Friday 30 April 2010

21. Mark Delavan, baritone

My photo of Mark Delavan in London 2005-09-18

I saw him as
Jack Rance 2005-09-15, 2005-09-18

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

Mark Delevan Home Page (I like his homepage)

For more reviews from my travels, see

20. Adriana Damato, soprano

My photo of Adriana Damato in Zurich 2010-03-20

I saw her as
Lina 2006-03-24, 2006-03-26
Mimi 2010-03-20

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

For more reviews from my travels, see

2004 OperaDuets Gala Year

What a wonderful year? 2004: Carreras Gala in Vienna and Verdi Gala in Parma. But more than that Stiffelio in Zurich and Vienna with José Cura as Stiffelio. It was wonderful to see Agnes Baltsa and Josep Carreras together in Carmen, even if it was just the 4 act at the end of the Carreras Gala.

2004-02-27 José Carreras Gala, Wiener Staatsoper (Carmen)
2004-05-31 L'Italiana in Algeri (Gioacchino Rossini), Wiener Staatsoper (Isabella)
2004-06-03 L'Italiana in Algeri (Gioacchino Rossini), Wiener Staatsoper (Isabella)
2004-07-21 Griechische Nacht mit Agnes Baltsa, Ingolstadt (mezzo)
2004-07-22 Griechische Nacht mit Agnes Baltsa, Regensburg (mezzo)
2004-09-25 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Carmen)

I loved her in Carreras Gala as Carmen in February, and loved her as Isabella in May and June, enjoyed her singing Greek Songs in July. And even got to see her as Carmen in Berlin in September, but I only got half Carmen since my flight was delayed from Oslo.


2004-02-13 Andrea Chenier (Umberto Giordano), Wiener Staatsoper (Andrea Chenier)
2004-03-20 Samson et Dalila (Camille Saint-Saëns), Royal Opera House, London (Samson)
2004-05-07 La Fanciulla del West (Giacomo Puccini), Opernhaus Zurich (Dick Johnson)
2004-05-09 La Fanciulla del West (Giacomo Puccini), Opernhaus Zurich (Dick Johnson)
2004-05-29 Otello (Giuseppe Verdi), Hamburgische Staatsoper (Otello)
2004-06-05 Otello (Giuseppe Verdi), Hamburgische Staatsoper (Otello)
2004-07-06 José Cura & Montserrat Caballé, Classic Open Air Berlin (tenor & conductor)
2004-09-26 Stiffelio (Giuseppe Verdi), Opernhaus Zurich (Stiffelio)
2004-10-07 Stiffelio (Giuseppe Verdi), Opernhaus Zurich (Stiffelio)
2004-10-10 Buon Compleanno Maestro Verdi, Teatro Regio Parma (tenor)
2004-11-19 Stiffelio (Giuseppe Verdi), Wiener Staatsoper (Stiffelio)

Can I say I loved it all? Yes, I can. Chenier, Samson, Fanciulla, Otello, Stiffelio and the concert and Gala, was all wonderful.

2004-02-28 I Puritani (Bellini), Wiener Staatsoper
Lord Arturo Talbot = Joseph Calleja
Elvira = Stefania Bonfadelli

2004-05-30 Romeo et Juliette (Gounod), Bayerische Staatsoper
Romeo = Marcelo Alvarez
Juliette = Angela-Maria Blasi

2004-06-02 I Vespri Siciliani (Verdi), Opernhaus Zurich
Elena = Paoletta Marrocu
Arrigo = Marcello Giordani
Procida = Ruggero Raimondi

2004-07-07 Die Sache Makropulos (Janacek), Deutsche Oper Berlin
Emilia Marty = Anja Silja
Albert Gregor = Pär Lindskog

2004-09-11 Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Den Norske Opera, Oslo
Figaro = Magne Fremmerlid
Susanna = Kari Postma

2004-10-02 Werther (Massenet), Royal Opera House London
Werther = Marcelo Alvarez
Charlotte = Ruxandra Donose

2004-11-06 La Forza del Destino (Verdi), Royal Opera House London
Don Alvaro = Salvatore Licitra
Leonora = Violeta Urmana

NEXT: 2005 Carreras 1 - Cura 11 - other 15

For more reviews from my travels, see

Baltsa/Cura in 2003 and more

2003-05-10 L'Italiana in Algeri (Gioacchino Rossini), Opernhaus Zürich (Isabella)
2003-06-27 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Wiener Staatsoper (Carmen)
2003-06-30 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Wiener Staatsoper (Carmen)
2003-09-19 Hérodiade (Jules Massenet), Wiener Staatsoper (Hérodiade)
2003-09-22 Hérodiade (Jules Massenet), Wiener Staatsoper (Hérodiade)
2003-02-23 Cavalleria Rusticana (Pietro Mascagni), Hamburgische Staatsoper (conductor)
2003-02-23 Pagliacci (Ruggero Leoncavallo), Hamburgische Staatsoper (Canio)
2003-03-12 Don Carlo (Giuseppe Verdi), Opernhaus Zürich (Don Carlos)
2003-03-14 Don Carlo (Giuseppe Verdi), Opernhaus Zürich (Don Carlos)
2003-03-17 Tosca (Giacomo Puccini), Wiener Staatsoper (Mario Cavaradossi)
2003-06-28 Turandot (Giacomo Puccini), Arena di Verona (Calaf)
2003-07-25 Opera Concert, Philharmonie Munich (tenor & conductor)
2003-07-29 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Arena di Verona (Don José)
2003-07-31 La Traviata (Giuseppe Verdi), Arena di Verona (Alfredo Germont)
2003-09-19 Hérodiade (Jules Massenet), Wiener Staatsoper (Jean)
2003-09-22 Hérodiade (Jules Massenet), Wiener Staatsoper (Jean)

I loved Herodiade by Massenet with Agnes Baltsa & José Cura. Don Carlo in Vienna with Cura was great. Carmen and La Traviata in Verona with Cura was wonderful. Loved the concert with Cura in Munich. Almost broke my arm in Vienna before Tosca with Cura so I did not enjoy that one. Cav/Pag in Hamburg was good, very interesting, Cura conducted Cav and sang Pag.

2003-02-22 Eugen Onegin (Tsjaikovskij), Hamburgische Staatsoper
Tatiana = Danielle Halbwachs
Eugen Onegin = Jean-Luc Chaignaud
Lenski = Piotr Beczala

2003-03-11 La Favorite (Donizetti), Wiener Staatsoper
Léonor de Guzman = Violeta Urmana (mezzo)
Fernand = Giuseppe Sabbatini
Alphonse XI = Carlos Alvarez

2003-04-25 Operagalla (Opera Nordfjord), Sogndal kulturhus
Cecilia Lindwall, soprano
Trine Øien, mezzo
Jørgen Talle, tenor

2003-07-27 Aida (Verdi), Arena di Verona
Aida = Micaela Carosi
Radames = Piero Giuliacci
Amneris = Larissa Diadkova

2003-08-23 Carmen (Bizet), Den Norske Opera (Oslo)
Carmen = Marina Domashenko
Don José = Torsten Kerl

2003-09-20 Il Barbiere in Siviglia (Rossini), Wiener Staatsoper
Almaviva = Juan Diego Florez
Rosina = Enkelejda Shkosa

For more reviews from my travels, see

From Finland with Love (2002)

In 2002 I saw Carmen in Helsinki, Finland with Agnes Baltsa and Alberto Cupido. It was great. I loved it just as much as Carmen in Deutsche Oper Berlin 2000-02-05. That time also with Agnes Baltsa and Alberto Cupido. In Berlin it was dialogue, in Finland sung recitatives. A few days earlier I had enjoyed Il Trovatore in London with José Cura, Veronica Villarroel, Vladimir Chernov and Yvonne Naef. It was a great month, May 2002!!

I loved my Cura year 2002
2002-05-11 Il Trovatore (Giuseppe Verdi), Royal Opera House, London (Manrico)
2002-06-28 José Cura & Giuseppina Trotta, Dalhalla (tenor & conductor)
2002-07-13 Otello (Giuseppe Verdi), Opernhaus Zürich (Otello)
2002-11-09 Opera Concert, Aalborg Kongress & Kultur Center (tenor & conductor)
2002-11-29 Opera & Symphonic Concert, Konzerthaus Wien (tenor & conductor)
2002-12-13 Samson et Dalila (Camille Saint-Saëns) (dress rehearsal), London (Samson)
2002-12-15 Samson et Dalila (Camille Saint-Saëns), London (Barbican) (Samson)

I loved his Manrico in London, his Otello in Zürich. Was overwhelmed by his concerts in Dalhalla (Sweden), Aalborg (Denmark), and of course his concert in Vienna. I even loved the Rachmaniov. I love Samson et Dalila and his Samson, the only thing for me was that it was just concert and not opera version. But I loved it. The funny thing about me and the Barbican concert was that I was staying in a hotel called Barbican ... and I got really sick. I vomitted over the whole bed. Luckily with a lot of soft drink I never got the dry vomit which I think is the worst of the worst. But it must have been a nightmare to come into the hotel room and be cleaning. I told the staff so that the person would not get shock. Because I was so sick in the night before I had to leave for home I really worried about that travel. But I got a taxi and then I got home and all was well.

My Baltsa year 2002. First Janacek opera for me, Jenufa. 2 times Jenufa, and 4 times Carmen.
2002-03-02 Jenufa (Leos Janacek), Wiener Staatsoper (Die Küsterin)
2002-05-15 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Finland National Opera (Helsinki) (Carmen)
2002-06-09 Jenufa (Leos Janacek), Wiener Staatsoper (Die Küsterin)
2002-06-23 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Wiener Staatsoper (Carmen)
2002-06-26 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Wiener Staatsoper (Carmen)
2002-09-29 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Wiener Staatsoper (Carmen)

In all it was 25 performances that I saw in 2002. And it was my first time on Inter-Rail. Opera-Rail I called it: Vienna (Jenufa, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Juive), Zurich (L'Italiana in Algeri), Munich (Aida), Düsseldorf (L'Italiana in Algeri, Don Carlos), Zurich (Carmen, I hated it so I left in the middle), Vienna (Carmen *2 w/Baltsa, antidote to Zürich), Dalhalla in Sweden (wonderful, wonderful concert with Cura). That was in June.

In January: Nabucco, Parsifal (Vienna). March: Jenufa (Vienna). April: OperaGala. May was great, and so was June. July: Otello with Cura, Raimondi in Zürich. September: Carmen and Roberto Devereux (loved it, the whole opera this time) in Vienna. November: Two concerts with Cura, one in Aalborg and then in Vienna. December: 2 times Samson et Dalila and La Traviata in between.

Baltsa/Cura in 2003 and more

For more reviews from my travels, see

Wednesday 28 April 2010

2001, a great year with a few sour notes

2001, another travel to Spain but one that caused me some unhappiness. March 2001: I wanted to see Parsifal in Madrid with Plácido Domingo and Agnes Baltsa, and Samson et Dalila with Josep Carreras in Barcelona. It is irrational to hate Madrid, Real Madrid and Teatro Real because I could not get a ticket in Madrid. But there it is. I am irrational... José Cura sang Samson instead of Carreras. Maybe the negative experience just made me not able to enjoy Cura this time as Samson. Maybe I was the one with sour notes... One thing that went right in Madrid was that I could get the Coloquio Parsifal with Agnes Baltsa and Franz Grundheber.

In May something else went wrong and right. Wrong was to see half of Roberto Devereux, which I loved (the opera was great). And then it was 2 rights, concerts with Agnes Baltsa, Friedrichshafen and Vienna. In June a great concert in Hampton Court (UK) with Carreras in great form. In September Tosca in Zürich with Cura, Dessi and Raimondi.

In September Josep Carreras gave two recitals in Norway, Stavanger & Oslo. In October it was L'elisir d'amore with Opera Nordfjord sung in Norwegian, and then Capuleti ed i Montecchi as concert in Oslo.

But the year ends in Vienna with Jacobleiter (boring), Gianni Schicchi (fun) and finally A HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Agnes Baltsa as Isabella in Vienna on November 19th.

From Finland with Love 2002

For more reviews from my travels, see

What I loved about year 2000

Not only was it in 2000 that I saw my first Carmen with AGNES BALTSA as Carmen but it the best Carmen, ever. I also loved Baltsa as Despina in COSI FAN TUTTE in Zürich. As Herodiade in Vienna she was magic. Then she was Santuzza in Vienna. What can I say? I love her as Carmen, Despina, Santuzza. Then came SAMSON ET DALILA in Zürich with Baltsa as Dalila and José Cura as Samson. Dream-magic!!!!!!!!!!!!

Agnes Baltsa as Isabella in Vienna on June 20, 23 with Juan Diego Florez as her Lindoro. And my opera ended with Agnes Baltsa again Carmen, but in Zürich with Gösta Winbergh. The only time for me to see the Swedish tenor live. He replaced José Cura who was injured. It makes me sad to think that Gösta Winbergh died in Vienna by a heart disease in 2002.

2000 was also the first time to Barcelona, Spain where I saw Josep Carreras as Sly on June 13, 16. But wait it was more: Luisa Miller (March), Sly w/o Carreras (May),, Rigoletto, Pagliacci, Die Lustige Witwe (June), Lucia di Lammermoor & Werther.

2001, a great year with a few sour notes

For more reviews from my travels, see

1997 - 1999 new adventures into opera

In 1997 we went to Vienna, Austria for our summer holidays. Of course I filled our week in Vienna with as much opera as possible. I saw STIFFELIO, my favorite opera by Verdi, for the first time, but Carreras did not sing as scheduled. Antonio Lotti was my first Stiffelio live. I only have Carreras on CD and DVD as Stiffelio. We saw Mefistofele by Boito and AIDA by Verdi. I will never forget the flash from a camera when Waltraud Meier (Amneris) was going down the stairs, scary...

Opera Gala in Hamburg with Baltsa, Carreras and Isabel Rey was a highlight. Outdoor concert with great singing. Then I was in Vienna again in October, I did not have tickets so I bought a cheap ticket for 300 Austrian Schilling to see FEDORA with Baltsa and José Cura. I was excited to see my new favorite tenor. I had decided that Cura should be my next tenor. But this was my first time. My cheap seat meant that I saw little of what happened onstage. 3rd act was best because I could see "all" the action.

What I could not enjoy in 1997's Fedora in Vienna I could in 1998. 3 travels in 1998. First 2 in May and the 3rd in October. First to Zürich to see L'elisir d'amore with Isabel Rey and SLY by Wolff-Ferrari with Carreras, then next weekend it was Vienna for Verdi's Jerusalem and LE PROPHETE by Meyerbeer with Agnes Baltsa and Plácido Domingo. Then it was my big travel to Zürich with a short trip to Vienna to see the whole Fedora with Baltsa/Cura. I had a heavy diet of operas in Zurich, Andrea Chenier, Attila, Carmen, Tosca and finally FEDORA with Carreras and Agnes Baltsa (with Signierstunde in 2.rang after the opera).

In 1999 I traveled to Vienna twice. In May to see 2 performances of Die Fledermaus with Agnes Baltsa as Orlofsky in Theater an der Wien. I also managed to see L'elisir d'amore with Ramon Vargas and Die Walküre with Gabriele Schnaut. Then in November a weekend trip to see LE PROPHETE again with Agnes Baltsa and LA JUIVE with Neil Shicoff. A great pair of operas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What I loved about year 2000...

For more reviews from my travels, see

Sunday 25 April 2010

In 1993 my history of Opera continue

In 1993 it is La Traviata and Samson et Dalila in Berlin, and finally Opera Gala in Oslo with Carreras and Karita Mattila.

In 1994 it really started my OperaDuets Travel with a travel alone to Zurich, Switzerland to see Giordano's FEDORA with Agnes Baltsa and Josep Carreras. But the weather in Zurich was cold in the Easter so they got the cold. Mirella Freni and Sergej Larin sang instead.

1995 was a success-year. I saw Carreras in Århus, Denmark with Sissel and Ilona Tokody. Then it was Herodiade with Carreras, Puritani with Gruberova in Vienna. AND then Carreras and Caballe together in Oslo Spektrum.

Even better, 1996 came and won. It wasn't the 3 tenor concerts in Gothenburg, Sweden and Munich, Germany, it was finally Baltsa/Carreras together in Samson et Dalila in Zurich. It was just fantastic, fabulous and more.... BRAVI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1997-1999 new adventures into opera

For more reviews from my travels, see

My own opera history - the list

1981 - 1986

It started with operetta in Oslo (Norway) in 1981. Then opera in Stockholm, Sweden in 1982. Then came 1983 and 1984, in all 6 performances all in Norway. 1985 was my first opera duets travel to Austria. Then suddenly stop in 1986 because my health problems.

1987 - 1992

In 1987 Norway and Austria. 3 operas in Oslo in 1988. In 1989 first time in the UK, Edinburgh Festival with Montserrat Caballé and Zarzuela. 1989 was a GREAT year for me. AND then came 1990 with José (Josep) Carreras, Montserrat Caballé and Katia Ricciarelli all in Norway, not together but still... Then just one opera in 1991, but it was CARMEN. Luck continues in 1992 with another Carmen but also a lucky meet in Innsbruck, Carreras sings in Austria, a wonderful chance for me.

And this short summary of My history of Opera Part 1 and Part 2.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Thursday 22 April 2010

The story will continue shortly

Next time I will blog will be in May, I think. And I have come to 1993.

For more reviews from my travels, see

19. Juanjo Cura, tenor

My photo of Juanjo Cura in Berlin 2008-11-22

Yes, he is related to José Cura. Juan José (Juanjo) Cura is the younger brother. Tenor, composer, chorus conductor Juanjo Cura.

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

For more reviews from my travels, see

Sunday 18 April 2010

18. Jose Cura, tenor

My photo of José Cura in Verona 2005-05-26

I saw him as

Alfredo Germont (LA TRAVIATA) 2003-07-31, 2006-03-22
ANDREA CHENIER 2004-02-13, 2007-10-17
Calaf (TURANDOT) 2003-06-28, 2005-08-30, 2006-04-30, 2009-01-17
Canio (PAGLIACCI) 2003-02-23, 2005-05-01, 2006-07-14, 2008-02-23, 2009-07-08, 2010-02-20
Corrado (IL CORSARO) 2005-02-03, 2005-02-06
Dick Johnson (LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST) 2004-05-07, 2004-05-09, 2005-09-15, 2005-09-18, 2006-09-24, 2008-09-26, 2008-09-29, 2009-12-12, 2009-12-14
DON CARLO 2003-03-12, 2003-03-14, 2006-11-25, 2006-12-18
Don José (CARMEN) 2003-07-29, 2008-05-24, 2009-10-10
EDGAR 2008-07-04
Jean (HERODIADE) 2003-09-19, 2003-09-22
Loris Ipanoff (FEDORA) 1997-10-13, 1998-10-19
Manrico (IL TROVATORE) 2002-05-11
Mario Cavaradossi (TOSCA) 2001-09-08, 2003-03-17, 2007-11-23, 2009-04-25
OTELLO 2002-07-13, 2004-05-29, 2004-06-05, 2005-07-02, 2005-07-05
Radames (AIDA) 2005-06-23, 2006-06-26
Roberto (LE VILLI) 2005-11-06, 2007-03-09, 2007-03-11
Rodolfo (LA BOHEME) 2010-03-20, 2010-03-28
Rodrigue (LE CID) 2008-02-03
Samson (SAMSON ET DALILA) 2000-06-10, 2001-03-18, 2002-12-13, 2002-12-15, 2004-03-20
STIFFELIO 2004-09-26, 2004-10-07, 2004-11-19, 2006-03-24, 2006-03-26, 2007-05-05, 2007-05-08, 2007-05-10, 2009-02-07, 2009-02-10
Turriddu (CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA) 2006-07-14, 2009-07-08, 2010-02-20
for the full list, click here.
More portraits

LINKS to more information about this artist (agency, schedule etc.):
Personal/other websites

For more reviews from my travels, see

Saturday 17 April 2010

17. Gardar Thor Cortes, tenor

My photo of Gardar Thor Cortes in Nordfjordeid, Norway 2005-10-23

I saw him as
The Duke of Mantua 2005-10-22, 2005-10-23

LINKS to more information about this artist (agency, schedule etc.):
OperaBase A Fan´s Site

For more reviews from my travels, see

16. Carlo Colombara, bass

My photo of Carlo Colombara in Zurich 2006-03-23

I saw him as
Balthasar (LA FAVORITE) 2006-03-23
Filippo 2 (DON CARLO) 2003-03-12, 2003-03-14
Ramfis (AIDA) 2002-06-16, 2005-06-23
Zaccaria (NABUCCO) 2007-06-29, 2010-01-30

Links to:

If you need professional photos (or other information) of CC please go to his agency Sintow-Behrens

Personal/other websites (pop-up page when you click)
PR-Fidelio Artist

For more reviews from my travels, see

15. Vladimir Chernov, baritone

My photo of Vladimir Chernov in London 2002-05-11

I saw him as
Conte di Luna (IL TROVATORE) 2002-05-11

LINKS to more information about this artist (agency, schedule etc.):
Personal/other websites

|For more reviews from my travels, see

14. Fiorenza Cedolins, soprano

My photo of Fiorenza Cedolins in Genoa 2007-03-09

I saw her as
Anna (LE VILLI) 2007-03-09, 2007-03-11
Nedda (PAGLIACCI) 2009-07-08
Tosca 2006-07-15

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

Personal/other websites (February 2010, pr 2010-04-17 a work in progress)

For more reviews from my travels, see

Wednesday 14 April 2010

What if Jago were a Black man, and maybe he was

If Jago were a Black man just like Otello would the opera just fall apart then. Jago is jealous of Otello because Otello is the commander of Cyprus and Black. And then we think that Jago must be acting and thinking as a Racist. But what if Jago is Black then he could be hating that his superior is Black because of self-hate. Jago hate his own color. Or maybe he is thinking if there should be a Black commander it should be him, Jago. And that is very much in character of Jago. He may then subtly use Otello's self-loathing to make him weak to suggestion that Desdemona cannot possibly love a Black man.

How to make this work in the opera would be for the director to find out. It is not impossible.

A critic who called having 2 Black men in lead of Otello as Jago and Otello was a miscast. Then what is having a white man as Otello? The same story of how Black, Asians and other Non-Whites in white roles as wrong, but at the same time it is OK when White persons play Black, Asian etc.

A standard is not a standard if is that White can play Black, but Black cannot play White. In opera I would like it to be if you can sing/act the role then you can take the scene. People who work in opera in costume and mask department should know to do the magic. And some time the audience should be asked to do the magic in their own heads.

At the same time when it comes to movies: what is wrong with having authenticity. Please can movies where the characters are supposed to speak Norwegian or Mandarin or Greek really have someone talking the real language. If you are not, then you are ruining the movie. In America, the US of A, it can't be impossible to have an Japanese-American playing an Japanese-American, why just another White person. In Norway it might be hard to find such an actor especially if you think it is impossible. In movies I expect reality, in opera I don't expect it. But in both I do not want to see racism defining who can get the roles. I don't.

Just think if all that energy that goes into putting offensive things into operas etc was put into thinking about new ways of exploring the reality of the whole human kind. The shock value is so easy...

For more reviews from my travels, see

Tuesday 13 April 2010

The story continues in 1987

In 1987 it was opera in Oslo and operetta in Austria. I saw Don Giovanni with Esaias Tewolde as Don Ottavio and Knut Skram as Don Juan. We spent part of our summer holiday in Bad Ischl, Austria. I loved operetta and was fascinated by the works of Emmerich Kalman and Franz Lehar. And Bad Ischl is the Lehar city of the world. Very interesting to see his house and to be there during the operetta festival. We saw Der Graf von Luxemburg by Lehar. I almost think we saw two operettas, but my memory is not there yet.

3 operas in 1988. All in Oslo, Norway. L'elisir d'amore (Donizetti) with tenor Kjell Magnus Sandve who I had a tenor crush on. Madama Butterfly (Puccini) now in an opera house with serious audience. Zauberflöte by Mozart with pop-soprano Benedicte Adrian of Queen of the Night. Benedicte Adrian part of the duo Dollie de Luxe had sung Queen of the Night aria with Satisfaction (rock/pop? tune). She was all right, she is a soprano and have voice lessons under her belt. Itiar Martinez Galdos was the star of the show with the role as Pamina.

1989. Living in Oslo has its benefits. 9 operas in Oslo. A holiday in Edinburgh during the festival meant a recital with Montserrat Caballe and the zarzuela La Chulapons by Moreno-Torroba. We also saw Cristina Hoyos flamenco company's Carmen. The Festival had a strong Spanish flavor in 1988. I had pain during the recital of Montserrat Caballe and I did find the program boring until she sang the Spanish Lieder and the extras was just fun even for one sitting far back in the gallery on front row with a pain in the stomach. But I was glad when it was over and I could finally take some painkillers. The Zarzuela was delightful but the dialogue was naturally in Spanish and therefore incomprehendible for me. If only I understood Spanish... The sopranos of that year (Oslo) was Solveig Kringlebotn, Helena Döse (Sweden), Frøydis Klausberger, Kjersti Ekeberg, Itiar Martinez Galdos (Spain?). Then there was Lucia di Lammermoor with Elisabeth Norberg-Schultz as Lucia and Knut Skram as Enrico. And she is not my favorite soprano. The other sopranos were a joy, Norberg-Schultz is an enigma for my eyes.

In 1990 I, for the first time, hear and sees my then only tenor favorito Jose Carreras or full name Josep Maria Carreras i Coll, in recital in Oslo Konserthus. Later that year it is Montserrat Caballe again, this time I feel weel. And not only that, but in the end of the year Katia Ricciarelli sings Mimi in La Boheme in our old opera house. Solveig Kringlebotn sings Cristine Daae in Ken Hill's The Phantom of the Opera which is not a musical as Lloyd Webber work of the name, but a play with opera arias is given new text so it is almost a musical but not quite. Rosenkavalier with Swede Sylvia Lindenstrand as Octavio. Un Ballo in Maschera with Elizabeth Norberg-Shultz as a rather painful Oscar. But the year ended with Katia Ricciarelli who even appeared on Norwegian Television.

After the childhood idol being Enrico Caruso. I finally fell for the tenor voice with Luciano Pavarotti. I think my first opera record was with him. Then Placido Domingo was my favorite tenor. But in the end Carreras won. I used to say Luciano Pavararotti not knowing how long his name was. And write Carreras with double rr when it should be one r. But when Carreras became my idol after seeing him record South Pacific in London, and West Side Story in New York, I worked hard on getting his name right and in the end I adopted his Catalan name Josep Carreras.

In 1991 only one opera was seen, and that opera was Carmen. Carmen with Louis Gentile as Don Jose and Anne Gjevang as Carmen. And I do wish I had a diary with all the details of the operas I saw in earlier years. Where as they? Sadly I did not write often in my diary...

It is 1992 and I have changed location, now I am in Bergen and gets another Carmen there. This time Petra Malakova, who sang Emilia in the Zeffirelli movie Otello, was my Carmen. On holiday in Austria I scare my mother my suddenly disappear, Carreras is in Innsbruck, and I want a ticket. I don't have enough Austrian Schilling so I have to ask my mother. We are staying in St Johann in Tirol so I will have to take the train back to our hotel. Mother is naturally worried. I have a great time in Innsbruck with this wonderful recital. WOW

In 1993 my history of opera continue...

Read the beginning.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Monday 12 April 2010

My history with opera

It starts with my father a record collection. Vinyl, of course. And then there was the music on the radio. Only one radio station at that time, NRK radio P1. And then TV, Sunday matinee, often opera. There I was, glued to the TV. Surprisingly it was the dresses first. But then music came. Opera, Operetta and even Musicals became my Love.

The opera stars of my childhood came first from the radio with Enrico Caruso, Gigli (my fathers favorite), Maria Callas. Then it was Montserrat Caballe, Mirella Freni and Katia Ricciarelli. Teresa Berganza was one of my favorites. I was not such a tenor fan in the beginning it was more a soprano-mania. I also believe Funicula was from the opera Rigoletto by Verdi. I guess La donna e mobile & Funiculi, Funicula sounded alike, they were both sung by Caruso, so it had to be opera. I was wondering if Mirella Freni or Katia Ricciarelli was my favorite Italian soprano.

In 1981 came the chance to go to Norwegian National Opera to see an opera live. It was an operetta that came first. Die Csardafürstin by Emmerich Kalman. I loved operetta a lot then. A holiday in Sweden in 1982, and my first opera was Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss with our Norwegian mezzo Edith Thallaug as Octavian. Edith Thallaug has a sister who is actor and singer (more jazz than opera, but also some operetta). In 1983 I saw Die Zauberflöte by Mozart in Oslo with Irma Urrila as Pamina. She sang that role in Ingmar Bergman's cinema version of the opera. And a strange show called Animalen did I also see in Oslo. It was opera and musical and something else with a lot of great opera singers in various role. Famous in Norway, anyway.

In 1983/1984 I could see Madama Butterfly by Puccini in our small cinema/theatre in Kongsvinger, my home town. Karlstad, our friend-city in Sweden brought it to us. Anne Bolstad, Norwegian soprano sang Butterfly. It was great but people laughed in wrong places.

I was in the old theatre in Drammen before it tragicly burnt down and saw Die Lustige Witwe by Lehar in 1984. I loved it. My parents worried about our car was safe. La Traviata and Aida in Oslo. Aida was too modern so my mother did not like it. I loved it, it was still AIDA for me.

My first Carmen (1985) was the so-called Guerilla-Carmen where Carmen was more like the guerilla in Southern America. Anne Gjevang was great as Carmen. Holiday in Vienna, Austria with two operettas, Wiener Blut and Fledermaus by Johann Strauss. It was my first time inside the Wiener Staatsoper. Fledermaus was by Volksoper, but Volksoper was now in Staatsoper for the summer.

No opera in 1986. That is how I know that must be the year I spent so much time in hospital being both bored and homesick. I even fantasized of running off, up all those hills and home. I was in no condition of doing so. I experienced things in 1986: being a corridor patient, a bathroom patient, a TV room patient, waiting for Xrays, having to drink yucky stuff and things before xrays. A fun life in every way.

In 1987 I start again with operas live...

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Link changes in my website

I have changes so many links in and then some more links in Just because I got the idea of changing 20100320_Boheme to 2010/0320.html

It is dead links everywhere until I get it right.

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Friday 9 April 2010

April 9: a date in the history of Norway

It is now 70 years since Norway was invaded by German soldiers, April 9, 1940.

Now is the time come to finally call some people who were fighting against the occupation heroes. They were denied it after the war until now. And to see if those who were named heroes really was heroic. It is still too early for some. For some think one should wait until no one lives who lived during the 2nd World War. But that would not really be worthy of our heroes, would it?

All those who were called evil, was they evil? Should we not just call them evil-doers instead of always taking the short-cut. Humans are not evil being although we can do great evil. And Nazis and the Nazi regime surely did great evil, the torture, the murders, the systematic negation of life worth of people decided to be unworthy. Systematic killing of Jews, Gypsies, those with handicaps, especially people from mental hospitals.

Life seem less scary when we call murderers and such people for evil. When we see them as human just like us, then it gets scary. The torturers who were great friends to their friends, wonderful to their children and spouses. Nice people but capable to conflict the worst on other people. How is it possible? It is possible when you make other people into THE OTHERS, as NOT HUMAN. Everything is possible when a human being is not seen as fully human. And then one can put the work away and be playful at home. So it is less frightening to just see them as evil.

But why not? The answer is, if we just see them as evil, then what can we, as persons, as society do, nothing. But if we believe that the person that does evil can be taught, and then choose to do good, then there is hope.

If they are evil, then we are good. If we are good, then we are not guilty. But we have the evil-doer, the architect of evil, the accomplice, the unwilling to fight to correct evil, and then we have someone who is better than just good, the ones who fight the good fight.

The questions for all times is: will we fight the good fight when the wrongs happens to others or will we fail? I hope there will always be enough people fighting for justice of all kinds. The largest group, unfortunately, will those unwilling to fight for others when they are not self the target. We cannot rely on the good fight being fought solely on those who are targeted by injustice.

It makes me sad to think about the many who died and suffered during 2nd War War. That so many countries would close their borders so that many Jews died that could have been saved. That bombs were not on the infamous crematories of the death camps or on rail roads to the death camps. Many could have survived but they died when Germans used the last days and hours of the Nazi regime to rush killings to an even higher speed. The truth that many knew about the death camps and still did nothing, or just minimum when maximum effort was required. Such infamy!!

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Thursday 1 April 2010

The end of OD Travel in March: Berlin, Boccanegra and home

Tuesday 30th March 2010
I sleep a long long time. I eat the rest of my Chicken from Burger King at breakfast. Then I go to Dussmann and almost buys 1 DVD, 1 box set, and 2 CD s. If I still want to buy it, the shop is open 10-24, I can do so after the opera. After something to eat it is soon time to go to opera.

This time my seat is on the 2nd balcony in the middle of the 2nd row. My view is excellent. Of course you see more in the seats of the parkette but here one can see the whole stage at once and even the subtitling at on glance. The Prologue and Act 1 is the same as on March 27, the only other is that I now know what and where is people coming and that I find Ailyn Perez even better. Her Come in quest-ora bruna was superb. During the performance one understood that Achiles Machado is at his limit in Gabriele Adorno but not in the degree that one cannot enjoy his voice throughout the opera.

In act 2 came the great tenor aria "Sento avvampar nell'anima" with Aquiles Machado.  
O inferno! Amelia qui! L'ama il vegliardo!...
E il furor che m'accende
M'è conteso sfogar!... Tu m'uccidesti
Il padre... tu m'involi il mio tesoro...
Trema, iniquo... già troppa era un'offesa,
Doppia vendetta hai sul tuo capo accesa.
Sento avvampar nell'anima
Furente gelosia;
Tutto il suo sangue spegnerne
L'incendio non potria;
S'ei mille vite avesse,
Se mieterle potesse
D'un colpo il mio furor,
Non sarei sazio ancor.
Che parlo!... Ohimè!...
Piango!... pietà, gran Dio, del mio martiro!...
Pietoso cielo, rendilà,
Rendila a questo core,
Pura siccome l'angelo
Che veglia al suo pudore;
Ma se una nube impura
Tanto candor m'oscura,
Priva di sue virtù,
Ch'io non la vegga più.
And then the duet with Amelia (Ailyn Perez). Bravi! 

I think I must cut short my review of this performance. It was just too good to describe. Andrej Dobber as Simon Boccanegra. Ferruccio Furlanetto as Fiesco, Ailyn Perez as Amelia, Aquiles Machado as Gabriele Adorno. BRAVI!! And honorary mention to the rest of the cast:
Paolo Albiani = Alexander Vinogradov
Pietro = Alexander Vinogradov
Ein Hauptmann der Bogenschützen = James Homann
Eine Dienerin Amelias = Rachel Frenkel

After the opera. It was late. It was dark. With music in my soul but still needed a little something to eat before going to bed. Another TenderCrisp Chicken from Burger King. And then Buona notte! 

Wednesday 31st March 2010
Wake Up Call at 0730-0745.
Check out from the hotel 0755
Airport Express to Schönefeld Flughafen 0810-0840
Flight 1130-1305
Bus to my parents' home. 1600 OD travel for March is over.

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OD Travel in March: Once more to La Boheme in Zurich

Saturday 27th March 2010
Because of my travel to Zurich to see another LA BOHEME with Jose Cura as Rodolfo I had to leave the opera SIMON BOCCANEGRA after the Prologue and Act 1. Andrej Dobber was a great Simon Boccanegra, Ferruccio Furlanetto sang a fierce Fiesco. It was disappointing that Paolo (Massimo Cavalletti) seemed so weak against the great bass of Alexander Vinogradov as Pietro. The young couple was sung by Ailyn Perez and Aquiles Machado. After "Come inquest'ora bruna" I got used to Ailyn Perez' voice and found her to be a wonderful Amelia. Aquiles Machado was also a delight as Gabriele Adorno.

With the sounds of SIMON BOCCANEGRA from Staatsoper Berlin in my ears, I waited for the train to come. First I had time to eat in Hauptbahnhof's PizzaHut and to visit the WC center. 30 minutes delayed did the train leave Berlin Hauptbahnhof. (2252 in stead of 2222). I had a good night sleep in my Ruhesessel (sleeping seat).

Sunday 28th March 2010
Arriving in Zurich Hauptbahnhof at 0920. In the night Winter Time had changed to Summer Time so magically the time was 1020 in Zurich. My mobile phone fell asleep in Zurich and would not wake up until Berlin when I could get it fired up again. On the first floor below Ground Floor in Zurich HB is the first WC center it is called here McClean and costs 2 SFr, on the second floor below it is WC Züri with 1 SFr. I know since I tried them both out. My breakfast was McChicken at McDonald's with Cola Zero to drink. And very soon it was time to go to the opera house. I was there at 1300 and visited the WC there. It was free and nice and necessary duty.

LA BOHEME by Giacomo Puccini. Opernhaus Zurich 1400-1630

It was the better performance. Since it was my second time of this La Boheme nothing came as a surprise. Barbara Frittoli had it all, voice and acting, just like our José. 4 times I have seen them as Otello and Desdemona and now once as La Boheme. Verdi and Puccini singers De Luxe. It not only had the best Mimi but the conductor seemed be better too. Jose Cura sang even better, he sang a superb "Che gelida manina"and of course since now we had Frittoli it was a great singing of "Si. Mi chiamano Mimi" and in ended in a marvellous "O soave fanciulla". Act 2 started before the audience was finished applauding act 1. Even Musetta's aria was better now. After the interval it was act 3 where the only imperfection was that the dress Mimi was wearing was unflattering for the singer. But when Barbara Frittoli started to sing all such ideas was forgotten. It was another superb act with Jose Cura and Barbara Frittoli in great voices and the acting was great. Act 4 was really emotional and for once tears started to roll when this Rodolfo understands that his Mimi was dead. Even hardened opera fans would be brought to tears by this ending. The applause from the audience was by every act and aria more intense especially for Cura and Frittoli.

It was a great night of the opera.

After the opera I got in a panic I though I had forgotten my mobile somewhere. Never has any panic served me better: José had not left the building. Just as I found my mobile in my pocket ( how embarrassing) I noticed thhe unusual tumults meaning José is here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So in the end I got my photo of Jose Cura and Barbara Frittoli (not together at the backstage).

Jose Cura and his wife had their luggage with them. They walked together in the rain towards the train station Stadelhofen to get to the Airport to fly to Madrid. Or so I imagine. I was leaving the opera house also but I took the tram to HB. I bought something to drink and a Brezel in Zurich main station.

My night train left 1944 for Berlin Hbf. Another Ruhesessel (sleeping seat) and the light is on. The lights stayed on until after Mannheim (0030). But I slept with my eyes covered.

Monday 29th March 2010
Arriving in Berlin at approx 8. PizzaHut. A plain Pizza bit with Cola light. Then to Friedrichsstrasse and my wonderful 4 stars hotel, NH Friedrichstrasse Berlin where I relax and sleeps for some hours. In the evening I decide to eat at a restaurant PizzaHut and not an express shop. I think I remember Station Zoologischer Garten from earlier visit in Berlin, and I am right. But it is only an Express. So I ended up walking up and down Kurfürstendamm and gets lost but in the end I find KaDeWe where I know a U-bahn station is close by and then I am saved and can travel back to my hotel. Sadly this means that my dinner is from Burger King but the TenderCrisp Chicken is really good. And I have bought 1.5 L Pepsi Max, a basket with strawberries and a basket of melons. And I eat it in my hotel room.

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ODT Travel in March to Berlin's Boccanegra

Friday 26th March 2010
After work it was directly to Oslo by plane. My 4 star hotel waited for me at Gardermoen Airport. Radisson Blu hotel was inviting and friendly but the food was expensive so I went to the airport to eat. First I tried Peppe's Pizza but the 2 pizza bits was not warm and heavily spiced so I could only enjoy my drink of Pepsi Max. My rescue was a tuna baguette at the baguette bar. And then relaxing night at my hotel.

Saturday 27th March 2010
Wake up call at 0515. Breakfast at 0530. Check-in and security at approx. 0600. My flight with Norwegian was 0715, so early that had I gone by bus I might have been too late to check in my luggage. We arrived in Schönefeld Flughafen Berlin 0850. After collecting my luggage it was a short walk to the train station where I took the train to Hauptbahnhof 0955. I checked out Berlin main station to find out where my train to Zurich where leaving from (rail 4). And I used the WC center and went to eat at PizzaHut. A salad menu with salad box, 1 Pizza bit (Vegetaria)and 0.3 L Cola light. Relaxed there for a while. At 1200 I was ready to take the train to Friedrichstrasse. Found the 4 star hotel that I was going to stay at on Monday to Wednesday. It was just a few steps away from the train station Friedrichsstrasse. Hotel NH Berlin Friedrichsstrasse. I relaxed a long time in the hotel lounge there. It was very nice there with water fountains and good chairs and sofas. Then I decided to ask the reception if I could leave one piece of my luggage there till Monday after all I was going to stay there from Monday to Wednesday. I also asked if my room would be ready for me when I would arrive early on Monday (8-9 am). Both was OK and I was relieved of that weight.

Then I went to Staatsoper after getting the direction from the reception desk at my hotel. It was not far from the hotel and station Friedrichsstrasse. It also had a backstage tour on that day at 1500 (to late for that, fully booked already), but 1600 was still possible. 5 euro. I was hungry had thought of finding out how long it would take me to get my night train to Zurich from the Staatsoper but I found out that if I wanted (1) to eat, (2) to get back in time for the tour, then I had to eat at Friedrichsstrasse. Sadly the winner was McDonald's Cheeseburger (which in the end I did not eat up), and Cola light (a big one that I finished up at the stairs of Staatsoper). Finally 1610 the man showed up and we were invited into the Staatsoper. The whole tour was in German. He spoke relatively fast and he had a lot to tell. By 1730 I was really in need of a WC and then it ended. But before it ended we were in the loges, parkette, on the stage, backstage, at the artist's dressing room. We heard Achiles Machado sing up and even saw the Mexican tenor. It was his debut at the Staatsoper. Normally the singers would not be at the opera so early, the tour leader said.

1 Euro for WC center Friedrichsstrasse (0.80 Euro in Hauptbahnhof)

Back to the opera (house). SIMON BOCCANEGRA by Giuseppe Verdi. Opera about the first Doge of Genoa (Genova). Of course the opera is not completely historical correct. 1900 the opera starts. Daniel Barenboim conducts. A great conductor of opera did he show himself to be. The orchestra shone. The Scenography by Maurizio Balo, and the beautiful costumes was by Giovanna Buzzi.

Inszenierung / Federico Tiezzi, Dramaturgie / Francis Hüsers, Barbara Weigel.

Prologue: Paolo (Massimo Cavalletti) and Pietro (Alexander Vinogradov) decides that Simon Boccanegra shall be the new Doge and not Lorenzino. Then Paolo has to convince Boccanegra (Andrej Dobber) to be Doge and accept to let Paolo have a part of the power. Simon only wants his Maria so in order to win Maria as his wife he accepts to be Doge. They leaves as a crowd of men appears. Pietro and Paolo tells the crowd that Lorenzino is paid by Fiesco, the patrician. So they want another, a man of the people, Simon Boccanegra, the corsair. Paolo moves the crowd with a song about the palace of Fiesco where the beautiful and pious Maria is prisoner and where a ghost haunts the house (says Paolo). Fiesco (Ferruccio Furlanetto) appears from the opera. He is mourning Maria who has just died. He curses Boccanegra. Simon Boccanegra appears as Fiesco disappear, all lips will call my name, he sings. Then Boccanegra will be Doge and Maria's husband. Fiesco and Boccanegra meets, Fiesco is proud and fierce, Boccanegra is asking of forgiveness. Simon still believes Maria to be alive and begs of forgiveness. Never is the answer from Fiesco unless you give me the child from their unmarried relationship. But the child was taken care of by an old woman far from Boccanegra. The woman died, the child cried 3 days and then she disappeared. Fiesco is unplacated by the story. He leaves, only to look as Simon Boccanegra tries to find his Maria the house. And he finds her dead, the coffin is leaving the house. Fiesco rejoices only to hear Boccanegra proclaimed as the new doge.

25 years later
Act 1: Amelia GrimaldiAdorno to appear. Achiles Machado is Gabriele Adorno. She is worried because he is involved in plans against the powers in Genoa, the Doge. Amelia fears that the Doge who wants to visit is planning a marriage between her and Paolo. Gabriele must see Adrea (Fiesco in disguise) to arrange marriage so that she would not have to marry Adorno. As Amelia leaves, Fiesco appears and Gabriele Adorno is told that Amelia Grimaldi is not a Grimaldi but a poor orphan that was raised up in Pisa with the nuns there in the cell that was Amelia Grimaldi's cell before. Gabriele still wants to marry Amelia. Andrea/Fiesco blesses Gabriele Adorno. They leave as the Doge appear. "Amelia Grimaldi's" work is done as the Doge Simon Boccanegra gives her the paper of the forgiveness of Amelia's brothers. She tells the Doge the she loves another man and do not want to marry a man who is only after the Grimaldi gold. Boccanegra is so understanding that she confesses not to be a Grimaldi. As she tells her story and Boccanegra asks if the old woman's name was Giovanna and the portrait of her unknown mother is it not the same as he has. Amelia Grimaldi is Maria, Maria Fiesco's daughter with Simon Boccanegra. As she goes, Paolo appears only to hear that he have to give up to marry Amelia Grimaldi. When the Doge leaves, he and Pietro agrees to abduct Amelia Grimaldi to Lorenzino's house.

In the Doge's Palace. The Doge and Senators. Between talks of peace or war with Venice a noise is heard from outside the palace. A fight between large groups of people. Gabriele Adorno is captured. At the sound of cries of death to the Doge. The Doge tells the herald to tell the people that the Doge will open the doors to hear the people. The trumpets, and after the herald, cries that hails the Doge. Then the people arrive. The fractions in Genoa are against each other, no trust. The Doge questions Adorno who has killed Lorenzino for abducting Amelia Grimaldi but before he died Lorenzino told that a powerful man was behind. Adorno hints that it might me the Doge and almost attacks the Doge. Then Amelia appears and on the Doge's request tells who she was captured and how did she get free. She tells it but omits that she knows it is Paolo who is behind it. Since nobody knows who the man is it soon gets violent until the Doge calls it

Plebe! Patrizi! Popolo
Dalla feroce storia!
Erede sol dell'odio
Dei Spinola e dei D'Oria,
Mentre v'invita estatico
Il regno ampio dei mari,
Voi nei fraterni lari
Vi lacerate il cuor.
Piango su voi, sul placido
Raggio del vostro clivo
Là dove invan germoglia
Il ramo dell'ulivo.
Piango sulla mendace
Festa dei vostri fior,
E vo gridando: pace!
E vo gridando: amor!

Then the acts ends with the Doge Simon Boccanegra making Paolo curse himself.

After act1 it was an interval in which I left to take the train to Zurich.

For more reviews from my travels, see