Wednesday 20 April 2011

Barcelona, the better experience

Wake up call at 5 in the morning, I felt much better, no fever. Only a banana for breakfast and then the free shuttle bus to Arlanda 0535. I still have pain from my operation scar and my back so I cannot walk very fast. But I have no fever. Security line boring as always. And then 0645 my flight starts. When we land 3 hrs later I stop at McDonalds for a Chickenburger meal. I had forgotten how to get to the city from the airport so I took the wrong bus to Placa Espanya when it was naturally Placa Catalunya and Aerobus I should have taken. So from Pl Espanya I took a taxi to my hotel. It was close to the catedral but my taxi driver could not find my hotel and the street in his bus. He was really nice and helpful. After going a bit around I decided to stay at Hotel Colon, a hotel that waa no trouble finding. The room costed 110 Euro just like the other hotel, but I could not get my room until 1330 so I waited for almost an hour but the lounge was cosy and I sat well and rested. I called to cancel my other hotel while I waited.

After a good relaxing time in my hotel room I went to Liceu. Cav/Pag April 17th, 2011 with Luciana D'Intino, José Cura as Inva Mula. It was two wonderful productions but the stories did not grab me. Maybe I was too tired and sleepy to really enjoy it. Luciana D'Intino did not overplay the role of Santuzza. The only thing I did not like was her "A te, un mala Pasqua", but that is minor. She was perfect as Santuzza. Josephine Barstow gave e refine portrayal of Mamma Lucia. José Cura was a wonderful Turriddu, no drunkenn lout this time but certainly not a intirely sympathetic man. Alfio and Lola was also good. In this production of Cavalleria Rusticana there was an emphasis on that this is a village where nothing is secret for a long time. The villagers sees everything, hears everything behind their curtains. Somebody is always listening. Lola was dressed in white as she went to church. She did not go alone, another woman was with her all dressed in black. The duet between Turriddu and Santuzza showed that Turriddu still have some love for Santuzza. He was not so violent as in most productions. In the end of Cavalleria Rusticana was the ugliest cry of "Hanno mazzato compare Turriddu" which was a shame and a blemish on an otherwise wonderful and sweet production of Cavalleria Rusticana.

Santuzza = Luciana d'Intino
Turiddu = José Cura
Alfio = George Gagnidze
Mamma Lucia = Josephine Barstow
Lola = Ginger Costa-Jackson

Daniele Callegari, conductor

Pagliacci - perfect production. I loved how the audience as the play grew more violent would take their children away protect them from the violence. I loved that. Inva Mula was Nedda and José Cura was Canio. Canio seemed less violent and more loving to his wife, Nedda was almost sympathetic. José Cura was a wonderful Canio and sang a marvellous Vesti la giubba. I loved it all.

Canio (Pagliaccio) = José Cura
Nedda (Colombina) = Inva Mula
Tonio (Taddeo) = George Gagnidze
Beppe (Arlecchino) = David Alegret
Silvio = Jean Luc Ballestra

Daniele Callegari, conductor

After the opera I waited for José Cura. While I waited I met Sandra and her parents, Isabella, Chikaka and even meet Claudina. After 1,5 hours I gave up tired and happy.

Monday 18. april wake up at 9. and then back to Norway.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Stockholm, well, I found the Opera House

- and the opera was good.

I stayed in Radisson Blu Gardermoen Airport Hotel the night before my morning flight to Stockholm. I ate pizza at Peppe's Pizza at the airport. My Norwegian Air flight at 0800 took me to Stockholm aiport Arlanda and there I also stayed in a Radisson Blu Hotel, Radisson Blu Arlandia Hotel. My Gardermoen hotel is just a short walk from the airport, but Arlandia was 5 minutes away with free shuttle bus (no 14). But now I see that it was another Radisson Blu hotel that I should have chosen Radisson Blu SkyCity Hotel Arlanda. I bought a Return ticket for the express train ArlandaExpress (SEK 460,-). I had to wait for the shuttle bus to come to my hotel. It was a nice hotel. I found Arlanda airport confusing and did not like it.

The ArlandaExpress goes to Stockholm City Terminal in just 20 minutes. It would have been cheaper to take a bus but I found it confusing and liked the idea of just 20 minutes into Stockholm. 197 km/h was the fastest it went. I had a my Chickenburger with pommes frites and Cola light near the train station. With only the map in my memory I had no trouble finding the Opera House on Gustaf Adolfs Torg. It was a sunny day in Stockholmn, Sweden with 16 to 17 degrees Celsius. No visit to the famous Operakällaren. I went a bit further to the Cafe Milano where I had a wonderful salmon with spinachs and citron-sauce. While I waited for my meal I thought I was going crazy it was such a noicy café, I just wanted out and breath. Then my salmon arrived and it was wonderful and the noice seemed even to go to a more comfortbale level. But I was half into my meal a voice of women singing some rock/pop song and I lost my appetite completely. I was only able to complete my glass of Pepsi Max. Finally I could leave after paying SEK 250,- for the experience. How wonderful it was go out into the streets of Stockholm and breath fresh air and enjoy some quiet time even as it was a lot of people enjoying such a sunny day.

I came to the Opera House, such an old house some hour before the opera started. It was quiet, only a few employees and some visitors. They don't open for the audience to get into the theatre room until 30 minutes before the opera. To get to the toilet we have to go the garderobe and they had to open up just for the people who needed to go to the WC. Naturally I was one of those who had to ask where to go... It was a lot of people waiting for this Sweden premiere of Verdi's opera Stiffelio.

April 16, 2011 premiere of Stiffelio. Before the opera started Birgitta Svendén, the opera intendant, came to announce we would have 2 Stankars, Marcus Jupither acting the role and Karl-Magnus Fredriksson to sing from the side of the stage. Both baritones was obviously immensely popular in Stockholm. The conductor Pier Giorgio Morandi with orchestra, choir and soloists made all a strong and good impression already from the ouverture. In this production we are introduced to 2 addittional characters, a boy and a girl, the children of Stiffelio and Lina. The regissör chose them to accentuate the dilemma of Lina. Unfortunately I felt they only made the story stranger. This was wonderful children actors acting how it is to child in a sect that care not of protecting children from realities children should be protected from. For me the children did not change Lina as much as it made Stiffelio to an even more manipulative person. Stiffelio was in this production a charismatic leader who uses the children for his own profit. They must see and hear and be the light of the sect. Lina does not protect the children much but she is like the whole congregation under the heavy thumb of Stiffelio. The divorce scene starts with "Fritz? ... S'avverta Mamma, che qui l'attendo". So the boy comes in with mamma Lina. And they are present there until finally Lina takes them out. Poor children. Would not a divorce make 2 innocent children into social outcast. So little does Stiffelio care. Just like Stankar is Stiffelio only consumed with his own feelings of betrayal. The scenography is mimalistic and shows with simple means how the ceiling loweres and certain points in the opera. The regie is always telling that this is a rather fanatic sect with very little open space for the individual.

Stiffelio - Lars Cleveman
Lina - Lena Nordin
Stankar - Marcus Jupither
Raffaele von Leuthold - Jonas Degerfeldt
Jorg - Michael Schmidberger
Federico - Karl Rombo
Dorotea - Sara Olsson

After the opera I was walking back to the city terminal and ArlandaExpress. And now I felt the curse of the Swedes not understanding Norwegian as well as we understand Swedish. Anyway in the end I got the right turn. Advise: alway ask the taxi driver, they will not send you astray. During the opera I was freezing and I was feeling sick and close to tears as I left the opera house, it was not a good time to be sent to so many false turns. And I had to wait until 2305 for the train to start. Shaking I managed to spill most of my Coke (not light, because I felt really sick and then I chose the red Coke and not the white Cola light). The train travel was allright because of the female conductor. She cared and I needed that. Then in Arlanda a wait for the shuttle bus. Then finally rest. But I was in doubt about my leaving the next day with a really early flight (0645) for Barcelona. Of course I would lose a lot of money and then come back to Oslo. The train tickets was too expensive, but Norwegian had cheap tickets. So I arranged the clock for wake upp call at 5 not sure if I was going by a 0645 flight to Barcelona or a 1530 flight to Oslo.

For more reviews from my travels, see

Saturday 16 April 2011

Turandot - Gelo che ti da foco

Turandot is ice that gives fire. But is Turandot really made of ice. I think she is prentending. Scared by the gruesome story of her ancester, a princess like she, who was brutally raped and killed some thousand years ago. Still she is scared but now as a grown woman she also longs for love. It is so easy to just hear the fairytale Turandot but it is an opera that shows a China filled with mysogyny. When you really listen to Ping, Pang and Pong you can hear the hate of women quite directly put. Turandot lives in a time and place that men can have as many wives and concubines he wants and can afford. A Daughter of the Emperor has powers so long there is no man that owns her. No wonder Turandot is scared. Her riddles scheme is just an preemptiv strike towards the men that want to possess her, and the kingdom too.

What does Calaf want? he definetely want to no longer roam fearing for his life. He finds his father. Then there is Turandot. I doubt that he even saw her. He waa fascinated and there it was the chance to be an hero, a true romantic hero. I think Turandot and Calaf both saw in each other the possibility of a new and better life. But can this romanticism evolve into?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Going to the opera?

I have a head-ache and often pain from my gall bladder operation so maybe I should not go to Stockholm for the premiere of Stiffelio on Saturday and then go to Barcelona for the CavPag. 2 early flights. Pain. But....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday 3 April 2011

The gall bladder, the opera-tion

I have no need for a gall bladder that only creates painful stones. Therefore, an operation on Monday. I got a call from the hospital on Thursday. I called work to get an OK, got it, and called back YES. So operation April 4th in stead of April 28th. GREAT. I will be well before Easter and my Easter Opera Holiday, Stiffelio (April 16), Cav/pag (April 17), La Boheme (April 23).

Day surgery. WOW, what a word, day-surgery. I am not worried about the surgery. It is the no eat, drink thing that worries me, and being prepared for surgery. Waking up can be a night mare. Of course, not waking up would be worse, I know that. Waking up with things in your nose etc. is no cake walk.

Naturally you would think that the surgery would be on my mind since that is tomorrow but no. I am thinking about Norma in Taormina with Maria Guleghina in AUGUST. Why? I love the opera NORMA, I am just crazy about it. And I love Maria Guleghina. But what about Taormina? Well, just because I would love to see finally NORMA live and with Guleghina, Taormina is new for me and I am frankly unsure of how to come there, and I should probably use my money for other things.

Or maybe, I just have a head ache!!!

For more reviews from my travels, see