Wednesday 27 October 2010

Only 3 days left - Samson et Dalila in Karlsruhe

I am getting ready to a new trip to Karlsruhe, Germany. I hope it will be a good journey. After all the reviews in the newspapers I am sure I will love this Samson et Dalila.

I will try to travel light. Always in my back sack will be my ostomy equipment. That is just the reality after an ostomy surgery. To have enough  (Hollister) pouches and skin barriers is essential. Skin creams, (Colosplast) skin barrier rings and (Kvinto) SGX Absorbent  are also very important to have enough of. In case of emergency and naturally some is in daily use.

After I have found out how much I am going to need, plus some extra just in case, then I can find out how much more I can have. I never travel without my camera. If my camera is not there, then I have made a big mistake. Of course I will need batteries and recharger. My mobile phone with the charger also, always have to be with me.

I seldom travel without my Ipod. The music must be with me. Since I will travel with night bus as part of my journey I will have something to cover my eyes and my Ipod saves me from noise. This is how I can sleep on the night bus but I really hope the other passengers  will be quiet.

Clothing: I will usually wear what I think I will need but I will have some extra t-shirts etc with me. Umbrella. Yes, umbrella can be a must. And I might have to think about having extra shoes with me. By now my back sack will be full.

Maybe I will take my Samsonite luggage with me. I am only staying in Karlsruhe from Saturday to Sunday so I will not have luggage with me that I would have to check in. Too inconvenient.

Almost ready for the journey. I have booked the tickets (which I will have to pick up at the theater), the plane ticket from Scandinavian Airlines, I have booked my hotel ( and train tickets from Deutsche Bahn since my plane lands in Frankfurt. Of course I have it all printed out and will have it with me in my file folder. Then off to internet to see what kind of weather it will be. But it is very important to print out a map of where the hotel is and where is the theater and here Google maps saves the day (usually). If one can find out what kind of U-Bahn or S-Bahn system and print it out, then it is really good news.

My journey will like this.
Night bus that ends in Oslo bus terminal at 0530. Yawn!!
I will have to take the airport bus or train to the airport. But no rush, my plane doesn't leave until 4 hours later. Good news: I will have time to eat. Lots of TIME. Probably sleepy but there will be no real rest. The sleeping will have to be done while on the road in the bus.

It takes a bit over 2 hrs to get to Frankfurt from Oslo. So at noon I will be in Frankfurt Airport. There I will have almost 2 hrs until my train leaves for Karlsruhe. At 1500 I should be in Karlsruhe. Then it will be my hotel and in the evening opera SAMSON ET DALILA with José Cura.

Sunday in Karlsruhe. My train leaves at 1300 and a little after 1400 I will be at Frankfurt airport. Great. Then my plane leaves at 1740 and 2 hrs later I will be in Oslo airport Gardermoen. I can take bus or train to the bus terminal and my second night bus will leave at 22.

Monday. Somewhat after 5 I will be home. I will be tired but I hope also happy.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Saturday 16 October 2010

Looking forward to Karlsruhe and Samson et Dalila

On October 30th I will be in Karlsruhe to see Samson et Dalila with José Cura. Regie is also by José Cura. How will that be? I know that Señor Cura has some special ideas about Samson. And certainly if you read the full Samson story in the Bible then he is not such a wonderful hero as he is in Saint-Saëns' opera.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2000.

If we think of the Israelites and the Philistine without all that history as think of them like we think nations like Norwegians and Swedes would a man like Samson be a hero and would Dalila be such a villain to us. Just think... But it is hard to forget History and to lose Bias.

Westfälische Nachrichten has a review of the new Samson et Dalila is Karlruhe: Beifall für mitreißende Saint-Saens Oper. On Friday night he was celebrating at the Karlsruhe stage as a hero, director and set designer. The review sounds promising. Modern but not too modern. A timeless production. I have great hopes.

On the website of Karlsruhe Staatstheater there are more photos from the new Samson et Dalila. 

For more reviews from my travels, see

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Carreras / Stratas - LA BOHEME

La Boheme with José Carreras and Teresa Stratas from the Metropolitan Opera 1982.

Conductor James Levine. Production and set designer Franco Zeffirelli. Costume designer Peter J. Hall.

Mimi = Teresa Stratas
Rodolfo = José Carreras
Marcello = Richard Stilwell
Musetta = Renata Scotto
Colline = James Morris
Schaunard = Allan Monk
Benoit / Alcindoro = Italo Tajo

This is a great recording of a wonderful production with great singers. Read the reviews from They explain so well why this dvd is a great find.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Donizetti: Il Campanello (The Night Bell)

Finally I found time to listen to this little gem. With Agnes Baltsa as Serafina. Serafina has just married Don Annibale Pistaccio (Enzo Dara). Her cousin Enrico (Angelo Romero) is in love with Serafina and uses the night bell at the farmacy (Pistaccio is a farmacist) and different disguises to make sure no blissful wedding night will happen. Don Annibale will have to travel without his new wife but with his servant Spiridione (Carlo Gaifa). Madama Rosa, Serafina's mother is sung by Biancamaria Casoni. Wiener Staatsoper and Wiener Symphoniker is conducted by Gary Bertini. From 1983.

The opera is in one act and on 1 CD that lasts 56 minute. It does not have the greatest music by Donizetti but the recording is OK. As a Baltsa fan myself I think it was nice and worth it. But it is only audio and I to really enjoy this opera one would need to see it also.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Saturday 9 October 2010

Volume 1 of My Greatest Roles - Puccini

Three great masterpieces, Tosca, Manon Lescaut and La Fanciulla del West and Plácido Domingo in great form. What more can one ask?

The DVD set boasts of being the first ever DVD release of the live Tosca from Time and Settings of TOSCA. It is a wonderful Tosca with Plácido Domingo as Cavaradossi, Catherine Malfitano as Tosca and Ruggero Raimondi as Scarpia. In the original settings in Rome: act 1 in the church Sant'Andrea della Valle, act 2 in Palazzo Farnese, act 3 in Castel Sant'Angelo. Recorded July 1992.

Or you can buy the 2-DVD Set with Booklet, Box Set, Featurette, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Storyboards, Trailers. You need multi-region PAL/NTSC DVD player to view it in USA/Canada since it is a PAL DVD.

Then you have the 1976 opera film with Plácido, Raina Kabaivanska and Sherrill Milnes. This film was also recorded on location in Rome but naturally not live. As a bonus you get Plácido's son Plácido junior as the shepherd boy.

Then another great masterpiece, Manon Lescaut from the Royal Opera House, Coven Garden, London. Plácido Domingo is Des Grieux, Kiri Te Kanawa is Manon Lescaut and Thomas Allen as Lescaut. Recorded May 1983. It is just the perfect Manon Lescaut recorded. It is challenged only by the La Scala recording with José Cura and Maria Guleghina.

The third opera is LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST where Plácido Domingo is the perfect Ramirez bandit who falls in love with Minnie (Carol Neblett) and is instantly hated by the Sheriff Jack Rance (Silvano Carroli). Other versions with Plácido: Puccini - La Fanciulla del West / Zampieri, Domingo, Pons, Bertocchi, Maazel, La Scala Opera and I did not like this one. Puccini - La Fanciulla del West / Daniels, Domingo, Milnes, Croft, Laciura, Fitch, Slatkin, Metropolitan Opera which is OK but I prefer the ROH version (recorded May 1983)

VOL. 1-MY GREATEST ROLES-PUCCINI is just the best buy. I love it. I don't regret buying it even though I have bought the DVDs of Fanciulla and Manon Lescaut before and I have a TV recording of the Live Tosca.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Friday 8 October 2010

Placido Domingo - My greatest roles (documentary)

I have just watched the documentary My Greatest Roles with Plácido Domingo (80 minutes) and it is a must for the Domingo fanatic. For others there are better documentaries about Plácido with better insights into roles. If you are thinking about buying the series of whole operas on DVD you can get the idea of the quality of some of the operas from this DVD, or you can go to In the documentary we see short excerpts of Carmen, La Gioconda (Vienna State Opera), Ernani (La Scala), La Fanciulla del West, Andrea Chenier (ROH), Tosca (times and settings of Tosca), Les Contes d'Hoffman (ROH), Samson et Dalila (San Francisco), Lohengrin (Vienna State Opera) and Otello (ROH).


If you want to enjoy opera highlights of Plácido Domingo then Great Scenes with Plácido Domingo is much better. No Domingo interview but a full hour of high moments of opera.


"An opera compilation from Placido Domingo. Includes: 'Die Fledermaus' (Strauss), 'Manon Lescaut' (Puccini), conducted by Sinopoli, 'Les Contes D'Hoffman' (Offenbach), conducted by Pretre, 'La Fanciulla Del West' (Puccini), conducted by Santi, 'Andrea Chenier' (Giordano), conducted by Rudel and 'Ernani' (Verdi), conducted by Muti."

For more reviews from my travels, see

Thursday 7 October 2010

Laszlo Polgar died on September 19, 2010

I have been thinking about writing about his death since I got the sad news. Laszlo Polgar was a Hungarian operatic bass and sang frequently at Zürich Opera House. I loved his voice but I only saw him live once. He sang the role of Count Walter in Verdi's Luisa Miller on March 4 2000. Elena Mosuc was Luisa Miller, Neil Shicoff was Rodolfo and Giorgio Zancanaro was Miller. It is strange considering how often I have been in Zürich that I did not see him on stage again.

So sad, so sad!

For more reviews from my travels, see