Wednesday 30 June 2010

I am disappointed with Opernhaus Zurich

According to an email to me the 2010/2011 season should be on the website by the end of June.

I have waited.

And waited.

Where is 2010/2011 season?

Zürich always lets me wait so long...

Can I hope that it will be up tomorrow, July 1st?

For more reviews from my travels, see

Monday 28 June 2010

And soon June is over

It is June 28 and I celebrate my 1/2 year birthday. No, but it is 6 months since my last birthday and 6 months to my next. But in 2002 I was in Dalhalla, Sweden and saw José Cura and Giusepping Trotta singing opera arias and duets. It was rainy. Just like today but luckily with no thunderstorm that time.

2007-06-30 La Boheme, 2003-06-30 Carmen, 2007-06-29 Nabucco,

For more reviews from my travels, see

Saturday 26 June 2010

Youtube: Shark Fin Soup Cruelty - News Report

Opera is music for the hart and brain. Sharks is part of a healthy ocean.

Si beva in casa, ma si pranzi fuori

I had lunch menu at my favorite restaurant yesterday. It was wonderful. But they are right in Puccini's La Boheme: to drink is expensive while the food might be not too expensive. Except that the lunch menu had been updated so it cost more than before. Anyway it is better sometimes to eat out. The drink, 0.3l Pepsi Max cost in restaurant the same as 2* 1.5 l in my usual shop.

Unfortunately I am not really a fan of water to dinner. It would be better for my health if water was my favorite and not Pepsi Max. I would like to say that I don't only drink Pepsi Max, but also Coca Cola Zero & light. Not that that is really great improvements health-wise.

In school I was thought some basics and so on about cooking food and about what is healthy food. Really boring. My least favorite in school. So I was not a bright student there. Some times I wonder if my suspicion about boiling water came from those lessons. It was group work all the time which meant that some got to shine all the time and other learnt nearly nothing. It was not helped with my disliking of the teacher or her of me, or whatever... Maybe it was just a matter of too many students on one teacher.

That is why I have a micro-wave oven. So I am not the natural cook. I can only rely on myself for food and drink.

I love the China restaurant. It has really good food and a friendly staff. And it is a OK place to be one in.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Saturday 19 June 2010

Lots of Pagliacci in Spring 2011 for Jose Cura

January 2011
- 16, 18, 22, 25 Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Milano (La Scala)

February 2011
- 1, 5 Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Milano (La Scala)
- 9 Samson et Dalila (Saint-Saëns), Budapest (Palace of Arts)

March 2011
- 13, 16, 19 Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) / Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Zurich (Opernhaus)

April 2011
- 5, 8, 11, 14, 17 Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) / Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Barcelona (Liceu)

- 20, 23 La Boheme (Puccini), Zurich (Opernhaus)

May 2011
- 5 La Boheme (Puccini), Zurich (Opernhaus)
-15, 19, 21, 26, 29, Samson et Dalila (Saint-Saëns), Berlin (Deutsche Oper)

June 2011
- 2, 5, 13, 19 Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) / Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Zurich (Opernhaus)

- 21, 25, 29, Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) / Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Vienna (Staatsoper)

Official calender:

For more reviews from my travels, see

Tuesday 15 June 2010

An Cockeyed Optimist (SOUTH PACIFIC)

When the skies are brighter canary yellow
I forget ev'ry cloud I've ever seen,
So they called me a cockeyed optimist
Immature and incurably green.

I have heard people rant and rave and bellow
That we're done and we might as well be dead,
But I'm only a cockeyed optimist
And I can't get it into my head.

I hear the human race
Is fallin' on its face
And hasn't very far to go,

But ev'ry whippoorwill
Is sellin' me a bill,
And tellin' me it just ain't so.

I could say life is just a bowl of Jello
And appear more intelligent and smart,
But I'm stuck like a dope
With a thing called hope,
And I can't get it out of my heart!
Not this heart...

.... and with every species that dies, and with every pollution we spew, we are closer and closer to our own death. Death by polluted food and/or water, or death by having no food at all.

But I am only a Cockeyed Optimist ... so I will still travel to see Opera no matter what.
Still I do care, really I do.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Monday 14 June 2010

30. Ferruccio Furlanetto, bass

My photo of Ferruccio Furlanetto in Vienna 2003-09-22

I saw him as
Fiesco (SIMON BOCCANEGRA) 2010-03-27, 2010-03-30
Mustafa (L'ITALIANA IN ALGERI) 2004-05-31, 2004-06-03
Phanuel (HERODIADE) 1995-09-01, 2003-09-19, 2003-09-22
Padre Guardiano (LA FORZA DEL DESTINO) 2004-11-06

LINKS to more information about this artist (agency, schedule etc.):
OperaBase, an unofficial site for the opera singer Ferruccio Furlanetto

For more reviews from my travels, see

29. Barbara Frittoli, soprano

My photo of Barbara Frittoli in Zurich 2010-03-28

I saw her as
Desdemona (OTELLO) 2004-05-29, 2004-06-05, 2005-07-02, 2005-07-05
Mimi (LA BOHEME) 2010-03-28

LINKS to more information about this artist (agency, schedule etc.):
Personal websites
(like her website, it is beautiful and informative)

For more reviews from my travels, see

28. Nuccia Focile, soprano

My photo of Nuccia Focile in Berlin 2005-05-01

I saw her as
Nedda 2005-05-01

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

For more reviews from my travels, see

27. Juan Diego Florez, tenor

My photo of Juan Diego Florez in Vienna 2004-05-31

I saw him as
Almaviva (IL BARBIERE IN SIVIGLIA) 2003-09-20
Lindoro (L'ITALIANA IN ALGERI) 2000-06-20, 2000-06-23, 2004-05-31, 2004-06-03, 2006-06-27

LINKS to more information about this artist (agency, schedule etc.):
Personal websites
(liked his website)

For more reviews from my travels, see

Thursday 10 June 2010

Our Planet is Saved, in fact it never was in danger

I really felt I had to tell you all the news. Even it has nothing to do with Opera, Travel and hardly anything about Living. (OK maybe it has something to do with Living).

All those alarmist scientists are wrong: Our Planet is Not Doomed. Our Planet will go on for ever, or until the Sun dies, or a giant stone crashed in Our Planet.

Our Planet is Saved, at last. We don't have to do anything. It is just this tiny thing. It is really not important. Our Planet is saved but The Human Race is not. But that doesn't matter because our Planet will still be there for many Thousand Years. No longer a Planet filled with Humans but that is really good news for our planet. Why should Our Planet want us. We pollute, we destroy, we kill.

We think the ocean is without end, so we are killing life in our life-bringing water. We think that some animals are not worthy so we are killing not just those species but the possibility of life. We pollute because we don't think it will harm us. But it is harming us and will continue to harm us.

Do we want to change? Do we want to save the future generations?

Perhaps the strongest image that can change how we feel about saving Life on Our Planet is through compassion to other species like the Polar Bear.

Humans don't care too much about other humans, but Animals, yes.

Polar Bear of the World, I salute you. May you live forever and may you save the Human Kind too. (and the rest of the world)

For more reviews from my travels, see

26. Norma Fantini, soprano

My photo of Norma Fantini in Zurich 2007-01-13

I saw her as
Aida 2002-06-16
Maddalena di Coigny 2004-02-13
Tosca 2007-01-13

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

For more reviews from my travels, see

Tuesday 8 June 2010

25. Ruxandra Donose, mezzo

My photo of Ruxandra Donose in London 2004-10-02

I saw her as
Charlotte 2004-10-02

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

For more reviews from my travels, see

Sunday 6 June 2010

Unexpected Songs by Opera Singers

Hungarian Soprano Sylvia Sass

Grace Bumbry

Chilean soprano Veronica Villarroel

For more reviews from my travels, see

Friday 4 June 2010

No Otello or Edgar for me in June

My favorite tenor, José Cura, is singing Otello by Verdi (Deutsche Oper Berlin) and Edgar by Puccini (Teatro Comunale di Bologna) in June 2010. It is June 2010 and I am not going. But I feel lucky. My ticket for Otello on June 13 is now ready for another person who I am sure will love it, José Cura as Otello and Anja Harteros as Desdemona, they are the greatest gift for an opera lover. No ticket for Edgar in Bologna did I buy, and that is OK by me because I saw it in 2008 and I have the DVD.

I would have loved to go, to both even. If only I did not have to travel. So in stead of Travel in June I will just consentrate on Living my life. I will blog, of course. And I will be watching out for news about opera houses in Europe and the new season and of course news about José Cura, Agnes Baltsa or Josep Carreras. I hope I will be able not only to get great ideas for blog posts but actually writing them down. Of course some times when you write it down the great idea reveals itself as a really stupid one. No need to publish my worst ideas...

For more reviews from my travels, see

Wednesday 2 June 2010

I can totally recommend Liederabend Agnes Baltsa

Some people said (1 person, actually) that Agnes Baltsa was not on top form on Monday 31 May, 2010. The rest disagreed. She was splendid in Opernhaus Zürich. She was well worth the travel and any inconvenience. I had thought that hearing and seeing her sing those Greek songs would be like in 2004, the outdoor concerts in Ingolstadt and Regensburg. But in Zürich we got it all: It was an intimate evening where Agnes Baltsa poured every bit of her self in every song. It was only in the Extra number of Garifallo st'afti that she could really relax and just enjoy.

It was like a Verismo abend. Agnes Baltsa is Greek, she is it with her voice, body and soul. And we got a glimpse of that soul. Never have a Liederabend made me feel so alive and transported to Greece, Crete, Levkas, Acropolis. The depth was amazing. And I had listened to most of the songs before, the CD and the concerts in 2004. But this time it was a depth so deep, a passion so raw, a sadness so sad that the sea must weep. Does her voice respond in the same way as in 2004, no, but it has no lost its sweetness. Agnes Baltsa is the Verismo Godess. No fear for giving it all, the emotions are real and raw.

One could think after looking at the program that it is just the easiest repertory. But Agnes Baltsa was not looking for the easy crooning, she wanted to give us Greece. And she did. BRAVA!!!!

Achilleas Wastor, piano. He was great. And they were great together. In 2004 it was Stavros Xarhakos and his group with Agnes Baltsa. With piano the songs get to be more intimate. Lovely!

Liederabend Agnes Baltsa

Achilleas Wastor Klavier

Griechische Lieder

Mános Hadjidákis (*1925 Xanthi - †1994 Athen)
(Klavier solo)

Stavros Xarhákos (*I939 Athen)
Áspri méra ke ja mas (Es werden glücklichere Tage kommen, auch für uns)

Míkis Theodorákis (*1925 Khios)
To tréno févgi stis ochtó (Der Zug fährt um acht ab)

Mános Hadjidákis
Óniro pedión tis gitoniás (Die Träume der Nachbarskinder)

Vassílis Tsitsánis (*1915 Trikala - †1984 London)
Horisam’ ena dilino (Und eines Tages hatten wir uns auseinandergelebt)
Sinefiasmeni kiriaki (An einem regnerischen Sonntag)
(Klavier solo)

Stavros Xarhákos
Stou Óthona ta hrónia [Zur Zeit von König Otto)
Háthike to fegári (Der verlorene Mond)

Vassílis Tsitsánis
Archóntissa (Meine Edelfrau)
Ta kavourákia (Die Krabben)

---- PAUSE ----

Míkis Theodorákis
Hartaetí (Drachensteigen)
(Klavier solo)

Spíros Peristéris (*1900 Smyrna - †1966 Athen)
Mes ston ondá enós Passá (Im Privatgemach eines Paschas)

Mános Hadjidákis
O tachitrómos péthane (Der junge Postbote starb)

Stavros Xarhákos
To praktorío (Die einsame Station]

Mános Hadjidákis
Nihterino (Nocturne)
Megali sousfa
(Klavier solo)

Stavros Xarhákos
Varkaróla (Barkarole)

Mános Hadjidákis
Páme mia wólto sto fegári (Spazieren wir zum Mond)

Stavros Xarhákos
Nin ke aí (Jetzt und für immer)

There are still tickets for Liederabend Agnes Baltsa, in Munich Bayerische Staatoper on July 24.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Premiere of OTELLO in Berlin May 30, 2010

That's it: I am not going to Berlin to see this production of Otello again on June 13th. I have the ticket. It is a great seat. It is in Parkett 1st row in the middle. But I have decided not to go. I would have to take 1 day off from work. I have plans for autumn where I might need that 1 day off work. I have already been too many times in Berlin and I am tired from traveling. So, even if I did not have a seat in parkett but on 1.Rang and I was so tired and sleepy that I have trouble being awake, I still don't want to go for another performance. As wonderful the singers were and the acting was superb, the REGIE meant distraction after distraction and did not make sense.

Andreas Kriegenburg

Harald Thor

Andrea Schraad

Katharina John

It is all happening in a refugee camp. For those who loved this Otello, this is genius. For other people it is just a big question mark, why? Because it doesn't make sense. It does not do anything for the story. The refugees are interned in a camp. There is little to do except to watch and hope for some money and something to eat. To care about the African refugees that are in those refugee camps in Europe is a worthy cause, to use them are a mere backdrop for an opera is not.

There are nothing here to give you empathy for the refugees. They are simply the chorus, a mass of people. A heavily pregnant woman, children who are starting drinking alcohol and with drugs. Children who see too much. The children have to eat from the garbage brought in from the outside. The children are there so that Jago has his audience for his Credo. These children are not scared of hell, they are there. They are not scared of emptiness because that is all they have. The children can be played to be hide Otello when needed. They only cost a few coins and then you are a wall to hide behind because in this refugee camp nobody notices the children unless they need them.

But why care? It even starts with de-sensitive us. Before the music starts, the curtain goes up and the chorus just stands there, and then some of them put on black masks on their faces. Oh yes, this means that we should understand, what really? That we are all Otello? Or should it mean that there are Africans in this refugee camp. Or is that when those who loved this Otello understood that it happens in a refugee camp. Because for me it just told me that it is all a fake. Especially the Regie. It does not think or feel but most importantly it does not make the audience feel. Intellectually understanding the idea behind the Regie is one thing (and I found that hard) but Opera is Feelings not an University Degree.

And the there was the dancing in the background. But Otello is an Opera not a Ballet. It was not the worst idea but it was more distracting than giving anything to the audience. The people behind this Otello did not trust the audience to feel the pain of Otello and Desdemona. They even thought we needed children surrounding Desdemona in the scene Nel livido fango to understand how innocent this Desdemona is. No, Verdi and Boito have already made us aware. We are not stupid.

In the end there was a lot of Buh's and some Bravo's for the people behind this production. For the singers it was BRAVO's all the time. So much so that those who wanted to Buh the production team all the time did not do so much when the singers was there.

Otello = José Cura
Desdemona = Anja Harteros
Jago = Zeljko Lucic
Emilia = Liane Keegan
Cassio = Yosep Kang
Rodrigo = Gregory Warren
Lodovico = Hyung-Wook Lee
Montano = Jörn Schümann
Ein Herald = Lucas Harbour

Patrick Summers, conductor

In the critic I have the read there seem to be a trend if they loved the Regie they did not like the conductor and vice versa. The singers were all wonderful, loved the sound of the chorus, and orchestra. I think Patrick Summers did well. The Children chorus was good.

Yosep Kang was wonderful as Cassio. Anja Harteros was the best Desdemona I have seen. José Cura was superb as Otello. Zeljko Lucic was Jago, good singer and actor. Liane Keegan has a great voice that soars. She not only has a big voice but a big body too but luckily here she was simply Emilia, Jago's wife and Desdemona's friend and not a caricature of a big woman.

BRAVA, Anja Harteros
BRAVA, Liane Keegan

BRAVO, José Cura

For more reviews from my travels, see