Friday 21 December 2012

Thursday 20 December 2012

December 20th: Tomorrow the world ends...

Since tomorrow the world ends 21.12.12. According to the Maya calendar. But in reality the calendar says a new cycle begins. And that is not necessarily bad.

I am going to use the world ends as my reason to end my Advent 2012. My real reason is that since my mother died in October I do not wait eagerly to Christmas. It just makes me sad. So this is the end to my calendar but I will write again, I promise.

For reviews from my travels, see

Wednesday 19 December 2012

December 19th: Agnes Baltsa, mezzo

Today is one month since my favorite mezzo had her birthday.

Agnes Baltsa was born i Levkas, November 19th, 1944. And she is my favorite mezzo. I love the drama and honesty in her voice. Her voice may not be so smooth as Teresa Berganza's but that is something I love about her voice. Drama. After all I love opera because of the drama.

Perfection is dull and unimaginative. Well, she is may not be perfect, Agnes Baltsa, but she is my favorite mezzo.

I really wish she had a big, blasting voice as Anita Rashvasvilli. But Agnes Baltsa is my mezzo.

1996-04-06 Samson et Dalila (Camille Saint-Saëns), Opernhaus Zürich (Dalila)

1997-08-22 Hamburger Operngala (mezzo) 
1997-10-13 Fedora (Umberto Giordano), Wiener Staatsoper (Fedora)

1998-05-31 Le Prophète (Giacomo Meyerbeer), Wiener Staatsoper (Fidès) 
1998-10-19 Fedora (Umberto Giordano), Wiener Staatsoper (Fedora) My photos
1998-10-25 Fedora (Umberto Giordano), Opernhaus Zürich (Fedora) My photos

1999-05-12 Fledermaus (Johann Strauss d.J.), Theater an der Wien (Orlofsky) My photos
1999-05-14 Fledermaus (Johann Strauss d.J.), Theater an der Wien (Orlofsky) My photos
1999-11-13 Le Prophète (Giacomo Meyerbeer), Wiener Staatsoper (Fidès)

2000-02-05 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Carmen)
2000-03-03 Cosí fan tutte (W.A. Mozart), Opernhaus Zürich (Despina)
2000-03-06 Hérodiade (Jules Massenet), Wiener Staatsoper (Hérodiade)
2000-05-20 Cavalleria Rusticana (Pietro Mascagni), Wiener Staatsoper (Santuzza)
2000-06-10 Samson et Dalila (Camille Saint-Saëns), Opernhaus Zürich (Dalila) My photos
2000-06-20 L'Italiana in Algeri (Gioacchino Rossini), Wiener Staatsoper (Isabella)
2000-06-23 L'Italiana in Algeri (Gioacchino Rossini), Wiener Staatsoper (Isabella) My photos
2000-06-25 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Opernhaus Zürich (Carmen)

2001-05-13 Opera Concert, Friedrichshafen (mezzo) My photos
2001-05-15 Opera Concert, Konzerthaus Wien (mezzo) My photos
2001-11-19 L'Italiana in Algeri (Gioacchino Rossini), Wiener Staatsoper (Isabella) My photos

2002-03-02 Jenufa (Leos Janacek), Wiener Staatsoper (Die Küsterin) My photos
2002-05-15 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Finland National Opera (Helsinki) (Carmen)
2002-06-09 Jenufa (Leos Janacek), Wiener Staatsoper (Die Küsterin) My photos
2002-06-23 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Wiener Staatsoper (Carmen) My photos
2002-06-26 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Wiener Staatsoper (Carmen) My photos
2002-09-29 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Wiener Staatsoper (Carmen) My photos

2003-05-10 L'Italiana in Algeri (Gioacchino Rossini), Opernhaus Zürich (Isabella)
2003-06-27 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Wiener Staatsoper (Carmen) My photos
2003-06-30 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Wiener Staatsoper (Carmen) My photos
2003-09-19 Hérodiade (Jules Massenet), Wiener Staatsoper (Hérodiade) My photos
2003-09-22 Hérodiade (Jules Massenet), Wiener Staatsoper (Hérodiade) My photos

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

2006-04-29 Jenufa (Leos Janacek), Wiener Staatsoper (Die Küsterin) My photos
2006-06-25 Verismo Gala, Miskolci Nemzetközi Operafesztivál (mezzo)
2006-06-27 L'Italiana in Algeri (Gioacchino Rossini), Wiener Staatsoper (Isabella) My photos
2006-12-15 Opera concert with Agnes Baltsa, Munich Herkulessaal der Residenz (mezzo) My photos
2006-12-19 Opera Concert with Agnes Baltsa, Konzerthaus Wien (mezzo) My photos

2007-10-19 Elektra (Richard Strauss), Wiener Staatsoper (Klytämnestra) My photos
2007-11-24 Elektra (Richard Strauss), Staatsoper Budapest (Klytämnestra) My photos

2008-02-26 Elektra (Richard Strauss), Teatro Communale di Firenze (Klytämnestra)

2009-04-04 Jenufa (Janacek), Wiener Staatsoper (Die Küsterin) My photos

2010-01-29 Elektra (Strauss), Opernhaus Zurich (Klytämnestra) My photos
2010-05-31 Liederabend Agnes Baltsa, Opernhaus Zurich (mezzo) My photos
2010-07-24 Liederabend Agnes Baltsa, Prinzregententheater Munich (mezzo) My photos

2011-05-09 Jenufa (Janacek), Wiener Staatsoper (Die Küsterin) My photos
2011-06-19 Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni), Opernhaus Zurich (Santuzza) My photos

For reviews from my travels, see

Tuesday 18 December 2012

December 18th: Wrong to like the 4th act Italian version?

I admit it I love Giuseppe Verdi and his operas. One of my favorites is DON CARLO. But it is the wrong version that I loved, the one in 4 acts and sung in Italian. Evidently people cannot get into the story without getting the pre-history, the Fontainebleau act. Just like all books must start with the beginning of the history and never as the action really starts. I don't think so.

Fontainebleau is naturally the beginning of how Elisabeth de Valois and Don Carlos, Infante of Spain meets (in the opera). It also gives the tenor more to sing and an additional duet with the soprano. But cut it out and now you have a pure opera that are much tighter bound dramatically. It starts in San Yuste monastery and ends there. All the cuts from the first 5 act opera in French and the work Giuseppe Verdi did made it much better and with a greater emotional impact. There is no need for a ballet, something that Paris Opera demanded. I don't think the Lacrymosa from Filip 2 was really needed. Giuseppe Verdi was a genious and he created the 4 act opera in Italian that is just perfect. In Italian the Spain sound more Spanish than in French. France and Spain was most of the time enemies, Italy and Spain was almost comrades. Of course, Italy did not exist as a country yet.

IL TROVATORE is another opera often called names. But it is perfect. If you read EL TROVADOR by Garcia Gutierrez and compare it to the opera. It is clear that the play has been tightened up just as it is mostly like Garcia Gutierrez wrote it. All talk about the inconsistency, the blame is with the playwright not the composer or librettist. Some say it had follow the story. Come on... it is not harder than most operas. Would they complain the layout if it was in a novel. Yes, they complain about Lord of the Rings. "How can I follow the story?". It is not played out in a linear way. Smart people get it. And it OPERA, it is the emotional impact that is important. Plays and books can be purely intellectual but opera need emotions. IL TROVATORE has emotions in spades.

For reviews from my travels, see

Monday 17 December 2012

December 17th: Carreras, Cura and Werther

I would love to see Carreras or Cura as Werther. Has Jose Cura ever sung Werther? He should....

Anyway on December 17, 1993 it was Christmas Gala with Josep Carreras and Karita Mattila in Oslo. It was great. On December 17, 2009 Jose Cura sang his songs from Argentina in Oslo's  new Opera House. I want to hear another concert like that.  On December 17, 2006 I saw Werther in Munich with Marcelo Alvarez and Sophie Koch. Great!!!

For reviews from my travels, see

December 16: Going back home in pain

After a wonderful Carmen performance. I got sick that night. I was vomiting several times. I had pain in my stomach. So it was not a great night. I hardly slept.

Luckily I did manage to get home on Sunday without any more vomit. But I had still pains. While I still wanted someone to comfort me I got a phone call that was anything but, and that even after telling on SMS that I was sick and in bed early. I guess one does not hear others pain when one self is in pain as I guess my caller was.

My advise is listen and think what others might feel before one calls or sends sms.

For reviews from my travels, see

December 15: CARMEN by Bizet

Bizet: 19

2012-12-15 Carmen (G. Bizet), 

Carmen = Anita Rachvelishvili
Don José José Cura
Escamillo = Bastiaan Everink
Micaëla = Martina Welschenbach
Zuniga = Seth Carico
Moralès = Zheng Zhong Zhou
Dancairo = Jörg Schörner
Remendado = Matthew Pena
Frasquita = Hulkar Sabirova
Mercédès = Rachel Hauge

Jacques Lacombe, conductor

Regie (Søren Schuhmacher)
nach der Inszenierung von Peter Beauvais
Bühne, Kostüme - Pier Luigi Samaritani
Überarbeitung der Ausstattung - Norbert Bellen
Chöre - William Spaulding
Kinderchor - Dagmar Fiebach

I just saw my 19th Carmen in theatre. I loved it. And I just realized that this was my first and only Cura performance this year. That was unsuspected. But it was also my 99th to see José Cura. It was the 4th time I saw José Cura as Don José. First time at all with Anita Rachvelishvili. This CARMEN was special mostly because of her. Cura sang well, too. And I liked the old production.

12 years ago, or closer to 13 years ago I saw this production with Agnes Baltsa, Alberto Cupido, Michaela Kaune and Ludovic Tezier. It was a better production then without the new addiction.

The children is fighting as they singing in their angelic voices the soldiers coming and going. Now that is stupid and completely against the words they are singing. The children steals the hat from Don Jose and he has to play and plead to get it back. Now what are that about? And in the 4th act Carmen is now dress like a female matador and Frasquita and Mercedes has black dresses with wings. Black wings like death or something.  The stets for Act 3 was from another Carmen production but that was unnoticeable.

Other than that it was great. It was a lot more dialogue than usual and in what I believe to be superb French.

I saw Carmen in Berlin in 2004 too, with Agnes Baltsa, Julian Gavin, Michaela Kaune and Laurent Naouri.

Anita Rachvellishvili was the perfect Carmen. Huge voice, great personality and great actress. José Cura did his best Don José ever. Then it was the question of Escamillo (Bastiaan Everink) and Micaëla (Martina Welschenbach). Bastiaan Everink looked the part but his singing was stiff. Martina Welschenbach looked very young, very thin, the first Micaela that looks 17. Great voice but I wanted more, not sure what.


For reviews from my travels, see

Friday 14 December 2012

December 14: The day after and the day before

I have a headache. I had it yesterday too, but today I had to go from work early. Perhaps I worked to hard yesterday, too intense looking at the PC screen and then the movie. And today is also the day before. Before my travel to Berlin to see Carmen.


For reviews from my travels, see