Friday, September 30, 2016

September 30, 2002: Roberto Devereux in Vienna

2002-09-30 Roberto Devereux (Donizetti), Wiener Staatsoper

Elisabetta = Edita Gruberova
Nottingham = Renato Bruson
Sara = Enkelejda Shkosa
Roberto Devereux = Josep Bros
Lord Cecil = Cosmin Ifrim
Sir Gualtiero Raleigh = In-Sung Sim

Frédéric Chaslin, conductor



Where you there?
You should have been there...

Lucky me to be in Vienna and have a ticket to this performance, a perfect seat, and as it progressed it was the perfect opera evening.

Loved it from the beginning when then conductor (Frederic Chaslin) came and a wonderful ouverture was played. First the chorus and then Sara (Enkelejda Shkosa) sang her aria. How wonderful it was, difficult to top that, one could think, but when the Queen came, Elisabeth I (Edita Gruberova), one knew, it was going to be splendid. "Die Gruberova" sang with heart, head, soul and making this belcanto opera so real, everything she put in her voice was be more a real person. My hands and shoulders started to ache after the first burst of applauds. Divine, this Queen of Opera!

José Bros, the Catalan tenor (Josep Bros), had a real beautiful voice and appearance, and he did well in the different duets. As he played Roberto Devereux, the title role, he was really a man that one could understand all the fuss the women was making about him. The Duke of Nottingham (Renato Bruson) was naturally a great man for this role. This cast was really perfect.

In the end, it was so much applause, and naturally, Brava!, we were all going "slightly mad" over Gruberova et al.

Wiener Staatsoper
montag, 30. september 2002
21. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung

Roberto Devereux
Tragedia lirica in drei Akten von Salvatore Cammarano
Musik von Gaetano Donizetti

DirigentFrédéric Chaslin
Inszenierung Silviu Purcarete
Bühnenbild und
Kostüme Helmut Stürmer
Choreinstudierung Ernst Dunshirn
--

Ein Vertrauter Nottinghams Hiro Ijichi
Ein Page Hacik Bayvertian
..
Chor und Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper Bühnenorchester der Wiener Staatsoper

Diese Produktion wurde ermöglicht mit Unterstützung von
~ LEXUS

OD Travel + Photos

Thursday, September 29, 2016

1983/1984 Madama Butterfly (Puccini), Rådhusteatret (Kongsvinger)

1983/1984 Madama Butterfly (Puccini), Rådhusteatret (Kongsvinger)

Cho-Cho-San (Butterfly) = Anne Bolstad
Suzuki = Siv Sjöberg
B F Pinkerton = Ulf Björkegren
Sharpless = Stig Tysklind
Goro = Bo Johan Leinmark
Prince Yamadori = Lars Martinsson
Bonzo = Kurt Lantz
Kate Pinkerton = Sylvia Harvvell

Ole Wiggo Bang, conductor


Karlstads Teater
Regie - Britt-Marie Schott
Scenography - Bemd Schmigalla

As usual in Kongsvinger, my birth-city, the newspaper is slow to tell about cultural events, football is more important. But since Kongsvinger and Karlstad was friendship-cities we got to see Madama Butterfly with Norwegian soprano as Butterfly the rest, of course, were Swedish opera singers.


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 29, 2008: La Fanciulla del West, London

2008-09-29 La Fanciulla del West (Puccini), Royal Opera House, London

Minnie = Eva-Maria Westbroek
Dick Johnson (Ramirez) = José Cura
Jack Rance = Silvano Carroli
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

Another Fanciulla on Monday 2008-09-29. This performance also started at 19. And as ususal I started with a Pizza (Funghi) at Piazza Cafe, but this time I was inside the cafe and not sitting outside. Another great Pizza Funghi. Lovely.

And then it was opera time. This time I was careful to arrive in good time before the opera starts. Fewer JCx members this time. I got to see the whole opera in my wonderful seat in the orchestra stalls. The only time we get to applaud the conductor Antonio Pappano before the opera starts is before act 3. SO both act 1 and act 2 starts suddenly from blackness to lights and music.

The only difference from Friday 26 to Monday 29 is the singer that is Sheriff Jack Rance, Silvano Carroli, the original Rance from 1977. So 31 years after this production was first played he is back, he also sang in the same production in 1978, so this was also 30 years celebration. And in 1982 it was taped on video with Placido Domingo as Dick Johnson, Carol Neblett as Minnie and Silvano Carroli as Rance, conducted by Nello Santi.

So how was he compared with himself almost 3o years ago or compared to our other Rance, Claudio Sgura. He was much older and somewhat lacking in force especially in act 1, in act 2+3 he was better. Anyway the opera changes a bit when Jack Rance is young and dashing (Claudio Sgura) or if he is more of an old rogue (Silvano Carroli 2008). Comparing 1982 performance with 2008 is almost impossible, it is to compare younger, domineering to older, domineering.

Many said this was the best performance of Silvano Carroli and the cast. It was certainly musically good. After a long wait at the stage door we finally met Jose Cura and his family and Eva-Maria Westbroek. I did not see Silvano Carroli. José Cura was still there talking when I left for my hotel. After all I was going home the next day.

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 29, 2002: Carmen in Vienna

2002-09-29 Carmen (Bizet), Wiener Staatsoper

Carmen = Agnes Baltsa
Don José = Fabio Armiliato
Escamillo = Tom Fox
Micaëla = Ildiko Raimondi
Frasquita = Simina Ivan
Mercédès = Songmi Yang
Zuniga = Janosz Monarcha
Moralès = Yu Chen
Remendado = Helmut Wildhaber
Dancairo = Markus Nieminen
Lillas Pastia = Hacik Bayvertian

Vjekoslav Sutej, conductor



3 months ago I was on my first Carmen in Vienna with Agnes Baltsa as Carmen, I saw two in June (23 & 26), so I knew what to expect in a way. But I must say this was a much better show yesterday. For one thing, the conductor was great, and the orchestra played with an unusual warmth. The Chorus was also moving and acting better, especially the men had improved, the woman did need much improving, so they were great this time too.

Sutej, the conductor did not move much in, but he was always very clear about what he wanted from the orchestra. He know that the Wiener Philharmoniker is a great orchestra, so he knew when to let go, and when to be obvious to the musicians what he wanted, at which beat they should play. This time the trumpeter at the stage for the change of the guard, did no false notes. But there was some small incidents of unclear playing from one of two instruments, but I was not able to hear which one it was, but I think it was a wind-instrument.

The singers: Agnes Baltsa singing her CARMEN, her voice is no longer always perfect in the arias, especially was the Habanera showing that she had some difficulties. But Carmen is not about belcanto it is about a woman who can make men to her toys. She was beguiling and splendid, fascinating and a mystery. I do not regret coming to Vienna for another of her Carmen's. DON JOSE Fabio Armiliato was wonderful in singing and acting. Very truthful, and obviously he was a Don Jose that this Carmen liked, what a chemistry, he was under the Baltsa spell. MICAELA Ildiko Raimondi has a sweet and warm soprano voice, she was perfect as Micaela, maybe a traditional Micaela, but I liked her. ESCAMILLO Tom Fox, I could almost see in Baltsa's face a torment of listening to him singing the Toreador Song, well, it certainly was a torment for me. Baltsa is a professional, and did not go out of her role, but she really preferred Fabio to Tom. And then I must mention Frasquita and Mercedes, Simina Ivan and a stipendiate from Karajan Center, and it was the new Mercedes that impressed me very much, beautiful voice and perfect onstage. Yu Chen was a splendid Morales.

Wiener Staatsoper
sonntag, 29. september 2002
109.Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung

Carmen
Oper in vier Akten von Henri Meilhac und Ludovic Halévy nach einer Novelle von Prosper Mérimée
Musik von Georges Bizet

Dirigent Vjekoslav Sutej
Inszenierung und
Bühnenbild Franco Zeffirelli
KostümeLeo Bei
Choreographie Rafael de Cordova
Chorleitung Ernst Dunshirn
" .
Carmen Agnes Baltsa
Don JoséFabio Armiliato
Escamillo, ToreadorTom Fox*
Micaëla Ildiko Raimondi

Zigeunerinnen
Frasquita Simina Ivan
Mercédès Songmi Yang*A

Zuniga, Leutnant Janosz Monarcha
Moralès, Sergeant Yu Chen

Schmuggler
Remendado Helmut Wildhaber
Dancairo Markus Nieminen

Lillas Pastia Hacik Bayvertian
Tänze Rita Kommentisch
Rudolf Wächter
Christoph Wenzel
und das Corps de ballet

* Rollendebüt an der Wiener Staatsoper
A Stipendiatin des Herbert von Karajan Centrums

OD Travel + Photos

September 29, 1988: L'Elisir d'Amore, Oslo

1988-09-29 L'Elisir d'Amore (Donizetti), Den Norske Opera (Oslo)

Adina = Ingjerd Oda Mantor
Nemorino = Kjell Magnus Sandve
Belcore = Terje Stensvold
Dulcamara = Svein Carlsen
Gianetta = Inger-Lise Walseth

Antonio Pappano, conductor



It was a very enjoyable evening with Kjell Magnus Sandve as Nemorino, and Ingjerd Oda Mantor as Adina. Wonderful!

OD Travel

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September 28, 1989: Barbiere di Siviglia in Oslo

1989-09-20
General Rehearsal

Tuesday, September 28
DEN NORSKE OPERA
BARBEREN I SEVILLA (Il Barbiere di Siviglia)
by GIOACCHINO ROSSINI



1989-09-28 Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini), Den Norske Opera (Oslo)

Rosina = Itziar Martinez Galdos
Almaviva = Neill Archer
Figaro = Trond Halstein Moe
Bartolo = Enzo Florimo
Basilio = Johann Tilli
Berta = Torill Carlsen
Fiorillo = Ulf Øien

Carlo Felice Cillario, conductor

Loved Itziar Marinez Galdos and Torill Carlsen as Rosina and Berta

OD Travel

Monday, September 26, 2016

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.

ACT 1

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.)

ACT 2

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...

ACT 3

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
Stiffelio
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.

ACT 1

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.
STIFFELIO:
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)
LINA:
È grande la vost'anima,
Avrebbe perdonato.
(Lina si confonde)

STIFFELIO:
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)
STANKAR:
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.
STIFFELIO:
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.




ACT 2

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.


ACT 3
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)
LINA:
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 .

STIFFELIO:
Lasciatemi . . . lasciatemi . . .

LINA:
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)
STIFFELIO:
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.

LINA:
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!


ACT 3

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

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

LINA:
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.
STIFFELIO:
"Allor Gesù rivolto
Al popolo assembrato
Mostrò l'adultera
Ch'era a suoi piedi e così disse:

LINA:
(Oh, ciel!)


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

JORG:
Che parli?

LINA:
(E non finisce?)

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


LINA:
Gran Dio!

JORG:
Che fai, Stiffelio?

STIFFELIO:
"Perdonata, perdonata."

Iddio lo pronunziò.


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



LINA:
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".
GOD HAS SPOKEN

AT LAST FORGIVENESS.


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


BRAVI TUTTI!

Thank you Giuseppe Verdi and the librettist PIAVE.

OD Travel + Photos

Sunday, September 25, 2016

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)"

PAUSE
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) "

Chorus
"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




GEORGES BIZET :: CARMEN

Regie: Peter Beauvais
Scenography, constumes Pier Luigi Samaritani
1900-2300

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

Saturday, September 24, 2016

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

Friday, September 23, 2016

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
Premiere



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

Thursday, September 22, 2016

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

Herodiade
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



Program:

"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)

Pause

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

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

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

Extras
"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

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

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


IL BARBIERE IN SIVIGLIA. 19.30-22.15


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

September 20, 2001: Josep Carreras in Oslo

2001-09-20 Recital, Oslo Konserthus

Josep Carreras, tenor
Lorenzo Bavaj, piano



Josep Carreras, Oslo Konserthus
20.9.2001 19:30
Lorenzo Bavaj, piano
Konserthus-serien (Pdf)

Program:

"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)

Pause

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

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

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

Extras
"T'estimo" (Edvard Grieg)
"Coren'grato" (Cardillo)
"Aranjuez" (Rodrigo)


"T'estimo, Josep"
A Catalan-Norwegian love story in Oslo

I have never been in a concert before where the concert start on the dot. He came out to the stage, looking well and with Lorenzo Bavaj walking behind the tenor. A wonderful beginning with Vincenzo Bellini's "Dolente immagine". But to go directly to Costa from Bellini gave not the right feeling. Bavaj was as good as any orchestra when he accompanied the tenor in Costa's two pearls of medio quality. When going from Costa to Denza, especially in "Si tu m'aimes" the quality was up again, and a little down with "Vieni" although nobody could have given anything more to elevate these pieces up to Bellini's niveau, they were not ment to be elevated to such heights. Bavaj had a difficult task since the piano was not used to such high-quality performers, and its sound was always soft, no passion could be beaten out of it. When Tosti came be sung, it was again the highest class, the song of farewell was never so touching and "Non t'amo piú" came and was sending the listeners to the seventh heaven. There was true passion. But the last song was "Because", and personally and I regret this very much I did not so enjoy that. But then it was not the end, the second part would come after this.

Pause: I saw Bjørn Simonsen there, the chief of The Norwegian Opera (DNO).

Second part started with "Alfonsina y el Mar" . In the program it was saying Louie Ramirez was the composer, but it is Ariel Ramirez...? Well, splendid it was whichever composer. I loved it. And how wonderful to hear him sing Andaluza by Granados. Pure passion indeed. Leoncavallo's three jewels was another high delight. Toselli's Serenata, oh my heart, who would not fall in love at hearing this serenade, and sung like a god (probably the god called Amor), Rendine "Vurria..." and Musica Proibita by Gastaldon. Which of the latter three should I have chosen if I had to chose just one.

Surely, the people of Norway and Oslo was absolutely extactic that he had come. A happy audience, to hear and to our hearts delight he first encore was "T'estimo" by Edvard Grieg. Grieg, a Norwegian composer, national composer and in Carreras mother-tongue the Catalan, a magic encounter. And that Carreras would sing Coren'grato was like, we felt he was telling that he had had a special audience in us. And "Aranjuez" too, word cannot tell how happy and lucky we all felt.

Then, the end. The recital is over. Sad, and yet so many new and happy memories he gave us.

Oh, Señor Carreras, come back to Oslo soon!

T'estimo, Carreras! Jeg elsker dig!

OD Travel

September 20, 1990: Montserrat Caballe in Oslo

1990-09-20 Montserrat Caballe, Oslo Konserthus

Montserrat Caballe, soprano
Miguel Zanetti, piano
José de Udaeta, castagnettes



I was there, I have a programme. But where are my memories of it?

OD Travel

September 20, 1989: Barbiere di Siviglia in Oslo

1989-09-20 Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini), Den Norske Opera (Oslo)

Rosina = Itziar Martinez Galdos
Almaviva = Neill Archer
Figaro = Trond Halstein Moe
Bartolo = Enzo Florimo
Basilio = Johann Tilli
Berta = Torill Carlsen
Fiorillo = Ulf Øien

Carlo Felice Cillario, conductor



1989-09-20
General Rehearsal

Tuesday, September 28
DEN NORSKE OPERA
BARBEREN I SEVILLA (Il Barbiere di Siviglia)
by GIOACCHINO ROSSINI

OD Travel

Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19, 2003: Herodiade in Vienna

2003-09-19 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 = John Nuzzo

Jun Märkl, conductor



Wlener Staatsoper
Freitag, 19. september 2003
30. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung

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

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

., .
Tempeltänzerinnen und Schwerttänzer
Corps de ballet

Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper
Chor der Wiener Staatsoper

Balletteleven der Wiener Staatsoper Bühnenorchester der Wiener Staatsoper

Give this opera OMO color

This is the 3rd time I saw this opera in this production. Unfortunately the production just a little less then 10 years old is weary. The colors needed brightening up, some of the scenography definitely needed a new touch. But worst of all was the lack of timing and a director to strengthened the drama and give the tension the drama needed. A more traditional approach would have helped, especially the costumes.

If the conductor had not taking some seconds here and there, when it did not need it. It felt like patched up, like listening to an opera on a cd-player, who put 1 second air between each track.

Just tighten the drama, it is a very dramatic opera, French, yes, but it does have drama even if this an opera for the beautiful voices.

Luckily Jose Cura as Jean, not bothered by the production, he sang out, clear and ringing being the Prophet Jean. The opera rose up every time Jose Cura was there.

Agnes Baltsa as Herodiade was wonderful, but the partnership of Philippe Rouillon gave her no support. Her voice found her strength, her acting was perfect. And when with Phanuel (F. Furlanetto) and Salome (B. Haveman), her ability shone out. Wonderful in the ensembles.

Ferruccio Furlanetto as Phanuel was great, he was better in 1995, when Herodiade was almost new. But growing in stature all the time.

Barbara Haveman was great as Salome. Good in the beginning, fantastic in the end of the opera.

Philippe Rouillon as Herode, was a disappointment, his acting bad, even his voice was good enough.

Markus Nieminen as Vitellius was good in the ensemble and elsewhere. High Priest: Januszch Monarcha, a good voice.

The Voice, John Nuzzo, was not in a beautiful voice.

(This is only my opinion of the performances, not THE TRUTH, but my opinion at the time)

OD Travel + Photos

Sunday, September 18, 2016

September 18, 2013: Solistenkonzert Agnes Baltsa in Vienna

2013-09-18 Solistenkonzert Agnes Baltsa, Wiener Staatsoper

Agnes Baltsa, mezzo

Achilleas Wastor, piano

Mános Hadjidákis
Peribanou (Klavier solo)

Stavros Xarhákos
Áspri Méra ke ja mas (Es werden glücklichere Tage kommen, auch für uns)

Míkis Theodorákis
To tréno févgi stis ochtó (Der Zug fährt um acht ab)

Mános Hadjidákis
Óniro pedión tis gitoniás (Die Träume der Nachbarskinder)

Vassílis Tsitsánis
Horisam`ena dilino (Und eines Tages hatten wir uns auseinandergelebt)
Sinefiasmeni kiriaki (An einem regnerischen Sonntag)

Stavros Xarhákos
Stou Óthona ta hrónia (Zur Zeit von König Otto)
Háthike to fegári (Der verlorene Mond)

Vassílis Tsitsánis
Archóntissa (Meine Edelfrau)
Ta kavourákia (Die Krabben)

PAUSE

Míkis Theodorákis
Hartaetí (Drachensteigen)

Spíros Peristéris
Mes ston ondá enós Passá (Im Privatgemach eines Paschas)

Mános Hadjidákis
O tachitrómos péthane (Der junge Postbote starb)

Stavros Xarhákos
To praktorío (Die einsame Station)

Mános Hadjidákis
Nihterino (Nocturne)
Kalamatianos
Megali sousta (Klavier solo)

Stavros Xarhákos
Varkaróla (Barkarole)

Mános Hadjidákis
Páme mia wólto sto fégari (Spazieren wir zum Mond)

Stavros Xarhákos
Nin ke aí (Jetzt und für immer)

My week in Vienna ended with Greek songs with AGNES BALTSA. The same concert with the same extra numbers. She was wonderful. The pianist was not so wonderful but maybe that was the instrument.

Agnes Baltsa greeted her fans with a Signierstunde at the portier of the Bühneneingang. I got he signature but once again I left without knowing the name of the second and last extra. The first was Garifollo st afti, and is as sure as after an opera concert the extra will be Seguedilla from Carmen.

OperaDuets Travel & Photos
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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 18, 2005: Fanciulla del West in London

2005-09-18 La Fanciulla del West (Puccini), Royal Opera House, London

Minnie = Andrea Gruber
Dick Johnson (Ramirez) = José Cura
Jack Rance = Mark Delavan
Nick = Francis Egerton
Ashby = Robert Lloyd
Jake Wallace = Jonathan Lemalu
Sonora = Mark Stone
Bello = Grant Doyle
Happy = Jared Holt
Joe = Harry Nicoll
Larkens = Graeme Broadbent
Trin = Hubert Francis
Harry = Robert Murray
Sid = Adrian Clarke
José Castro = Jeremy White
Wowkle = Clare Shearer
Billy Jackrabbit = Graeme Danby

Antonio Pappano, conductor



La fanciulla del West

The Royal Opera 2005 - 2006

6:00 PM
18-Sep-05


Supported (2005) by The Jean Sainsbury Royal Opera House Fund

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Running time: 3 hrs 30 mins

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



My seat was better but the performance on Thursday was better I felt. This was just a nice Ch'ella mi creda where as Thursday had more passion. Mark Delavan was perhaps a bit better, but everything hung by a thread, nearly getting things right. The weak point of this production seem not to observe the details closely. More faithfulness to Belasco's play would have been a pluss. Minnie's portrait was not true the a real woman of the West, too much girlishness and to little of the pioneer woman, a woman who sleeps with her gun. Andrea Gruber should have been perfect, after all she has sung Turandot, not Liu.

After the opera, we waited for the stars to get out. Andrea Gruber I saw, but no photos did I take, she was walking fast, and when she stopped there was too many people between us. Harry Nicoll and the man who sang Nick, the same. But Mark Delavan and Robert Lloyd got photographed. Then Jose Cura came, his wife and his son Jose Ben was waiting for him. So Cura was invited behind the glass to sit and autograph and getting photographed. Of course we were plenty people there almost all with cameras.

OD Travel + Photos

Saturday, September 17, 2016

September 17, 2013: Otello in Vienna

2013-09-17 Otello (Verdi), Wiener Staatsoper

Otello = José Cura
Desdemona = Anja Harteros
Jago = Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Emilia = Monika Bohinec
Cassio = Marian Talaba
Rodrigo = Jinxu Xiahou
Lodovico = Alexandru Moisiu
Montano = Mihail Dogotari
Ein Herald =

Dan Ettinger, conductor

Director - Christine Mielitz
Stage-design - Christian Floeren

Costume-design - Christian Floeren

Siberian tiger and Anja Harteros (September 17, 2013)


2013-09-17 Otello (Verdi), Wiener Staatsoper
Otello = José Cura
Desdemona = Anja Harteros
Jago = Dmitri Hvorostovsky

Dan Ettinger, conductor



The Siberian tiger, that was too easy. Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone from Sibiria.

With the words Otello and Argentinian that was José Cura, tenor from Argentina. But why did I say mountain lion. Well, I really wanted to say lion but they do not live in Argentina, mountain lions do.  Anyway Otello is called the lion of Venice and onstage José Cura was often on four legs like a powerful predator.

Anja Harteros is Anja Harteros, the German soprano.

News!! I now saw that sometimes the chorus was in black and red. The red on the black as red as blood. Other news sometimes the video showed clouds and not the raging sea, some times one could see something else and sometimes it was just black as nothing.

It really did not make much sense and it was boring. Boring color changes. The singing was glorious. Everybody deserved a much better production.  BIG NEWS! José Cura was well and in good humour. The nicest tenor ever!!

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

Friday, September 16, 2016

September 16, 2013: Carmen in Vienna

2013-09-16 Carmen (G. Bizet), Wiener Staatsoper

Carmen = Rinat Shaham
Don José = Roberto Alagna
Escamillo = Laurent Naouri
Micaëla = Anita Hartig
Zuniga = Jongmin Park
Moralès = Gabriel Bermúdez
Dancairo = Mihail Dogotari
Remendado = Sebastian Kohlhepp
Frasquita = Hila Fahima
Mercédès = Juliette Mars

Dan Ettinger, conductor

Inszenierung und Bühnenbild - Franco Zeffirelli

Kostüme - Leo Bei


2013-09-16 Carmen (Bizet), Wiener Staatsoper
Carnen = Rinat Shaham
Don José = Roberto Alagna
Escamillo = Laurent Naouri
Micaela = Anita Hartig

Dan Ettinger, conductor

I would have loved the ticket to be cheaper. But how can one regret PERFECTION. It started with the most perfect Prelude. I have never enjoyed the Prelude of Carmen just like it was on September 16, 2013. DAN ETTINGER was the conductor. And Dan with his crazy hair made my day with that piece. I never thought it would be possible but my Dream Carmen Prelude came through. Other conductors just annoyed me from their first beat of the Prelude. This was a Dream. The wonderful conductor with this wonderful orchestra. The crisp, clear sound of orchestra and one sound that just continued to amaze, Dan Ettinger made CARMEN sound new and fresh. And that is just impossible, after all This is Carmen!!!!

This time even where the dialogue was cut it was cut in a way that only works in the advantage of the drama. That is rare. I did not expect to like Roberto Alagna a lot but he was perfection. The perfect Don José and with Rinat Shaham so very close to the perfect Carmen. But with Rinat Shaham that is just nitpicking. I loved Anita Hartig as Micaela, but I want to see her in bigger roles like Marguerite in Faust. And while I am in an Alagna rush with Roberto Alagna as her Faust. Laurent Naouri was also great, how great is hard to say with a smallish role as Escamillo.


Even as it rained hard when the opera ended I was surprised so few waited for the Great Roberto Alagna. But that made my waiting short and my back pain managable. He came out with his girl friend. So that was a 2 for 1 moment.

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

Thursday, September 15, 2016

September 15, 2013: Tosca in Vienna

2013-09-15 Tosca (Puccini),  Wiener Staatsoper

Floria Tosca = Angela Gheorghiu
Mario Cavaradossi = Marcelo Álvarez
Baron Scarpia = Zeljko Lucic
Cesare Angelotti = Janusz Monarcha
Der Mesner = Alfred Šramek
Spoletta = Benedikt Kobel
Sciarrone = Marcus Pelz
Ein Schließer = Alexandru Moisiuc

Marco Armiliato, conductor

Inszeniering - Margarethe Wallmann

Bühnenbild und Kostüme - Nicola Benois


2013-09-15 TOSCA (Puccini), Wiener Staatsoper
Tosca = Angela Gheorghiu
Cavaradossi = Marcelo Alvarez
Scarpia = Zeljko Lucic

Conductor Marco Armiliato.


And a happy opera night it was. The production was TOSCA and no nonsense here. Marcelo Alvarez was a great Cavaradossi. He had a wonderful E lucevan le stelle. Angela Gheorghiu´s best moment was Vissi d arte and the last act. Zeljko Lucic was too mellow, strange since he is such a powerful Jago.

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

September 15, 2013: Konzertmatinee Josep Carreras in Vienna

2013-09-15 Konzertmatinee Jose Carreras, Wiener Staatsoper

Josep Carreras, tenor
Anita Hartig, soprano
Margarita Gritskova, mezzo
Adam Plachetka, baritone

David Gimenez, conductor
Orchester der Sommerakademie der Wiener Philharmoniker


PROGRAMM

La gazza ladra – Overture | Gioachino Rossini

Te voglio bene assaje | Gaetano Donizetti
José Carreras

Nel giardin’ sotto il tiglio | Franz Schreker
José Carreras

Il barbiere di Siviglia – Una voce poco fa | Gioachino Rossini
Margarita Gritskova

Don Giovanni - La ci darem la mano | Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Anita Hartig, Adam Plachetka

Le nozze di Figaro – Vedrò, mentr’io sospiro | Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Adam Plachetka

Terra e mare | Giacomo Puccini
José Carreras

Sole e amore | Giacomo Puccini
José Carreras

Faust – Oh Dieu que de bijoux | Charles Gounod
Anita Hartig

Je te veux | Erik Satie
José Carreras, Anita Hartig

T’estimo | Edvard Grieg
José Carreras

Pause

El eco de tu voz | Isaac Albéniz
José Carreras

La Linda Tapada – Canción del gitano | Francisco Alonso
José Carreras

Les filles de Cadix | Léo Delibes
Anita Hartig

Sogno | Francesco P. Tosti
Adam Plachetka

Pecchè | Francesco Pennino
José Carreras

Vierno | Vincenzo Acampora
José Carreras

Carmen – Seguidille | Georges Bizet
Margarita Gritskova

El Dúo de la Africana – Dúo y Jota | Manuel F. Caballero
José Carreras, Anita Hartig

Core n’grato | Salvatore Cardillo
José Carreras

2013-09-15 Carreras and friends in Wiener Staatsoper.

Of course the MatinéKonzert with Josep Carreras and Friends was something different than Otello with  José Cura. For 6 Euro what can you get? Balcony seat high, high up where you cannot see the whole "stage". Tragically I was on the wrong side. This time left was wrong. I could only see Carreras by leaning out. So I sat and saw him seldom. But I could hear. It was a wonderful concert and I hope it brought a lot of money for the Carreras foundation to fight Leukemia. www.fcarreras.org

That was 11 to 1330 and then I waited for Carreras, And then I gave it up. But I did get photo of the conductor David Gimenez Carreras.

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

September 15, 2005: Fanciulla del West in London

2005-09-15 La Fanciulla del West (Puccini), Royal Opera House, London

Minnie = Andrea Gruber
Dick Johnson (Ramirez) = José Cura
Jack Rance = Mark Delavan
Nick = Francis Egerton
Ashby = Robert Lloyd
Jake Wallace = Jonathan Lemalu
Sonora = Mark Stone
Bello = Grant Doyle
Happy = Jared Holt
Joe = Harry Nicoll
Larkens = Graeme Broadbent
Trin = Hubert Francis
Harry = Robert Murray
Sid = Adrian Clarke
José Castro = Jeremy White
Wowkle = Clare Shearer
Billy Jackrabbit = Graeme Danby

Antonio Pappano, conductor



La fanciulla del West

The Royal Opera 2005 - 2006

7:00 PM
15-Sep-05

Supported (2005) by The Jean Sainsbury Royal Opera House Fund

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Running time: 3 hrs 30 mins

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



§ Jette Parker Young Artist

I liked the production but I think the Zurich production (2004) was superior. Anyway the tenor was the same as in Zurich, and Jose Cura did a wonderful job. He had improved and proved that the role of Dick Johnson alias Ramirez is probably the ideal opera role for Jose Cura at this time. Just as it used to be for Plácido Domingo in the 1980s.

Andrea Gruber was a wonderful Minnie, superbly acted but not always vocally on the top of things, but it was a mere minor detail. Worse was it that Mark Delevan as Sheriff Jack Rance was so weak, a bit better in act 2 and act 3 but nothing as the menace that Juan Pons gave this role in Zurich 2004./ Jonathan Lemalu as Jack Wallace was a disappointment. Francis Egerton as Nick was acting wonderfully and was in beautiful voice the whole evening. Mark Stone made an Ok Sonora. Robert Lloyd was making Ashby almost a good role to do. Harry Nicoll as Joe was something I have a hard time remembering anything of, so unlike Zurich 2004 where Joe was quite poignant. It was a great chorus moment though.

It was a wonderful opera night. It started raining again, and to make matters worse it was a "premiere" party and so we couldn't stand there and just wait for how many hours to maybe see Jose Cura appear. It was a bit cold too. So we just went home...

OD Travel + Photos

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

September 14, 2014: La Fanciulla del West in Vienna

2014-09-14 La Fanciulla del West (Puccini), Wiener Staatsoper

Minnie = Nina Stemme
Dick Johnson (Ramirez) José Cura
Jack Rance = Tomasz Konieczny
Nick = Carlos Osuna
Ashby = Alexandru Moisiuc
Jake Wallace = Gabriel Bermúdez
Sonora = Boaz Daniel
Bello = Tae-Joong Yang
Happy = Clemens Unterreiner
Joe = Benedikt Kobel
Jim Larkens = Marcus Pelz
Trin = Thomas Ebenstein
Harry = Peter Jelosits
Sid = Mihail Dogotari
José Castro = Gabriel Bermúdez
Wowkle = Ilseyar Khayrullova
Billy Jackrabbit = Il Hong
Postiglione = Jinxu Xiahou

Graeme Jenkins, conductor

Director  & Set design - Marco Arturo Marelli
Costumes - Dagmar Niefind
Lighting design - Marco Arturo Marelli


Of course you can update an opera. You just have to be careful about what that does to the story, the persons and their surroundings. It was not too bad but an update should give the opera a lift or something and that never happened. The only uplifting thing was the balloon. And the balloon ending did not make much sense. Did the director intend is as a laugh and so making it all a laughingstock?

Puccini's latest masterpiece, La Fanciulla del West, in Wiener Staatsoper was simply not played well enough to be take flight. A Spaghetti Western just like an opera is always best when played straight. Updated to the 1950s so we have electricity and Minnie comes to work in an overall. The first act just looked wrong and with the help of the orchestra and conductor it did not sound that good either. 

First act started with the otherwise fine conductor putting holes and airs where sound should have been and putting the wall of sound too high at other times. From the first phrase he was off the wrong horse. As the act progressed it became better. The chorus was a mess maybe because it was not so much a  chorus of choristers as a chorus of soloists. The blue overall made Minnie into a too boyish or mannish woman. It was not before act two that Nina Stemme was allowed to be a more attractive Minnie. The minor soloists never really came off as persons. Nick, Larkins and Ashby was the one could mark but not truly noticable. Sonora, who? Nina stemme was Nina Stemme more than Minnie. The gruff-voiced Sheriff Jack Rance was there. Then Jose Cura comes and we have an opera!! The tenor is here. So I start day-dreaming of Nina Stemme as Isolde and Jose Cura as Tristan. Of course, my day-dreaming was cause by Nina Stemme, the Wagnerian soprano. Jose Cura as Tristan ¿que idea? singing Tristans death scene!

The first acts ends with a lovely duet of Dick Johnson and Minnie. Best part until the rest of the opera. Then intermission. Only 1 pause because act 2+3 are played together.  

I love act 2. It was charming, it worked. Nina Stemme was most beautiful and Jose Cura the most handsome. Minnie is running so fast towards her first kiss that they both fell on the floor and then almost made out. So that was a bit over the top but maybe that is what Fanciulla needs. The wonderful tenor aria was marred by one unfortunate loud cough, but it was still divine. 

Act 3 I do not love. Usually I feel it drags on forever untill finally the tenor since the great act 3 aria which is really the highlight. Somehow this production never makes you feel that this is a manhunt out to get Ramerrez. And one does not fear for this man life so when Minnie comes to rescue him there is still no tension. Then off they go in a many coloured balloon. And that finally burst my balloon.

A  lovely ending that does not fit.  It was not awful but it was not great. 

OD Travel & Photos
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