Thursday, June 22, 2017

June 22, 2014: Der Fliegende Hollender in Oslo

2014-06-22 Der fliegende Holländer (Wagner), Den Norske Opera & Ballet (Oslo)

Hollenderen = Terje Stensvold 
Senta = Erika Sunnegårdh
Daland = Ketil Hugaas
Erik = Henrik Engelsviken
Mary = Tone Kummervold
Styrmannen = Marius Roth Christensen

John Helmer Fiore, conductor
Den Norske Opera & Ballet

REGI - Andreas Homoki
SCENOGRAFI - Wolfgang Gussmann
KOSTYMER - Wolfgang Gussmann
DRAMATURGI - Werner Hintze

LYSDESIGN - Franck Evin

I thought I would be so bored. This was Wagner after all. Opera with no intervals is just plain wrong. I have to admit I looked at my watch. First time I looked one hour had already passed. I thought I saw wrong numbers it was dark there. So this was working and with this regie and scenography it did not make sense to stop between acts.

Here one could have compassion with the Hollender because he care about Senta. When the H understand that Senta would probably suffer eternally he wants to stop the wedding. Senta has promised herself to Erik years ago but she is so much in love in the idea of the H. Erik loves Senta but he comes of more like a brute who has such self-pity. The H. is a man who has suffered a lot for his arrogance but his love for Senta makes him able to put Sentas life and happiness first, something Erik has not learned. Senta shows her "love" for the H. with sacrifising her life, she blows her brains out.

The Romantic Opera of Wagner. Where is the Romance really? Senta is not really the kind of woman one should aim to be. Daland, her father talks about her that she would be as pleasing and obidient to her husband as she is to Daland. Senta, my sweet child. But ever since she heard the story of the flying hollender she has been wild. So it was a great!!

After the opera and the applaus and the speech and flowers it was time to go home.

OD Travel & Photos
Original blog post

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

June 22, 2005: I Puritani in Berlin

2005-06-22 I Puritani (Bellini), Deutsche Oper Berlin

Lord Gualtiero = Piér Dalàs
Sir Giorgio = Arutjun Kotchinian
Lord Arturo Talbo = Joseph Calleja
Sir Riccardo Forth = Franco Vassallo
Sir Bruno Robertson = Yosep Kang
Enrichetta ´di Francia = Cheri Rose Katz
Elvira = Edita Gruberova

Frédéric Chaslin, conductor

22. Juni 2005
Musikalische Leitung Frédéric Chaslin
Beginn: 19.30 Uhr

Spieldauer: 3:00 Std.
1. Akt: 75 Min.
2./3. Akt: 75 Min.

Pause [ca. 30 Min.]
nach dem 1. Akt

Inszenierung John Dew
Bühne Heinz Balthes
Kostüme José Manuel Vasquez
Chöre Ulrich Paetzholdt

A disappointment!!

A more heavy-voiced Puritani than in Vienna. Arutjun Kotchinian was an impressive and deep-voiced Sir Giorgio. Franco Vassallo was a great Sir Riccardo Forth although his voice was in my opinion too heavy for the role. Still Vassallo was a virtuous singer but a lighter voice would have been even better.

Edita Gruberova is of course a great singer and actress but her high notes was too shrill this time. Joseph Calleja, a great tenor promises but now his high notes was shrill and no so enjoyable as in Vienna. In all it seem to be more heavy-handed Puritani in Berlin. And when the opera ends like it does with a totally unwanted murder at the end, Arturo is killed by Riccardo which make it a very depressing opera indeed. The two lovers are saved only to have Arturo killed by Riccardo. But here we saw Riccardo falling on his knees after killing his rival, at the end he too is totally desperate; the rival is killed that no relief only desperation remains for him.

After Puritani Gruberova had Signierstunde in the opera house. I never found out where then but still I just wanted to go to the train station Zoologischer Garten and wait for my train to Munich and later Berlin. A long day was over I had traveled from Norway to Germany (with another flight that scheduled because my plane had left ahead of plan). And a few minutes later than scheduled my train arrived and left Berlin for Munich.

OD Travel + Photos

June 22, 2002: Carmen in Zurich

2002-06-22 Carmen (G. Bizet), Opernhaus Zurich

Carmen = Luciana d'Intino
Micaela = Elena Prokina
Don José = Julian Gavin
Escamillo = Michele Pertusi
Frasquita = Martin Jankova
Mercedes = Irene Friedli
Zuniga = Jakob Will
Remendado = Martin Zysset
Dancairo = Peter Kalman
Morales = Valeriy Murga

Michel Plasson, conductor

I never thought I could get bored during a Carmen performance. The Prelude was fine, but then the curtain was raised, such a boring stage, and the people was all dressed in black. When I say people, I just mean the soldiers, there was no ordinary people on the stage (Drôle de gens). So it was just meaningless the "Sur la place". When Carmen, Luciana D'Intino, came into the stage, it lit up, not the stage, she was too dressed in black, but her presence was much needed to make this opera exciting. Micaela, Elena Prokina, was the only one that was not dressed in black. Unfortunately it didn't get better in the second act, so black and boring, the only excitement came from Luciana D'Intino. Julian Gavin was a OK Don Jose. Well, I forgot about Escamillo, Michele Pertusi, he was in black too, but one could see the silver from his black Matador-outfit. He was exciting. The only extraordinary thing in this Carmen production was the two dogs who came in the stage in the Entr'acte music, they was wonderful.

I LEFT THE OPERA in the middle, I never do that, but I longed for Vienna and Carmen in Vienna with Agnes Baltsa.

Bizet: CARMENd
Musikalische LeitungMICHEL PLASSON
RegiemitarbeitTINE BUYSE
LichtgestaltungFRANZ PETER DAVID




* Rollendebüt
Samstag, 22. Juni 2002PREMIERE, PREMIEREN-ABO A
Pause nach dem 2. Akt
Beginn: 19.00 Uhr, Ende: ca. 22.1 S Uhr
Musikalische Assistenz
Abendspielleitung und
RegiehospitanzPASCAL SCHMID
KostümassistenzJOHANNA BRONNER
Organisation und
Betreuung der KinderSUSY SIEGRIST
Die Hunde Pyros und Aisha wurden
von der Kantonspolizei Zürich zur VerfÛgung gestellt.

OD Travel

June 22, 2000: Lucia di Lammermoor in Vienna

2000-06-22 Lucia di Lammermoor (G. Donizetti), Wiener Staatsoper

Enrico = Franco Vassallo
Lucia = Edita Gruberova
Edgardo = Keith Ikaia-Purdy
Arturo = Torsten Kerl
Raimondo = Egils Silins
Alisa = Mihaela Ungureanu
Normanno = Tomislav Muzek

Marcello Viotti, conductor

Wiener Staatsoper
donnerstag,22. juni 2000
124. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung

Zum letzten Mal in dieser Spielzeit
Lucia di Lammermoor
Tragische Oper
Dichtung nach Walter Scott
von Salvatore Cammarano
Musik von Gaetano Donizetti

Musikalische Leitung / Marcello Viotti
Inszenierung / Boleslaw Barlog
Bühnenbild / Pantelis Dessyllas
Kostüme / Silvia Strahammer
Chorleitung / Ernst Dunshirn
Enrico (Lord Henry Ashton) Franco Vassalloo

Ort der Handlung
Schloß und Park von Ravenswood in Schottland
.Zeit Ende des 16 jahrhunderts

Orchester und Chor der Wiener Staatsoper

0 Debüt an der Wiener Staatsoper

It was the most wonderful evening in the opera. Amazing this woman, Gruberova!! I had to remind myself that she was not really so young as she seemed as Lucia. An actress, a wonderful voice! I loved the production. The other singers was good too, Edgardo and Lucia's brother. And because Neil Shicoff was not singing I got a splendid ticket and wonderful seat.

OD Travel

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June 21, 2015: Norma in Munich

2015-06-21 Norma (Bellini), Bayerische Staatsoper

Norma = Sondra Radvanovsky
Adalgisa = Ekaterina Gubanova
Clotilde = Golda Schultz
Pollione = Gregory Kunde
Flavio = Francesco Petrozzi
Oroveso = Mika Kares

Paolo Carignani, conductor

Inszenierung, Bühne und Kostüme, Lichtkonzept - Jürgen Rose
Choreographische Mitarbeit - Jo Siska 
Licht - Michael Bauer
Produktionsdramaturgie - Peter Heilker 

Chöre - Stellario Fagone

Finally, Norma! Live from Munich with Sondra Radvanovsky and Ekaterina Gubanova as Norma and Adalgisa.

First time to see this opera live for me. Sondra Radvanovsky, who I saw last time in London as Lina in Verdi's Stiffelio 8 years ago, has become NORMA in a very big way. She is there alongside with Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland and Montserrat Caballé. Ekaterina Gubanova, who I have loved ever since Oberto in Paris in 2011, was equally amazing as Adalgisa.

Gregory Kunde was Pollione instead an indisposed Massimo Giordano. He was Pollione with gusto but not my cup of tea, so to speak. Mika Kares was a wonderful Oroveso. Frnacesco Petrozzi was Flavio and I wanted more from him like he should be singing Pollione with his beautiful voice.

Golda Schultz did her job in the little and yet important part of Clotilde. Parolo Carignani conducted it all.

Two children played the roles of the children of Norma and Pollione. Poor children!! Innocent young boys with a mother who loves (and hates) them.  A father who in the end is more a lover than a father. I still wonder if Norma was the only to die (did she die?), was Adalgisa also killed, did the children really get a chance to live safely with Oroveso, or ... Did Pollione die (killed by the Druids)?

The music is divine but who can love Norma or Pollione. Adalgisa can, I cannot. But I can love Adalgisa and wish the children did get a chance of love from ever lovable Adalgisa.

OD Travel & Photos
Original blog post

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

June 21, 2000: Die Lustige Witwe in Vienna

2000-06-21 Die Lustige Witwe (F. Lehár), Wiener Staatsoper

Baron Mirko Zeta = Alfred Sramek
Valencienne = Birgid Steinberger
Hanna Glawari = Angela Denoke
Graf Danilo Danilowitsch = Bo Skovhus
Camille de Rosillon = Mathias Zachariassen
Vicomte Cascada = Hans Peter Kammerer
Raoul de St. Brioche = Peter Jelosits
Bogdanowitsch = Johannes Gisser
Sylviane = Maria Bierbaumer
Kromow = David Cale Johnson
Giga = Daniela Wagner
Pritschitsch = Johann Reinprecht
Praskowia = Gretchen Eder
Njegus = Fritz Muliar
Cancan-Solist = Christian Musil

Dietfried Bernet, conductor

Wiener Staatsoper
mittwoch. 21. juni 2000
24. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung

Die lustige Witwe
Operette in drei Akten von Victor Léon und Leo Stein
Musik von Franz Lehár

Musikalische Leitung / Dietfried Bernet
Inszenierung / Andrei Serban
Bühnenbild / Wilhelm Holzbaner
Kostüme / Wilhelm Holzbaner
Claudia Lukas
und Dialogregie / Fritz Muliar
Choreinstudierung / Ernst Dunshirn
Choreographie / Laurence Fanon
.., ..

Hanna Glawari / Angela Denoke*

* Rollendebüt an der Wiener Staatsoper

Wiener-operette in Staatsoper, sounded like fun, was boring. The Vilja-song was the bottom for me, the other part of the audience loved it.

OD Travel

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 20, 2009: Tosca in Berlin

2009-06-20 Tosca (Puccini), Deutsche Oper Berlin

Floria Tosca = Maria Guleghina
Mario Cavaradossi = Neil Shicoff
Baron Scarpia = Franz Grundheber
Cesare Angelotti = Krzysztof Szumanski
Der Mesner = Roland Schubert
Spoletta = Jörg Schörner
Sciarrone = Hyung-Wook Lee
Ein Schließer = Tomislav Lucic

Emmanuel Villaume, conductor

Tuesday I got the news from Parsifal's blog, that Angela Gheorghiu canceled her Tosca in Berlin, and that Maria Guleghina was singing instead. So I bought tickets to the opera and air ticket for the travel. I am so lucky that the price was reasonable at Norwegian Air. Because Angela Gheorghiu was supposed to sing the price was 118 Euro. Really 120 Euros.

So thanks to Parsifal's was I in Berlin to see an extraordinarily fine performance. Maria Guleghina is a fine actress. The perfect Tosca. Neil Shicoff sang the role of Mario Cavaradossi ardently. His voice sounded like always only a little bit grainier. His Recondita armonia and E lucevan le stelle was applauded very much. Maria Guleghina sang a wonderful Vissi d'arte. Franz Grundheber was an excellent Baron Scarpia. He used his age to his advantage. As many older opera singers who have learnt how to use everything to their advantage even their faults, Grundheber know all about how to project the character via voice and gestures...

The production was Tosca, plain and simple. Tosca in Rome in the right historical time. But isn't it time that the sagrestano lets go of the hunchback and being some kind of comic relief. Luckily Roland Schubert who sang this role had a great sonorous voice. Loved his voice. Cesare Angelotti was sung by Krzysztof Szumanski, also a bass, acted well together with Neil Shicoff. Of course, the opera only took on form and real life when Maria Guleghina came in. Wonderful duet followed. After the Tosca in Vienna (April 25, 2009) I was interested in how Sciarrone and Spoletta was in this production. From Vienna I recall the Sciarrone but not Spoletta. Here there was a different interaction between Sciarrone and Spoletta was different, more competitive. I liked Jörg Schörner as Spoletta and Hyung-Wook Lee as Sciarrone. And Tomislav Lucic was a sympatric jailor. A perfect TOSCA!!!!

Sat, 20.06.2009, 19:30 h
duration: 2 hrs 45 mins | 2 intervals

D Category: 35,- | 60,- | 85,- | 118,- Ticket online kaufen
[A service fee of Euro 2,- per ticket will be charged]

Giacomo Puccini
Melodramma in 3 acts
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica based on the drama LA TOSCA by Victorien Sardou
First performed on 14th January, 1900 in Rome
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 13th April, 1969

In Italian with German surtitles

Emmanuel Villaume

Boleslaw Barlog

stage-design, costume-design
Filippo Sanjust

William Spaulding

Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin

Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin

Knabe des Staats- und Domchores

Kinderchor der Deutschen Oper Berlin

OD Travel + Photos

Original blog post

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

June 20, 2000: L'Italiana in Algeri, Vienna

2000-06-20 L'Italiana in Algeri (G. Rossini), Wiener Staatsoper

Mustafà = Kristinn Sigmundsson
Elvira = Simina Ivan
Zulma = Stella Grigorian
Haly = Istvan Gati
Lindoro = Juan Diego Flórez
Isabella = Agnes Baltsa
Taddeo = Alfred Sramek

Marcello Viotti, conductor

Wiener Staatsoper
dienstag,20. juni 2000
44. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung

L' I taliana in AIgeri
Drama giocoso per musica in zwei Akten von Angelo Anelli
Musik von Gioachino Rossini

Musikalische Leitung Marcello Viotti
Nach einer Inszenierung
und in der Ausstattung von Jean-Pierre Ponnelle
Chorleitung Ernst Dunshirn
., .

Ort der Handlung" Algerien

Orchester und Chor der Wiener Staatsoper
Die Aufführung basiert auf Azio Corghis kritischer Ausgabe
der Fondazione Rossini Pesaro in Zusammenarbeit mit G Ricordi, SPA Milano

* Rollendebüt an der Wien er Staatsoper 0 Debüt an der Wiener Staatsoper

Wiener Staatsoper, L'Italiana in Algeri, Agnes Baltsa, Juan Diego Florez, Kristinn Sigmundsson
First time for me to see this opera in an operahouse. It was Jean Pierre Ponnelle's production. Agnes Baltsa was Isabella, Juan Diego Florez was Lindoro. Ruggero Raimondi was ill so Kristinn Sigmundsson was Mustafa instead. Simina Ivan as Elvira, Stella Grigorian as Zulma. Istvan Gati was Haly. Alfred Sramek was Taddeo.

The only disappointment was not seeing Ruggero Raimondi, my favorite bass. A wonderful comic opera with a great cast. Kristinn Sigmundsson was as burlesque as Mustafa should be. Simina Ivan was a complaintive Elvira, Mustafa's suffering wife. Wonderful voice! Stella Grigorian as Istvan Gati was always supporting the suspense. Juan Diego Florez, a small man with a great voice. And Isabella, Agnes Baltsa, was the highlight!!

OD Travel

June 20, 1984: La Traviata in Oslo

1984-06-20 La Traviata (Verdi), Den Norske Opera (Oslo)

Violetta Valery = Rita Lantieri
Flora Bervoix = Vessa Hanssen
Alfredo Germont = Caj Ehrstedt
Annina = Eva Solheim
George Germont = Knut Skram
Gaston, Vicomte de Letorieres = Tor Gilje
Barone Douphol = Stein-Arild Thorsen
Marchese d'Obigny = Oddbjørn Tennfjord
Dottor Grenvil = Eivind Bøksle
Giuseppe = Leif Sørensen

Zdenko Peharda, conductor

Wednesday 1984-06-20
Opera in 4 acts by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Fr. Maria Piave
Conductor: Zdenko Peharda
Regie: Jens Chr. Ek
Scenography: Madla Bruza
Coreography: Frederic Konrad

kl. 19.30- ca. 22.10

I saw La Traviata for the first time. Dottor Grenvil was sung by Eivind Bøksle, the man who nowadays always presents the operas whenever it is opera on Norwegian Radio.

OD Travel

Monday, June 19, 2017

June 19, 2011: Pagliacci in Zurich

2011-06-19 Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Opernhaus Zurich

Canio (Pagliaccio) = José Cura
Nedda (Colombina) = Myrtò Papatanasiu
Tonio (Taddeo) = Carlo Guelfi
Beppe (Arlecchino) = Boiko Zvetanov
Silvio = Gabriel Bermudez
Erster Bauer = Uwe Kosser
Zweiter Bauer = Christopher Hux

Daniele Callegari, conductor

Producer/production - Grischa Asagaroff
Set and costume design - Luigi Perego
Lighting - Hans-Rudolf Kunz
Choir rehearsal - Jürg Hämmerli
Choreography - Tetsu Taoshita

Unlike 2009 when the prologue with Carlo Guelfo was a disappointment I now enjoyed it. In 2009 the Italian soprano Fiorenza Cedolins sang the role of Nedda, now we had the Greek soprano Myrto Paptanasiu as Nedda. Now I could almost root for the unfaithful Nedda. Beppe was another role sung by another singer, instead of big Martin Zysset, a Swiss favorite, we had Boiko Zvetanov, the little, round tenor with  a Great Voice and personality that fitted his voice. He fitted right into the show.

Sloppily conducted by Daniele Callegari, the singers with Jose Cura (Canio) and Gabriel Bermudez (Silvio) as the routine tenors, it still was a great Pagliacci. I still don't like the blue in Pagliaccio's face, but that is minor.

OD Travel + Photos
CAV/PAG in Zurich 2011-06-19 (original blog post)

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

June 19, 2011: Cavalleria Rusticana in Zurich

2011-06-19 Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni),Opernhaus Zurich

Santuzza = Agnes Baltsa
Turiddu = José Cura
Alfio = Cheyne Davidson
Mamma Lucia = Cornelia Kallisch
Lola = Katharina Peetz

Daniele Callegari, conductor

Producer/production - Grischa Asagaroff
Set and costume design - Luigi Perego
Lighting - Hans-Rudolf Kunz
Choir rehearsal - Jürg Hämmerli
Choreography - Tetsu Taoshita

In 2009 it was Paoletta Marrocu who sang Santuzza. This production paints a detailed portrait of Santuzza and her surroundings. The acting was in fine detail. But now 2 years later the details are more fuzzy. Still Agnes Baltsa made a wonderful Santuzza. As the singer is now over 60 it is not suprising that she has lost something in her voice, it is no longer so agile. Much praise has been heeped on the young conductor Daniele Callegari but I found him lacking in looking after for the chorus and the soloists. That did not help Agnes Baltsa who still managed to act and sing a Santuzza that one cared for. Jose Cura as Turriddu was wonderfully played and sung. He came out as almost sympathetic this time. Lola was sung and acted by young Katharina Peetz, a delight as Lola just as her character is a really vamp of a woman. Cornelia Kallisch as Mamma Lucia was also great and a sympathetic character. Cheyne Davidson was like always a solid Alfio.

OD Travel + Photos
CAV/PAG in Zurich 2011-06-19 (original blog post)

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

June 19, 2002: Don Carlos in Dusseldorf

2002-06-19 Don Carlos (G. Verdi), Opernhaus Düsseldorf

Philippe II = Stephen Bronk
Don Carlos = Sergej Khomov
Rodrigue = Boris Statsenko
Le Grand Inquisiteur = Hermann Becht
Un Moine = Sami Luttinen
Elisabeth de Valois = Therese Waldner
La Princesse Eboli = Jeanne Piland
Thibault = Anke Krabbe
Une Voix d'en haut = Sylvia Hamvasi
La Comtesse d'Aremberg =
Sonja Behrendt
Le Comte de Lerme = Alexandru lonitza
Un Heraut royal = Marcelo Puente

John Fiore, conductor

Deutsche Oper am Rhein Mittwoch, 19. Juni 2002, 18.00 Uhr Opernhaus Düsseldorf
Giuseppe Verdi
Don Carlos
Grand opera in fünf Akten und acht Bildern Text von Joseph Mery und Camille Du Locle
In der französischen Originalsprache
Musikalische Leitung John Fiore
Inszenierung Christof Loy
Bühne und Kostüme Herbert Murauer
Licht Volker Weinhart
Chor Gerhard Michalski
Spielleitung Volker Böhm

Un Heraut royal. Marcelo Puente*
Deputes flamands .Thilo Dahlmann, Jong-Hwa Kim, Wolf-Hagen Latzei, Daniel Shay*, Jörn E. Werner*, Matthias Wippich
Moines .Thomas Boldt, Thomas Lässig, Iwa-Kyeom Kim,
Elimar Köster, Martin Krämer, Ortwin Rave
Bodyguards. Christian Bock, Stephan Brinkmann, Mario Fernandez, Santiago Mendez, Oliver Schnitzler, Klaus Pütz, John Werschy *Mitglieder des Opernstudios
Der Chor der Deutschen Oper am Rhein
Die Statisterie der Deutschen Oper am Rhein
Die Duisburger Philharmoniker
Bühnenmusik Franz Klee
Wir bitten das Publikum, den Zuschauerraum während der Pausen zu verlassen.

Don Carlos was sung in French, and they all sung well except the American bass Stephen Bronk who sung Escurial (but it is ESCORIAL). A wonderful tenor Sergej Khomow sang Don Carlos extremely well. And Boris Statsenko was incredible as Rodrigue, Marquis de Posa. Therese Waldner was wonderful as Elisabeth de Valois, and Jeanne Piland was absolutely magic as Princess Eboli. Of the three basses, Philippe II, Le Grand Inquisiteur and the Le Moine, it was Sami Luttinen as Le Moine who won the praise. Not that the two others were bad.

OD Travel

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 18, 2002: L'Italiana in Algeri, Dusseldorf

2002-06-18 L'Italiana in Algeri (G. Rossini), Opernhaus Düsseldorf

Mustafa = Oleg Bryjak
Elvira =.Elena Brilova
Zulma = Itziar Lesaka
Haly = Thorsten Grümbel
Lindoro = Antonis Koroneos
Isabella = Marta Marquez
Taddeo = Bruno Balmelli

Alexander Joel, conductor

Deutsche Oper am Rhein Dienstag, 18. Juni 2002, 19.30 Uhr Opernhaus Düsseldorf
Gioacchino Rossini
L 'italiana in Algeri
Dramma giocoso per musica in zwei Akten
Text von Angelo Anelli
In italienischer Sprache
Musikalische Leitung Alexander Joel
Inszenierung Christof Loy
Bühne und Kostüme Herbert Murauer
Licht Hanns-Joachim Haas
ChorGerhard Michalski
Spielleitung Volker Böhm

'Mitglied des Opernstudios
Der Herrenchor der Deutschen Oper am Rhein
Statisterie der Deutschen Oper am Rhein
Hasso und Bella. Santiago Mendez, Klaus Pütz
Die Düsseldorfer Symphoniker
Cembalo Motonori Kobayashi

This was a more modern production. The opera starts in a Turkish bath. And it is wonderful and perfect done all the opera and scenography. A great and manly Lindoro in this Greek tenor Antonis Koroneos and the Puerto Rican mezzo Marta Marquez was also perfect. They were all great. 6 stars.

OD Travel

Friday, June 16, 2017

June 16, 2002: Aida in Munich

2002-06-16 Aida (G. Verdi), Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich)

Aida = Norma Fantini
Radames = Dennis O'Neill
Amneris = Nadja Michael
Ramfis = Carlo Colombara
Amonasro = Alexandru Agache
Re d'Egitto = Gerhard Auer
Un messagero = Francesco Petrozzi
Sacerdotessa = Annegeer Stumphius

Zubin Mehta, conductor

Bayerische Staatsoper
Staatsintendant Sir Peter Jonas
Generalmusikdirektor Zubin Mehta
Sonntag, 16 Juni 2002
5" Abonnement Serie 26
In italienischer Sprache mit deutschen Übertiteln
Oper in vier Akten
Libretto von Antonio Ghislanzoni
Musik von
Giuseppe Verdi
Musikalische Leitung" Zubin Mehta
Inszenierung David Pountney
Bühne" Robert Israel
Kostüme Dunya Ramicova
Choreographie' Nils Christe
Licht' Mimi Jordan Sherin
.Chöre" Udo Mehrpohl

Ein MannChristian lanole
Eine FrauValentina Divina
Zwei FrauenSaskia van Bosch, Chantal Gagnebin
Zwei MännerVincent Loermans, Marc Mondelaers

Das Bayerische Staatsorchester
Der Chor und Extrachor der Bayerischen Staatsoper
Mitglieder des Bayerischen Staatsballetts (Ballettdirektor Ivan Liska)
Musikalische Assistenz' Massimiliano Murrali
Abendspielleitung: Markus Koch
Bühnenmusik: Gregor Raquet
Inspizienz' Nikolaus Ehlers, Holger Haase, Ruth Wieman
Souffleuse' Carmen Sylva Schileru
Lichtinspizienz' Hilde Harrer
Übertitel' Ingrid Zellner
Übertitel-lnspizienL Antonia Walther
Anfertigung der Bühnenausstattung und Kostüme in eigenen Werkstätten
@ G, Ricordi & Co" Mailand
Die Bayerische Staatsoper dankt Elfriede und Andreas Zäch und den Freunden des Nationaltheaters tür die großzügige Unterstützung der" Aida"-Produktion.
Nationaltheater München
Beginn 19.00 Uhr
Pause nach dem 2. Akt, ca. 30 Min. Ende ca. 22.10 Uhr

Zubin Mehta conducts. When the curtains go up, I see the scenography, and my heart sinks to the bottom, but Zubin is conducting, and the singers are excellent. They are all excellent. NADJA MICHAEL is a magnificent AMNERIS. What a great voice! Her slender body and big voice and a great actress too. NORMA FANTINI must be one of the best
AIDA's today, big voice. RAMFIS is also the best voice I have heard for long. Alexandru Agache is naturally a great baritone, but his pronunciation is not as clear as could have wished for. Dennis O´Neill is good as RADAMES, he looks like Pavarotti, but I still am not quite a fan of this Welsh tenor. Act 1 + 2 were together as one act, then 30 minutes pause, and then Act 3+4 together as one act. Luckily the
second half was much more to my liking as scenography. And wow, was there a great mezzo there in Nadja Michael, like in the duet with Radames in the fourth act, I have never heard it sung better. It was such a great performance, that even though it seem to ordinary to walk from the performance at minimum applause, people stayed on and
on. I was naturally one of the last to go.

Another 6 stars, the scenography gets only 3, 0 for act 1+2, 6 for act 3+4.

OD Travel + Photos

June 16, 2000: Sly in Barcelona

2000-06-16 Sly (E. Wolff-Ferrari), Gran Teatre de Liceu (Barcelona)

Sly = Josep Carreras
Dolly = Isabelle Kabatu
Westmoreland = Sherill Milnes
John Plake = Alessandro Guerzoni
The Hostess = Mireia Pinto

David Gimenez, conductor

What a great performance! Carreras had his son Alberto, daughter Julia, brother Alberto and Patricia in the audience. And his nephew, David Giménez was conducting Sly (as on the 13). And Marion and I chose different doors to wait for our start JOSEP. Some Carreras- fans was already waiting. And I saw them all, son, daughter, brother, Patricia, but not Giménez he went on the front of Liceu, I was on the sideway.

OD Travel

Thursday, June 15, 2017

June 15, 2002: L'Italiana in Algeri, Zurich

2002-06-15 L'Italiana in Algeri (G. Rossini), Opernhaus Zurich

Mustafa = Stefano Rinaldo Miliani
Elvira = Rosanna Savoia
Zulma = Judith Schmid
Ali = Rudolf A. Hartmann
Lindoro = Luigi Petroni
Isabella = Gloria Scalchi
Taddeo = Bruno De Simone

Theodor Guschlbauer, conductor

L'Italiana in Algeri

Bühnenbild und KostümeMAURO PAGANO

Pascha, ein AffeTIMO SCHLÜSSEL
Musikalische Assistenz
und AbendspielleitungULRICH SENN
Souffleur ADRIANO
Kritische Ausgabe der Fondazione Rossini Pesaro hg. von A. Corghi, in Zusammenarbeit
mit dem Verlag G. Ricordi & C.S.p.A., Mailand
Samstag, 15. Juni 2002Samstag-Abo
Pause nach dem 1. Akt (4. Bild)
Beginn:20.00 Uhr
Ende: ca. 22.45 Uhr

A new Mustafa, doing
his first in Zürich, was STEFANO RINALDO MILIANI.
ITALIANA IN ALGERI, Zürich 15.6.2002.

It was a truly beautiful production, wonderful scenography, and costumes. I was most impressed by the TADDEO, Bruno de Simone, a big voice and a great personality. ELVIRA, Rosanna Savoia, was really a magnificent voice. ZULMA, Judith Schmid, had a great voice too. And when you think that this is the smaller parts. The important ones, ISABELLA, Gloria Scalchi, the Italiana in the opera, was also impressing, a really great top in her voice, managing the fioritatura beautifully, being really a woman to which any man must fall on his feet for. LINDORO, Luigi Petroni, also had everything that one can wish for in this high tenor role, and also the physical height that so few tenor have, they tend to be rather small of stature. And in this production they had a monkey, a pet of the Bey Mustafa, and also his right arm so to speak. A tough role for any human, to be believable as a Monkey, physically the most demanding role here. ALI, another small role, Rudolf A. Hartmann did also very well. Stefano Rinaldo Miliani as Mustafa did not have the prominent voice that I think this role needs, but as a actor and driving the ensembles he was good.

I give this performance 6 stars for the excellence.

OD Travel + Photos

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 13, 2000: Sly in Barcelona

2000-06-13 Sly (E. Wolff-Ferrari), Gran Teatre de Liceu (Barcelona)

Sly = Josep Carreras
Dolly = Isabelle Kabatu
Westmoreland = Sherill Milnes
John Plake = Alessandro Guerzoni
The Hostess = Mireia Pinto

David Gimenez, conductor

It was the first time for me in his operahouse, Gran Teatre del Liceu. It was wonderful. Josep Carreras was great. Isabella Kabatu was a wonderful Dolly. Sherill Milnes was the Count, I liked Juan Pons much better in that role. Guerzoni was a sympathic and good-looking John Plake, good voice, but Carlos Chausson (Zurich) was greater. Mirea Pinto was the hostess, weak voice and that lack of that stage presence that made Stefania Kaluza so memorable in Zurich. I sat close to the stage and took no photos.

On June 13 and 16 I went to the Liceu to see this opera with José Carreras as Sly. Twice for really getting into this opera. Dig deeper... The same production as in Zurich, but another conductor, and the rest of singers except Carreras was the same. David Gimenez, the conductor, gave more beauty to the opera, a more subtle way of conducting. Isabelle Kabatu as Dolly was great, warner than Daniela Dessi. I had seen Kabatu earlier as Dolly in Zurich 2000 (May 17th) and that told me that Barcelona Zurich was worth seeing twice. Josep Carreras was even better, and June 16 was the best performance. Sherrill Milnes was not as great as Juan Pons as Westmoreland. Only David Gimenez, Isabelle Kabatu and Josep Carreras was better than Zurich 1998.

OD Travel

Monday, June 12, 2017

June 12, 2002: La Juive in Vienna

2002-06-12 La Juive (Halèvy), Wiener Staatsoper

Eléazar = Francisco Casanova
Rachel = Soile Isokoski
Prinzessin Eudoxie = Simina Ivan
Kardinal Brogni = Walter Pink
Léopold = Jianyi Zhang
Ruggiero = Markus Nieminen
Albert = In-Sung Sim

Vjekoslav Sutej, conductor

Wiener Staatsoper
mittwoch, 12. juni 2002
19. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung

La Juive
Oper in fünf Akten
Textbuch von Eugène Scribe
Musik von Fromental Halévy
Musikalische LeitungVjekoslav Sutej
Inszenierung Günter Krämer
Bühnenbild und
Kostüme Gottfried Pilz und
Isabel Ines Glathar
Choreinstudierung Ernst Dunshirn

1 Bürger Hacik Bayvertian
2 Bürger Hiro Ijichi
Offizier Martin Müller
Orchester und Chor der Wiener Staatsoper Bühnenorchester der Wiener Staatsoper
Eleven der Ballettschule der Wiener Staatsoper
" Stipendiat des Herbert von Karajan Centrums

"Gestern in der Oper" (Yesterday in the opera) so begins many tales
from Vienna. And this one too, La Juive by Fromental Halevy in Vienna State Opera, a grand opera in 5 acts. In Vienna it was divided into three parts, Act 1, then first break, Act 2+3 together, second break, and Act 4+5 together.

It started at 19 hours. In McDonalds there is Korea-woche (because of Fotball WC Korea Japan), and in the operahouse certainly had its Asian flour. Leopold was sung by Jianyi Zhang (from Shanghai), Albert by In-Sung Sim and 2nd citizen by Hiro Ijichi. And they were all doing it very well. Especially did I like Albert, and missed him in the lineup after the whole opera. A splendid voice and appearance. Leopold in Jianyi Zhang was a pain to listen to in the aria "Loin de sa amie", but that is a high note aria that few tenors of today manage, luckily this was the only place in the opera that he seemed lacking, his acting and singing and overall performance was indeed great.

Now, to start with the 1rst act:
I was nolonger surprised by the production since I have seen it before in November 12th, 1999 with Neil Shicoff, Soile Isokoski, Zoran Todorovich and Regina Schörg and Alastair Miles.

Leopold is recognized by Albert, L is disguised as a Jew. Here I noticed the beautiful voice of the evening's Albert (In-Sung Sim). Then the mayor of the city, Ruggiero (Markus Nieminen) declare it to be a festive day with the help of Albert. In the evening the went, I still found Markus Nieminen lacking as Ruggiere. Then the first look of the evening's Eleazar in the guise of Francisco Casanova. Certainly he looked different from the slim Neil Shicoff, this very big, but most of all fat tenor. But when thinking of the role of Eleazar, the rich gold-smith, was is not natural that he would look so well-fed, yes, so in this role, is was perfect. Soile Isokoski as Rachel, the Jewess of the opera, looked as perfect and sang and acted as perfectly as before. Now Eleazar, the fat and rich Jew is as always provoking to the Christians in the city, especially Ruggiero who leaps at the possibility to strike on the Jews. Then the Cardinal Brogni, in the magnificent statue of Walter Fink, appeared. I
remember in 1999 when Alastair Miles was Brogni, he was not half the man/voice of Walter Fink. Ruggiero has condemned Eleazar and Rachel to death, and Brogni saves them. What a magnificence in the wonderful "Si la rigeur et la vengence". What a bass.

Then after all this, Leopold sings his "Loin de sa amie", unfortunately I cannot praise that aria. But I must admire the guts of singing such a difficult aria right in front of the Vienna State audience. I think the audience in knowing the difficult notes in this aria, was sympathetic to his effort. Then it was the duet with Rachel. Beautiful sung and acted. Then the scene changes, it is a feast, the crowd is gathering, again Eleazar goes right into the crowd, Rachel tries to help her father getting a good place at the same time not to provoke the crowd. When Ruggiero sees them near the church, he instills in the crowd they hatred and wishes to drown them in the sea ("Sur le lac"). Leopold, still dressed as Samuel, the Jew that Rachel thinks she loves, sees Rachel in this great distress, and tries to save her, without Albert seeing Leopold, this could have gone badly also for Leopold, something a Prince of the Empire would not be aware. The crowd and Rachel are surprised to see that the Christians obeys a Jew (Leopold, the disguised Prince of th Empire).

In Eleazar house, the ceremony of Passover. "O Dieu, de nos pères, parmi nous decends". Wonderful sung by Francisco Casanova. Leopold is there as Samuel, but Rachel sees him throw away the sacred bread. Then the ceremony is halted, Eudoxie (the wife of Leopold, and daughter of the Emperor) comes to ask for a precious gold piece that she want to give to her husband, since he is celebrated as the conqueror of the Hussites. Eudoxio sung by Simina Ivan, she is doing her role and singing it very well, in the ensembles and duets she seem a little weak. Then the ceremony gets to its original end, Leopold is troubled by the hearing of Eudoxio, Rachel worried about who is Samuel. Rachel sings the wonderful aria "Il va venir", and it is really wonderful to listen to. Then Leopold comes back, he confesses that he is a Christian. Rachel is taken aback. Then he tries to make her go away with him to live in some deserted place, where nobody ask of religion. She still doesn't know that he is not only Christian, he is married, too. He convinces her, they are on their way, Eleazar appear. Great trio!!! If you were not a Jew, I would have killed you by now, says Eleazar. Hit me, I am a Christian, says Leopold. Then Rachel intercedes, she want that Leopold (Samuel) converts to Judaism, and then be her husband. Eleazar, confronted with Rachels sorrow, agrees. But Leopold, says, no. Rachel is heart-broken, Eleazar furious, Leopold runs away.

Eudoxie sings of the joy that her husband is back, it is a festive dinner with Cardinal Brogni, Ruggiero and Leopold and other important people present. Eleazar comes with the gold necklace for Eudoxie to give her husband, Leopold. When Eudoxie presents the gift to her husband Rachel and Eleazar recognize him as Samuel, the traitor. Rachel leaps up, and pronounces Leopold a traitor to God's law since he, a Christian, have been together with her, a Jewess. Eleazar provokes Brogni when is say is the law not for the Christians. Brogni reacts with an Anathema for all the three, Leopold, Rachel and Eleazar. All shall react with fear of touching these three, no burial nor prayers will be said at their death.


First Eudoxie meets Rachel in the prison, to plead for the life of Leopold, her husband. A wonderful duet, but unfortunately the voice of this Eudoxie, Simina Ivan, is in my opinion to weak for the duet to be as powerful as it should feel. Then Cardinal Brogni want to know of Rachel if she can prevent this terrible blow to fall unto Leopold, and also unto Rachel. He have great compassion with Rachel, but she will only save Leopold, for herself she longs to die. Brogni has one hope left to save Rachel, her father Eleazar. And then there is the big duet between the Cardinal and Eleazar. Eleazar will not become a Christian and thus save Rachel. He can tell Brogni, that B did not loose all in the terrible fire in Rome which B think killed both his wife and child. The child, a girl, is alive and Eleazar know the name of the Jew that saved her. Eleazar's revenge on Brogni for killing his sons in Rome and banishing E from Rome, will be taking the secret with him when he dies. Brogni begs of mercy, but Eleazar is not for mercy.

After these great duets, comes Eleazar's great aria "Va, prononcer ma mort"- "Rachel, quand du Seigneur". The revenge of Eleazar will mean the death of Rachel, who is really Brogni's daughter, fostered up by Eleazar as his own. Compassion and hatred rages in Eleazar's heart.

Act 5.
To his surprise, Eleazar's hears that only Rachel and himself will die. A believable witness has pronounced Leopold innocent. Who was the witness?? RACHEL. The execution are about to begin, Brogni pleads with Eleazar, Eleazar halts the execution. He asks Rachel, do you want to live, without him but in the supreme palaces. Rachel says no, la flamme etincelle. Brogni, where is my daughter?. Eleazar, there she is, in that moment Rachel is executed and Eleazar walks proudly to his death.

WOW! that is a great opera, n'est pas?

OD Travel + Photos

Saturday, June 10, 2017

June 10, 2015: Simon Boccanegra in Hamburg

2015-06-10 Simon Boccanegra (Verdi), Hamburgische Staatsoper

Simon Boccanegra = George Gagnidze
Maria Boccanegra (Amelia) = Barbara Frittoli
Jacopo Fiesco = John Tomlinson
Gabriele Adorno = Giuseppe Filianoti
Paolo Albiani = Robert Bork
Pietro = Alin Anca
Un Capitano dei Balestrieri = Daniel Todd
Un' Ancella di Amelia = Anat Edri

Simone Young, conductor
Philharmoniker Hamburg
Chor der Hamburgischen Staatsoper

LICHT: Wolfgang Göbbel

CHOR: Florian Csizmadia 

How are we supposed to understand this opera in this production? Modern costumes but it is not an update really. The people are not modern. We are in Genua at the time of Boccanegra. At the prelude is Simon Boccanegra dead by poison surrounded by his daughter and her husband Gabriele Adorno. And the we go back in time to the Prologue where Simone will become Doge and his Maria is dead...

It is a hard role to play Simon Boccanegra. This time even harder since the director wants us to see it as though Simon is just reliving it with a double playing his part. The double do most of his acting in the room that we are to think is the mirror. In the end the second Boccanegra double is needed too. The singer has to react as though the other person is there in his mind, while the double is the one acting with the other singers. There is an opening in the ceiling for the comet to come clashing down. First we have a whole (prologue), then we the stone in the whole, then half to the floor and in the scene where Boccanegra dies, the stone is on the floor (disaster has struck).

In all the other versions of this opera, Maria Fiesco is in her father's palace, she is sick and in the end dying. Here she is a mother desperate for her child but her father caring is suffocating for her so she escapes her prison by suicide just before her lover coulf rescue her. Fiesco is not a benevolent father here, he is seriously misguided in his "love". Maria, the ghost, lives on. She is on stage, too.

Interaction in this production is often more symbolic than realistic. But all the singers and acters do well. John Tomlinson was Fiesco using his own age also as acting and singing well. George Gagnidze was amazing as Boccanegra. Barbara Frittoli was a great Amelia. Giuseppe Filanoti was a wonderful Gabriele Adorno. And so on.

Simone Young conducted.

Bravi, tutti!

OD Travel & Photos
Original blog post

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June 10, 2011: Il Corsaro in Dortmund

2011-06-10 Il Corsaro (Verdi), Konzerthaus Dortmund

Medora = Elena Mosuc
Gulnara = Maria Guleghina
Corrado = Zvetan Michailov
Seid = Sebastian Catana
Giovanni = Adrian Sampetrean
Selimo / Un Eunuco Negro / Schiavo = Florian Simson

Carlo Montanaro, conductor

Chor der staatlichen Musikakademie Minsk, WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln

Il corsaro

Maria Guleghina (Gulnara), Elena Mosuc (Medora), Giuseppe Varano (Corrado), Sebastian Catana (Seid), Adrian Sampetrean (Giovanni), Chor der staatlichen Musikakademie Minsk, WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln, Carlo Montanaro (Dirigent)

WDR Köln

Maria Guleghina and Elena Mosuc impressed in Dortmund. Zvetan Michailov substituted for Giuseppe Varano.

The conductor Carlo Montanaro made the WDR radio orchestra play with love this vigorous music of Young Verdi. One could see how the orchestra members really enjoyed themselves. The smaller roles Seid (Sebastian Catana), Giovanni (Adrian Sampetrean), Selimo / Un Eunuco Negro / Schiavo (Florian Simson) was sung and acted brilliantly.

The older Bulgarian tenor Zvetan Michailov sang, not the younger Italian tenor Giuseppe Varano. To see Michailov sing was like you were in a recording studio. He looked at the notes and used his arms to force music out in the right moments. His voice was always a bit special, a dry voice and also a voice that you not easily would believe another tenor to be master of. His acting was more a singer struggling for perfection than acting as Corrado. I have a DVD with Michailov as Corrado from Parma opera. He was older now, but still a good Corrado.

Then it was Elena Mosuc. Elena Mosuc was a super delicate Medora. This was another mannerism than Zvetanov. Where Zvetanov went deep to find voice and a perfect attack to the notes, Elena Mosuc went deep into herself to find the intepretetative depth for Medora.

Finally it was Maria Guleghina as Gulnara. The dramatic powerhouse of a diva. She played two roles: one as Maria Guleghina DIVA, another as Gulnara, the favorite slave of Pascha Seid. In an newspaper it was commented that this duality was a little bit ironic but I believe that Maria Guleghina was completely aware of this and played that game also. A powerhouse as Gulnara, yes, that is the right approach. Gulnara is maybe a slave but she is still not subdued. She can stand on her own feet against the powerful pascha. She is fierce, just like Maria Guleghina's voice and appearance. No helpless heroine like Medora but as powerful as Corrado. In a way she got more guts and intelligence than Corrado. She takes her oppurtunities. No need to fear that Gulnara will choose death and not life after the death of Medora and Corrado.

It was Maria Guleghina and Elena Mosuc who won. BRAVA, Maria! BRAVA, Elena! So different and both so perfect in each of their roles.

After 2 speeches Verdi's opera Corsaro was played. Zwetan Michailow was singing Corrado in stead of the original tenor who was sick, I guess. He did a fine job. But it was the women that ruled. Elena Mosuc was sensational and so was Maria Guleghina. Then men was fine but Elena Mosuc and Maria Guleghina was in another stratosphere. The conductor was also great. He made the orchestra play with a singular clarity and put forward all the wonders that lays in this score. The orchestra members seemed to love playing this music, one could almost look at then to see that to they had taken the music to their heart. The chorus was young and clear.

Now if only this had been staged too.

Brava, Maria! Brava, Elena!

OD Travel + Photos
First impression from Dortmund and IL CORSARO (Original blog post)

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June 10, 2002: Lucia di Lammermoor in Vienna

2002-06-10 Lucia di Lammermoor (G. Donizetti), Wiener Staatsoper

Enrico = Manuel Lanza
Lucia = Stefania Bonfadelli
Edgardo = Tito Beltran
Arturo = John Nuzzo
Raimondo = Dan Paul Dumitrescn
Alisa = Florina Carmen
Normanno = Cosmin Ifrim

Frédéric Chaslin, conductor

Wiener Staatsoper
montag, 10. juni 2002
129. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung

Lucia di Lammermoor
Tragische Oper
Dichtung nach Walter Scott
von Salvatore Cammarano
Musik von Gaetano Donizetti

Musikalische Leitung Frédéric Chaslin
Inszenierung Boleslaw Barlog
Bühnenbild Pantelis Dessyllas
KostümeSilvia Strahammer
Chorleitung Ernst Dunshirn

Ort der Handlung Schloß und Park von Ravenswood in Schottland Zeit Ende des 16 Jahrhunderts
Orchester und Chor der Wiener Staatsoper
" Stipendiat des Herbert von Karajan Centrums

Stefania Bonfadelli as LUCIA

Last time I saw it in Vienna State Opera was with Edita Gruberova as Lucia, she was just amazing: vocally and acting and in seeming so young. This time with a young soprano, wonderful voice and acting skills. Was Bonfadelli better then Gruberova? Different, but not better. The balance was better in Gruberova´ performance, in a mad scene that was not so exaggerated, but more chilling because of that. And in the beginning of the opera, when she tells of the ghost she saw and her love of Edgardo, much more adorable and winning and the young soprano. The duet with her brother, much better acting and singing. My heart did not beat so much for this Lucia, even though she has a very rich soprano voice, a fullbodied voice, and yet the top notes was sometimes a rather unpleasant shock.

Tito Beltran, was a really wonderful Edgardo, youthful and shining. Getting better all through the evening. The last scene really was a shower of tears for me. So emotional, hard not to start crying for real.

What could have made this evening better: a better Enrico. Manuel Lanza was weak this evening. Even the showstoppers that Enrico have was not a highlight. It was impossible for Stefania Bonfadelli to be better in the scene Lucia/Enrico, because of her weak partner. And in the Wolfrag-scene between Edgardo/Enrico, without a strong partner it was not possible to make this a real highlight, even for TITO BELTRAN

OD Travel

June 10, 2000: Samson et Dalila in Zurich

2000-06-10 Samson et Dalila (C. Saint-Saëns), Opernhaus Zurich

Dalila = Agnes Baltsa
Samson = José Cura
Le Grand-Prêtre de Dagon = Giorgio Zancanaro
Abimelech = Guido Götzen
Un vieillard hebreu = Giuseppe Scorsin
Un messager philistin = Matthias Aeberhard
Premier philistin = Miroslav Christoff
Second philistin = Werner Gröschel
Un enfant = Joêl Bourgeois

Jacques Delacôte, conductor

Samson et Dalila with Jose Cura, Agnes Baltsa & Giorgio Zancanaro

It is the same production that I saw in 1996 with Carreras as Samson, Baltsa as Dalila, and Giorgio Zancanaro as Grand Pretre de Dagon. And naturally I wondered about how would Cura do against the comparison of Carreras. Already as we first see Cura, difference is great. Cura is coming, the muscle-man, trying to convince the people as with force. When Carreras came, it was the as a prophete, a Man of God, with spiritual means to convince the people. Samson was a womanizer (read the Bible) so Cura is doing it right in act 1 when Dalila is singing and he is trying to look at all the women on the stage. Carreras (Samson) saw only Dalila (Baltsa).

Act 2
The excitement was greater in 1996 (maybe it was age, maybe not). Jose Cura and Agnes Baltsa in the seduction scene, the magnetism was not working... Carreras/Baltsa in 1996 was magic.

Act 3
"Vois ma misere". Jose Cura was too physically strong to make justice to this scene. Carreras, on the other hand, was heartbroken and the audience felt it, it was making me cry. Cura sang well, but I was indifferent. Cura was almost tossing the boy around on the stage, when a boy guides the blinded Samson. One never felt that this Samson had lost any strength. With Carreras we all knew it was God's hand that destroyed the Hall with all the Philistines and Samson and Dalila.

The same production as 1996 and Agnes Baltsa is older, but it was great enjoyment. My personal view of Samson makes Jose Carreras my favorite Samson, but I admit that Jose Cura is not bad. (I like Carreras' more spiritual Samson, Cura was more the physical strong Samson), One witness a near operatic disaster in Act 1, Cura loses track, and his big voice makes it so obvious. But Cura is a professional artist he gets on track. Zancanaro is not better than in 1996, but he is good.

Musikalische LeitungJACQUES DELACÔTE
Lichtgestaltung'ROBERTUS CREMER
ChoreographieBERND R. BIENERT

0 Mitglied des Inte'rnlltionnalen Opernstudios
1. RildDelphine Perroud, Galina Mihailova,
Nathalie Sawinow, Cornelia Lüthi, Fabiana Maltarolli, Alla Bykanova
4. BildFabiana Maltarolli -Kinsun Chan
Delphine Perroud -Lukaseh Abramian Galina Mihailova -Petros Terterian Nathalie Sawinow -Vardan Khaehatryan Cornelia Lüthi -Vahe Mertirosyan
Alla Bykanova -Andres Heras Frutos
Samstag, 10. ,Juni 2000Schwveizer Illustrierte-Abo
Pausen nach dem 1. und 2. Akt Beginn: 19.45 Uhr
Ende: ca. 22.45 Uhr

OD Travel + Photos

Friday, June 9, 2017

June 9, 2007: Tosca in Oslo

2007-06-09 Tosca (G. Puccini), Den Norske Opera

Floria Tosca = Inga Nielsen
Mario Cavaradossi = Salvatore Licitra
Scarpia = Sergei Leiferkus
Sakristanen = Yngve André Søberg
Angelotti = Knut Stiklestad
Sciarrone = Markus Kvits
Spoletta = Svein Erik Sagbråten

Opera i 3 akter av Giacomo Puccini
- Libretto: V. sardou, L. Illica, G. Giacosa


Sesongpremiere: 31/5
Øvrige spilledatoer: 2/6, 4/6, 6/6, 9/6
Spilletid: ca 2 t og 30 min
Fremføres på italiensk
Norske overtekster

Musikalsk ledelse: Keri-Lynn Wilson (not?)
Regi: Per E. Fosser
Scenografi/kostymer: Lubos Hruza
Kormester: Steffen Kammler

Wonderful Tosca performance. One of the best Tosca inszenierungen. With a standing ovation in the end. Mostly for Salvatore Licitra's singing and acting that was outstanding. Inga Nielsen who was singing Tosca was best in act 2+3, but even in act 1 she was a wonderful actress in her encounters with both Cavaradossi and Scarpia. In act 2 her voice had even more command and she was very much a believable Tosca with a wonderful Vissi d'arte. Sergei Leiferkus who was a wonderful Jago in Munich was less in command in act 1 but a totally believable Scarpia in act 2. Salvatore Licitra was simply the best Cavaradossi!!!

OD Travel

Original blog post

June 9, 2002: Jenufa in Vienna

2002-06-09 Jenufa (L. Jánácek), Wiener Staatsoper

Die alte Buryja = Anny Schlemm
Laca Kiemen = Jorma Silvasti
Stewa Buryja = Torsten Kerl
Die Küsterin Buryja = Agnes Baltsa
Jenufa = Angela Denoke
Altgesell = Wolfgang Bankl
Dorfrichter = Walter Pink
Seine Frau = Helene Ranada
Karolka = Renate Pitscheider
Schäferin = Stella Grigorian
Barena = Cornelia Salje
Jana = Milagros Poblador
Tante = Waltraud Winsauer

Seiji Ozawa, conductor

Wiener Staatsoper
sonntag, 9. juni 2002
9. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung
Koproduktion mit der Janácek Oper Brno
Oper aus dem mährischen Bauernleben in drei Akten
Text von Gabriela Preissová
in der deutschen Übersetzung von Max Brod
Musik von Leos Janácek

Dirigent / Seiji Ozawa
Inszenierung / David Pountney
Bühnenbild / Robert Israel
Kostüme / Marie-Jeanne Lecca
licht / Mimi Jordan Sherin
Choreinstudierung / Ernst Dunshirn
Choreographie / Renato Zanella

Orchester, Chor und Balletteleven der Wiener Staatsoper
Bühnenorchester der Wiener Staatsoper

3 acts with ca. 45 minutes each and a pause after each act. The original is in Czech, but here it was sung in German. It is never easy to hear what the singers sing, especially not in the high notes, and Jánácek´s music is so closely linked to the Czech language, that sung in another language it becomes another ball game. The subtitling system is in place, but it is not always easy to get all the action, something it gets like either read the text or follow the action onstage. The reason I wanted to see Jenufa was Agnes Baltsa as Kostelnicka. Last time I saw it, or first time, was March 2, 2002, and the second time one sees an opera, one understands more, and can enjoy it more.

This time I didn´t use the subtitle in act 1 + 2, but in the 3rd
act I had to give in in order to get all the drama. This time I enjoyed
the music more, since I had listened to it before, or maybe it was better this time. This was after all the 9th performance of this production. Having a head-ache is not the best thing for enjoying an opera performance.I hadn´t had time to eat properly before going to the opera, so the first pause was used to get some nourishment ín me, for a steep prize, naturally. The acting and singing was superb. And I understood now why Agnes Baltsa canceled her Italiana in Algeri on June 12 & 15 in Zürich, the distance between Kostelnicka and her pain, to the rather frivolous Isabella in Italiana in Algeri is just too much in such a short time.

This time, Jánácek's JENUFA
reminded me of the best of Wagner like

OD Travel + Photos

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

June 7, 2001: Josep Carreras in London

2001-06-07 Jose Carreras Concert, Hampton Court (London)

Josep Carreras, tenor
English Chamber Orchestra
David Gimenez, conductor

My comments on the concert
I never dreamt I would criticize David Gimenez conducting, but I found the overture of Der Zigeunerbaron (The Gipsy Baron) lacking in the description of the Hungarian gipsy liveliness, but better in the Viennese waltz parts.

Jose Carreras looked very well when he sang the two songs of Costa, but I did find either his interpretation or the composition lacking in something that could draw me into the magic. The zarzuela aria from Alma de Dios was a great pleasure. But I found Mr Gimenez conducting a little bit disturbing. This aria if given more pace would be even more intriguing.

The overture of I Vespri Siciliani is a showstopper, but I have heard greater performances of this overture. My harsh critic of David Gimenez, is derived of my high regard of this young conductor, and therefore any lack is taken more seriously than had it been any other conductor. The best aspect of DG's conducting is as always the clarity he brings to it. Sometimes it work the other way araound, one hears better any "fault".

The 3 Romanze of Giuseppe Verdi; Il Poveretto, Brindisi and L'Esule was the absolute highlight. The opera singer makes every mood in these 3 romances very well. Here is acting and singing in perfect togetherness. Poveretto: the old soldier reduced to beggary, but still proud. Brindisi, getting drunk, giving a toast. L'Esule, the grandest interpretation.

2. half.

What can say, just wonderful the whole part. Especially was the Adagio from Spartacus a treat. And Jose Carreras sang like a god all the songs. + 3 wonderful extras.

Hampton Court Palace Festival
Josep Carreras, tenor
English Chamber Orchestra
David Gimenez, conductor.

Johann Strauss II
Overture, Der Zigeunerbaron

Mario Paquale Costa
'Luna nova'
'Era de maggio'

Jose Serrano
'Canción hungara' from Alma de Dios

Giuseppe Verdi
Overture, I vespri siciliani
'Il poveretto'


Paolo Tosti

Furio Rendine

Johann Strauss II
'Unter Donner und Blitz'

Enrico Toselli

Nicola Valente

Aram Khachaturian
'Adagio' from Spartacus

Rodolfo Falvo

Salvatore Cardillo

3 extra numbers:
1. Musica proibita
2. (Neapolitan Song)
3. All the things you are

OD Travel + Photos

Monday, June 5, 2017

June 5, 2004: Otello in Hamburg

2004-06-05 Otello (Verdi), Hamburgische Staatsoper

Otello = José Cura
Desdemona = Barbara Frittoli
Jago = Lado Ataneli
Emilia = Yvi Jänicke
Cassio = Peter Galliard
Rodrigo = Ho-yoon Chung
Lodovico = Alexander Tsymbalyuk
Montano = Carl Schultz
Herold = Moritz Gogg

Philippe Auguin, conductor

Chorus: Florian Csizmadia

5.6. Shopping in Hamburg, finding out where to go. Following the crowd most of the time. And then it was opera-time. This time was a better Otello performance. From the first note of the orchestra I knew it would be great. The orchestra and chorus was together. I thought that all the singers was better. It was really dramatic and wonderful. None of the former critical remarks of this production bothered me. And audience was totally committed to applauds and Bravos, and the singers seemed forever to go out and great the applauds.

And I saw Lado Anteli and Jose Cura afterwards and got some nice photos of them. And then 25(?) JCx-members enjoyed Restaurant Opera until it was 0130.

OD Travel + Photos

Saturday, June 3, 2017

June 3, 2004: L'Italiana in Algeri, Vienna

2004-06-03 L'Italiana in Algeri (Rossini), Wiener Staatsoper

Mustafà = Ferruccio Furlanetto
Elvira = Simina Ivan
Zulma = Stella Grigorian
Haly = Marcus Pelz
Lindoro = Juan Diego Flórez
Isabella = Agnes Baltsa
Taddeo = Alfred Šramek

Frédéric Chaslin, conductor

L'Italiana in Algeri

Conductor Frederic Chaslin

WHAT A PERFORMANCE!!!! Have I ever smiled as much during a performance, I can still feel it in my face, such happy smiles means work for muscles in the face. After the performance I met Nancy Gustafson, soprano and fiancee of the conductor Frederic Chaslin, what have you done, it was do fantastic. I just had to ask somebody about that, what made this performance so extraordinary, who did it, is it just magic, ensemble-work. Nancy who I saw at the last performance (May 31) obviously recognized me from the crowd otherwise I do not think that I would have gotten to talk to her. She was all smiles too. AGNES BALTSA WAS SPLENDID AS ISABELLA, I think it was maybe Agnes that was throwing her magic in the operahouse. She was in such good humor, they all were great. One mishap, Juan Diego Florez came a bit late in the male terzett (Mustafa, Taddeo, Lindoro) to the "Per lui che adoro", in the second he had come down. Good I was nervous that Florez had maybe broken a leg behind the scenes. But luckily he had just been delayed, and was jumping on the stage with great vigor in the Pappataci scene.

And on this day when we came out of the opera house it had stopped raining.And at the stage door I saw Nancy and the Chaslin, the indentant Ioan Holender, Furlanetto and Florez, and AGNES BALTSA in the portier room, and we were many to take photos and to get autographs.

And soon I will be going back to Hamburg for my second Otello with Cura, Frittoli.

OD Travel + Photos

June 3, 1983: The Magic Flute in Oslo

1983-06-03 Die Zauberflöte (Mozart), Den Norske Opera (Oslo)

Tamino = Patrick Power
Queen of the Night = Inger Lise Walseth
Papageno = Knut Skram
Monostatos = Tor Gilje
Pamina = Irma Urrila
Sarastro = Svein Carlsen
Papagena = Eva Solheim

Per Åke Andersson, conductor

TRYLLEFLØYTEN = Die Zauberflöte
Opera in 2 acts by Wolfgang A. Mozart
Libretto: Emanuel Schikaneder
Translation: Per E. Passer
Conductor: Per Åke Andersson
Regie: Ehrhard Warneke
Scenography: Franz Bavemann
Costums: Dorothea Weinert

19.30-ca. 22.40

I do not remember much of this Zauberflöte, but it did remind me a lot about the Swedish Zauberflöte-movie directed by Ingmar Bergman and with Papageno sung by Håkan Hagegård. And it was Irma Urrila who sang Pamina as in the movie.

OD Travel

Friday, June 2, 2017

June 2, 2004: I Vespri Siciliani in Zurich

2004-06-02 I Vespri Siciliani (Verdi), Opernhaus Zurich

Elena = Paoletta Marrocu
Arrigo = Marcello Giordani
Procida = Ruggero Raimondi
Montfort = Leo Nucci

Carlo Rizzi, conductor

Mi 02 19.30-22.45 I VESPRI SICILIANI
Marrocu, Schmid; Nucci, Raimondi, Giordani, Mayr, Groissböck, Winkler, Christoff, Murga, O'Reilly
Mittwoch-Abonnement B, Preise VI

2.6.2004 Nicolai Ghiaurov is dead! I did not know that he died in the morning when I came to the opera house for Verdi's Vespri Siciliani with Ruggero Raimondi, another star basso, as Procida. After the only intermission (before act 4), the indendant of Opernhaus Zurich Alexander Pereira came out, first he said nobody is sick, but the opera house has just received a call that the great basso Nicolai Ghiaurov is dead, he died this morning. The house sighed at this devastating news. Alexander Pereira then asked the audience to stand up for this great artist. And the house rouse up. And we all sat down as if we were only one body. The indentant told a bit of Ghiaurov's career in Zurich, and he said that the Opernhaus is dedicating this performance to Nicolai Ghiaurov.

The artists was all grieved by the loss, but nevertheless this two last acts was really fantastic sung and acted.

And now back to the beginning. The Overture of I Vespri Siciliani is a truly wonderful piece, and it brought back memories of the first 3 tenors concert, the original in Roma. I could see the images from the TV, and when the overture ended I almost waited that Carreras would come to sing Lamento di Federico. But instead there was another Lamento for Federico, Elena is mourning her brother. Paoletta Marrocu as Elena, maybe it was my ears that needed getting used to her voice or she sang better as the evening progressed, or both. Leo Nucci, Guido di Monforte, was really making a tremendously fine job in Vespri. It was a perfect role for him, his voice was really beautiful and his presence was tremendous. Marcello Giordani, Arrigo, was in the first 3 acts not in the best voice, but luckily in act 4+5 he was fantastic. Ruggero Raimondi, Giovanni da Procida, was wonderful but unfortunately in this opera all the characters is one-dimensional so it was only one side of RR, he was all revenge and patriotic. Before the intermission I thought that only the overture was highlight but luckily there were more "juicy" stuff in act 4+5.

All day long the skies were threatening with rain but the rain held until after the opera. Then the rain poured down. No waiting at the stage door for me, no umbrella and after all tomorrow I will have to get up early in the morning for a early flight to VIENNA and my second Italiana.

OD Travel + Photos

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 31, 2010: Agnes Baltsa Liederabend in Vienna

2010-05-31 Liederabend Agnes Baltsa, Opernhaus Zurich

Agnes Baltsa, mezzo
Achilleas Wastor, piano

Some people said (1 person, actually) that Agnes Baltsa was not on top form on Monday 31 May, 2010. The rest disagreed. She was splendid in Opernhaus Zürich. She was well worth the travel and any inconvenience. I had thought that hearing and seeing her sing those Greek songs would be like in 2004, the outdoor concerts in Ingolstadt and Regensburg. But in Zürich we got it all: It was an intimate evening where Agnes Baltsa poured every bit of her self in every song. It was only in the Extra number of Garifallo st'afti that she could really relax and just enjoy.

It was like a Verismo abend. Agnes Baltsa is Greek, she is it with her voice, body and soul. And we got a glimpse of that soul. Never have a Liederabend made me feel so alive and transported to Greece, Crete, Levkas, Acropolis. The depth was amazing. And I had listened to most of the songs before, the CD and the concerts in 2004. But this time it was a depth so deep, a passion so raw, a sadness so sad that the sea must weep. Does her voice respond in the same way as in 2004, no, but it has no lost its sweetness. Agnes Baltsa is the Verismo Godess. No fear for giving it all, the emotions are real and raw.

One could think after looking at the program that it is just the easiest repertory. But Agnes Baltsa was not looking for the easy crooning, she wanted to give us Greece. And she did. BRAVA!!!!

Achilleas Wastor, piano. He was great. And they were great together. In 2004 it was Stavros Xarhakos and his group with Agnes Baltsa. With piano the songs get to be more intimate. Lovely!

Liederabend Agnes Baltsa

Achilleas Wastor Klavier

Griechische Lieder

Mános Hadjidákis (*1925 Xanthi - †1994 Athen)
(Klavier solo)

Stavros Xarhákos (*I939 Athen)
Áspri méra ke ja mas (Es werden glücklichere Tage kommen, auch für uns)

Míkis Theodorákis (*1925 Khios)
To tréno févgi stis ochtó (Der Zug fährt um acht ab)

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

Vassílis Tsitsánis (*1915 Trikala - †1984 London)
Horisam’ ena dilino (Und eines Tages hatten wir uns auseinandergelebt)
Sinefiasmeni kiriaki (An einem regnerischen Sonntag)
(Klavier solo)

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)
(Klavier solo)

Spíros Peristéris (*1900 Smyrna - †1966 Athen)
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)
Megali sousfa
(Klavier solo)

Stavros Xarhákos
Varkaróla (Barkarole)

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

Stavros Xarhákos
Nin ke aí (Jetzt und für immer)

OD Travel + Photos

Blog post: I can totally recommend Liederabend Agnes Baltsa

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

May 31, 2004: L'Italiana in Algeri, Vienna

2004-05-31 L'Italiana in Algeri (Rossini), Wiener Staatsoper

Mustafà = Ferruccio Furlanetto
Elvira = Simina Ivan
Zulma = Stella Grigorian
Haly = Marcus Pelz
Lindoro = Juan Diego Flórez
Isabella = Agnes Baltsa
Taddeo = Alfred Šramek

Frédéric Chaslin, conductor

And at 1930 it started with the overture/Sinfonia of Italiana in
Algeri. It was almost the same production as last time, it was the wonderful Ponnelle production, but it had had some brush-ups. I thought that this was more buffo than before, and certainly I felt that Simina Ivan (Elvira) and Stella Grigorian (Zulma) was being too comic. Certainly Zulma was overdoing things. Ferruccio Furlanetto was an agile and playful Mustafa. Juan Diego Florez was great as Lindoro.
Agnes Baltsa had some really great moments in "O che muso", "Pensa alla patria" and the delightful "Per lui che adoro".

Wonderful opera!!

OD Travel + Photos

May 31, 1998: Le Prophete in Vienna

1998-05-31 Le Prophete (Meyerbeer), Wiener Staatsoper

Fidès = Agnes Baltsa
Jean = Placido Domingo
Berthe = Viktoria Loukianetz
Le Comte d'Oberthal = Davide Damiani
Zacharie = Franz Hawlata
Mathisen = David Cale Johnson
Jonas = Torsten Kerl

Marcello Viotti, conductor

Preparation is everything, especially if an opera that are new for me. First live Meyerbeer opera. The only Meyerbeer I knew was the opera L'Africaine (from the video of the opera with Plácido Domingo and Shirley Verrett in San Francisco Opera. I went to the Theatermuseum, after buying Le Prophete (CBS Masterworks), it was a Meyerbeer expedition. Then it was time to go to Vienna State Opera for Le Prophete with Agnes Baltsa and Plácido Domingo. Having read the CD-libretto made me see what should have been onstage. Hans Neuenfels was the director, and his job was to make this Grand Opera unto a big messy spectacle. It was not too bad, the singers was excellent, and some of his ideas was good. One thing was absolutely not agreeable by me, the dancer who was another Jean, a modern one with heroin abuse and hanging, coming unto the stage, and the monkeys (probably belong to the 3 Anabaptists or even representing them). Too much was happening on the stage. Making you lose moments of the opera, confusing you.

Plácido Domingo was a superb Jean, very charismatic and strong. Agnes Baltsa was Fidès, very charismatic and in splendid voice. Le Prophete needs both a Jean and Fides that are in good voice and have charisma. Viktoria Loukianetz was Berthe, wonderful soprano. Acting was not easy in this overcrowded stage so filled with the directors own ideas of making Le Prophete his, but still Agnes and Plácido was strong enough to give enormous pleasure both in the singing and acting. Even if one loathed the production, one would like to go again to experience both Plácido and Agnes in roles that suited them so well, and Meyerbeer's opera is so wonderful in the melodies. Just focus on Plácido Domingo or Agnes Baltsa and the rest would cease to exist.

Sonntag, 31. Mai 1998 STAATSOPER
4. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung

Le Prophète
Oper in fünf Akten
von Eugène Scribe
Musik Giacomo Meyerbeer

Musikalische Leitung Marcello Viotti
Inszenierung Hans Neuenfels
Bühnenbild und Kostüme Reinhard von der Thannen
Choreinstudierung Johannes Meister
Einstudierung der Tänze Renato Zanella

Offizier Johann Reinprecht
Bürger Hasik Bayvertian
Anabaptist Peter Tuff
Ballettsolisten Marialuise Jaska
Ludwig Karl
Christian Musil
Gregor Hatala
Bühnenorchester der Österreichischen Bundestheater
Eleven der Ballettschule der Österreichischen Bundestheater
Amadeus Knabenchor Bewegungschor

OD Travel

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May 30, 2010: Otello in Berlin

2010-05-30 Otello (Verdi), Deutsche Oper Berlin

Otello = José Cura
Desdemona = Anja Harteros
Jago = Zeljko Lucic
Emilia = Liane Keegan
Cassio = Yosep Kang
Rodrigo = Gregory Warren
Lodovico = Hyung-Wook Lee
Montano = Jörn Schümann
Ein Herald = Lucas Harbour

Patrick Summers, conductor

Sonntag, 30.05.2010, 18:00 Uhr
Dauer: ca. 3 Stunden | Eine Pause

D-Preise: 36,- | 62,- | 87,- | 120,- Ticket online kaufen
[zuzüglich EUR 2,- Service-Gebühr]

Giuseppe Verdi
Dramma lirico in vier Akten
Libretto von Arrigo Boito nach Shakespeares Tragödie OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE
Uraufführung am 5.Februar 1887 in Mailand
Premiere an der Deutschen Oper Berlin am 30. Mai 2010

In italienischer Sprache mit deutschen Übertiteln

Patrick Summers

Andreas Kriegenburg

Harald Thor

Andrea Schraad

Katharina John

Choir Conductor
William Spaulding

Children's Choir
Dagmar Fiebach

Christian Baier

Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin

Kinderchor der Deutschen Oper Berlin

Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin

It is all happening in a refugee camp. For those who loved this Otello, this is genius. For other people it is just a big question mark, why? Because it doesn't make sense. It does not do anything for the story. The refugees are interned in a camp. There is little to do except to watch and hope for some money and something to eat. To care about the African refugees that are in those refugee camps in Europe is a worthy cause, to use them are a mere backdrop for an opera is not.

There are nothing here to give you empathy for the refugees. They are simply the chorus, a mass of people. A heavily pregnant woman, children who are starting drinking alcohol and with drugs. Children who see too much. The children have to eat from the garbage brought in from the outside. The children are there so that Jago has his audience for his Credo. These children are not scared of hell, they are there. They are not scared of emptiness because that is all they have. The children can be played to be hide Otello when needed. They only cost a few coins and then you are a wall to hide behind because in this refugee camp nobody notices the children unless they need them.

But why care? It even starts with de-sensitive us. Before the music starts, the curtain goes up and the chorus just stands there, and then some of them put on black masks on their faces. Oh yes, this means that we should understand, what really? That we are all Otello? Or should it mean that there are Africans in this refugee camp. Or is that when those who loved this Otello understood that it happens in a refugee camp. Because for me it just told me that it is all a fake. Especially the Regie. It does not think or feel but most importantly it does not make the audience feel. Intellectually understanding the idea behind the Regie is one thing (and I found that hard) but Opera is Feelings not an University Degree.

And the there was the dancing in the background. But Otello is an Opera not a Ballet. It was not the worst idea but it was more distracting than giving anything to the audience. The people behind this Otello did not trust the audience to feel the pain of Otello and Desdemona. They even thought we needed children surrounding Desdemona in the scene Nel livido fango to understand how innocent this Desdemona is. No, Verdi and Boito have already made us aware. We are not stupid.

In the end there was a lot of Buh's and some Bravo's for the people behind this production. For the singers it was BRAVO's all the time. So much so that those who wanted to Buh the production team all the time did not do so much when the singers was there.

In the critic I have the read there seem to be a trend if they loved the Regie they did not like the conductor and vice versa. The singers were all wonderful, loved the sound of the chorus, and orchestra. I think Patrick Summers did well. The Children chorus was good.

Yosep Kang was wonderful as Cassio. Anja Harteros was the best Desdemona I have seen. José Cura was superb as Otello. Zeljko Lucic was Jago, good singer and actor. Liane Keegan has a great voice that soars. She not only has a big voice but a big body too but luckily here she was simply Emilia, Jago's wife and Desdemona's friend and not a caricature of a big woman.

BRAVA, Anja Harteros
BRAVA, Liane Keegan

BRAVO, José Cura

Blog post: Premiere of OTELLO in Berlin May 30, 2010

OD Travel + Photos

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