Thursday 25 February 2010

9. Marco Berti, tenor

My photo of Marco Berti in Barcelona 2009-07-30

I saw him as
Calaf 2009-07-30

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

Official websites

For more reviews from my travels, see

Tuesday 23 February 2010

8. Agnes Baltsa, mezzo

My photo of Agnes Baltsa in Munich 2006-12-15

I have seen her as
Carmen 2000-02-05, 2000-06-25, 2002-05-15, 2002-06-23, 2002-05-26, 2002-09-29, 2003-06-27, 2003-06-30, 2004-02-27 (act 4), 2004-09-25
Dalila 1996-04-06, 2000-06-10
Despina 2000-03-03
Fedora 1997-10-13, 1998-10-19, 1998-10-25
Fidès 1998-05-31, 1999-11-13
Hérodiade 2000-03-06, 2003-09-19, 2003-09-22
Isabella 2000-06-20, 2000-06-23, 2001-11-19, 2003-05-10, 2004-05-31, 2004-06-03, 2006-06-27
Klytämnestra 2007-10-19, 2007-11-24, 2008-02-26, 2010-01-29
Die Küsterin 2002-03-02, 2002-06-09, 2006-04-29, 2009-04-04
Orlofsky 1999-05-12, 1999-05-14
Santuzza 2000-05-20

complete list, click here. More photos of Agnes Baltsa.

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

For more reviews from my travels, see

Monday 22 February 2010

Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci in Vienna (20.2.2010)

As the bus came nearer to Oslo I was suddenly unsure, would I come in time for my early flight to Vienna. The snow was making it difficult and the bus drove slowly. We arrived the bus station a bit before 0530. I almost took the airport bus, but since it would take over 40 minutes and would not go until 0540 it would have been scary close. The airport train was leaving 545 and reached Gardermoen Airport at 0607. I took the lift to the departure. I was so late that the machine refused to give me the boarding pass and said that I have to go to the counter. I found help. And then it was security line. Lucky it was very few people in the line. I got through and soon I was at my gate. The airplane had not had its fuel yet and the snow-mawing was ongoing. Few minutes before 7 we were allowed into the plane. Then it was the de-icing of the plane.

But soon I was off to Vienna. 1020 we arrived in Vienna. Those who was going to Salzburg lost their flight. But I had arrived in Wien, du Stadt meiner Träume. I took the CAT to Wien Mitte. And then U4 to Karlplatz. Then I walked the Ring to Parkring and Radisson Blu Palais Hotel. A nice and posh hotel where people was supposed to be checked-out by 1200 but people waited until 12 and so on to get out. I was finally getting my key when they found out that the people in my room must have decided to stay longer. I got an upgrade for the same price. The room was good enough but I could hardly see any evidence in upgrade or was it that the minibar was free.

No headache this time but serious pain of the monthly sort. My bed was good and I relaxed/slept/listened to music until 1630. Then I walked to Staatsoper. I found the pizza restaurant Firenze or another Italian city name and I had Pizza Vegetaria and Coke light. Now I felt completely refreshed to go to the opera.

2010-02-20 Cavalleria Rusticana (P. Mascagni), Wiener Staatsoper

Santuzza = Dolora Zajick
Turiddu = José Cura
Alfio = Alberto Mastromarino
Mamma Lucia = Auro Twarowska
Lola = Roxana Constanisnescu

Asher Fisch, conductor

I had forgotten how painful I find this Cavalleria Rusticana of Jean-Pierre Ponelle, how I suffer for Santuzza making it hard to just enjoy. Dolora Zajick was Santuzza and she does a wonderful job but I wanted Agnes Baltsa instead. Agnes Baltsa really owns this role. José Cura was fantatic as Turriddu, I only breathed when he was onstage. The Siciliana, the duet with Santuzza, the Brindisi and Mamma, quel vino ... was just wonderful musical moments. Alberto Mastromarino was a solid Alfio, Roxana Constanisnescu the same as Lola. Aura Twarowska was great as Mamma Lucia. Both Cura and Twarowska sang their roles for the first time at Vienna State Opera.

2010-02-20 Pagliacci (R. Leoncavallo), Wiener Staatsoper

Canio (Pagliaccio) = José Cura
Nedda (Colombina) = Nicoleta Ardelean
Tonio (Taddeo) = Lado Ataneli
Beppe (Arlecchino) = Herwig Pecoraro
Silvio = Tae Joong Yang
Erster Bauer = Jens Musger
Zweiter Bauer = Wolfram Igor Derntl

Asher Fisch, conductor

Pagliacci is just much more to enjoy even as this too is a tragedy. José Cura plays Canio as a drunkard from beginning to end with serious violence problems. I did not really get Lado Ataneli's Tonio. I found him enjoyable to see and hear but I did not understand Tonio at all. Canio was easy to get into. Nicoleta Ardelean was giving her first time in Staatsoper as Nedda. She was also good and improved during the performance. The other roles was also solidly sung and acted. This time Tonio gets the Prologue.

José Cura in der Materialschlacht -

Die Presse seemed not to like José Cura at all. But loved Lado Ataneli as Tonio. A better Tonio than Jago. I saw Lado Ataneli as Jago in Hamburg 6 years and I think it was a better role for him. But of course that was in 2004.

After the operas and much applause it was time to wait at the backstage door. Waiting and waiting untill finally I got a chance to take some photos.

I gave up when I had 3 photos of Cura and one of Ataneli. It was 2330. And then I walked to my hotel. To sleep until 0630. So 7 am I checked out of the hotel. My plane was leaving 1025. I had good enough time. CAT Train 0808

For more reviews from my travels, see

7. Lado Ataneli, baritone

My photo of Lado Ataneli in Vienna 2010-02-20

I saw him as
Jago 2004-05-29, 2004-06-05
Tonio 2010-02-20

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

Official website:

For more reviews from my travels, see

Monday 15 February 2010

6. Fabio Armiliato, tenor

My photo of Fabio Armiliato in Berlin 2005-07-03

I saw him as
Calaf 2009-07-31
Don José 2002-09-29
Radames 2005-06-24

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

Facebook (a very nice website)

For more reviews from my travels, see

Saturday 13 February 2010

A travel to ostomy (February 13, 2009)

One year ago I took the bus to Førde sjukehus to get an operation. An operation that my specialist doctor had been talking to me several times. I had tried REMICADE (I liked that, but my doctor did not see enough progress), my doctor wanted me to try HUMIRA (I hated that one). Humira made my life miserable, dreading every time I was to use the needle. And so I was gently pressured to the operation, ostomy (ileostomy).

One year later and I have adjusted. But I am not going to say, adjusted just fine. I still feel lied to, sometimes, and I think that they should not have been so optimistic about the whole process. It is a big process to get adjusted to. They talked me into believing my life would be just so much easier, but I did not realize that was because they thought my life had been so tough with my disease all those 20 years. They were wrong, I had many more good time than the few hard times. Sure I was admitted to hospital a couple of times. It was worst the first times when I was under 20, in my late teen-age years. But I adjusted just fine. My disease was inconvenient but seldom more than that in my view. My mother remembers it differently, my doctors too.

What the medical staff did not see, that ostomy operation replaced the diarrhea with the occurrence pouch incidents.

A surgically created opening in the small intestine, usually at the end of the ileum. The intestine is brought through the abdominal wall to form a stoma. Ileostomies may be temporary or permanent, and may involve removal of all or part of the entire colon.

So I have a stoma instead of rectum. They call it amputated rectum. It sounded weird to me, it still does. Obviously one need to have something to storage the "sewage". Unlike the rectum the stoma cannot be controlled by the person. No muscle to contract or open. So that means that the ostomy took from me some of my control. And not only that, the pouch system is not perfect so embarrassing accidents can still happen.

I am also lucky. My many years of embarrassing diarrhea accident makes me take the accidents with my new system much better that unexperienced people. The fact that my ostomy operation is permanent gives me no other choice than to accept it. That may sound bad but science has it that people with temporary ostomy have more difficulty with adjusting. I am also lucky that my brain is still an optimist that forgets bad time to remember good times.

I have a good system now, with fewer accidents. I hope I do not have to have another operation again on my abdomen. It was hard. It is still not all OK. A year later my sleep is better but it is interrupted because I have to empty my pouch. So the medical people thought my life would be better without diarrhea, yes, but they forgot to tell my that I would have to empty my pouch even in the middle of night. The staff at the hospital was nice but I feel lied to, yet. But I much rather would like to think about happy things like OPERA than unhappy things like what the Operation cost me.

Lucky to be living in Norway. I feel taken care of. I still work 50 percent but I still believe/dream of 100 percent work.

Operation: February 16, 2009
In very much pain after the surgery. The morfine did not work for me. It helped like 5 minutes. But when I was able to have it as pills, it worked. I was not supposed to be in such great pain. But the anesthesia that were supposed to go only to my abdomen had gone to my legs. It meant more pain when I woke up and a longer time in the hospital because my legs needed to be up and go to.

Leaving the hospital: February 28, 2009
Taxi home. My mother is with me.

Going to my parent's for the reconvalecense: February 29, 2009:
Flight with my mother holding me up.

My plans for seeing José Cura as both Don José and Cavaradossi in Vienna in March 4+5 was gone already. I knew it was the right decision because I am so weak. I cannot walk far and long. My nights are not good.

March 26 to the hospital for a check up.

April 3-5: Finally back in the saddle as the Crohnic Opera Traveller named OperaDuets. Jenufa with Agnes Baltsa as Küsterin. Wonderful!!

April 20: Doctor's appointment
April 21: Finally I am well enough to go to work 50 percent.

April 25: I get my Tosca with José Cura and Maria Guleghina. I can do without Carmen with Kasarova and Cura, I read the reviews while at hospital.

My life seem to be on track. Slowly pain killers is gone, only paracetamol remain. Later still my sleeping pills, good-bye in December. My sleep patterns is better.

I thank HOLLISTER and their pouch system. It helped me. For me, a this point, their Conform 2 Two-Piece System, Drainable Pouches is the best. My skin likes them much better than the other ones, and I feel more secure. Finally, secure. Skin-friendly. But naturally I still have Crohn's disease. But I can still travel and see opera.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Thursday 11 February 2010

In Memorian: KS John Dickie, tenor

Photo of John Dickie as Stewa together with Agnes Baltsa as Küsterin, Wiener Staatsoper 2006-04-29, JENUFA by Janacek.

News from

KS John Dickie verstorben

John Dickie wurde in London als Sohn der Opernsänger Murray Dickie und Maureen Springer-Dickie geboren und wuchs in Wien auf. Nach seinem Gesangsstudium in Wien war er Ensemblemitglied an den Wuppertaler Bühnen, danach in Mannheim und an der Hamburgischen Staatsoper. Gastengagements führten ihn an die Deutsche Oper Berlin, Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London und zu den Bregenzer Festspielen.
Seit der Saison 1987/1988 war John Dickie Mitglied der Wiener Staatsoper und der Wiener Volksoper - an beiden Häusern wirkte er in insgesamt 987 Vorstellungen mit (86 Partien, 81 Werke, 28 Premieren). Daneben gastierte er am Théâtre National de l'Opera de Paris, dem Grand Théâtre de Genève, in Zürich, Hamburg, Köln, Düsseldorf, Leipzig, Catania, Genua und Venedig.
Am Haus am Ring debütierte er 1983 als Almaviva in "Il barbiere di Siviglia" und war in der Folge in Partien wie Fenton ("Falstaff"), Tamino und Monostatos ("Die Zauberflöte"), Belmonte ("Die Entführung aus dem Serail"), Ferrando ("Così fan tutte"), Narraboth ("Salome"), Stewa ("Jen?fa"), Arturo ("Lucia di Lammermoor"), Walther von der Vogelweide ("Tannhäuser"), Eisenstein ("Die Fledermaus"), Steuermann ("Der fliegende Holländer") zu erleben. Er wirkte in 18 Premieren der Wiener Staatsoper mit und sang insgesamt 57 Partien in 484 Vorstellungen. An der Volksoper Wien sang er an 503 Abenden insgesamt 33 verschiedene Partien.

Translation via
KS John Dickie died

John Dickie has been in London, the son of opera singers Murray Dickie and Maureen Springer-Dickie born and grew up in Vienna. After his vocal studies in Vienna he was an ensemble member at the Wuppertal stages, then in Mannheim and at the Hamburg State Opera. Guest engagements have taken him to the German Opera Berlin, Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London and the Bregenz Festival.
Since the 1987/1988 season was John Dickie member of the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Volksoper - in both houses, he worked in a total of 987 performances with (86 lots, 81 works, 28 premieres). In addition, he has performed at the Théâtre National de l'Opera de Paris, the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Zurich, Hamburg, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Leipzig, Catania, Genoa and Venice.
At home on the ring, he debuted in 1983 as Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia "and was made in the sequence in roles such as Fenton (Falstaff), Monostatos and Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Belmonte (The Abduction to the Seraglio" ), Ferrando (Così fan tutte "), Narraboth (" Salome "), Stewa (" Jen? "fa"), Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor "), Walther von der Vogelweide (" Tannhauser "), Eisenstein (Die to experience bat "), pilot (" The Flying Dutchman "). He participated in 18 of the Vienna State Opera premiere, and sang a total of 57 games in 484 performances. At the Vienna Volksoper he sang to 503 nights a total of 33 different lots.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Getting ready for my travel to Vienna in February

June 1rst, 2009 paid for the opera ticket (Wiener Staatsoper 20. February 2010: Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci with Jose Cura).
October 18, 2009 paid for my travel to Vienna 20/21 February 2010.
Today, February 11, 2010 reserved my hotel room in Vienna.

Usually I am not this late in choosing my hotel but there has been times when I did in only after arriving. This time, as usual, I used to book hotel.

Just now I am listening to music of Leoncavallo and Mascagni on my IPOD. At this moment exactly it is IRIS by Mascagni with Jose Cura and Daniela Dessi.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Wednesday 10 February 2010

5. Graciela Araya, mezzo

My photo of Graciela Araya in Bergen, Norway 2006-10-20

I saw her as
Dalila 2006-10-20

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

Official website:

For more reviews from my travels, see

4. Ain Anger, bass

My photo of Ain Anger in Vienna 2007-10-19

I saw him as
Orest 2007-10-19

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

Ain Anger -
Biography, High Resolution Image

For more reviews from my travels, see

Sunday 7 February 2010

OD Travel - January: Nabucco and travel from Zurich

I slept till 1100. The night was less tranquil than that. Breakfast at McDonald's near Main Station (Cheese burger ...). Head-ache yesterday and today too. Still living on a wonderful opera evening of Elektra. And I even got to take a photo of Agnes Baltsa. A great day, yesterday.

January 30, 2010
Looking forward to NABUCCO with Juan Pons, Maria Guleghina and Boiko Zvetanov. I saw Agnes Baltsa and her sister near the opera house. Only in Zurich, you know. Poulet süss-sauer at the Main Station today. Today I have decided not to walk so much so I bought a 24 hrs card. It is Saturday and I am going into shops and looking at restaurants to decide a real dinner maybe. But I went to McDonald's and it was OK. Of course it cannot be called dinner.

Tram to and from the opera house. NABUCCO by Giuseppe Verdi. Maria Guleghina was a fantastic Abigaille. Juan Pons was suddenly much thinner but still made a great Nabucco. Boiko Zvetanov was looking like a small Dennis O'Neill. But he was great as Ismaele. One could easily forget his heavy and small look and understand why two women were in love with him. Stefania Kaluza was singing Fenena, she was great in the ensembles, duets, etc. but strangely did not make such a great impression in her aria. Chorus was great. Nello Santi conducted.

Obviously Jonathan Miller had been thinking too much about history. Would really the women and men be separated when they were about to be executed.

I had planned to wait at the stage door for the singers but today I had too much of a head-ache so I left to my hotel. Via McDonalds (2300).

January 31, 2010
Slept better tonight. Up at 1000. Checked out. Took ICN St Gallen 1109 from Main Station to the Airport. 1120-1215 McChicken. 1245 boarding card. BUT flight is 1650.

What to do in Flughafen Zurich, shopping, going to restaurants, sitting down to write something. Relax.

What to remember: when to drink up the last bit, wait until security. In Zurich it is first a boarding pass check, no need to fast drink now wait until security. No fear, after security you will still have shops for that bottle of water, coke or ... . Zurich is cool.

So I am at the Gate and everything seems to be OK. The plane is on time and we get into the plane. AND then we have to wait a full hour in a very hot plane with bad air. ONE HOUR. Of course we land in Oslo 1 hr late. For me what does it mean, I can relax. I will get 2 hrs to wait for my bus home. It is really cold when I get home at 05 something. It is really cold inside too. But it is February 1. And... yes, New month, work day and I am home again.

For more reviews from my travels, see

OD Travel - January: Travel to Zurich and Elektra

January 28-29, 2010
The bus left home 2230. I got a good seat. And slept reasonably well. Arrived Oslo Bus Terminal 0520. Took the airport bus 0530. it takes 45 minutes to the airport Oslo Gardermoen. At 7 I ate ate a baguette with cheese and ham. The Swiss (airline) counter opened. And I soon got my boarding card and went through security. I only had hand luggage with me. 0750 I texted my mother to say I was in Airport and were near the gate.

The plane arrived arrived late in Zurich Airport. 1305 I was at the train station part of the airport. Took a IR train to Zurich main station. Later I founf that I could taken the tram 10 to my hotel. Went from main station to my hotel (Hotel Leoneck). I had stayed there before. 1405 was I "home". I am lucky that it is not too cold in Zurich but it is really WINTER her. Snow in Zurich...

After the hotel my first stop is Opernhaus Zurich to collect my tickets. I am walking the whole way and going back through the Station street (Bahnhofstrasse) to the main station. When after a long search I find the china restaurant I eat there. Poulet süss-sauer. Then back to my hotel to rest. I have a head-ache. Two hours rest 1630-1830. And then put all my cloths on to go to the opera house. My head-ache is not gone. Must take something against it.

I went to the opera house to see ELEKTRA with Agnes Baltsa as Klytämnestra. This one act opera with 1hr 45 mins music is NOT my favorite opera. But this time it is Daniele Gatti who conducts the orchestra of Opernhaus Zurich and Richard Strauss' music streams out sounding just wonderful. For the first time all the music of Elektra sound like magic. First opera I ever wanted to hear without the singing. This does not mean that the chorus or the soloists were not good.

The production was not too bad but not something that I felt I was missing when my head-ache forced me to close my eyes. Often in closing my eyes I enjoyed the opera more. Eva Johansson was a good but not really in voice before Orest. After Orest came the real Elektra appeared. Emily Magee was a wonderful Chrysathemis, singing and acting was fabulous. But both lacked in German diction. Agnes Baltsa was in great voice and acting Klytämnestra with all her body. To my ears Baltsa's German was close to perfect.

The production put too much on the shocking things (sex....) going on in the house and too little on what happens outside with Elektra. Elektra is really outside the house and closed into her own head. Elektra was yellow (meaning?). Chrysathemis in white (pure virgin). Klytämnestra in red dress (blood, murder) with black cape? (death).

After the opera I congratulated Agnes Baltsa and conductor Daniele Gatti on this wonderful performance of ELEKTRA.

BRAVA, Agnes Baltsa!!!

And Agnes Baltsa told she will sing in Cavalleria Rusticana next year in Zurich.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Monday 1 February 2010

Fenena, o mia diletta!!

La Cieca posted about Nabucco in Zurich and made me dream about seeing Agnes Baltsa as Fenena. But of course, Agnes Baltsa is singing Klytämnestra in Zurich.

Both Elektra (January 29, 2010) and Nabucco (January 30, 2010) were triumphs. And I even met Agnes Baltsa after Elektra and she told me she is going to Zurich next year for Cavalleria Rusticana. I also talked briefly to conductor Daniele Gatti. I said this was the first time I really enjoyed this opera (Elektra) because of the orchestra. And Agnes Baltsa was really wonderful as Klytämnestra, it was powerful and beautiful sung.

Maria Guleghina was the reason to see Nabucco. I love her Abigaille. I had wondered about Juan Pons, how would he be as Nabucco. His face was so thin now that I hardly recognized him but his singing was powerful enough for Zurich. Many years ago I saw Boiko Zvetanov, he had also changed into a little, chubby man but his voice was there. Boiko may be small in stature but you soon forget that.

For more reviews from my travels, see