Friday, March 24, 2017

March 24, 2006: Stiffelio in Zurich

2006-03-24 Stiffelio (Verdi), Opernhaus Zurich

Lina = Adriana Damato
Stiffelio = José Cura
Stankar = Renato Bruson
Raffaele = Reinaldo Macias
Jorg = Federico Sacchi
Federico = Martin Zysset
Dorotea = Margaret Chalker

Stefano Ranzani, conductor

Stiffelio - Verdi (Wiederaufnahme)
In italienischer Sprache
Dirigent Stefano Ranzani
Inszenierung Cesare Lievi
Bühnenbild Csaba Antal
Kostüme Marina Luxardo
Lichtgestaltung Jürgen Hoffmann
Choreinstudierung Ernst Raffelsberger

My favorite opera is Stiffelio. My favorite tenor is Jose Cura. The Soprano Adriana Damato who I had seen and heard in Parma in the Verdi Concert 2004 she sang then Giovanna d'Arco, I Masnadieri and Il Corsaro and did a very favorable impression. I know that she have sung Mina in Aroldo, Stiffelio's twin opera, so I was very eager to see this Zurich production of Stiffelio with Cura and Adriana Damato. Her voice seem sometimes not big enough but her charisma was very strong. Unescapable when onstage. Very much what I dreamed.

On March 24th it was very much a live performance. Small missteps here and there. Some ensembles did not start right, when one person stumbles it makes any septet difficult to come right. Stefano Ranzani might be a wonderful conductor but the orchestra sometimes drowned the singers and is not the conductor responsible in saving it when the singers go a bit wrong. So it was an almost perfect performance. Though a bit disconnected at times.

Renato Bruson who has sung Stankar many times and was very much applauded in Zurich seem to me a bit too heavy in voice in this Zurich production. I guess Leo Nucci in 2004 made an impression not to be forgotten. He became the ideal Stankar for me.

Jose Cura was wonderful as Stiffelio and together with Damato, it was simply stunning. Federico Sacchi as Jorg seemed to be a too light a bass. Martin Zysset and Margaret Chalker did well, but was both better in 2004.

But in 2004 there was a premiere of Stiffelio and more performances in the season, now there were only 2. Can one expect miracles when rehearsal time is probably more scarce?

Reinaldo Macias was as always wonderful as Raffaele.

OD Travel + Photos

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March 23, 2006: La Favorite in Zurich

2006-03-23 La Favorite (Donizetti), Opernhaus Zurich

Leonor de Guzman = Vesselina Kasarova
Fernand = Fabio Sartori
Inez = Jaël Azzaretti
Alphonse = Roberto Servile
Balthazar = Carlo Colombara
Don Gaspar = Eric Huchet

Marc Minkowski, conductor

La Favorite - Donizetti
In französischer Sprache

Dirigent Marc Minkowski
Inszenierung Philippe Sireuil
Bühnenbild Vincent Lemaire
Kostüme Jorge Jara
Choreographie Avi Kaiser
Choreinstudierung Jürg Hämmerli
Lichtgestaltung Hans-Rudolf Kunz

First time that I saw Vesselina Kasarova live. And I liked the mezzo voice. Only wish it was La Favorita and not La Favorite. O mio Fernando would have been better than O mon Fernand. But today everybody likes to have the original. Well I think Favorita in Italian is better than Favorite in French. But will the operahouses nowadays dare to take the Italian Version that used to be more popular than the French (times has always been changing that). Nice voice, nice acting, nice woman, Kasarova. Unfortunately I found her voice not always as florid as I wished.

Jaël Azzaretti (Inez) was marvelous. Loved her singing. And Carlo Colombara (Balthazar) was as always wonderful, how I love his voice, deep and sonorous. Fabio Sartori (Fernand) has a good voice, beautiful and had he been slimmer then I would understand why Leonor fell for him. One was not always so aware of physical appearance when one listen to such a voice and he was also act, so he became Fernand. Roberto Servile (Alphonse) was not an ideal Alphonse, so unlike Carlos Alvarez in Vienna who I found very attractive as the King. Roberto Servile still had some great moments with Leonor but his thick and not so florid singing gave some rough moments.

The production: very nice scenography but unfortunately the team who created this Favorite had not believed this bel-canto opera good enough to stand on its own feet. La Favorite and the story here need not any more symbolism, just let it unfold. The director though he had good ideas, Fernand is only dreaming this etc. Just let us believe it, that the people and their feelings are real.

But worst of all the ballet, it was actually booed, not something that I believe happened frequently in Zurich. The King is throwing a party/ an entertainment for his mistress, the Favorite, Leonor. But the ballet is an insult to Leonor and an insult to the audience, do you really believe we are stupid, that we do not see the injustice to the women, the double morale. It was really such a disappointment to have that ballet moment done that way right in the middle of a fine opera evening. IT WAS JUST A VERY stupid IDEA.

It was the ballet alone that made a FIVE of even SIX star production become just a 3 star. Luckily the ballet did not end the opera, but it was life a knife in your heart that one. SENSELESS, stupid. Thank God, Carlo Colombara was singing in the last act, his aria was just really the best thing in the whole evening. What a voice!!!!

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March 22, 2006: La Traviata in Zurich

2006-03-22 La Traviata (Verdi), Opernhaus Zurich

Alfredo Germont = José Cura
Violetta Valèry = Eva Mei
Flora Bervoix = Katharina Peetz
Annina = Kismara Pessatti
Giorgio Germont = Giorgio Zancanaro
Gastone = Miroslav Christoff
Barone Douphal = Gabriel Bermudez
Marquese d Obigny = Pavel Daniluk
Dottor Grenvil = Giuseppe Scorsin
Giuseppe = Noel Vazques
Domestico = Heikki Yrttiaho
Comissionario = Uwe Kosser

Stefano Ranzani, conductor

La Traviata - Verdi
In italienischer Sprache
Zum letzten Mal in dieser Saison
Flimm/Wonder/von Gerkan/Hämmerli/Lühr

Dirigent Stefano Ranzani
Inszenierung Jürgen Flimm
Bühnenbild Erich Wonder
Kostüme Florence von Gerkan
Lichtgestaltung Jakob Schlosstein
Choreinstudierung Jürg Hämmerli
Choreographie Katharina Lühr

This production with its dark walls pretending to be Violetta's party, Flora's house, Violetta and Alfredo country house and Violetta's room was maybe a good idea. Walls could be moved around. But the acting and singing was good. Zancanaro as Giorgio Germont was old and with not so much voice, he crafted his voice well but when his voice was meant to blend well with the others it was often to harsh or too loud, his voice was no longer able to bend and blend in.

Eva Mei as Violetta Valèry was great, very young and beautiful. I thought that sometimes a little more subtleness in acting would have been better. Actually even if Violetta based on Marie Duplessis who died only 25 years old, it would maybe be even better with a more mature Violetta. It is hard to bring depth in this role when one seem always so young, too young as Eva Mei often did. Strange maybe to say that when I found that Eteri Gvazava was a superb Violetta in the La Traviata à Paris 2000. This doesn't mean that I didn't like Eva Mei's Violetta, she was good.

Jose Cura as Alfredo Germont was good in the start and was even better. But it is a hard role to do well, such a well-known opera and not so much to chew on this character. If I found Jose Cura's Alfredo not quite perfect I believe it must have been the director's fault. Or maybe it is just that La Traviata is not my favorite opera, I just love to see Cura in this role. Verona was better, I feel.

Last I will mention the conductor. Stefano Ranzani, not bad. But the orchestra was sometime loud and drowning the singers which was a shame. I believe it was even sometimes too fast. The balance inside the orchestra could be better. Not always should the normal ear hear all the instruments that are playing, sometimes clarity is required but other times not.

The comprimario roles was well done. Dottor Grenvil and Annina was specially good. I missed more personality in Flora.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March 21, 2015: La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein in Madrid

2015-03-21 The Grand Duchess of Gérolstein (Jacques Offenbach), 
Teatro de la Zarzuela (Madrid)

LA GRAN DUQUESA = Susana Cordón
FRITZ = José Luis Sola
WANDA = Elena Sancho
EL CONDE PUCK = Manuel de Diego
EL GENERAL BUM = Gerardo Bullón
EL PRÍNCIPE POL = Gustavo Peña
EL BARÓN GROG = Francisco Crespo
EL CAPITÁN NEPOMUCENO = Enrique R. del Portal
IZA = Leonor Bonilla
OLGA = Nuria García
AMELIA  = Ana Cadaval
CARLOTA = Hanna Moroz

Estíbaliz Barroso, José Ángel Capel, Araceli Caro, Íñigo Celaya, Estefanía Corral, José Antonio Domínguez, Alberto Escobar, Daniel Ramos, Susana Román, Sara Peña
Ariel Carmona, Javier Crespo, Pablo Garzón, Javier Martínez, Iván Nieto, Joseba Priego, Marcos Rivas, Pedro Ángel Roca, Robson Dos Santos, Israel Trujillo, Gustavo Adrián Villalba, Álvar Zarco

Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid
Coro del Teatro de La Zarzuela
Antonio Fauró

Music director:
Cristóbal Soler
Stage director, sets and costumes:

Pier Luigi Pizzi

Zarzuela bufa en tres actos y cuatro cuadros, basada en la ópera cómica de Henri Meilhac y Ludovic Halévy
Traducción de Enrique Mejías García
Worldpremiered at Teatro del Circo in Madrid, November 7, 1868
Producción del Festival de Martina Franca del Valle d'Itria (1996)

The Teatro de la Zarzuela can call it a zarzuela but it still is a Frenche operetta translated to Spanish. A great translation made by Enrique Mejías García. 

Susana Cordón was the Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, a young lady of 20 years who is in love with the military life and the men. Wonderful singing and great acting from Susana Cordón. She falls in love with Fritz, the soldier who by decree of the High Duchess goes all the way up to General and back again to soldier during the performance. Tenor José Luis Sola was a wonderful Fritz. Fritz is in love with the lovely Wanda, a village girl with virtually no education. Soprano Elena Sancho was a lively Wanda, and naturally she too was wonderful almost upstaging the Grand Duchess. General Bum was just as admirably sung and acted by Gerardo Bullón. General Bum never wins Wanda from Fritz but in the end he gets the general plumes back from Fritz. Baron Grog, Francisco Crespo, almost got the plumes from the Grand Duchess but when he outed himself as married then Grand Duchess decided Bum got his plumes and Prince Pol would get a Grand Duchess who would be faithful since married men was not OK even for Grand Duchess. Prince Pol, Gustavo Peña, won the Grand Duchess of Gerolstein.

For more reviews from my travels, see If you want to see more photos from my OperaDuets Travels, go to

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20, 2010: La Boheme in Zurich

2010-03-20 La Boheme (Puccini), Opernhaus Zurich

Rodolfo = José Cura
Mimì = Adriana Damato
Marcello = Gabriel Bermudez
Musetta = Christiane Kohl
Schaunard = Cheyne Davidson
Colline = Andreas Hörl
Benoit = Davide Fersini
Alcindoro = Valeriy Murga
Parpignol = Christopher Hux
A customs official = Matthew Leigh
Sergeant = Falvio Matthias

Massimo Zanetti, conductor

Lots of JCx friends there. It did not look as it was many of us in the beginning but then I started to see friends all over the house. I was not sure if I would enjoy this production but I really. It was a modern La Boheme but not in a way that would make the story improbable.

Act 1: Jose Cura as Rodolfo was laying on a sofa. He looked larger than life and when Gabriel Bermudez came in, he too looked larger than life. But I was on row 2 so maybe that why all looked so big. Still Jose Cura and Gabriel Bermudez are both muscle men. Andreas Hörl was Colline. He is a tall man with a sweet bass voice. Cheyne Davidson was a solid Schaunard.

Then came the disappointment. Adriana Damato, who I last saw as a perfect Lina in Verdi's Stiffelio, came in as a too solid Mimi. Not only was her Mimi to solid and healthy looking (or even heavy) but her acting was like wood and not the kind Puccini needs. Her singing was good but she really needs to get her acting skills in order. It also should not be obvious to the viewers the strain singing gives. After the very realistic acting from the boys suddenly old-school opera. Jose Cura created the magic with his singing and reacting to his Mimi and of course Adriana Damato rose to her best with him.
Highlights: The duet Questo mar rosso (Cura/Bermudez), Che gelida manina (Jose Cura) and O soave fanciulla (Cura/Damato). Adriana Damato's singing Mimi's aria was great and not so great at the same time.

Act 2: Now, finally Adriana Damato is Mimi as good as anyone. Christine Kohl is Musetta and sings her aria with flair. I liked the staging of the scene, unconventional but it works. This production really works.

Highlight: Quando me'n vo (Christine Kohl)

Act 3: Again the production worked it magic. Adriana Damato, Gabriel Bermudez, Jose Cura, Christine Kohl makes this a musical highlight. Acting and singing is great.

Highlights: duets and quartet

Act 4: Loved it. I was worried that Adriana Damato would not be acting well, but she was superb. Jose Cura was so immersed in his character that he had a hard time trying to smile at the curtain call, he had really experienced Mimi's death as reality.

Highlight: Adriana Damato's and Jose Cura's duet Sono andati. Normally Colline's aria Vecchio zimarra is a highlight but it was not so for me.

It was a great role debut for both Jose Cura and Gabriel Bermudez as Rodolfo and Marcello. It was worth going to Zurich. Jose Cura was fantastic as Rodolfo. In the end I must say I was not too happy with the conductor, Massimo Zanetti. He had a reading of Che gelida manina that was really slow, I think.

After the performance we all went to the backstage and waited. When Jose Cura came he sat down so that we could take photo, talk to him and get autographs. It took a long time for Cura till he finally could get out and have his dinner.

Massimo Zanetti, conductor

La Bohème - Puccini
In italienischer Sprache mit deutscher Übertitelung

Massimo Zanetti

Philippe Sireuil

Vincent Lemaire

Jorge Jara

Hans-Rudolf Kunz

Ernst Raffelsberger

Orchester der Oper Zürich

Chor der Oper Zürich

OD Travel + Photos

Blog:Sweet-sour from Zurich: Jose Cura triumphs as Rododolfo

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March 20, 2004: Samson et Dalila in London

2004-03-20 Samson et Dalila (C. Saint-Saëns), Royal Opera House (London)

Samson = José Cura
Dalila = Denyce Graves
Abimelech = Tigran Martirossian
High Priest = Bruno Caproni
Ancient Hebrew = Julian Rodescu
First Philistine = James Kennedy
Second Philistine = Jared Holt
Messenger = Hubert Francis

Philippe Jordan, conductor

Elijah Moshinsky

Sidney Nolan

Nick Chelton

David Bintley

Second Philistine:
Jared Holt§

Hubert Francis§

§ Vilar Young Artist

Samson et Dalila, ROH 20.3.2004

It was those transparent curtains with rather ugly paintings. It was ugly and disturbing. The first was not too bad, the hand of God (that's my interpretation. But it stayed on too long after the opera had started. That curtain was in a way acceptable. The 2nd curtain a very vulgar interpretation of I guess Dalila the enchantress. That stayed on WAY too lang, and I also found it offending as a woman. Act 2 is a beautiful act, the most beautiful of all operas I know. The 3rd curtain was a painting of the scapegoat, and it was sickening how long it stayed on.

I found the chorus a bit lack in coordination in their singing. José Cura came as the most handsome Samson I have ever seen. He sang admirably and it was the best Samson performance I have seen with this Argentine tenor. Denyce Graves was singing Dalila. No newspapers had prepared me that the American mezzo was 5 months pregnant. That was a shock. Both vocally and in her acting there a sense of her being very careful in conducting herself onstage. I did long sometimes for these blast of powers that Agnes Baltsa brings onstage.

Denyce Graves voice is compared to Agnes Baltsa a more true mezzo/alto voice, but that said I did not feel a strong stage-presence as I always do with Baltsa.

Act 1: Abimelech and Grand-Pretre, good but not really very memorable. The Old Hebrew, great voice, but it is always when José Cura is there that one can say here is an interesting moment going on. I liked the how Samson came a bit later at the gathering round the Old Hebrew, the little boy who is there guiding Samson in the 3rd act, is here guiding Samson in and The old Hebrew out after he (O.H.) has blessed Samson.

Another thing is that this act ends with Samson removing his Jewish prayer-clothing and leaves with Dalila. They kiss. Curtain down for act 1.

Act 2. As always the most fantastic act with wonderful music and singing. This Dalila really longs for revenge, and she is just pretending to love Samson. No doubt. Her coarse laughter when thinking about that weapons is in perfect shape, her tears will be the un-doing of Samson. In the duet with the Grand-Pretre there is very little energy and dark excitement. But when he leaves Dalila put herself in a melancholy state and then Samson arrives "mal-gré lui-mème". And every-thing is just perfectly acted and sung. Just like it was a movie. It is real touching and kissing. It is near real sex onstage and there is no vulgarity and everything is very true. In this moment when they are both laying together one could think that Denyce Graves and Cura would rather inhibited by the fact that this Dalila is really pregnant but they are not. This is very tender love-making, complete trust. Then there is "Mon Coeur s'ouvre à ta voix" and the quarrel "Mais, non, que dis-je helàs". And in the end Samson cannot resist he is going inside her house after her, and the Philistine is creeping nearer like tigers. "À moi, Philistines!"- "Trahison!".

Act 3. I hated the Bacchanale and the ballet, the vulgarities put into the scene. The scapegoats were killed and the blood giving to the Philistine. But it had the great aria of Samson wonderfully sung and acted by José Cura, and of course when he came back onstage for the taunting by the philistines lead by the young boy. And then he got his revenge. But the pillars did not support anything, so how he could kill anyone except those two that were sitting on top of the pillars is a mystery.

And then all the applause. In ROH no applause during the acts only after the curtain was down, and singers did not appear to take the applause until the end of the whole opera.

And after that we waited at the Stage Door for a long time. But then Denyce Graves came out, she left rather quickly, José Cura came after and he stayed on till all had taken their photos and even talked at length to a lady just outside the stage door. Someone had to come and fetch Cura so that he could go to the restaurant just opposite the ROH's Stage Door.

BRAVO, José Cura!!!!!!!

OD Travel + Photos

Sunday, March 19, 2017

March 19, 2005: Josep Carreras in Bergen

2005-03-19 Jose Carreras, Grieghallen (Bergen)

Josep Carreras, tenor
Nuovo Quartetto Italiano
Lorenzo Bavaj, piano

Jose Carreras first time in Bergen, Norway
For the first time in Bergen. Grieghallen March 19th, 2005. With him is string quartet Nuovo Quartetto Italiano and Lorenzo Bavaj on piano.
The End of Carreras Nordic Tour 2005.
Standing ovations and 6 extra numbers!!!!


Jose Carreras: Luna Nova (Mario Pasquale Costa)
Jose Carreras: Elegie (Jules Massenet)

Nuovo Quartetto Italiano: L'Ultima Canzone (Francesco Paolo Tosti)

Jose Carreras: Segreto (Francesco Paolo Tosti)
Jose Carreras: Sogno (Francesco Paolo Tosti)
Jose Carreras: Aprile (Francesco Paolo Tosti)

Nuovo Quartetto Italiano: Intermezzo (Respighi) (played Presto by Donizetti??)

Jose Carreras: T'estimo (Edvard Grieg)
Jose Carreras: O primavera (Pier Adolfo Tirindelli)


Jose Carreras: L'Oreneta (Enric Morera)
Jose Carreras: Andaluza (Enrique Granados)

Nuovo Quartetto Italiano: Scherzo (Giuseppe Verdi)

Jose Carreras: Na sera e maggio (Giuseppe Cioffi)
Jose Carreras: Firenze sogna (Cesar Cesarini)
Jose Carreras: Passione (Vincenzo Valente)

Nuovo Quartetto Italiano: Crisantemi (Giacomo Puccini)

Jose Carreras: Silenzo cantatore (Gaetano Lama)
Jose Carreras: Musica proibita (Stanislao Gastaldon)

Lorenzo Bavaj, piano
Nuovo Quartetto Italiano
Grieghallen, Bergen 19.3.2005

Josep Carreras 9th time in Norway, and first time in Bergen. Almost 15 years after I saw Josep Carreras live for the first time I see him this time too in Norway. 14 years and 11 months on the date since his recital in Oslo Konserthus. This time a much better seat. This time also full house. But this is a great evening with standing ovation and 5 extra numbers. 15 years ago it was more the baroque arias, this time it is the more lighter songs of Tosti, Costa and so on. Of the more major composers Grieg and Massenet.

He started with LUNA NOVA by Costa, not my favorite piece and more of a warming up of voice piece. His voice is perfect for Massenet and his mastering of the French is superb. ELEGIE of Massenet was the first highlight of the concert. What a disappointment that L'ULTIMA CANZONE by Tosti was just played by the string quartet, where it became just a very minor classical piece. Josep Carreras came back to sing 3 more songs of Tosti, not really his best rendition of the song but sung with full passion more suited for opera arias, really. After Tosti the Nuovo Quartetto Italiano was supposed to play INTERMEZZO by Respighi but they played PRESTO by Donizetti (?!).

After the quartet had played Carreras came back and treated us with an exquisite rendition of Griegs JEG ELSKER DIG in Catalan T*ESTIMO. Sorry to say that the string quartet did not enhance the magic of this romance, but Lorenzo Bavaj and Josep Carreras gave it all the magic needed to take the breath away of the enchanted audience. The height of musicality was somewhat lowered in the O PRIMAVERA by Tirindelli but still it sounded almost like a major classical piece.


The second part was really superior to the first. To sing the Catalan songs gave Carreras a boost that maybe already the romance of Grieg had given. L*ORONETA and especially ANDALUZA was magnificently sung. The string quartet was OK with Verdi's SCHERZO, but luckily when Carreras came back to sing Neapolitan songs as NA SERA MAGGIO, FIRENZE SOGNO and PASSIONE, all the passion the Catalan tenor used was justified and a mesmerized audience succumbed completely. At last the string quartet that had bothered us with it good but not great playing had found the piece right for the occasion Puccini's music where the magical music from his greatest opera, MANON LESCAUT was heard. At last there was some opera music. And the official program was ended with some of my favorite music, SILENTIO CANTATORE and MUSICA PROIBITA. And the audience was up on its feet, applauding and shouting BRAVO!!

And the we were treated with a tenor with lots of humor, gratefully to his Bergen audience. 6 extra numbers. This concert was a smash hit in Bergen.


1. Un'Ombra (from PURE PASSION)
2. Coren'grato (CARDILLO)
3. Vurria
4. Un Núvol blanc (LLACH)
5. Neapolitan song about Winter
6. Santa Lucia

OD Travel + Photos

Saturday, March 18, 2017

March 18, 2001: Samson et Dalila in Barcelona

2001-03-18 Samson et Dalila (Saint-Saëns), Gran Teatre de Liceu (Barcelona)

Samson = José Cura
Dalila = Markella Hatziano
El Gran Sacerdote = Simon Estes
Viejo Judío = Stefano Palatchi

Sudden debut of José Cura in Samson et Dalila at Barcelona's Gran Teatre de Liceu
I was in Barcelona just for seeing José Carreras as Samson in "his" Opera House. Then the word came out "Enfermidad", Carreras is sick. Cura replaces Carreras. I thought, it could be interesting to compare, and then I love this opera. (Rumors has it that Cura was not the official replacement for the Liceu Samson). Only Cura or Domingo would be great enough a star to replace Josep Carreras in his hometown.

My parents loved José Cura as Samson, so did most of the Spanish press. "Cura was superior to Carreras".

I disagree to that sentiment. Cura sang Samson in Zurich June 10, 2000, and did a much better show in Zurich than here in Barcelona

Act 1. Cura was playing Samson like the ladies man some say Samson was.
Act 2. the best act in the opera, but it was not a memorable act in Barcelona.
Act 3. The emotional act in this opera. But I didn't feel those sentiments.

The one that deserved applause was Stefano Palatchi, the Old Hebrew. I wish I had recorded this evening. Now I must only use my memory. Was it better than I remember it, or is my criticism justified. Don't know. But I remember standing up in the end, and applauding hard. I remember thinking: Why do I applaud it, I didn't feel that Cura was that good. Hysteria...

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Friday, March 17, 2017

March 17, 2003: Tosca in Vienna

2003-03-17 Tosca (G.Puccini), Wiener Staatsoper

Mario Cavaradossi = José Cura
Floria Tosca = Isabelle Kabatu
Baron Scarpia = Franz Grundheber
Cesare Angelotti = Janusz Monarcha
Der Mesner = Wolfgang Bankl
Spoletta = Benedikt Kobel
Sciarrone = In-Sung Sim
Ein Schließer = Günther Groissböck

Stefano Ranzani, conductor

Wiener Staatsoper
Montag, 17. märz 2003
473. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung

Melodramma in drei Akten nach Victorien Sardou von Luigi Illica und Giuseppe Giacosa
Musik von Giacomo Puccini

Dirigent Stefano Ranzani
Inszenierung Margarethe Wallmann
Bühnenbild und Kostüme Nicola Benois
Chorleitung Ernst Dunshirn

Ein Hirt Kind der Opernschule
der Wiener Staatsoper

Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper Bühnenorchester der Wiener Staatsoper

Chor der Wiener Staatsoper Kinder der Opernschule der Wiener Staatsoper

Tosca with José Cura as Mario Cavaradossi.

On 16th March 2003, I took a fall in a McDonald's restaurant. After coming to my hotel, I found out that I needed a doctor. He came, I got a kind of bandage on my right wrist, and a sport gel tube and some pill to kill the pain. After a not so pleasant night, it was 17th March 2003, and pain went and came again and again.

But I was not to miss Tosca, I already had a ticket, and I hope that the opera would be so great that I could forget pain and just be in operaland for 3 hours. But no, my loge was on the wrong side for getting to see the action. I blame the director, naturally. It was not a cheap ticket, and since I lost so much of act 2 and 3, like seeing how Jose Cura looked when singing "E lucevan le stelle".

The conductor was, I think really good. This was a good production, except when it was about situating the principals too much one side, making part of the audience suffering, to see nothing that was interesting that is. Isabella Kabatu was a great Tosca, and Grundheber a great Scarpia. I didn't find Cura a great Cavaradossi, but that was after his stupendous performance of Don Carlos.
The overall impression a weak Tosca performance, since it did not take my pain away.

I hardly heard Cura's voice. And how on earth am I to know if Cura sang a fantastic "E lucevan le stelle", I had lean over heavily to see his voice, had pain, and his voice was soooo weak when I compare to Don Carlos in Act 2 Scene 2. Cavaradossi died, and I did not care, Tosca jumped to her death, and I did not care.

I had some hope of seeing Cura backstage, and I did see him through the window, but all the people, and my pain. No, I had to protect myself from further pain, beside I hardly could operate my camera because of the pain. Well, I had promised some photos to my Cura Connexion friends, and I went to her hotel, wrote a not with my left hand, I also told the portier what I wrote so that the meaning would come through, and left some photos there. And then I went back to my hotel. The next day, 18. March was my home-going day.

well, Tosca is not so important for me, Don Carlos is. so Great TRAVEL, anyway

next time, please, I want to be lucky with the combination Cura and Tosca!!!

Lot of people enjoyed this Tosca, and especially José Cura as Cavaradossi. My excuse was my injury that made it harder to enjoy an opera performance. If I were rich I would have gone back to Vienna for another Tosca, tomorrow on 27. March is the last Tosca with Cura in Vienna for 2002/2003.

OD Travel + Photos

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 14, 2003: Don Carlo in Zurich

2003-03-14 Don Carlo (G. Verdi), Opernhaus Zurich

Filippo II = Carlo Colombara
Don Carlo = José Cura
Rodrigo = Franco Vassallo
Il Grande Inquisitore = Pavel Daniluk
Un Frate = Giuseppe Scorsin
Elisabeth de Valois = Elena Prokina
La Principessa d'Eboli = Luciana D'Intino
Tebaldo = Judith Schmid
La Contessa d'Aremberg = Susanne Merle
Il Conte di Lerma = Leonardo Silva
Voce dal cielo = Sen Guo

Pier Giorgio Morandi, conductor

Verdi: Don Carlo

Musikalische LeitungPIER GIORGIO MORANDI
SpielleitungULRICH SENN
LichtgestaltungJÜRGEN HOFFMANN

Deputati fiamminghi/PETER KÁLMÁN, VALERIY MURGA,
0 Mitglied des 105
Solo-CelloLuciano Pezzani
Musikalische Assistenz
InspizienzPAUL SUTER
Freitag, 14. März 2003FREITAG-ABO A
ENDE: ca. 23.00 UHR

Voce dal cielo
Sen Guo: In the autodafé-scene, her voice is heard at the end of this scene, when the heretics are burnt, tortured. A lovely voice promises the poor tortured souls that heaven is open for them. Beautifully sung by this Chinese soprano.

Il Conte di Lerma
Leonardo Silva: Good.

La Contessa d'Aremberg
Susanne Merle: She is the one that is expelled from the Spanish court for not being together with the Queen at the meeting of Elisabeth & Don Carlo. The King in this way offend also the Queen. The Queen comforts her compatriot, she is not expelled from the heart of the Queen ("Non pianger, mia compagna"). Silent role. Tall, blond woman, skinny. An actress, or a just a member of the chorus.

Judith Schmid: a trouser role for this Swiss mezzo. Walking and acting very much like a young man, which is her role. In this Zurich version it is Tebaldo who announces people coming in, and not the Count of Lerma like in the Salzburg 1986-version.Very good voice and acting.

La Principessa d'Eboli
Luciana d'Intino: this Italian mezzo is today's great Eboli. Amneris and so on. Her dark voice have an agility for coloratura even though her voice is a big one. And she even acts...All opera singers are supposed to act, but still some really can't do that and sing at the same time, Luciana has no problem with that. Onstage never for a second, is she not Eboli. Her passion, witty and loves clearly portrayed by Luciana d'Intino. Her song of the veil is great, and she is great in duos, trios and quartets, and her O don fatale is stupendous.

Elisabetta di Valois (Elisabeth de Valois, Queen of Spain)
Elena Prokina: great singing and acting by this Russian soprano. She does well her big aria in the end of the opera, Tu che le vanita, even though she doesn't quite have the big voice to really get it right. She is the Queen of this opera, regal in presence, and still gets the human side of Elisabeth to stand out like a real human being. The confrontation with the King, as a King's daughter she has greatness and is not easily intimidated. She shines, she acts very well with all the other members in the ensemble.

Un frate (The imperator Carlo Quinto?, Charles V)
Giuseppe Scorsin: the 3rd bass in Don Carlo. In this production we don't see him, we only hear him and the other monks at the monastery San Juste, in the beginning and the end of the opera. Good.

Il Grande Inquisitore
Pavel Daniluk: the 2nd bass. I have to say he does OK, I wonder if he lacks some of the deepest notes when he sings SiRe, it doesn't seem to go easily down. Good.?

Rodrigo, Marchese di Posa
Franco Vassallo: A really great Rodrigo sung and acted by this Milanese baritone. In flesh and blood real, but still a dreamer. GREAT!!!

Don Carlo (Don Carlos, Infante of Spain)
José Cura: Bravo, Cura! I don't understand how you do that, managing to play so perfectly a Don Carlo closer to the historical truth than we usually see, and still not break against Verdi's Don Carlos. Magic... Hard work.

Filippo II (Philip II of Spain)
Carlo Colombara: the 1rst bass of Don Carlo. An unhappy father and spouse. He has a misfit as son and a wife who never loved him. Great singing an acting by this bass.

Pier Giorgio Morandi and the orchestra....
He did a good job, Morandi, but still something the orchestra drowned the singers.

BRAVI tutti

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