 and Friday 18 off. But I still have to work on Tuesday and Wednesday. But most importantly I will get to see Cura at all 3 performances in Oslo, 2 Fanciullas and 1 recital.

Friday I took the evening plane to Oslo, and traveled to my parents' place. I slept well. After breakfast and early dinner I took the bus to Oslo. Then I got a physical reminder that I had not taken any pills against head-ache with me. But at my bus ride home I realized I had some medicine. It helped a bit.

Back to Oslo and to Oslo's new opera house. It was the first time for me. And it was the first time for Jose Cura in Oslo. He sang Dick Johnson in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West. It is almost one of his calling cards. Among many people also a quite a number of Cura fans. Jose Cura Connexion was well represented there. Old and new friends together.

It was to be a magic night. But at the beginning of the opera I really thought that it would be a boring opera night. I was so totally wrong about that. I have never seen this opera without having moments of boredom but not in Oslo. The Robert Carson production from Vlamse Opera held me in its grip. It was first time I saw this production so I cannot say how much influence the presence of Jose Cura did have to the ensemble of Den Norske Opera. It was no doubt that this was one of Jose Cura finest Dick Johnson. The singing and everything was simply the best Dick Johnson that I have seen Cura do. Paoletta Marrocu was a wonderful actress as Minnie, her voice could be unruly but in sum it was a wonderful Minnie. Jason Stearns as Sheriff Jack Rance was all that one could wish for in this role. Fanciulla del West is not the kind of opera where it is enough to have a great soprano, tenor and baritone. This opera is like Wolf-Ferrari's SLY an opera that needs a great ensemble that can act all it different characters.

Conductor: Joseph Colaneri
Director: Robert Carsen
Set design/ costumes: Paul Steinberg
Lighting design: Robert Carsen and Peter van Praet

This production of La Fanciulla del West, The Girl of the Golden West, started with the men sitting in a cinema seeing a Western film. As the prelude ended in the orchestra the men found there western hats and started to act as they were in a saloon drinking with empty hands and then was shooting with empty hands. I thought that it must be hard to remember all that you must when you don't have the props. But it was just the beginning. When Ashby (Magne Fremmerlid) came then it was really something to drink sat on the table. And when Minnie came, she had real gun. And by then it had started to look as a saloon. And she gave all "real theater" whiskey. By the time the bandit Jose Castro came all had real pistols.

So this production was acted like a fantasy but with each new person coming in a new layer of reality was put in. In the end of the opera it is a dream, the miners go into the cinema to see the western film The Girl of the Golden West after Minnie is now dressed like a movie star and so is Dick Johnson, he came out with a sigarett in his mouth very macho and glamorous.

Nex time. Fanciulla 2009-12-14 and Canciones Argentinas 2009-12-17 in Den Norske Opera & Ballett:

For more reviews from my travels, see

Thursday 10 December 2009

1. Ildar Abdrazakov, bass

My photo of Ildar Abdrazakov in Vienna 2003-06-27

I saw him as
Escamillo 2003-06-27, 2003-06-30

LINKS to more information about this artist (agency, schedule etc.):

So I have still just seen Ildar Abdrazakov as Escamillo in CARMEN. And I liked him.
Website 1, website 2

2010 engangements:
Jan '10


Recital at La Scala

Feb '10

23, 27

Attila / Metropolitan Opera / Muti / new production

Mar '10

3, 6(m), 9, 12, 15, 19, 22, 27
Attila / Metropolitan Opera / Muti / new production

Apr '10

24, 26, 29
Nozze di Figaro / (Figaro) Washington Opera

May '10

2, 4, 7

Nozze di Figaro / (Figaro) Washington Opera

For more reviews from my travels, see

7 days untill Jose Cura recital in Oslo, Norway

Not to forget his two performances of La Fanciulla del West, December 12/14. And the recital next thursday (December 17th).

I am so excited to see our new opera house for the first time. And with José Cura. Magic, I hope.

I am so happy I did not go to Milan to see Carmen with Kaufman, Schrott and Adriana Damato. I get reports that Damato was not the right voice for Micaela. CARMEN, I have seen it too many times. It would have to be really extraordinarily good for me to love it. And as I read Emma Dante's idea of CARMEN was simply wrong and badly executed too.

Critics applaud women in La Scala's 'Carmen'

The Associated Press - ‎8. des. 2009‎
They cited Sicilian-born Emma Dante's "truthful" and "concentrated" staging coupled with the triumphant premiere of 25-year-old Georgian Anita ...

Cheers and Catcalls for 'Carmen'

New York Times - ‎21 timer siden‎
Marco Brescia/Teatro La Scala, via Associated Press The conductor Daniel Barenboim with Emma Dante, director of a new “Carmen.” Marco Brescia/Teatro La ...

Critics applaud women in La Scala's 'Carmen'

Auburn Citizen - ‎9. des. 2009‎
The production is directed by Sicilian-born Emma dante, known for her avant-garde stage productions. (AP Photo/La Scala press office, Marco Brescia) They ...

«Diavolo alla Scala». Lite sulla Carmen shock

Il Secolo XIX - ‎9. des. 2009‎

La Scala: Nachbeben zur "Carmen"-Erregung - ‎9. des. 2009‎
Rom - Die italienische Regisseurin Emma Dante, die wegen ihrer unkonventionellen "Carmen"-Inszenierung bei der Premiere in der Mailänder Scala ausgepfiffen ...

La voleva Barenboim: Emma Dante dal premio Ubu alla Scala con Carmen

Wuz. Cultura&Spettacolo - ‎5 timer siden‎
Solo Emma Dante ha ricevuto qualche fischio da parte, soprattutto, dei loggionisti, che hanno poi giustificato il dissenso. Sarà stata un'edizione troppo ...

Daniel Barenboim, aclamado en La Scala (Argentina) - ‎8. des. 2009‎
La puesta en escena, realizada por Emma Dante, una vanguardista directora de teatro siciliana que tuvo su debut en el terreno de la lírica, en cambio, ...

La coraggiosa Carmen di Barenboim e Emma Dante

Il Sole 24 Ore - ‎5. des. 2009‎
Coraggioso il sovrintendente e direttore artistico Stéphane Lissner, che ha fortemente voluto affidare la regia a Emma Dante , drammaturga e regista ...

Cantores são aplaudidos e diretora é vaiada em estreia em Milão - ‎8. des. 2009‎
Mas o cenário sombrio criado por Emma Dante - armazéns altos e ameaçadores e muros em volta da arena de touros - não agradou a todos. ...
Abertura de temporada Correio da Manhã

Scala: l'interprète de Carmen ovationnée, mais des sifflets pour la mise en scène

Le Point - ‎8. des. 2009‎
Une lecture d'Emma Dante selon qui "être Carmen signifie transgresser les règles, s'éloigner du moralisme et de l'hypocrisie (...) éprouver l'ivresse de la ...

For more reviews from my travels, see

Monday 7 December 2009

Finally a review in English about Fanciulla in Oslo

Great voices in La Fanciulla del West in Oslo

Because of the great voices, it was again one of the great evenings at the new Operahouse in Oslo, when the Norwegian Opera & Ballet premiered the Giacomo Puccini opera The Girl from the Golden West, for the first time at The Norwegian Opera & Ballet in Oslo.

Svein Erik Sagbråten, Jason Stearns, Paoletta Marrocu, Ho-yuoon Chung, Ole Jørgen Kristiansen 09, foto Henning Høholt
Svein Erik Sagbråten, Jason Stearns, Paoletta Marrocu, Ho-yuoon Chung, Ole Jørgen Kristiansen 09, foto Henning Høholt
But it is not for the first time in Norway. Allready in 1921 Kirsten Flagstad was singing Minnie in a production of The Girl from the Golden West at Opera Comique, conducted by Piero Coppola, who Puccini  him self  choosed to conduct the opera many places, also in Oslo.

A line of outstanding guesting soloists was at this first evening singing and performing the three leading roles as Minnie, the bar hostes, who is close to being the only woman on stage except for her indian maid Wowkle. In the titel role Minnie, we enjoyed the wonderful italian soprano Paoletta Marrocu, who performed and sung the role as Minnie with a fantastic power and intensity. She gave the difficult titelrole so much reality and intensitivity that we believed in her in this fantastic story. Unfortunately she missed the top tunes two times in the very beginning, it sounded like she dont have these high tunes, but that we forgot very fast, and specially in the second act it was unbelievable what we experienced, together with her wonderful partner Dick Johnson. This famouse tenor role was 100 % perfect played, and wonderful sung by the brilliant tenor Ho-yoon Chung. It is my oppinnion that he is one of the best tenors I have heard for a long time in Europe. We are privilliged to have Ho-yoon Chung guesting in Oslo. I hope it will be many visits of Ho-yoon Chung also in other roles. As Jack Rance we enjoyed the famouse dramatic baryton Jason Stearns. He has it all. Voice, the look that we trusted in. Great.

The Norwegian review was not so positive: Old production from Vlamse Opera, act 1 boring, act 2+3 better. Paoletta Marucco/Ho-yoon Chung gave great singing.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Agnes Baltsa sang Greek songs in Graz (Review in German)

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 06.12.2009 um 19:24 Uhr2 Kommentare

Unvergänglich wie die Lieder aus Hellas

Kammersängerin Agnes Baltsa sang in der Grazer Oper vom toten Tachidromos.
Foto © Privat
Als aus Wien zu erfahren war, dass Agnes Baltsa ihr Konzert im Konzerthaus am 1. Dezember absagen musste, mag mancher Fan in Graz verzichtet haben, sich eine Karte für ihren griechischen Abend in der Grazer Oper zu besorgen. Deshalb bot sich der Mezzo-Diva am Krampus-Abend das ungewohnte Bild eines nur halb vollen Auditoriums. Aber als Profis machten die Kammersängerin, die im November ihren 65. Geburtstag gefeiert hatte, und ihr Pianist Achilleas Wastor, 36, aus den als Kunstlieder gedichteten und komponierten Standards eine Korallenkette tieftrauriger, politisch aufrührerischer oder romantischer Pretiosen.
Baltsa sang, wie schon im Vorjahr zur Einstandsgala von Michael Nemeth im Musikverein, Lieder von Stavros Xarhakos, Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Chatzidakis und Vassilis Tsitsanis auf Texte der wirkungsvollsten neugriechischen Dichter wie Nikos Gatsos, Manos Eleftheriou oder Vagelis Goufas. Alle diese Lieder sind heute in Hellas Volkslieder, meist so gefühlsintensiv wie Goethe-Schubert oder Heine-Schumann, aber entstanden zwischen 1930 und 1980.
Ironie blitzt nur in zwei Liedern auf: in Tsitsanis' "Krabben"-Sittenbild und in Xarhakos' "König Otto". Immer wieder unvorbereitet mitten ins Herz trifft die Baltsa mit ihrer erschütternden Interpretation von Chatzidakis' "O tachidromos pethane" vom Tod des als Liebesbote willkommenen siebzehnjährigen Briefträgers.
Naturgemäß ist die Stimme der Baltsa, die als Cherubin und Sextus, als Rosina und Isabella, als Romeo und Dalila, als Carmen und Eboli die Welt der Oper, der Festivals und des Tonträgermarktes eroberte, nach ihren vierzig Bühnenjahren (und Riesenbrocken wie Kundry, Küsterin und Klytämnestra) nicht mehr gleißnerisch, verführerisch und unverlierbar. Aber sie ist in der strengen Zurücknahme und pathosfreien Dezenz ihres Vortrags emotional packend wie eh und je. Sie ist in den Rang von Nationalheldinnen wie Irene Papas, Melina Mercouri und Maria Farantouri eingetreten.


Positiv review, I think...

For more reviews from my travels, see

Saturday 5 December 2009

Happy Birthday, Jose/Josep! + other news

Carreras is 63 today, Cura is in his mid-40s.
Happy birthday, tenors!!

News about Jose Cura:

Český Krumlov 2010 - José Cura and Macbeth

International Music Festival Český Krumlov

The International Music Festival has become a top cultural event held in Český Krumlov. It is a unique festival, not only because of singing stars, which come here to participate, but also thanks to the Český Krumlov spirit and magic. Music is played inside the castle or churches or open air in the brewery or castle garden. Music flows through the city and every year there are people from all over the world coming to Český Krumlov to enjoy this special event. The festival's program certainly brings something for everyone's taste as the scope of music genres plus domestic and overseas orchestras and soloists is broad enough to please ears of many music lovers.
Even though it is still 2009, the festival organizers are already busy with the 19th year of the International Music Festival preparation, which will be held from July 16 to 21 August 2010. Like every year, there are lots of great experiences to look forward to.
The festival will open a world-famous tenor of Argentine origin - José Cura, who is described by critics as the one to follow the footsteps of the renowned trio of José Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti and most likely to become one of the most accomplished artist of his generation. He will be accompanied by Hye Kim and Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Mario De Rose.
For one night, the festival will take us to the New York's Broadway. This special program comes with the famous A Night on Broadway, where the soloists Christiane Noll, Capahia Jenkins, Rob Evan will perform the music from the four most famous musicals: Phantom of The Opera, West Side Story, Mamma Mia and Les Miserables.
The festival will end with the music by Čajkovskij and Dvořák performed by violinist Vadim Gluzman and the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra.Díky festivalu se také na jeden večer ocitneme na newyorské Broadway. V programu totiž nebude chybět proslulá
These performances are only a small fraction of what the International Music Festival is coming up with next year. Do not miss the top event of cultural summer season 2010 in Český Krumlov and book your tickets in time!

Conductor Vjekoslav Sutej who conducted many opera performances and opera concerts is dead from Leukemia:
Croatian conductor Vjekoslav Sutej dead at age 58
Croatian Times - Croatia
... concerts with some of the biggest names in music, such as Jose Carreras, Montserrat Caballe, Diana Ross, Andrea Rost, Ramón Vargas and Maria Guleghina. ...


News from October 2009:

Josep Carreras y Joan Pons recogen las medallas de oro del Liceu

Entre los 10 profesionales que recibieron el premio, se cuenta también la soprano húngara Eva Marton y la mezzosoprano Dolora Zajick  |  La entrega de los galardones coincide con el X aniversario de la reconstrucción del teatro de La Rambla

El conseller de Cultura i Mitjans de Comunicació, Joan Manuel Tresserras, y el tenor, Josep Carreras
El conseller de Cultura i Mitjans de Comunicació, Joan Manuel Tresserras, y el tenor, Josep Carreras /   ACN / Nihil Olivera

For more reviews from my travels, see