Tuesday, September 26, 2017

September 26, 2008: La Fanciulla del West, London

2008-09-26 La Fanciulla del West (Puccini), Royal Opera House, London

Minnie = Eva-Maria Westbroek
Dick Johnson (Ramirez) = José Cura
Jack Rance = Claudio Sgura
Nick = Bonaventura Bottone
Ashby = Erik Halfvarson
Jake Wallace = Vuyani Mlinde
Sonora = Daniel Sutin
Bello = Kostas Smorginas
Happy = Quentin Hayes
Joe = Harry Nicoll
Larkens = Andrew Foster-Williams
Trin = Hubert Francis
Harry = Robert Murray
Sid = Adrian Clarke
José Castro = Jeremy White
Wowkle = Clare Shearer
Billy Jackrabbit = Graeme Danby

Antonio Pappano, conductor

Conductor: Antonio Pappano
Director: Piero Faggioni
Set Designs: Kenneth Adam
Costume Designs: Piero Faggioni
Lighting: Piero Faggioni

I went to Covent Garden with the tube, and I ate the most wonderful Pizza Funghi at the Piazza Cafe. But then it had taken forever to get the pizza and even though I had had a quick look at my opera ticket I never saw that it was 19 pm and not 1930 as I had convinced my self. Pizza was still good but it cost me 15 minutes of the beginning of the opera, it is not that bad, Minnie and Dick Johnson had not arrived at the stage yet. I was lucky, the staff in ROH let me in and decided that I could see the opera live from a balcony box. Not that lucky was that is was on wrong side of much of the Johnson/Minnie action. Looking at a TV relay would have been better. But Act 1 was really special, balcony box. But too many people had their head far out of the boxes and I was naturally in the second row but I could enjoy the chair and the music and singing.


Lost 15 minutes. But it was OK I had after all seen this production in 2005.

Jack Rance = Claudio Sgura. New Sheriff in town. Loved him even if he seemed a little too young, but he was like a young and attractive Silvano Carroli. He really reminded me of SC of ROH video/DVD.

Ashby = Erik Halfvarson. So unlike Robert Lloyd's more elegant Mr Ashby. This was a man who was drinking from his bottle all the time.

Minnie = Eva-Maria Westbroek. This is her favorite opera and her dream role but I find her too ... over-acting. She made me miss Andrea Gruber as Minnie. And wondering what would have happened if Sylvie Valayre had been ROH's Minnie. SV was a wonderful Minnie in Zurich 2004 and Berlin 2006.

Dick Johnson = José Cura. WOW, even better actor and absolutely wonderful.

Jake Wallace = Vuyani Mlinde. THANK YOU, ROH: no black-face-painted as AL JOLSON, just a black man in his own skin. BUT, I never saw him in the line-up at the front for the applause in the end of the opera. WHY: Jake Wallace is a short role but really important to be able to show our appreciation for his art. He was not just a part of chorus or ensemble. As important as Trin or some of the other miners (all white persons, by the way) that got their own line-up. He should have been up there with Cura, Westbroek, Sgura, Bonaventura Bottone, Erik Halfvarson.

(I just hope somebody will say I am wrong, he was there, I must just have missed him. And for the record I don't believe this is necessary racism, but it might just be a blind spot at the ROH.)


I am so GLAD that Wowkle (Clare Shearer), Billy Jackrabbit (Graeme Danby) managed to made some of their UGH into something less offensive (ah, eh, oh). That made this act better for me. Westbroek and Cura was really good together. And Sgura was just perfect.

What was wrong? The roof of the cabin, if you lived with kind of roof you would have snow inside. Another snowy issue. All the opening of the door, Wowkle exclaiming "it is snowing" (a blizzard, you know) and then Johnson also IT IS SNOWING. BUT no snow was seen from the opened door, it should have been snowing inside so that we understood why Johnson needed to stay in Minnie's cabin, you know, because of the blizzard. And how heartless it was that earlier Wowkle with her little baby on her back was made to go out by Minnie and later Johnson kicking her out when she hesitated because of the SNOW. The snow that never was...


GREAT. Great aria: Ch'ella mi creda. Minnie was really good.

AND of course I met a lot of friends from the Jose Cura connexion. We waited at the stage door. Cura, Westbroek, Sgura came, and probably others that I did not know.

0030 Norwegian time in my hotel---

Original blog post
OD Travel + Photos

For more reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com
If you want to see more photos from my OperaDuets Travels, go to www.operaduetsphotos.com

September 26, 2004: Stiffelio in Zurich

2004-09-26 Stiffelio (Verdi), Opernhaus Zurich

Stiffelio = José Cura
Lina = Emily Magee
Stankar = Leo Nucci
Raffaele = Reinaldo Macias
Jorg = Günther Groissböck
Federico di Frengel = Martin Zysset
Dorotea = Margaret Chalker

Stefano Ranzani, conductor

Sunday, 26. September 2004
For the first time in Opernhaus Zürich
Sung in Italian with German surtitles
Dramma lirico in 3 Acts by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave after the Drama
«Le Pasteur ou L'Evangile et le foyer» (1849) by
Emile Souvestre and Eugène Bourgeois
First performance:
Trieste, Teatro Grande, 16 November 1850

Conductor Stefano Ranzani
Regie Cesare Lievi
Scenography Csaba Antal
Costumes Marina Luxardo
Chorus Ernst Raffelsberger

First time I saw Stiffelio was in 1997 when Brazilian tenor Antonio Lotti sang instead of Carreras.


Track 1: Stiffelio : Overture (ca. 09:57)
The conductor Stefano Ranzani conducted the Overture/Sinfonia in an OK way. This is one of Giuseppe Verdi's best opera-opening-pieces.

Track 2: Stiffelio : "Oh santo libro" (02:30)
Günter Groissböck (Jorg) sat at the table with a big book. For me it was obvious that it is the Holy Bible as he sang (santo libro = holy book). Jorg was alone, then Jose Cura (Stiffelio) came with Lina, his wife and his followers behind him. Stiffelio seemed to be immersed in himself, hand-shaking with his friends or sect members not in a way of man who cares and have longed for his friends. (He has been on missionary trip). His meeting with Lina (Emily Magee) is awkward, they don't seem to be able to touch each-other of be close, they want to but they can't. Dorotea, Lina cousin (Margaret Chalker) a bit gossipy, tells of a man who wanted to speak to Stiffelio. It is Walter, a boatman who has recently seen something strange.

Track 3: Stiffelio : "Di qua varcando"/"Son quanti giorni?" (02:13)
8 days ago Walter saw a young man and a young woman, they were in distress. In the end the young man jumped into the water, but he lost some papers. It was Raffaele, the young nobleman (Reinaldo Macias) who lost Lina's love letters. It is quite typical that Stiffelio thinks he has the right to tell this people what Walter has seen, since Walter did not forbid it. But I would think that the priest should know that Walter is not the one who is at stake here it is the young couple. Jose Cura and the orchestra is not entirely together here, when the aria becomes an ensemble it gets together again quite beautifully.

Track 4: Stiffelio : "Colla cenere disperso" (02:25)
The priest Stiffelio decide that the papers is to be burnt. It is open fire on the stage.
Colla cenere disperso
Sia quel nome e quel delitto;
Dio lo disse, Dio l'ha scritto:
Al fratel s'indulger.
The relief is great, and the admiration of the priest's godliness. Lina expresses her will to never sin again. But Raffaele want to meet Lina again, she doesn't want that

Track 5: Stiffelio : "Viva Stiffelio!" (03:22)
The sect members come in to celebrate Stiffelio. Stiffelio wants them only to sing praises of God. Lina is tormented by her sin, and the celebration of Stiffelio status as the great pastor.

Track 6: Stiffelio : "Non ha per me un accento" (01:56)
Stiffelio and Lina is alone. He longs for her to talk to him. But this Stiffelio is not very accommodating, I think. Lina sings of how they met and that she still has trouble calling him Stiffelio. He was called Rodolfo Müller when they met. He used a pseudonym.

Track 7: Stiffelio : "Vidi dovunque gemere" (04:04)
Stiffelio was alone and unhappy when he was away, and everywhere he went he saw the sins of people. Especially that women, who was breaking the holy matrimony.
Le ingenue
Custodi del pudore,
Le donne, rotto il vincolo
Del coniugale amore . . .

Lina believes that Stiffelio has a great heart and would forgive, but no... He says it is not possible... (and they are just discussing the idea of forgiveness at this point)
È grande la vost'anima,
Avrebbe perdonato.
(Lina si confonde)

Ah no, il perdono facile
Al core non ferito;
Ma occulto sta nell'anime
Tesoro indefinito,
Che nulla mano infrangere
Impunemente può.

This makes Lina unhappy. The husband tries to comfort her. It is the anniversary. But the ring is missing....

Track 8: Stiffelio : "Ah! v'appare in fronte scritto" (02:17)
Jose Cura as Stiffelio is furious. In a very threatening position he hangs over Lina. Then Stankar comes in, Stiffelio is wanted elsewhere. In a threatening voice, "Soon I will be back!!!"

Track 9: Stiffelio : "Tosto ei disse!" (03:47)
Emily Magee's voice is simply a dream listening too. She is really Lina. In this aria. She tries to decide what to do, to say, to write. Yes, she starts writing a letter to Stiffelio ("Stiffelio, I am no longer worthy of your love")

Track 10: Stiffelio : "Verrà! Dovrò risponder!" (01:32)
Then Stankar, her father comes in. Stankar (Leo Nucci) has been spying on his daughter. He suspect that she writing to Leuthold (Raffaele), but even worse from his side, she is trying to confess to Stiffelio. Where Lina wants forgiveness, Stankar want that the stain on his honor should be unnoticed by the outside world. He forces Lina to give into his plan of never letting Stiffelio know of this.
Track 11: Stiffelio : "Dite che il fallo a tergere" (01:10)
Track 12: Stiffelio : "Ed io pure in faccia agli uomini" (03:07)
Ed io pure in faccia agli uomini
Dovrò l'ira soffocare,
La vergogna dovrò vincere,
Voi mia figlia ancor nomare;
Voi, l'indegna che disprezzo,
Voi, del padre disonore.

Track 13: Stiffelio : "Or meco venite" (03:10)

Track 14: Stiffelio : "M'evitan" (00:52)
The same book that Jorg was reading in and called "santo libro" is now Klopstock Messiah. Raffaele has just written a note to Lina and locked the book when Federico di Frengel comes in and wants the book. And then a backdrop, drops down. Was it is mishap, or was it supposed to happen.

Track 15: Stiffelio : "Plaudiam" (03:18)
It does strike me as strange that Stiffelio should be sitting a desk looking at a miniature of the church this sect is going to build, looking at architect plans, and that that the chorus is on the galleries. He is mentally not there. Jorg came in, he is not for this kind of parties, but neither can Stiffelio be... Sitting down, I don't get this... Jorg is interested, however in telling Stiffelio about a note in a book, some intrigue, something sinful, no doubt. But since Federico now has the book, he is thought to be the guilty one.

Track 16: Stiffelio : "Cugino, pensaste al sermone?" (02:06)
Dorotea is asking Stiffelio (or Federico),are you thinking about the sermon, Federico answers, that they will all be there and ask Stiffelio what will be the subject. Judas, the traitor.
Non solo all'iniquo ch'ha il Maestro venduto,
Ma a quanti tradiscon m'udrete imprecare
A lui che s'insinua, che simula astuto,
Che insidia, che macchia il domestico lare;
Che stende la mano all'uomo ingannato,
E infame poi vanta l'onore involato! . . .
A lui per anatema fia sol ch'io ripeta
Il carme ispirato del grande poeta . . .

He is so furious, Stiffelio, that all is taken aback, especially Federico who doesn't know why he is singled out.

Track 17: Stiffelio : "Oh qual m'invade ed agita" (03:02)
Stiffelio takes the book from Federico. Of course it was Dorotea who told that Lina has the key to this book. And suddenly, Stiffelio is getting very insecure about what is going to happen.

Track 18: Stiffelio : "Nol volete" (02:49)
Stiffelio opens the book with his bare hands. The letter flies out. Stankar almost leaps to get the note. Stiffelio is beside himself of fury. Stankar and Raffaele is going to meet at the church yard.


Track 1: Stiffelio : "Oh cielo! dove son io" (03:40)
Suddenly Lina sees her mother grave, she is devastated.

Track 2: Stiffelio : "Ah, dagli scanni eterei" (03:43)
Lina sings that her mother must intercede, so that she can be forgiven. This is one of the most beautiful soprano arias that Verdi wrote, and Emily Magee sings it wonderfully....

Track 3: Stiffelio : "Perder dunque voi volete" (02:40)
Then there is a duet with Raffaele. Somehow in this production I do not get so a confused Lina as Malfitano in the Moshinsky production. Here Lina's feeling is that she is definetely through with Raffaele. All she want him to do is to give back her letters, the ring and other incriminating thing. And that he would not destroy her life, her marriage. He doesn't want to back out.

Track 4: Stiffelio : "Io resto"/"Qual rumore" (03:07)
Lina's father is there, she must go. Finally after many insults, Stankar gets Raffaele in the dueling mode. Then Stiffelio comes.

Track 5: Stiffelio : "Santo è il loco" (02:21)
Stiffelio reminds them that they are on holy ground.
Santo il loco che sì profanate . . .
I sepolcri col piede premete,
Sopra il capo la croce vi sta!

It is the minister talking. They are not willing to stop now. Then Stiffelio asks Raffaele as the younger to give up the sword. They shake hands, Stankar is outraged, taking the hand of the man you have deceived. And now Lina comes.
Grazia! Grazia! Rodolfo!

It was Lina & Raffaele.

Track 6: Stiffelio : "Ah no, è impossibile" (03:09)
Jose Cura, in the photos in the program we see him hold the sword egg with his bare hand, but there is some rag in between. on the premiere, nothing protects his hands... And I am not sure he noticed it because we was so much Stiffelio.

Track 7: Stiffelio : "Dessa non è" (05:05)
Stankar reminds Stiffelio that she is not the only guilty one, now the priest is an outraged husband who want to duel with the seducer. Raffaele seem to have a change of mind, is willing to take his penalty but not to fight his minister. Jorg comes out. Reminds Stiffelio that he is a priest after all, and there is a sermon...

STIFFELIO:(come in delirio)
Me disperato abbruciano
Ira, infernal furore,
Tranquilli la man gelida
Voi mi gravate al core . . .
Ah fate prima ch'ardermi
Le vene cessi il sangue,
E la virtù che langue
Sar più forte in me! . . .
Lasciatemi, lasciatemi . . .
Tutto il mio cor perdé.
JORG:(sale sui gradini)
Da questa croce agli uomini
Ha Cristo perdonato . . .

Stiffelio faints with his hands round the cross, his bloody hand makes mark on the tree. It almost look like STIGMATA.

Track 8: Stiffelio : "Ei Fugge" (02:45)
This is Leo Nucci's great scene. And the only truly thunderous applause of the day is for Leo Nucci. He is simply stunning as Stankar. Stankar has decided for suicide since Raffaele has runaway. Death for Stankar. He is really sorry for himself.

Track 9: Stiffelio : "Lina, pensai che un angelo"/"Ah, si finisca" (03:47)
But the Jorg tells that Raffaele is back. What a joy....

Track 10: Stiffelio : "In questo tetto uno di noi morrà" (02:15)
A change to kill Raffaele, and sort of redeem his honour. (nonsense)
Great applaud for Leo Nucci

Track 11: Stiffelio : "Dite ai fratei che al tempio"/"Inevitabil fu questo colloquio" (02:43)
Raffaele who expect revenge is simply asked what would you do if Lina was free. But Lina is told that this marriage is breakable since Stiffelio called himself Rodolfo at that time.

Track 12: Stiffelio : "Opposto è il calle" (04:55)
I guess Stiffelio think he is generous, a divorce, Lina can marry Raffaele, the man he thinks she loves. She is not given any chance to tell what happen, or why, nor is he reflecting FORGIVENESS.

Track 13: Stiffelio : "Non allo sposo volgomi"/"Egli un patto proponeva" (04:03)
Il vo'!
Non allo sposo volgomi,
Ma all'uom del Vangelo.
Ei fino dal patibolo
A' rei dischiude il cielo . . .
La donna più non supplica,
Qui la colpevol sta .

Lasciatemi . . . lasciatemi . . .

Ministro, confessatemi . . .

Lina ask of the evangelic minister to confession. It was not love, she was deceived. But what happens, Stiffelio jumps up for revenge, not forgiveness. And then her father comes out, with bloody arm. Raffaele is dead. Killed.

Jorg reminds of the church is waiting.

Track 14: Stiffelio : "Ah, sì, voliamo al tempio" (02:17)
Ah sì, voliamo al tempio,
Fuggiam le inique porte,
Delitto solo e morte
Qui l'uomo vi stampò.
Ai seduttori esempio
Rimanga questo tetto . . .
Iddio l'ha maledetto,
D'infamia il fulminò.

A dunque non v'ha in terra
Conforto al mio dolore! . . .
D'involontario errore
Perdono non avrò!
Clemente Iddio disserra
Di tua piet il tesoro,
Col palpito t'imploro
D'un cor che non peccò!


Track 15: Stiffelio : "Non punirmi, Signor" (04:48)
Non punirmi, signor, nel tuo furore,
O come nebbia al sol dileguerò!
Miserere di me, piet, Signore,
Miserere, e tue glorie canterò.

Se punii chi m'ha tradito
Nell'onor ch' tuo dono,
Come a Davide pentito,
Dio, concedimi il perdono.

Confido in Te,
Signor, pieta
Non nieghi a me
La tua bonta

The organ plays, The congregation sings a miserere. Stankar is asking for forgiveness is his limited way. Lina is confiding in God's eternal mercy.

Track 16: Stiffelio : "Stiffelio!" "Eccomi" (03:37)
Stiffelio confused, doesn't recognize his wife. And the he starts reading the BIBLE, it is the famous meeting of Jesus and the adulterous woman.
"Allor Gesù rivolto
Al popolo assembrato
Mostrò l'adultera
Ch'era a suoi piedi e così disse:

(Oh, ciel!)

'Quegli di voi che non peccò
La prima pietra scagli.'

Che parli?

(E non finisce?)

E la donna, la donna
Perdonata s'alzò."

Gran Dio!

Che fai, Stiffelio?

"Perdonata, perdonata."

Iddio lo pronunziò.

CORO:(Tutti ripetono)
"Perdonata! Perdonata!" Iddio lo pronunziò.

Gran Dio!

In Zurich, the congregation was reenacting this scene, they were ready to "stone" Lina. But then stopped by the word, the one who has not sinned can throw the first stone. And then a quiet, and Jose Cura reads on, "And the woman stood up forgiven".


Can there be a greater opera with a more human message than this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1


Thank you Giuseppe Verdi and the librettist PIAVE.

OD Travel + Photos

Monday, September 25, 2017

September 25, 2014: L'Opera e la grande Bellezza in Arena di Verona

2014-09-25 L'Opera è la grande bellezza, Arena di Verona

Maria Guleghina
José Cura
Carlo Guelfi

Presentatore Michele Mirabella

Orchestra Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini
Massimo Zanetti, conductor
Coro Teatro Regio di Parma, Coro Università degli studi di Perugia, Coro dell’Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia e le Voci Bianche Adamu

Regìa e progetto scenografico di ENRICO STINCHELLI
Coreografie di “Modulo Factory

Almost 7 minutes of talk by presenter before and then a lot of talk later on too.

Orchestra & ballet
"1. Terzo ballabile Macbeth"
Carlo Guelfi, baritone
2. Pietà, rispetto, amore (Macbeth) "
Jose Cura & Maria Guleghina
"3. Già nella notte densa (Otello)"

Jose Cura
"4. E lucevan le stelle (Tosca) "
Maria Guleghina
"5. Vissi d'arte (Tosca) "

Orchestra & ballett & chorus
"6. La Traviata - matadori & zingari"

Carlo Guelfi, Maria Guleghina
"7. Donna, chi sei? (Nabucco) "

Chorus & Orvhestra
"8. Patria oppressa (Macbeth) "

Jose Cura, Carlo Guelfi
"9. Desdemona rea...Sì pel ciel (Otello)"

fanfara dei carabinieri (2 minutes)
"10. korpsmusikk"

fanfara dei carabinieri
"11. Gloria all'Egitto, Aida con marcia trionfale e balletto"

fanfara dei carabinieri (2 minutes)
"12. ukjent korpsmusikk"
Maria Guleghjina
"13. Nel dì della vittoria (Macbeth)"
Jose Cura
"14. Vesti la giubba (Pagliacci) "

Carlo Gulefi, Chorus
 "16. Te Deum (Tosca)"

Maria Guleghina, Jose Cura & Chorus
 "17. In questa reggia (Turandot) "

Carlo Guelfi
"18. Nemico della Patria (Chénier) "

"19. Va’, pensiero (Nabucco)"

Jose Cura, Chorus
"20. Nessun dorma (Turandot)"

Maria Guleghina, tutti
"21. Finale Turandot TUTTI"

Jose Cura, tutti
22. National Anthem of Italy "Fratelli d'Italia"

Momenti di grande emozione quando l'artista ha intonato il nostro inno nazionale cantando "Fratelli d'Italia"
My review would be almost the same except that I did not know that the last item was the National Anthem of Italy "Fratelli d'Italia"

For more reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com If you want to see more photos from my OperaDuets Travels, go to www.operaduetsphotos.com

September 25, 2004: Carmen in Berlin

2004-09-25 Carmen (Bizet), Deutsche Oper Berlin

Carmen = Agnes Baltsa
Frasquita = Stephanie Weiss
Mercédès = Jessica Miller
Micaëla = Michaela Kaune
Don José = Julian Gavin
Moralès = Bernd Valentin
Zuniga = Harold Wilson
Escamillo = Laurent Naouri
Remendado = Peter Maus
Dancairo = Jörg Schörner
Lillas Pastia = Klaus Lang
Andres = Ulrich George

Jun Märkl, conductor


Regie: Peter Beauvais
Scenography, constumes Pier Luigi Samaritani

3:45 hrs

Chorus Ulrich Paetzholdt
Choreography Klaus Beelitz

Carmen Agnes Baltsa

Don José Julian Gavin

Schöneberger Sängerknaben

2004-09-25 almost not Carmen in Berlin with Agnes Baltsa.

I arrived early in Oslo, took the early bus to Sandefjord Airport Torp. 0615-0810. My plane was due to go to Copenhagen at 1215, but the plane didn't arrived until that time. Then it was 1235 boarding time, then when we were in the plane, they found a fault. Then we had to get out of the plane, and then it was to be repaired, so in the end 3 hours later than scheduled we left Torp. Unfortunately no direct-flight to Berlin in Copenhagen, I had to go via Munich. So in the end I was in Berlin Tegel 2035. The opera started 1900.

I took a taxi to Deutsche Oper Berlin. I was so lucky to be allowed inside to stand behind the door, for the last 30 minutes of Act 2, from the Smuggler-quintet. Julian Gavin sang a terrible Flower-song,
that was joyously applauded by the audience. I saw act 3 + 4 in my place, Agnes Baltsa sang magnificently the card-scene. And the end-duet was event brilliantly sung by Julian Gavin (Don Jose). The cast was mediocre, I found. But it was still nice to be there. I would have loved to see act 1 and the complete act 2.

OD Travel + Photos

Sunday, September 24, 2017

September 24, 2006: Fanciulla del West in Berlin

2006-09-24 La Fanciulla del West (Puccini), Deutsche Oper Berlin

Minnie = Sylvie Valayre
Jack Rance = Marco Chingari
Dick Johnson (Ramirez) = José Cura
Nick = Clemens Bieber
Ashby = Ante Jerkunica
Sonora = Lenus Carlson
Trin = Burkhard Ulrich
Sid = Guillaume Antoine
Bello = Markus Beam
Harry = Peter Maus
Joe = Jörg Schörner
Happy = Simon Pauly
Larkens = Roland Schubert
Billy Jackrabbit = Tiziano Bracci
Wowkle = Ceri Williams
Jake Wallace = Markus Beam
José Castro = Harold Wilson
Ein Postillon = Volker Horn

Vjekoslav Sutej, conductor

La fanciulla del West

[Das Mädchen aus dem Goldenen Westen]
Oper in 3 Akten von Giacomo Puccini
Libretto von Guelfo Civinini und Carlo Zangarini nach dem Drama The Girl of the Golden West von David Belasco
Uraufführung: 10. Dezember 1910 in New York
Premiere an der Deutschen Oper Berlin: 27. März 2004

In italienischer Sprache mit deutschen Übertiteln

24. | 27. September 2006
02. Oktober 2006

Musikalische Leitung Vjekoslav Sutej
Inszenierung Vera Nemirova
Bühne, Kostüme Klaus Werner Noack
Chöre Ulrich Paetzholdt

Minnie Sylvie Valayre
Jack Rance Marco Chingari
Dick Johnson José Cura

Dauer 3 Stunden 15 Minuten
Zwei Pausen

It was the worst production with the best singing that I have seen and heard. The photos in the www.deustcheoperberlin.de does not show how bad the production was. Reading the subtitles at the same time as seeing what's going on onstage would only serve to confusion.

This is a Spaghetti Western in Opera. But here it is modernized to an extent where only the sheriff is still sheriff. The Saloon of the opera is here something else, a fast food bar with some weird security line, is this the border to Mexico or is it a part of an airport or is it a German train station. What are the Santa's there for. It is near Christmas perhaps. Why is there a movie board showing the men getting dressed or something. This security thing can't be serious 'cause when Dick Johnson (Jose Cura) aka Ramirez, there are no-one making a copy of his hand.

Luckily when Jose Cura is there the opera becomes more real and interesting. Not that Sylvie Valayre is a bad Minnie, she is singing and acting wonderfully but this production does nothing to help this character to be a real and truly interesting person to the spectator. Minnie belongs to the West and in another century. Women today have much more and other choices to make. Truly when Sylvie Valayre and Jose Cura sings together there is deep connection between those two, Dick Johnson and Minnie, and therefor the audience connects too. Jack Rance is also more real when with Sylvie or Jose. Marco Chingari is an admirable singer doing his best. But the scenography and costumes does put me off.

The 2nd act is better. But still not good. The material Minnie's cabin is made of is so poor than one single man can easily destroy part of the wall. It is just carbon paper. And this is supposed to be the winter and in the mountains, and a single woman lives there alone. That is simply not realistic... It did not like how the cabin looked and I really did not like the idea that the men looking for Ramirez would destroy the cabin if they really wanted to protect " la ragazza del campo". They would have just knocked on the door and Minnie would have opened. So that was stupid. The good thing about the second act was that this time I found the opening with the two Native Americans, Wockle and Jackrabbit, soon to be parents and soon to marry, a truly nice and realistic moment. Of course the duets between Sylvie Valayre and Jose Cura and their acting was wonderful and showed the naivety of the two of them in a heartening way.

Jose Cura had told us that the 3rd act was worst, and in a way it was. It was situated in heaven, he said. Well, yes, there were clouds instead of mountains. But you could easily ignore that and make the "Heavenly" clouds into mountain sloops in your mind. I was more
troubled with the concept of a TV team being there to tape the execution. It was so not necessary. And in the end it was revealed as a movie in making. Well yes, right, that would have been nice, not since this was a modern Fanciulla del West.

The important thing is that the singing was outstanding, still I was glad I did not have to see this production again.

OD Travel + Photos

Saturday, September 23, 2017

September 23, 2007: Fledermaus in Berlin

2007-09-23 Die Fledermaus (Johann Strauß), Komische Oper Berlin

Gabriel von Eisenstein = Klaus Kuttler
Rosalinde = Gun-Brit Barkmin
Frank = Martin Winkler
Prinz Orlofsky = Karolina Gumos
Alfred = Christoph Späth
Dr. Falke = Günter Papendell
Dr. Blind = Thomas Ebenstein
Adele = Natalie Karl
Ida = Saskia Krispin
Frosch = Peter Renz

Die Fledermaus

Komische Operette in drei Akten von Johann Strauß
Libretto von Richard Genée
So | 23.09.2007 | 19:00 Uhr

Weitere Aufführungen ..

09. | 25. | 30. September
06. | 06. | 14. Oktober
02. | 17. | 28. November
04. | 13. | 14. | 18. | 23. | 25. | 31. Dezember
13. Januar
27. | 27. Juli

Musikalische Leitung ... Markus Poschner
Inszenierung ... Andreas Homoki
Ausstattung ... Wolfgang Gussmann
Chöre ... Robert Heimann
Lichtgestaltung ... Franck Evin

The Critics were not convinced by this production. "Too much laughs on the stage, not so much from the audience". The Regisseur has taken the operetta too serious, not enough Champagner-sprudl, only Sekt (no real Champagne).

First I loved it then I didn't. Intermission between act 2 and 3 said the program. But in reality it was in the middle of act 2. Which did in a way make sense and too the ball room from the drunken mind of Eisenstein was also a good idea. But then the prison scene was still a ballroom with all the furniture fallen down, it did not make sense. The newspapers did not like how Frosch was reduced to a nobody, no good comedy/comedian there. And the end was too cynic for an operetta. With Adele back as a chamber maid and Eisenstein to jail and Rosalinde with her Alfredo having supee at Eisenstein home. Too cynic.

The Orlofsky was just someone from the opera ballet dressed up to be a nobleman from Russia. Adele was just a joke to the people at this "ball". This was supposed to be a more tradional Fledermaus but really it was still REGIE-Theater where the regisseur just impose his ideas to an opera/operetta.

Singing was good. They were not really good in dialogue, could not hear every word. Acting good. But this was an operetta without brio...

Original blog post
OD Travel

Friday, September 22, 2017

September 22, 2003: Herodiade in Vienna

2003-09-22 Herodiade (Massenet), Wiener Staatsoper

Herodiade = Agnes Baltsa
Herode = Philippe Rouillon
Jean = José Cura
Salomé = Barbara Haveman
Phanuel = Ferruccio Furlanetto
Vitellius = Markus Nieminen
Oberpriester = Janusz Monarcha
Eine Stimme = Cosmin lfrim

Jun Märkl, conductor

Wiener Staatsoper
Montag, 22. September 2003
31. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung

Oper in dreizehn Bildern von Paul Milliet, Henri Gremont und Angelo Zanardini
Musik von Jules Massenet

Dirigent Jun Märkl
Szenische Konzeption
und Gestaltung Richard Bletschacher
Hermann Nitsch
Bühnenbild und Kostüme Hermann Nitsch
Chorleitung Ernst Dunshirn

Eine Stimme Cosmin lfrim*

Tempeltänzerinnen und Schwerttänzer Corps de ballet
Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper
Chor der Wiener Staatsoper

Balletteleven der Wiener Staatsoper
Bühnenorchester der Wiener Staatsoper

* Rollendebüt an der Wien er Staatsoper

Cura is sick (he has a fever), but he is a fantastic Jean this night!

First a man came out pronouncing that José Cura is still going to sing Jean, but he has fever, hope for understanding of the audience.

Then the opera starts. Jun Märkl is really good conductor today, the orchestra wonderful. The chorus singing and acting in the opera is not improved and the dancers is not doing very well, at least in the beginning. From the moment Ferrucio Furlanetto appears, it is a much better opera than on the 19th. First of all the members of the chorus and statists is reacting to the coming of Phanuel (Ferruccio Furlanetto) in the right moment. It is logical and natural. Unlike Friday, so I wondered if the chorus had been told anything.

Barbara Haveman sang the aria "Il est doux!" splendidly. She was a wonderful Salome. Philppe Rouillon sang Herode better this day, but he chose just this day when Jose Cura was feverish and sick to be quite brutal with Jean (José Cura) in leashes. I feared very much that Cura would fall, and not be able to continue singing. Agnes Baltsa was a wonderful Herodiade, the interaction between Herodiade and Salome in the end of the opera was quite magic. Since señor Cura was sick, probably because of the heat and being long at the stage door on Friday the 19th, and then coming out in the relatively colder weather outside the opera house after 1,5 hour in the heat, Agnes Baltsa decided to go out to greet her fans, but she (being wise) wanted to do the autographing and such outside. Thank you, Agnes Baltsa!!!

Everybody was better this day. Even José Cura, who no doubt was sick and should have been in bed. But lucky for us, opera-goers, he was on stage, singing and acting wonderfully the role of Jean. But I saw his eyes, the sweat, and his uncompromising force to stay on his two feet, to stay in the role of Jean. His eyes seemed to sparkle, but it was probably the fever. He never touched the walls, or chairs unless it could be musically valid. In the big last act aria, he walked and walked even as if was clear he needed to sit down, to rest, but he would not compromise the role of Jean, by letting the weakness win. And many times he took the audience Bravos, and frenzy. When the opera was over, he came out the stage door. Jose Cura said "I am going straight to bed!". I got to say "Get well !!!" to Jose Cura. BRAVO, Jose Cura!!!

OD Travel + Photos

September 22, 2001: Josep Carreras in Stavanger

2001-09-22 Recital, Stavanger Konserthus

Josep Carreras, tenor
Lorenzo Bavaj, piano


"Dolente immagine" (Bellini)
"Luna nova" (Costa)
"Era de Maggio" (Costa)

"Si tu m'aimes" (Denza)
"Vieni" (Denza)

"Chanson d l'adieu" (Tosti)
"Non t'amo piú" (Tosti)
"Because" (Tosti)


"Alfonsina y el mar" (Ramirez)
"Andaluza" (Granados)

"Déclaration" (Leoncavallo)
"Chanson des yeux" (Leoncavallo)
"Sérénade Napolitaine (Leoncavallo)

"Serenata" (Toselli)
"Vurria..." (Rendine)
"Musica Proibita" (Gastaldon)

"T'estimo" (Edvard Grieg)
Napoletan Song?

Josep Carreras with silver-shoes in Stavanger

With silver-shoes in Stavanger, he came, the great Carreras. The concert hall was full, and the applause was rapturous. But still for unknown reasons only two extra numbers for Stavanger. Suddenly the whole audience was at its way out, a little more patience and surely another song with his silvery voice would have been ours. But complain after such a great night with such artistry. He came and wan us all with his passion and great artistry. Stavanger had spared nothing to give the best. The best possible instrument for Bavaj, free programs and big posters for the audience. The champagne was not free, but there is a limit to all. How to compare two concerts, the only difference was the extras. We all loved him singing Grieg's T'estimo and the wonderful, wonderful song that he gave us. We all gasped wanted to know what song is it. I don't know.... But I do know that it was an absolutely wonderful concert. With a man whose voice people say have faded, it is true... does it matter. It was so great and how wonderful that they have wanted to give it all to give the people of Stavanger the best singers and artists to visit them.

And when it, too soon, was time to go home, I was so lucky to find the artists entrance almost in the instant that Carreras and Bavaj came out. I almost had a handshake with Carreras, but he was sitting down into the car. I took a photo of Carreras and one of Bavaj. Lorenzo Bavaj was thankful, it seem, that I took a picture of him too. What a gracious man he is. Carreras, too, of course. But to play second fiddle is a more difficult task and only a great man can play the graciously. So thank you, Carreras and Bavaj for a lovely evening!!!

OD Travel

Thursday, September 21, 2017

September 21, 2013: Giovanna d'Arco in Bilbao

2013-09-21 Giovanna d'Arco (Verdi), Palacio Euskalduna (Bilbao)

Giovanna d'Arco = Krassimira Stoyanova
Carlos VII = Alejandro Roy
Giacomo = Claudio Sgura*
Talbot = Miguel Ángel Zapater
Delil = Eduardo Ituarte

Yves Abel, conductor
Euskadiko Orkestra Sinfonikoa
Coro de Ópera de Bilbao

Regie - Gabriele Lavia
Scenography - Alessandro Camera
Costumes - Andrea Viotti
Light design - Boris Dujin

Production from Teatro Regio di Parma

*Debuta en ABAO-OLBE

GIOVANNA D'ARCO in Bilbao 2013-09-21
What a difference from Otello in Vienna to Giovanna d'Arco in Bilbao? In Vienna we had a modern production that unfortunately did not make sense even with Shakespeare and Boito together for the drama. In Bilbao we had a traditional production of Giovanna d'Arco.

Yves Abel conducted the opera. Giovanna d'Arco is an opera with some glorious music but that was hard to hear in Bilbao. The ouverture was sloppy and the opera seemed to be on and off during the evening. Claudio Sgura was not only literally taller than all but also figuratively speaking. Krassimira Stoyanova was a wonderful Giovanna but I did not feel that she was supported enough by the orchestra/conductor. Alejandro Roy as the King started the opera with a big scene and aria. He became better and better during the performance.

It was a beautiful production that was as historically correct as an opera can be. Historical correct costumes can be too much for modern sensibilities. It was a really good workmanship this production, but perhaps not the most exciting one. Can Giovanna d'Arco be better?

During the evening there was  coughing, coughing everywhere and often in the most sensitive moments. Not to mention the person that made some loud deep clensing from the nose and down, and not once. But that can be how live opera is. Great onstage but annoying audience. Not all the audience, but still...

OD Travel & Photos
Original blog post

For more reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com If you want to see more photos from my OperaDuets Travels, go to www.operaduetsphotos.com

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

September 20, 2003: Barbiere di Siviglia in Vienna

2003-09-20 Il Barbiere di Siviglia (G. Rossini), Wiener Staatsoper

Almaviva = Juan Diego Florez
Bartolo = Alfred Sramek
Rosina = Enkelejda Shkosa
Figaro = Carlos Alvarez
Basilio = Kurt Rydl
Fiorello = Eirijo Kaioil
Ambrogio = Oleg Savara
Marcellina (Berta) = Aarona Bogdan
Ein Offizier = Johann Reinprecht

Fabio Luisi, conductor

Wiener Staatsoper
Samstag, 20. september 2003
305. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung

Il barbiere di Siviglia
Commedia in zwei Akten
von Cesare Sterbini nach dem gleichnamigen Lustspiel von Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais
Musik von Gioachino Rossini

Dirigent Fabio Luisi
Nach einer Inszenierung
von Günther Rennert
Regie Richard Bletschacher
Ausstattung Alfred Siercke
Chorleitung Ernst Dunshirn


The conductor, Fabio Luisi, have a good name for opera-conducting, but I did not like how the Sinfonia was played. Too fast, not possible to enjoy the whole of it. Only in parts seemed the tempi to be right. I think it was because it if possible for the strings to play faster than the woodwind and brass, since the string breath independently from their instruments. The Sinfonia was played as if it was a race.

Regie / Scenography: Günter Rennert / Richard Blettschacher / Alfred Siercke was great. A truly enjoyable Barbiere was expected.

And the Conte Almaviva (Juan Diego Florez), Dottor Bartolo (Alfred Sramek). Rosina (Enkelejda Shkosa), Figaro (Carlos Alvarez), Don Basilio (Kurt Rydl) was all great and so was everybody else.

After the opera, the singers came out, and Shkosa came out first, then Rydl, Sramek, Florez and Alvarez, or at least that was how I photographed them. At 23.30 the doors closed. And even though a lot of JCx members was there, and they were going to the bistro again, I said Good-bye to my friends, and went back to my hotel. At midnight I was in my hotel room again.

OD Travel + Photos