Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July 26, 1996: The 3 tenors in Gothenburg, Sweden

1996-07-26 The 3 tenors, Ullevi Stadium (Gothenburg)

Josep Carreras, tenor
Placido Domingo, tenor
Luciano Pavarotti, tenor
Philharmonia Orchestra

James Levine, conductor

GOTHENBURG Ullevi Stadium, July 26, 1996
Philharmonia Orchestra, conductor James Levine
on tv


Carreras: Lamento di Federico (È la solita storia del pastore) from Cilea's 'L'Arlesiana', Improvviso (Un dì all'azzurro spazio) from Giordano's 'Andrea Chenier', Granada (Lara)

Domingo: O souverain, o juge, o père from Massenet's 'Le Cid', No puede ser from Sorozabal's 'La Tabernera del Puerto', Dein ist mein ganzes Herz from Lehar's 'Das Land des Lächelns', E lucevan le stelle von Puccini's 'Tosca'

Pavarotti: Addio alla madre (Mamma, quel vino è generoso) from Mascagni's 'Cavalleria Rusticana', La mia canzone al vento (Bixio/Mancini), Mamma (Bixio/Mancini), Nessun dorma from Puccini's 'Turandot'

Medley I: Because, La danza, Be my love, Marechiare, Muñequita linda, Torna a Surriento

Medley II: Maria, Tonight, Ò paese d'ò sole, Cielito lindo, Moon River, Caminito, Mattinata, Amapola, O sole mio

Encores: La donna è mobile, Torna a Surriento, O sole mio

OD Travel

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July 25, 2015: Don Carlo in El Escorial, Madrid

2015-07-25 Don Carlo (Giuseppe Verdi), Teatro Auditorio San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Madrid)

Pelipe II. = John Relyea
Don Carlos = José Bros
Isabel de Valois, tercera esposa de Felipe II = Virginia Tola
Rodrigo, marqués de Posa, amigo y confidente de Don Carlo  = Ángel Ódena
Fraile = Simón Orfila
Gran Inquisidor de Espana = Luiz Ottavio Faria
Princesa de Eboli = Ketevan Kemoklidze
Tebaldo = Sonia de Munck
Voz de Cielo = Auxiliadora Toledano
Conde de Lerma = Gerardo Lopez

Maximiano Valdés, conductor
Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid
Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid
Coro de la Orquesta Sinfonica Verum
Banda Interna de a Orquesta Sinfonica Verum

Director de escena - Albert Boadella
Escenografía - Ricardo Sánchez Cuerda
Figurinista - Pedro Moreno
Iluminador - Bernat Jansà
Coreógrafo - Amauri Lebrun

Director del Coro - Pedro Teixeira

So the idea of Albert Boadella was create a more historical correct Don Carlo by Verdi. So he starts off with putting up the the opera in El Escorial. Escorial is after all mentioned in the opera but non of the action is set there. The places in opera is San Yuste monastery in Extremadura, the Royal Palace in Madrid and in the Queen's Garden there. Outdoors in.a Plaza in Madrid for the auto-da-fe and a prison. The opera is played in the hyper-modern Theatre Auditorio in San Lorenzo de El Escorial. The royal building and monastery called just Escorial in the opera is just some hundreds of meters of The Theatre. El Escorial is a big area with several villages and it an hour away from Madrid.

To make the opera or indeed Schillers play more historical is not easy. Historical correctness was not really something Schiller or later the librettist cared too much about. Schiller did try to get the History Right but in the en it was more important to get the drama right, a compelling story. Lucky as the drama was made into an opera it got a better structure and is much more compelling. Historical it is quite false especially the idea that Don Carlos, Infante of Spain and Elisabeth de Valois was ever in love with each other. But first it was Don Carlos who was going to marry Elisabeth. But then it became obvious that Don Carlos was not the right person and the alliance between France and Spain could only be strengthened by the French King's daughter marry the King of Spain, not just the heir of The Spanish throne.

One of the most interesting conflicts in the opera is between the throne and the altar. How long must the throne bend before the altar. In reality Philip 2 of Spain supported Inquisition fully. Assumed guilty was the King's idea of justice. There was conflict often between The king of Spain and the Pope. Philip believed himself closer to God than the Pope. The Pope was not just a religious leader at this time but a sovereign that often went to war and not always for religious reason. Philip made everything for God. The only acceptable faith was the Roman Catholic faith and that meant all Spaniards should follow Philips. Philip was King, Prophet and Priest, and naturally best pals with God. He often made decisions with the firm belief that God would perform the miracles Philip needed. Europe's history might have seen most different if Philip had been more of a realist than a fanatic.

Don Carlos and Elisabeth de Valois was the same age and died in the same year, a terrible year for poor Philip. The only woman that Don Carlos respected and never was uncivil towards Elisabeth. Maybe Boadella was right that Don Carlos loved Elisabeth with an infantile love. There was nothing in Don Carlos to compel Elisabeth to fall in love in, but there was reasons for compassion.  The marriage between Philip and Elisabeth was a happy one. She was his third wife, his second marriage with Maria Tudor of England had not been a happy one, so Philip was devastated when she died because of childbirth. To loose the heir of a kingdom is always a disaster and Philip never wanted Don Carlos dead even as difficult he was and in the end Philip could no longer delude himself that it would be a good idea to have this strange, dangerous person on the Throne of Spain.

The idea of Rodrigo of Rosa is a creation of the times of Schiller who wrote Don Carlo also as a commentary of new idea in politics in Germany. The idealism of Rodrigo does not belong to the century of Philip 2 of Spain. In El Escorial Don Carlos was played as a hunchback with a lame leg and with many nervous ticks. Still someone to trust to change the life of all in the Netherlands. Maybe it was then. The truth about Don Carlos is that he looked at Netherlands and wrote letters to leaders there as he was on the way to treason, and later he attacked his father with a knife or tried. It was popular to tell that Philip killed his son (it was a Protestant rumor). Later a former secretary of Philip, who had managed to run from Spain to England with Death sentence on him. This Secretary Perez had some underhanded affaire with the Princess of Eboli, so he started another rumor that Philip and had an adulterous affair with her. The Princess was dead by that time.

I had come to El Escorial to see an extraordinary Don Carlos but I had seen almost every new thing before. The singing was excellent and the orchestra too. It was a little too much to hint as Elisabeth and Carlos had been childhood friends in the figurines. Eboli looked like historical Eboli with her eye patch. Elisabeth de Valois looked like her historical portrait, same with Philip II but Don Carlos looked too mature but sounded young enough. Don Carlos was unattractive buy the voice was divine.

This was the 4 act Italian version played in the 3 pieces. I love this version but then Rodrigo dies, LACRYMOSA. Until Lacrymosa we have drama going on and working wonderful but then we have "the wonder father-son duet". But it is so illogical and it doesn't fit. Drama just stop up, hi belcanto for no reason, and the scene with fizzles away.

Last act and also the whole opera quietly fizzles away with unnecessary "Carlo il grande imperatore".

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

July 25, 2013: Nabucco in Verona

2013-07-25 Nabucco (Verdi), Arena di Verona 

Nabucco = Ivan Inverardi
Ismaele = Lorenzo Decaro
Zaccaria = Vitalij Kowaljow
Abigaille = Lucrecia Garcia
Fenena = Sanya Anastasia
High Priest of Belo = Abramo Rosalen
Abdallo = Carlo Bosi
Anna = Maria Letizia Grosselli

Julian Kovatchev, conductor

Director - Gianfranco de Bosio

Set - Rinaldo Olivieri

I loved this production. All seamed so historial correct. And then we had this wonderful Abigaille, Lucrecia Garcia. She really made it all so perfect. Nobody shone like her in this show. Of course, it would not have worked without the other singers, the chorus and orchestra w/conductor. I love Abigaille!!! Lucrecia Garcia is certainly a singer I would love to see and hear more.

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

July 25, 2003: Jose Cura in Munich

2003-07-25 Opera Concert, Gasteig Munich

Jose Cura, tenor & conductor

Tullio Gagliardo, conductor

I came to Munich on the day of the concert. After first getting to my hotel, and a nice hot shower, my first task was to find the venue. GASTEIG. And after looking here and there I also found out which building the hall itself was in. The hall was called Philharmonie. After getting something to eat, Stachus McDonalds I was back in time, more people was there, some in gala dress other more normally dressed.

I meet Yvonne, my Swiss friend, and by a coincidence our tickets showed that we sitting next to each-other. Met more Cura fans later. The hall was not totally packed, it was some empty seats here and there. Then the orchestra members came in, not in a very orderly fashion, but they played beautifully, it is after all a professional opera orchestra.

The sound of a harp, and Cura is singing Deserto sulla terra from Trovatore, beginning from offstage, and coming in singing.
Giuseppe Verdi:
IL TROVATORE - Deserto sulla terra
Jose Cura, tenor Tullio Gagliardo, conducts
"Guten Abend" . He conducts a wonderful interpretation of the Overture of Nabucco.
NABUCCO - Ouverture
Jose Cura, conducts
The other conductor comes in, he gets a big hand from the audience. And the wonderful aria that Corrado sings in the beginning of the opera Corsaro, is almost perfectly sung by Cura. The orchestra is very good in following Cura and Gagliardo
IL CORSARO - Ah si, ben dite...Tutto parea sorridere
Jose Cura, tenor Tullio Gagliardo, conducts
An ovation of applause, at the moment when the applause is lessening, one suddenly hears Cura's voice "O figli, o figli miei". It seem to the utterly shattering for Cura to sing this immensely sad aria. A man grieving the loss of his children and his wife. My fatherly hand was not there to protect you, my children dying, crying after their father. José Cura must have really dug into the feeling, a family man himself. BRAVO Cura!
MACBETH - O figli...Ah, la paterna mano
Jose Cura, tenor Tullio Gagliardo, conducts
After a short while Cura came back alone to conduct the overture from La Forza del Destino, a fiendishly difficult piece to conduct. The twist and turns of the music, the different dynamics. But my impression is very good. Cura is a good conductor. Even if this orchestra naturally must have done this piece many times, without a good conductor, they would get lost here.
Jose Cura, conducts
My favorite aria, conducted by Gagliardo, sung by Cura. A wonderful clarinettist sets the feeling/emotion on the right spot. The best La vita e inferno/O tu che in seno agli angeli, ever. Everybody was overwhelmed by this aria.
LA FORZA DEL DESTINO - La vita è inferno
Jose Cura, tenor Tullio Gagliardo, conducts
Tullio Gagliardo back onstage to conduct Intermezzo from Pagliacci, I could not understand why. I thought Cura would conduct all the instrumental pieces. But then I understand the intermezzo goes straight over to Vesti la giubba, which Cura really being Canio there. He starts on the floor, sitting on the stage. It is really wonderfully operatic
Ruggiero Leoncavallo:
I PAGLIACCI - Intermezzo / Vesti la giubba
Tullio Gagliardo, conducts Jose Cura, tenor


Again another wonderful clarinet-solo starts yet another wonderful aria sung by José Cura. Beautifully done. A masterpiece.
Giacomo Puccini:
TOSCA - E lucevan le stelle
Jose Cura, tenor Tullio Gagliardo, conducts
José Cura starts before we are finished applauding a perfect E Lucevan le stelle, and he launches into a passionate and desperate Addio, fiorito asil from Madama Butterfly. A very short aria, but Cura put all into it. What a concert!
MADAMA BUTTERFLY - Addio, fiorito asil
Jose Cura, tenor Tullio Gagliardo, conducts
What a surprise Le Villi in the program. Naturally I would have love Cura to sing the long aria from Le Villi. But to experience him conducting the Witch Dance from Le Villi was also great. A bit short, though. More, please!!!!
LE VILLI - La tregenda
Jose Cura, conducts
Puccini's music is never more modern than in Il Tabarro, and this is very verismo and dark. Cura actually managed to make this opera aria, dark and almost disharmonic into one of my favorites. Not when I listened to it in the Puccini CD, but here in Munich July 25th, 2003. BRAVO!!
IL TABARRO - Hai ben ragione
Jose Cura, tenor Tullio Gagliardo, conducts
Water bottle to the stage. "It is hot"... "Why do we have to be dressed like Penguins, we should be doing it in jeans and T-shirts"..."Let's give another one, Maestro!" And the he starts with a wonderful rendition of Non piangere, Liú!!!
TURANDOT - Non piangere, Liú
Jose Cura, tenor Tullio Gagliardo, conducts
And as the end of the official program, the Argentine aria from Aurora, the song of the Argentine flag. He never does a less than perfect rendition of the aria. After all, he is a proud Argentine. Naturally it is in Spanish.
Hector Panizza:
AURORA - Intermezzo epico
Jose Cura, tenor Tullio Gagliardo, conducts


1. Puccini: MANON LESCAUT - Tra voi belle, brune, bionde
Jose Cura sings and conducts, the violinists use their violins as guitars. Cura tells that in Regensburg 2 days ago, the musicians were acting as students (Manon Lescaut, act 1), doing the middle section Ha Ha, laughing. "But this is such a serious place"

2. Brahms: Ungarische Tanz. Jose Cura, conducts I thought it was Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody or something. But in Verona after Carmen on July 29, Cura told me it was Brahms Hungarian Dances.

3. Puccini: TURANDOT - Nessun dorma
Jose Cura, tenor Tullio Gagliardo, conducts
Before Cura sang Nessun dorma he told us that "2 hours ago I got a telephone from Verona, they want me sung 2 more Turandot, so tomorrow I must sing Turandot in Verona... But, you know, I am tired" He did sang Turandot on July the 26th, the day after this concert. He was also due to sing the last on August the 2nd, but at last the toll on Jose did get on him, so Cura got sick, and another tenor replaced him.

End of concert, but Jose Cura has to do some signing and being photographed for almost an hour, before he can go... It was 2300 when he left, and I and bunch of other Cura fans, sat a long time together in a restaurant not far from the Gasteig. So it was really late when I came back to my hotel. But since I was luckily persuaded by my wonderful Swiss friend to take a taxi, I was there a bit over 1 in the night. I would have loved to see Turandot again with Cura, this time maybe the complete opera, with the complete love-duet. But I thought, I save money and my poor head... I'll rest tomorrow.

Bravi tutti!

Bravo, Jose Cura!

OD Travel + Photos

Monday, July 24, 2017

July 24, 2013: Il Trovatore in Verona

2013-07-24 Il Trovatore (G. Verdi), Arena di Verona

Count of Luna = Dalibor Jenis
Leonora = Leah Crocetto
Azucena = Andrea Ulbrich
Manrico = Carlo Ventre
Ferrando = Sergej Artamonov
Ines = Elena Borin
Ruiz = Paolo Antognetti
An old gipsy = Victor Garcia Sierra
A messenger = Cristiano Olivieri

Giuliano Carella, conductor

Director and sets designer - Franco Zeffirelli
Costumes - Raimonda Gaetani
Choreography - El Camborio ripresa da Lucia Real
Fencing master - Renzo Musumeci Greco

IL TROVATORE, Arena di Verona 2013-07-24.

Trovatore was finally set in the right time. The Middle Ages. The great towers was on the stage. Like in Macerata it was played as a 2 act opera. Scene changes was smooth. Extra music was added for the zingaras, and there was castagnettes and much dancing. The zingaras and their dancing and music also came to the Di Luna men and their siege.

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

July 24, 2010: Agnes Baltsa in Munich

2010-07-24 Liederabend Agnes Baltsa, Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich)

Agnes Baltsa, mezzo
Achilleas Wastor, piano

The recital was wonderful. Prinzregententheater is much smaller than Nationaltheater and it was completely full. Agnes Baltsa is very popular in Munich. But the small size and with so many people meant that it was warm and the air inside became thick especially by the the second part. The pianist was sweating. The piano was suffering. And even Agnes Baltsa got tired in the end. But she still sang not only the whole program but her 2 encores: Garifollo st'afti, and "Stay with me" by a famous Greek composer named K(something). Agnes Baltsa told me herself the meaning of the song (or tried to) and said the composer's name (but sadly I don't remember more of it).

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)

The Pianist only smiled when Agnes Baltsa was taking the bow with him. Alone he often looked stern. Agnes Baltsa was all smiles. Even to the man in the front row who took many photos even when she was singing. This time she really enjoyed the photographs being taken, and what a treat that was. And then even a Signierstunde, things could not be better.

OD Travel + Photos

Original blog post: Agnes Baltsa: "Stay with me" by K, regrets or no?

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

July 24, 1985: Fledermaus in Vienna (Volksoper in der Staatsoper)

1985-07-24 Die Fledermaus (Johann Strauss), Wiener Staatsoper

Gabriel von Eisenstein, Rentier = Harald Serafin
Rosalinde, seine Frau = Mirjana Irosch
Frank, Gefangnisdirektor = Karl Dönch
Prinz Orlofsky = Claudia Eder
Alfred, Gesangslehrer = Richard Karczykowski
Dr. Falke, Notar = Russell Smythe
Dr. Blind, Advokat = Heinz Hellberg
Adele, Stubenmädchen = Ilonka Szep
Ida, ihre Schwester = Guggi Löwinger
Frosch, Gerichtsdiener = Ossy Kolmann

Franz Bauer- Theussl, conductor

The Wiener Volksoper in the State Opera. The difference with Volksoper and Staatsoper is not just the ticket price, it is status, and it is repertory and language. Volksoper gives operetta and opera in German language. The Staatsoper gives opera in the original language, it was not always so but always was Staatsoper big brother and Volksoper little brother. In recent years only Jánácek's Jenufa was played in Staatsoper in another language as the original (Czech) in German.

And also in Fledermaus we couldn't understand the Austrian jokes. But it was wonderful.

OD Travel

Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23, 2014: Josep Carreras in Dalhalla, Sweden

2014-07-23 The Legendary Tenor José Carreras, Dalhalla, Sweden 

José Carreras, tenor
Simge Büyükedes, soprano

Stockholm Concert Orchestra

David Giménez, conductor


On July 23rd, 2014 is it exactly 20 years since Birgit Nilsson opened the first Dalhalla festival with her concert. So this is the Jubilee Concert for Dalhalla. Josep Carreras was chosen to do the special Jubilee Concert as he is now a legend himself. Many years ago he sang with Birgit Nilsson in Tosca (in the US) and she refered to him as "her baby Cavaradossi".

Simge Büyükedes was the unknown quantity in this concert and she was the one who sang opera arias in the concert, the famous ones from Rusalka and La Wally. She was born in Istanbul, Turkey. A wonderful soprano voice that is like velvet. The weather that had threatened the concert with thunders, lightnings and heavy rains that luckily stopped in time of the concert begin at 2100 might have had an effect on her voice as it in the second half seemed to loose some of the strength. A slight cold could be hard on the voice. Josep Carreras was as he is nowadays a strong voice but not so subtle as when he was younger, no wonder when the man is over 67 years old. Nevertheless this was a party of well song canciones, musical tunes, zarzuela and opera arias. The Majesties of Sweden was there. And there were encores and Bravos and Bravas. The man holding it all together was David Gimenez conducting STockholm Concert Orchestra.

1. Verdi: NABUCCO - Ouverture (Orchestra)
2. Donizetti: Te voglio bene Assaje (Carreras)
3. Tosti: L'ultima canzone (Carreras)
4. Dvorak: RUSALKA - Song to the Moon (Büyükede)
5. Albeniz: El eco de tu voz (Carreras)
6. Rubas: Rosó - pel teu amor (Carreras)
7. LA WALLY - Ebben ne andro lontana (Büyükede)
8. Bizet: L'Arlesienne suite - Farandole (Orchestra)
9. Leigh: THE MAN OF LA MACHA - The Impossible Dream (Carreras)

10. Rendine: Vurria (Carreras)
11. Valente: Passione (Carreras)
12. Delibes: Les filles de Cadiz (Büyükede)
13. Satie: Je te veux (Carreras & Büyükede)
14. Jimenez: LA BODA DE LUIS ALONSO - Intermedio (Orchestra)
15. Barbieri: EL BARBERILLO DE LAVAPIES  - Cancion de Paloma (Büyükede)
16. Caballero: EL DUO DE LA  AFRICANA - Duo y Jota (Carreras & Büyükede)
17. Cardillo: Core n'grato (Carreras)


1. Gitarra Romana (Carreras)
2.  I Could Have Danced All NIght (Büyükede)
3. Non ti scordar di me (Carreras & Büyükede)
4. Torna a Surriento (Carreras)

5. Libiamo ne lieti calici (Carreras & Büyükede)

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

July 23, 2013: La Traviata om Verona

2013-07-23 La Traviata (G. Verdi), Arena di Verona 

Violetta Valéry = Elena Mosuc
Alfredo Germont = Matthew Polenzani
Giorgio Germont = Artur Rucinski
Flora Bervoix = Chiara Fracasso
Annina = Alice Marini
Gastone = Stefano Consolini
Baron Douphol = Federico Longhi
Marchese D'Obigny = Dario Giorgelè
Doctor Grenvil = Victor Garcia Sierra
Giuseppe = Antonio Feltracco
Domestico/Commissionario = Gabriele Ribis

Andrea Battiston, conductor

Director, sets, costumes and lighting designer - Hugo De Ana

Choreography - Leda Lojodice

LA TRAVIATA, Arena di Verona 2013-07-23

Traviata and Trovatore, two of the greatest classics of Opera. And in Verona, finally Regie that is true and real. Hugo de Ana's Traviata had only one fault, in preludio to the opera and the preludio to the last act, he just had to remind us that Violetta is dead and everything is to be told. 3 great frames (like to old paintiings) was the stage. The middle frames was naturally the main stage. But it was still true to the time of Violetta. Loved it, and Elena Mosuc was great as Violetta!!

.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

July 23, 1995: Josep Carreras in Aarhus, Denmark

1995-07- 23 Opera Galla, Århus idrætspark

Sissel Kyrkjebø, singer
Ilona Tokody, soprano
Josep Carreras, tenor

David Gimenez, conductor


Århus (NTB-RB): Sissel Kyrkjebø deltok sammen med verdensstjernene Jose Carreras fra Spania og Ilona Tokody fra Ungarn på en operagalla i Århus søndag kveld. Dronning Margrethe og flere tusen tilhørere var til stede under friluftskonserten i Århus Idrætspark. Sissel innledet forestillingen med blant annet Griegs "Solveigs sang", "Summertime" fra Gershwins opera "Porgy and Bess" og "Climb every mountain" fra musicalen "Sound of Music".

Vel er vår sangfugl gift med en danske og populær i Danmark, men de fleste tilhørerne som hadde rigget seg til med tepper, vin og kaffekanner i den litt kjølige Århuskvelden, var nok først og fremst kommet for å høre den spanske supertenoren Carreras.

Ikke mindre enn fem ekstranumre måtte de tre sangerne gi. Carreras måtte nok holde sin store stemme litt igjen under det aller siste nummeret sammen med de to kvinnelige solistene, vennsskapssangen fra OL i Barcelona 1992.

Idrætsparkens 75-års jubileumsfest ble avsluttet med et overdådig fyrverkeri.

OD Travel + Photos

July 23, 1985: Wiener Blut, Kammeroper Wien (Vienna)

1985-07-23 Wiener Blut (Johann Strauss), Kammeroper Wien

Fürst Ypsheim-Gindelbach, Premierminister von Reuss-Schleiz-Greiz = Joseph-Rene Rumpold
Balduin, Graf Zedlau, Gesandter von ReuB-Schleiz-Greiz = Reinhard Brussmann
Gabriele, his wife = Sabine Rossert
Graf Bitowski = Martin Viktor
Demoiselle Franziska Cagliari, Tanzerin im Karntnertor- Theater in Wien = Margarita Touschek
Kagler, ihr Vater, Karussellbesitzer = Helmut Amon
Josef, Kammerdiener d. Grafen = Franz Supper
Pepi Pleininger, Probiermamsell = Gabriele Salzbacher
Ein Stubenmadchen bei Demoiselle Cagliar = Silvia Prey
Ein Fiakerkutscher = Anton Kurzbock

Hans Zauner, conductor

Holiday in Vienna with opera/operetta. The music was charming but naturally we didn't understand the German jokes, or I should really say Viennese jokes. What remember most is going back from the Schönbrunn Castle, it was dark but still quite hot, my mum and I saw on a building showing both the time/ temperature. So it was almost midnight but is was 23 C (or more I can't remember).

OD Travel

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July 22, 2013: Un Ballo in Maschera in Milano

2013-07-22 Un Ballo in Maschera (Verdi), Teatro alla Scala, Milano

Riccardo = Marcelo Alvarez
Amelia = Sondra Radvanovsky
Renato = Zeljko Lucic
Ulrica = Marianne Cornetti
Oscar = Serena Gamberoni
Sam = Fernando Rado
Tom = Simon Lim
Silvano = Alessio Arduini
Minister of Justice = Andrzej Glowienka
Un servo d’Amelia = Giuseppe Bellanca

Daniele Rustioni, conductor

Staging - Damiano Michieletto
Sets- Paolo Fantin
Costumes - Carla Teti

Lights - Alessandro Carletti

UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, Teatro alla Scala 2013-07-22.

The Boston version. But now updated to 2013. Vote for Riccardo 2013, incorrotta gloria!! Marianne Cornetti sang Ulrica, and just look at her, blonde and dressed in white. No African-American praying to Satan here. Ulrica is here a miracle worker and we see it, blind see, people rise up from walking again. Marcelo Alvarez was stupendous as Riccardo. Luckily he was not made into a blonde like poor Amelia.  One could hardly recognise Sondra Radvanovsky with her blonde hair. Making her into a desperate middle-aged women with brown skirts and brown trousers. She was great!! Oscar was in this production a secretary and without any doubt a woman, a young woman. No boy here. In  2013 no man can just kill his wife for adultery and think it is going to be right. And really it was in this scene the regie got most things wrong. The child is inside with the father and Amelia is singing her heart out outside. Who can hear it? The change of heart plausible. The child there as Tom and Sam arrive... No, I don't think they got it right. Un ballo in maschera, but nobody is carrying masks or dressed as anyone other than themselves. A play with placards of Riccardo in human size. Then Riccardo dies but first he becomes a ghost and Amelia is mouthing what he is singing as she is reading a paper. Now, that end worked. BUT!!!!!!

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

July 22, 2004: Greek songs in Regensburg

2004-07-22 Greek night, Thurn und Taxis Schlossfestspiele (Regensburg)

Agnes Baltsa, mezzo
State Orchestra of Hellenic Music
Stavros Xarhakos, conductor

Stavros Xarhakos: Otan horeve i Frinta*
(As Frinta danced)
Stavros Xarhakos: Áspri méra ke ya mas (There will be better days, even for us)
Mikis Theodorakis: To tréno févgi stis októ (The train leaves at eight)
Manos Hadjidakis: Óniro pedión tis gitoniás (Dream of urban children)
Stavros Xarhakos: Nikterino paliou pathous*
(Nocturne of ancient passion)
Stavros Xarhakos: Stou Óthona ta hrónia (When Otto was king)
Stavros Xarhakos: Hathike to fegari (The lost moon)
Vasilis Tsitsanis: Arhóntissa (Princess of my heart)
Vasilis Tsitsanis: Ta kavourakia


Stavros Xarhakos: O sinthesis taxidevi sto potami* (The composer sails in the river)
Spiros Peristeris: Mes'ton onta enos passa (In private room)
Manos Hadjidakis: O tahidrómos (The postman)
Stavros Xarhakos: To praktorio (The lonely station)
Stavros Xarhakos: Stis skies trion filon* (In the shadow of three friends)
Stavros Xarhakos: Varkarólla (Barcarolle)
Manos Hadjidakis: Dioxe ti lipi palikari (Leave you sorrow behind, young man)
Stavros Xarhakos: Nin ke ai (Now and forever)

Manos Hadjidakis: Garífallo st' aftí (A carnation behind your ear)

* for orchestra

I took the train to Regensburg. At 1215 I was in Regensburg HBF, my hotel is not far from here. In Thurn und Taxis Schlossfestspiele 2004 my second Greek night with Agnes Baltsa and Xarhakos conducting. The exactly same program as in Ingolstadt. I think Ingolstadt was the better concert, others thought that this one was slightly better.

Maybe it was my seat, the audience (from where I was seated) did not react so enthusiastically as in Ingolstadt. And I had the misfortune to have Xarhakos standing right in front of Agnes Baltsa, I could mostly just see her hands, and I was sitting next to someone who was not quiet... And maybe the head-ache I had before going to the concertwasn't the best prelude to a concert... The loud-speakers where OK, but the orchestra seem not to have good balance, but then the orchestra was not in the center of the stage, it was more in the left (as seen from the audience). Agnes Baltsa was enjoying herself and the orchestra and pushed Xarhakos to bow for the audience, just likein the other concert, and the audience responded enthusiastically.

Personally I really loved the Ingolstadt concert, Regensburg was beautiful, but not quite the top's.

State Orchestra of Hellenic Music
Stavros Xarhakos, Leitung

„Lieder meiner Heimat“ – von Mikis Theodorakis,
Stavros Xarhakos u.a.

OD Travel + Photos

July 22, 1987: Der Graf von Luxemburg, Bad Ischl

1987-07-22 Der Graf von Luxemburg (Lehar), Kurhaus Bad Ischl

Rene, Graf von Luxemburg = Karl Lobensommer
Fürst Basil Basilowitsch = Peter Branoff
Gräfin Stasa Kokozow = Getraud Eckert
Armand Brissard = Joey Pflüger
Juliette Vermont = Gaby Bischof
Angele Didier = Kristina Mickel

Eduard Macku, conductor

I seem to remember that we went to two different operettas in Bad Ischl during the operetta festival weeks. Any way it was very spesial to be in Bad Ischl and I enjoyed this operetta very much.

OD Travel

Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21, 2013: Aida in Verona

2013-07-21 Aida (Verdi), Arena di Verona

The King = Carlo Cigni
Amneris = Daniela  Barcellona
Aida = Hui He
Radamès = Jorge de León
Ramfis = Marco Spotti
Amonasro = Alberto Mastromarino
A messenger = Riccardo Botta
High Priestess = Elena Rossi

Omer Meir Wellber, conductor

Director - Carlus Padrissa e Alex Ollé / La Fura dels Baus
Set - Roland Olbeter
Assistant Director / Choreographer - Valentina  Carrasco
Costumes - Chu Uroz

Lighting designer - Paolo Mazzon

AIDA, Arena di Verona 2013-07-21. Regie by Fura del Baus. Hui He was an amazing AIDA, Jorge de Leon was a lovely Radames and Daniela Barcellona excelled as Amneris.

The costumes was great to OK. Aida is on Egypt so why not make an extra story about the British Museum taking artifacts from Egypt. Well, first because this is opera staged and no film, so it is not working nor is it needed. The Regista must really love moving heavy objects around because it was happening all the time also at delicate musical times. And it really did not add anything of worth to the opera. Only distractions. The crocodiles in act 2 was also a distraction. Mechanical animals, camels and elephants. Cute, but... Was the whipping of the Ethiopian prisioners really necessary and why dressed like that? And all those in orange suits...

Musically speaking it was a triumph, especially the 3 protagonists and orchestra and chorus. The ballett, no. Really, no. Hui He carried the opera. The was the focus point. Alberto Mastromarino was a superb Amonasro. I saw a wonderful AIDA in 2005, please, bring it back!!!!

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

July 21, 2004: Greek songs in Ingolstadt

2004-07-21 Greek songs, Ingolstadt

Agnes Baltsa, mezzo
State Orchestra of Hellenic Music
Stavros Xarhakos, conductor

Stavros Xarhakos: Otan horeve i Frinta*
(As Frinta danced)
Stavros Xarhakos: Áspri méra ke ya mas (There will be better days, even for us)
Mikis Theodorakis: To tréno févgi stis októ (The train leaves at eight)
Manos Hadjidakis: Óniro pedión tis gitoniás (Dream of urban children)
Stavros Xarhakos: Nikterino paliou pathous*
(Nocturne of ancient passion)
Stavros Xarhakos: Stou Óthona ta hrónia (When Otto was king)
Stavros Xarhakos: Hathike to fegari (The lost moon)
Vasilis Tsitsanis: Arhóntissa (Princess of my heart)
Vasilis Tsitsanis: Ta kavourakia


Stavros Xarhakos: O sinthesis taxidevi sto potami* (The composer sails in the river)
Spiros Peristeris: Mes'ton onta enos passa (In private room)
Manos Hadjidakis: O tahidrómos (The postman)
Stavros Xarhakos: To praktorio (The lonely station)
Stavros Xarhakos: Stis skies trion filon* (In the shadow of three friends)
Stavros Xarhakos: Varkarólla (Barcarolle)
Manos Hadjidakis: Dioxe ti lipi palikari (Leave you sorrow behind, young man)
Stavros Xarhakos: Nin ke ai (Now and forever)

Manos Hadjidakis: Garífallo st' aftí (A carnation behind your ear)

* for orchestra

State Orchestra of Hellenic Music
Stavros Xarhakos, conductor

„Lieder meiner Heimat“ – von Mikis Theodorakis,
Stavros Xarhakos u.a.

I took Bus X109 to Ingolstadt 1707 (Kurt-Huber-strasse) and 1826 Bus 70 to Theodor-Heuss-Brucke direct at my hotel ARA comfort. Still time went fast, and soon I took the taxi to Reduit Tilly for the Greek night with Agnes Baltsa & Stavros Xarhakos
(conductor, composer). It was a wonderful night. Many of the known songs from the CD "Songs my Country taught me", Garifollo stafti (Extra number), Aspri mera, Oniro pedion tis gitonias, Varkarola, Arhontissa, O tahidromos. Stou Othona la hronia, To treno stis okto, and 6 songs that were new for me. They were all wonderfully song, but the loudspeakers was too loud, it was almost painful to my ear.

After a wonderful concert, taxi back to my hotel, I was back in my hotel room at approx 2330.

OD Travel + Photos

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 20, 2015: Carmen in Barcelona

2015-07-20 Carmen (Bizet), Palau de la Música Catalana (Barcelona)

Carmen = Marta Valero
Don Jose = Sergi Giménez
Micaela = Elvira Galo
Escamillo = Alberto Cazes Spinoglio
Frasquita = Sara Banares or Itziar Espinar
Mercedes = Carla Mattioli
Dancaire = Xavier Aquilar
Rememdado = Jorge Jasso
Zuniga = Nestor Pintado

Orquestra Terrassa 48
Xavier Puig, conductor

Jesús Fernández, stage direction

Yasmina Pulido, choreograph

It was not the very different version of Carmen, it just had more cuts in the score. It was Carmen with orchestra on the stage with the stage area used to showcase Carmen as opera as opposed to just a concert. It had seemed to me that this was to be Carmen as 2 hrs continuous play. In that case the opera would have had serious cuts. In stead it was act 1+2 in 2 hrs and the rest as 30 minutes. We had real Flamenco dancers that danced to Bizets music. Carmen, Don Jose, Micaela, Escamillo, Mercedes, Franquita, Dancaire and Remendado was all there and Zuniga was there, too.

It was beautiful and realistic staged.

It started 2030 and ended 2310. It was as lovely as it could be, but no revolutionary vision.

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

July 20, 2013: IL TROVATORE in Macerata

2013-07-20 Il Trovatore (G. Verdi), Arena Sferisterio (Macerata)

Il conte di Luna = Simone Piazzola
Leonora = Susanna Branchini
Azucena = Enkelejda Shkosa
Manrico = Aquiles Machado
Ferrando: = Luciano Montanaro
Ruiz = Enrico Cossutta
Ines = Rosanna Lo Greco
Un messo =  Alessandro Pucci

Paolo Arrivabeni, conductor
Fondazione Orchestra Regionale delle Marche
Banda “Salvadei” Città di Macerata
Coro Lirico Marchigiano "V.Bellini"

Regia - Francisco Negrin
Scene e costumi - Louis Desiré

Disegno luci - Bruno Poet

L TROVATORE, Macerata 2013-07-20. It was the premiere. It was confusing. Sometimes with great ideas but not so effectual, sometimes just not the right idea. Aquiles Machado was Manrico and Enkelejda Shkosa was Azucena. They made it worth a trip. Shkosa was a great Azucena. Aquiles Machado was a wonderful, lovely Manrico. The soprano that sang Leonora became better as the evening progressed. I found the baritone that sang Conte di Luna not as good as the rest, neither was Ferrando. Inez was good.

Why was there children present whenever Ferrando was telling the story? What was it about the Di Luna men that made them sometimes crawl like animals? Azucena's mother and the dead child of Azucena came and went onstage. That worked. But it would be confusing for anyone completely new to the story of IL TROVATORE.

The stage in Macreta arena sferisterio is too long. And to have 2 things a one time at both ends of the stage was not a great idea. You had to choose where to look.

On thing is for sure Azucena, Enkelejda Shkosa was the highlight and she was the one that took the conductor and director onstage for the applaus. And Enkelejda Shkosa left the stage with her stage son, Aquiles Machado. Bravi!

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

Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17, 2008: Nabucco in Munich

2008-07-17 Nabucco (G. Verdi), Bayerische Staatsoper

Nabucco = Paolo Gavanelli
Ismaele = Mikhail Agafonov
Zaccaria = Giacomo Prestia
Abigaille = Maria Guleghina
Fenena = Heike Grötzinger
Il Gran Sacerdote = Steven Humes
Abdallo = Kevin Conners
Anna = Lana Kos

Paolo Carignani, conductor

Musikalische Leitung Paolo Carignani
Inszenierung, Bühne und Kostüme Yannis Kokkos
Licht Michael Bauer
Chöre Andrés Máspero
Dramaturgie Anne Blancard-Kokkos

Das Bayerische Staatsorchester
Der Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper

Münchner Opernfestspiele 2008
Donnerstag, 17. Juli 2008
19.00 - ca. 21.40 Uhr
Dauer: Ca. 2 Stunden 45 Minuten

Mikhail Agafonov sprang in for Aleksandrs Antonenko as Ismaele with short time to prepare. But he sang and acted really well.

This time I sat on the best side for this opera, on the left, so I saw better the action. There were hammering sound during the opera even as the singing resumed it did not stop, it was simply disrespectful to the audience such noises. And then there was all this changes on stage that had often seemingly no reason to happen. And then Nabucco is an opera where the chorus play a great role in itself. The singing was OK but the acting simply wrongheaded.

This time Zaccaria (Giacomo Prestia) was well and the new Ismaele was an improvement. Paolo Gavanelli simply in my opinion has the wrong kind of voice for Nabucco, too sweet is his voice and not commanding in the voice. And then it was his looks, a big belly (his own or was it the directors idea) seemed to take even more command away from his appearance one could hardly image him riding tough and hard on a horse.

This was the better Nabucco is one sense, the overture was in anyway better played than on July 14th. Maria Guleghina was perfect as Abigaille. Heike Grötzinger was good as Fenena. But still as the opera ended and the singers bowed to the audience, the singers with Maria Guleghina as their head seem more tired than on July 14th. It was the last Nabucco of the season... Sadly it made me long for Vienna's Nabucco although there was things I did not like about that production.

BRAVA, Maria Guleghina!!!

OD Travel + Photos

Original blog post: Again Nabucco from Munich, another Ismael (July 17, 2008)

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

Saturday, July 15, 2017

July 15, 2006: Tosca in Verona

2006-07-15 Tosca (Puccini), Arena di Verona

Floria Tosca = Fiorenza Cedolins
Mario Cavaradossi = Marcelo Alvarez
Baron Scarpia = Ruggero Raimondi
Cesare Angelotti = Marco Spotti
The Sacristan = Fabio Previati
Spoletta = Cristiano Olivieri
Sciarrone = Gabriele Ribis
A Prison Guard = Angelo Nardinocchi

Daniel Oren, conductor


Melodrama in 3 acts by
Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa e Luigi Illica

15 July 2006 at 21.15

Principal Conductor Daniel Oren
Director Hugo de Ana
Scenographer Hugo de Ana
Costume Designer Hugo de Ana

This year I was in Verona to see Jose Cura as Canio in Pagliacci. A role I have seen him twice before. But this was a new production in Arena di Verona. And going to Verona is such fun. There was rumor that not many from the Jose Cura connexion (JC's fanclub) was going to be there, but I counted 7 persons at least. Since I had decided to go to Verona I and MARCELO ALVAREZ was going to sing in Tosca I wanted to combine these two great Argentinean tenors. I so it was Cav/Pag on July 14th and TOSCA on July 15th.

Better still; I hear that Cura was also going sing Turriddu in CavRust, my first with him in this role?! And then RUGGERO RAIMONDI as Baron Scarpia. My expectations skyrocketed. O dear, major disappointments is at hand if something goes awry.

This time I came my destination the day before the opera. So on Thursday the 13th I was resting up to be in the very best mood and hopefully not sleepy when the operas begin.

No problem in Verona, although it is very hot. But in the evening when the operas begin it is better. No need really to carry along a jacket even long after midnight it is still hot enough to go without.

CAV/PAG with Jose Cura was wonderful. One disappointment: where is Cura when we are waiting at the stage door. GONE?!

Luckily after TOSCA this never happened, both ALVAREZ, RAIMONDI and Cedolins was there. And of course RR fans and Alvarez fans.

TOSCA was incredible, FANTASTIC. Now comes the hardest part of this report from Verona; how to describe such a wonderful performance, the amazing acting, singing and this production. I will try, although many before have done a fabulous job in making a review of this TOSCA.

ACT 1:
As you can see from the photos this is a beautiful production. And when I see them I remember the most glorious singing. And Marcelo Alvarez had a golden voice and so in character. Fiorenza Cedolins was a good Tosca but I must admit I was more looking at Cavaradossi than Tosca. But to start with the beginning. Angelotti (Marco Spotti) comes in near exhaustion. Really great acting even though the stage was not really having a Madonna stature where Angelotti could find the keys or where Tosca could put her flowers. But that didn't matter the great acting made up for that. Later came the Sacristan (Fabio Previati) with several monks, and in this production the monks was almost for laughs and not the sacristan. Then came the moment, Mario Cavaradossi (Marcelo Alvarez) came onstage. Glorious singing and acting. Marcelo Alvarez was completely in role. This role fits him like a glove. Wonderful Recondita armonia!!! Then he met Angelotti again and the story becomes serious. This Cavaradossi is serious in his political convictions, Se la vita mi costassi!!!, Alvarez is singing and it is going out like a rocket. Tosca is singing "Mario! Mario! Mario!" As Angelotti hides, Cavaradossi answers Tosca. Tosca (Fiorenza Cedolins) arrives and of course this is one of the opera literature most beloved opera duets, wonderfully sung by Alvarez and Cedolins. Her acting and singing makes her believable as Tosca. Alvarez is naturally showing why he is a No 1 tenor in the world. Now, the only thing is that the audience thinks Tosca's jealousy is just a laughing matter. I don't, jealousy is not easy for the jealous person, and not for the partner. I loved how Marcelo made his Cavaradossi such a caring and lovable person who know how to make Tosca's life better in spite of her jealousy. So I saw in Verona how this love duet showed the depth of their relationship, deep love. One highlight was naturally "Qual occhio nel mondo al par de tuoi". Incredible acting and singing. At last Tosca is going, "Urge la opra!" In don't know why there were laughs when Cedolins was going. May be it was the "Falle l'occhio nere".

Then we see the soldiers in Castel Sant'Angelo (high up in the steps) they have found one prisoner missing (Angelotti), and a COLPO di CANONE. And there where quite a few laughs (almost hysterical) at the real BANG of the Cannon. And it was LOUD, and of course you could see the smoke, and not little of that either. Then of course on the stage Angelotti and Cavaradossi flees. The Sacristan and the chorus is ready to celebrate the big victory against Napoleon. The Sacristan had wanted to tell of this victory against Napoleon to Cavaradossi to show him "We win, you loose!"

Now it is time for Baron Scarpia (Ruggero Raimondi) and his spies to search the church. And the big painting. of Maddalena and the Christ was into two pieces. And I guess somebody in standing on this robe or maybe it is the painting. Ruggero Raimondi tries to stand up twice, then as the smart artist he is he starts singing kneeling, making that so right so natural and so right in character to sing "Un tal baccano in chiesa!". With the help of his spies and with no loss of dignity he goes on, owning the stage, domineering and scaring the wit out of the sacristan.

Of course Scarpia figures out what had happened from the evidence. A empty bucket in the chapel (Cavaradossi's food prepared by the sacristan, C was not hungry, and now the it inside the Attavanti chapel), Attavanti's portrait by Cavaradossi (she is the sister of Angelotti). Scarpia is lusting for Tosca and now her lover is evidently helping a State Enemy). YES, Tosca will be mine.

Then Tosca arrives. Scarpia found a fan belonging to Attavanti in the chapel. But he tells Tosca he found it near the painters pencils etc. Fiorenza Cedolins is a Tosca only looking for Cavaradossi so Baron Scarpia being there is not something she is thinking about. But when he will give her, a devout Catholic, holy water she can only accept, absentmindedly. Then when Scarpia starts his insuating. Making her believe that Cavaradossi is in their love nest with Marchesa Attavanti, she is all fire. Just what Baron Scarpia wanted and he orders "Una Carrozza, tre sbirri" and the Te Deum begins. And it is really BIG, BIG, BIG in the Arena. Even almost overwhelming Ruggero Raimondi. TOSCA, ACT 1: Incredile ma vero!

Act 2:

This is the act that most define Tosca and that is saying without a great Scarpia and Tosca it will fall apart. Of course Ruggero Raimondi is the man to ensure that this act will have all the drama it need. And Fiorenza Cedolins is enough of a Tosca to really ignite the fire it need. It is going to be impossible to describe how fantastic this act was sung and acted.

This photo of Fiorenza Cedolins as Tosca in act 2 says it all, what a proud and unafraid Tosca she played:

Unlike most Tosca's I have seen Vissi d'arte was not the greatest in this act it was Marcelo Alvarez "Vittoria!". Really amazing!! But not only that, unlike the other Tosca, seeing Cavaradossi standing up against Scarpia was like magic. Like this:

My photos from act 2 really says better than I can do what a dangerous situation act 2 was.

Act 3 is my favorite

And Marcelo Alvarez sang so splendidly E lucevan le stelle that the whole arena wanted to have it again. And after a false start "O dolci mani", Marcelo Alvarez was obviously already thinking ahead. Both E lucevan le stelle was the kind of singing that should become the standard. Fiorenza Cedolins and Marcelo Alvarez was both singing their best duet ever, it was THAT great. The acting was outstanding. Then unfortunately the opera would be over with the death of Cavaradossi and Tosca. WHAT A PITY that it is not a longer opera. BRAVA, Cedolins! BRAVI, Marcelo Alvarez & Ruggero Raimondi!!! It was like a dream come true.

After all the applause it was time to go to the stage door. Waiting a long time, but it was worth it. Alvarez, Cedolins and Raimondi came out, the boy soprano too and many more. I had almost nil change to get a photo of Cedolins, that was because the world wanted ALVAREZ and RAIMONDI. Ruggero Raimondi tries to get out quickly, but luckily I got some fine photos of him. AND then I got PLENTY of Marcelo Alvarez. And another time I hope to get a chance to talk more to Canterbella, Davina and maybe even Christine.

And it could have ended there but no. I and my Japanese friend was following Marcelo Alvarez. Marcelo had promised her to meet his son. And now another kind of magic started. We followed Marcelo with his little troupe, and there he was standing in the middle of the piazza and applause just started impromptu. We walked closed to one of the many cafes, more applause, BRAVO!!!!, people wanted to have his autograph, being photographed with him, congratulating him. So many hugs our dear tenor gave, and so gladly, laughingly. Yet another Cafe, the same happened, all in the Piazza Bra loved Marcelo Alvarez, he talked and waved his hands. It was Magic. And in the end my Japanese friend got to talk to Marcelo Alvarez young son. Who was like his father a gracious being. And he also gave his autograph just like his father. Just before leaving him to eat with his family and friends in a restaurant just a few steps from Piazza Bra I got the chance to thank him for a wonderful Tosca, and in the end I say !Viva Cordoba! in what I hoped sounded Spanish. And he asked me where I was from, I said Norway.

And I have been trying to get my sleep back ever since then.

BRAVO, Marcelo Alvarez!!!!!!

OD Travel + Photos

Friday, July 14, 2017

July 14, 2008: Nabucco in Munich

2008-07-14 Nabucco (G. Verdi), Bayerische Staatsoper

Nabucco = Paolo Gavanelli
Ismaele = Aleksandrs Antonenko
Zaccaria = Giacomo Prestia
Abigaille = Maria Guleghina
Fenena = Heike Grötzinger
Il Gran Sacerdote = Steven Humes
Abdallo = Kevin Conners
Anna = Lana Kos

Paolo Carignani, conductor

Inszenierung, Bühne und Kostüme Yannis Kokkos
Licht Michael Bauer
Chöre Andrés Máspero
Dramaturgie Anne Blancard-Kokkos

Das Bayerische Staatsorchester
Der Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper

Münchner Opernfestspiele 2008
Montag, 14. Juli 2008
19.30 - ca. 22.10 Uhr
Dauer: Ca. 2 Stunden 45 Minuten

Parte 1
01 Ouverture conducted by Paolo Carignani
Not the best NABUCCO ouverture that I have heard. Rather unimpressive.

02 Gli arredi festivi Chorus sang Ok, but the acting was so obviously staged. I did not get any feeling that the persons on stage felt anything out of the ordinary.

03 Sperate, o figli Giacomo Prestia, chorus. Giacomo Prestia did well as Zaccaria, obviously not in the best voice that evening. Not surprising since we were told that he was not well. The corus responded better with Giacomo Prestia as their chief voice.

04 Furibondo.... Aleksandrs Antonenko, Giacomo Prestia, chorus. Aleksandrs Antonenko was Ismaele and Giacomo Prestia as Zaccaria did their best to impress.

05 Fenena, mia diletta Aleksandrs Antonenko, Heike Grötzinger. Ismaele and Fenena. Heike Grötzinger was good as Fenena, but Ismaele was kind of boring

06 Prode Guerrier Maria Guleghina, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Heike Grötzinger. Finally some great singing and acting, Maria Guleghina as Abigaille.

07 Lo vedeste Chorus

08 Viva Nabucco! Maria Guleghina, Giacomo Prestia, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Paolo Gavanelli. Most unepressive Nabucco was Paolo Gavanelli, unfortunately, but he has a beautiful voice.

09 Tremin gl'insani.... Paolo Gavanelli, Maria Guleghina, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Heike Grötzinger, ensemble. As always wonderful to hear Mria Guleghina.

10 O vinti, il capo al terra! Paolo Gavanelli, Giacomo Prestia, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Maria Guleghina,
Heike Grötzinger.

Parte 2
11 Ben t'invenno, o fatal scritto Maria Guleghina. Another highlight from Maria Guleghina.
12 Anch'io dischiuso un giorno Maria Guleghina as sweet a sound as never before

13 Salgo gia Steven Humes, Chorus, Maria Guleghina. Would have been even better if Steven Humes (Gran sacerdote di Belo) and chorus had been more on par with Maria Guleghina.

14 Vieni, o Levita Giacomo Prestia. He does so well that one marvels at how he would do had be been well.

15 Che si vuol Chorus, Aleksandrs Antonenko.

16 Deh fratelli, perdonate. Lana Kos, Giacomo Prestia, Kevin Conners, Heike Grötzinger, Guleghina, Gavanelli

17 S'appressan l'instante Paolo Gavanelli, Maria Guleghina, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Heike Grötzinger, Prestia.

18 S'oda or me. Paolo Gavanelli, Giacomo Prestia, Heike Grötzinger, chorus.

19 Chi mi toglie.. Paolo Gavanelli...

Parte 3
20 E l'assria una Regina ... Chorus. Good singing but no acting,

21 Eccelsa Donna... Steven Humes, Maria Guleghina, Paolo Gavanelli, Kevin Conners

22 Donna, chi sei? Paolo Gavanelli, Maria Guleghina. Wonderful duet....
23 Oh, di qual onta.... Paolo Gavanelli, Maria Guleghina
24 Oh qual suon .... Paolo Gavanelli, Maria Guleghina
25 Deh perdona .... Paolo Gavanelli, Maria Guleghina

26 Va, pensiero Chorus. OK

27 Oh, chi piangi. Giacomo Prestia, chorus. Again Giacomo Prestia is the only one that can make the chorus be more alive.

Parte 4
28 Son pur queste mie membra Paolo Gavanelli is more Nabucco here is this part.
29 Dio di Giuda Paolo Gavanelli. Great aria
30 Porta fatal Paolo Gavanelli, Kevin Conners
31 O prode miei. Chorus, Paolo Gavanelli

32 Va la palma del martirio Giacomo Prestia, Heike Grötzinger. Finally an aria for Fenena. Wonderful.

33. Ah torna Israella Paolo Gavanelli, ensemble.

34 Immenso Jeovha Ensemble

35 Su me, morente Maria Guleghina. Fantastic Maria Guleghina!!!!!

My favorite opera, NABUCCO by G. Verdi and one of my favorite sopranos, Maria Guleghina as Abigaille. When the manager went out to announce something I got scared maybe it was something about my favorite Abigaille. But no, Giacomo Prestia was not well but was still singing.

Even as Giacomo Prestia was not well I still enjoyed his Zaccaria more than Paolo Gavanelli's Nabucco. Paolo Gavanelli was simply quite wrong as Nabucco in my opinion. He did quite well in Nabucco's great aria and was quite good in the great duet with Maria Guleghina. Ismaele was Aleksanders Antonenko who was not the best tenor for this role, but then which top star tenor would want to sing Ismaele. It is usually a role for the young tenor in the beginning of his career like it was for Josep Carreras and José Cura.

Maria Guleghina was a wonderful Abigaille. But the production was not a great one. The chorus sang well but felt nothing. It was much use of the possibilities on the stage to move stars and so on. But seldom did that add something to the opera. It was a lot of lost opportunities. Fenena was also great. Heike Grötzinger.

OD Travel

Original blog post: A weak Nabucco in Munich (July 14, 2008)

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

July 14, 2006: Pagliacci in Verona

2006-07-14 Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Arena di Verona

Nedda = Svetla Vassileva
Canio = José Cura
Tonio = Alberto Mastromarino
Beppe = Cristiano Olivieri
Silvio = Marco Di Felice

Lü Jia, conductor

Principal Conductor Lü Jia
Director Gilbert Deflo
Scenographer William Orlandi
Costume Designer William Orlandi

With José Cura as Canio, Svetla Vassileva as Nedda, Alberto Mastromarino as Tonio, Cristiano Olivieri as Beppe & Marco Di Felice as Silvio, Pagliacci was a great success. José Cura and Alberto Mastromarino are experts as Canio and Tonio, they can do nothing wrong in these roles. Svetla Vassileva was perfect as Nedda. Cristiano
Olivieri was wonderful as Beppe. And of course Marco di Felice was a luxury Silvio.

Arena di Verona is huge, the stage is very big and it is not easy to be a singer in the arena. And it is all outdoor. There is always the temptation to fill the whole stage. In this production of CAV/PAG it was the chorus that had the role to fill the stage. Strange as it seem it the Italian chorus seemed to have trouble with the Italian text. Maybe it was just that the stage was so big and it was a large chorus
to hold it all together.

Jose Cura was maybe tired after singing both Turriddu and Canio, so I did not see him at the stage door. That was the only disappointment of the evening.

OD Travel + Photos

July 14, 2006: Cavalleria Rusticana in Verona

2006-07-14 Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni), Arena di Verona

Santuzza = Giovanna Casolla
Lola = Rossana Rinaldi
Turriddu = José Cura
Alfio = Carlos Almaguer
Lucia = Paola Fornasari

Lü Jia, conductor

14 July 2006 at 21.15

Principal Conductor Lü Jia
Director Gilbert Deflo
Scenographer William Orlandi
Costume Designer William Orlandi

Finally I was going to see Jose Cura as Turriddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, and he was wonderful. He sang the Siciliana high up on the steps. Unfortunately for me where I was sitting a saw only the column hiding him. He sang and walked very relaxed. He was the perfect Turriddu. Giovanna Casolla who sang Turandot last year with Jose Cura as Calaf was not so right as Santuzza. She really reminded me why I think this role should be sung by a mezzo soprano. But she did her best to be Santuzza but she was obviously only acting. Rossana Rinaldi was an attractive Lola, making it very obvious why Turriddu preferred her to Santuzza. Jose Cura played a man very much in love with Lola. Carlos Almaguer was an efficient Alfio, very dry voice though. PaolaFornasari was perfect as Lucia. Giovanna Casolla's Santuzza was always best in interaction with Turriddu and Lucia.

OD Travel + Photos

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July 13, 2002: Otello in Zurich

2002-07-13 Otello (Verdi), Opernhaus Zurich
Otello = José Cura
Desdemona = Daniela Dessì
Jago = Ruggero Raimondi
Cassio = Antonello Palombi
Emilia = Brigitte Pinter
Roderigo = Miroslav Christoff
Lodovico = Pavel Daniluk
Montano = Valeriy Murga
Un arraldo = Michael Mirosek

Vladimir Fedoseyev, conductor

Musikalische Leitung VLADIMIR FEDOSEYEV
Lichtgestaltung JÜRGEN HOFFMANN
Samstag, 13. Juli 2002
BEGINN: 19.00 UHR ENDE: ca. 22.15 UHR
Musikalische Assistenz und Einstudierung ENRICO CACClARI, THOMAS BARTHEL Abendspielleitung und Regieassistenz CLAUDIA BLERSCH
Bühnenbildassistenz MARIO FERRARA
Kostümassistenz AMELIE HAAS
Regiehospitanz EVA FISCHLlN
Organisation und Betreuung der Kinder SUSY SIEGRIST
Souffleur ADRIANO

Wonderful Cura, Dessì & Raimondi Otello in Space, but still Verdi's Otello. The backdrop is a cinematic view of the stars, as if on a space-ship. This modernism is not doing anything for the opera, so I will go straight into the matter. Otello, the opera, as theater and singing considered. The Chorus was weak, especially in the beginning of the opera, I think the Zurich opera needs more singers in the chorus. The children's chorus was excellent. Ruggero Raimondi was in full rigor as Jago, excellent singing and acting. Roderigo did his part well enough, but his voice was weak. Cassio was a bigger voiced tenor than I am used to in Otello performances, here we had a match for Cura, a future Otello no-doubt. José Cura as Otello, I liked him, but still Plácido Domingo's interpretation of the role is too vivid in my mind that I can fully appreciate Cura's because they are quite different. Daniela Dessì was a brilliant and young Desdemona, perfect in all ways. Emilia was also great in this performance.

OD Travel + Photos

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July 11, 2015: Verdi Puccini Opera Gala in Siracusa

2015-07-11 Verdi Puccini Opera Gala, Siracusa Teatro Greco

Maria Grazia Tringale, soprano
Gonca Dogan, soprano
Antonella Arena, mezzo
Dave Monaco, tenor
Filippi Micale, tenor
Salve di Salvo, baritone

(The soloists are from Coro Lirio Siciliano
directed by Francesco Costa)
Francesco Drago, piano

This was opera concert with piano. 3 sopranos, 2 tenors and 1 baritone. Or rather 2 sopranos and 1 mezzo (Antonella Arena!!!) with 2 tenors and 1 baritone (Salve Di Salvo).

I love the voice of mezzo soprano and I loved ANTONELLA ARENA. The singing was superb and the acting, too. Of the 6 singers she seemed the one most ready for an opera carreer. I would like to see and hear her as Azucena in Il Trovatore, it was so wonderful her Stride la vampa. Then she also sang Amneris from Aida, would love to see her onstage as Amneris. The duet with Aida with Gonca Dogan as Aida, I think. She sang the veil song from Don Carlo. Excellentissima!

The sopranos was also wonderful. Maria Grazia Tringale and Gonca Dogan. Sognando La Scala!

The baritone Salve di Salvo was also very good. The 2 tenors, Dave Monaco and Filippi Micale was good, too. But who is who?

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

July 10, 2015: Norma in Siracusa

2015-07-10 Norma (Bellini), Siracusa Teatro Greco

Norma = Chiara Taigi
Adalgisa = Adriana Damato
Clotilde = Anna Consolaro
Pollione = Piero Giuliacci
Flavio = Giuseppe di Stefano
Oroveso = Jose Antonio Garcia

Jacopo Sipari di Pescasseroli, conductor
Orchestra Sinfonica Bellini Opera Festival
Coro Lirico Siciliano (Francesco Costa)

Regia & Scene = Enrico Castiglione

Costumi = Sonia Cammarata

A wonderful location, a wonderful production. E la grande simplicita!

To compare this Norma to the Norma of Bayerische Staatsoper Munich would be unfair. They are so different. Here we had the Norma of Chiara Taigi who clearly do love her children. That is the biggest difference so we have much more sympathy for this Norma. Chiara Taigi has a different approach in singing and acting this role than Sondra Radvanovsky. Both are great. Adriana Damato is still in my opinion very much a soprano even as her voice has always been dark and she is able to sing the mezzo part of Adalgisa very well. Of course both roles, Norma and Adalgisa, lays in between soprano/mezzo territory, so all is good. As usual Pollione is often sung by a tenor with more strength than belcanto. Here we have the Pollione of Piero Giuliacci and he can belt it out and in the end he still soars especially in the ending of the opera. As Flavio we have a well known name but it is not the Giuseppe Di Stefano, this is a young Italian tenor ( Anna Consolaro as Clotilde. Finally we have Jose Antonio Garcia as Oroveso. Bravi tutti!

And the evening ended with everybody singing Happy Birthday (in Italian) to Chiara Taigi!!!
Happy Birthday, Chiara Taigi!! Tanti auguri!!

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

Saturday, July 8, 2017

July 8, 2009: Pagliacci in Zurich

2009-07-08 Pagliacci (R. Leoncavallo), Opernhaus Zurich

Canio (Pagliaccio) = José Cura
Nedda (Colombina) = Fiorenza Cedolins
Tonio (Taddeo) = Carlo Guelfi
Beppe (Arlecchino) = Martin Zysset
Silvio = Gabriel Bermudez
Erster Bauer = Uwe Kosser
Zweiter Bauer = Christopher Hux

Stefano Ranzani, conductor

Pagliacci started with a disappointment. The Prologue with Carlo Guelfi (Tonio) was boring, and he was already dressed up as a Commediante player. It really made me think skip the prologue, let's have the opera already.

Finally it started. Again it was the attention to detail and that every person on stage had personality and a life that impressed me. Martin Zysset as Beppe was nothing special here, why? Was it that it was the last performance of Cav/Pag in the season. As he did not excel here, Beppe (Martin Zysset) was the clue that fitted all together. Gabriel Bermudez as Silvio was a real good-looking, muscular man. No wonder Nedda fell for him. Especially since this Canio was more of drunkard than anything else. But when José Cura plays the drunkard one does feel sympathy for him. No sympathy for Nedda, Fiorenza Cedolins, the adulteress. Shameless... And then how would one feel for Nedda, the character does not have a forgiving feature. Only in Genoa, where Nedda/Canio had a daughter this I feel for Nedda, Svetla Vassileva. And then Carlo Guelfi in the opera, was better than in the prologue...

OD Travel + Photos

Original blog post:
Real verismo in Zurich on July 8th, 2009

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

July 8, 2009: Cavalleria Rusticana in Zurich

2009-07-08 Cavalleria Rusticana (P. Mascagni), Opernhaus Zurich

Santuzza = Paoletta Marrocu
Turiddu = José Cura
Alfio = Cheyne Davidson
Mamma Lucia = Cornelia Kallisch
Lola = Katharina Peetz

Stefano Ranzani, conductor

It was Real Verismo where every choir member had a role to play, nut as simply a chorus, but as real persons with their own individual lives. There were no masses, only individuals. Wonderful to see such attention to detail in an opera production. Paoletta Marrocu was Santuzza, I wish I could really describe how she acted and sang but nothing, except that she was Santuzza, really. Alfio and Lola, Cheyne Davidson and Katharina Peetz, was the good-looking and wealthy couple. Everybody in the village except Alfio and mamma Lucia knew about Turriddu and Lola. But wealth has it privilege, Lola was still excepted. Santuzza, not. Mamma Lucia, Cornelia Kallisch, was a much deeper role, more sympathetic especially in the end towards Santuzza. José Cura was Turriddu. He was great, even deeper understanding to the role. No wonder he was killed by Alfio, having been drinking a lot, and Alfio had not been drinking alcohol.

OD Travel + Photos

Original blog post:
Real verismo in Zurich on July 8th, 2009

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

Friday, July 7, 2017

July 7, 2004: Die Sache Makropoulos in Berlin

2004-07-07 Die Sache Makropulos (Janacek), Deutsche Oper Berlin

Emilia Marty = Anja Silja
Albert Gregor = Pär Lindskog
Vitek = Neil Jenkins
Kristina = Jessica Miller
Baron Jaroslav Prus = Steven Page
Janek = Yosep Kang
Dr. Kolenaty = Lenus Carlson
Ein Theatermaschinist = Slavtscho Kurschumov
Eine Aufräumefrau = Kari Hamnoy
Hauk-Sendorf = Ryland Davies
Kammerzofe Emilias = Kari Hamnoy

Marc Albrecht, conductor

Premiere 24. Juni 2004
Musikalische Leitung Marc Albrecht
Inszenierung Nikolaus Lehnhoff
Bühne, Kostüme Tobias Hoheisel

Licht Mark Henderson/Jon Stevens
Chöre Hellwart Matthiesen

I liked this opera and the production, and I even got to see and talk to Anja Silja after the performance at the stage door. Wonderful photos did I take from the applause, and one great photo of Anja Silja at the stage door. But, helas, my newly bought 256MB XD picture card got a reading error, so I only saw my photos once at the computer, they were great, but to pay 2 000-15 000 NOK for a rescue of 6-7 photos... If I were a millionaire, yes, but I am not.

OD Travel

Thursday, July 6, 2017

July 6, 2015: Adriana Lecouvreur in Paris

2015-07-06 Adriana Lecouvreur (Cilea), Opera National de Paris (Opera Bastille)

Adriana Lecouvreur = Angela Gheorghiu
Maurizio = Marcelo Alvarez
La Principessa di Bouillon = Luciana D’intino
Il Principe di Bouillon = Wojtek Smilek
L’Abate di Chazeuil = Raúl Giménez
Michonnet = Alessandro Corbelli
Quinault = Alexandre Duhamel
Poisson = Carlo Bosi

Daniel Oren, conductor

Stage director - David McVicar
Sets - Charles Edwards
Costumes - Brigitte Reiffenstuel
Lighting - Adam Silverman
Choreography - Andrew George

Chorus master - José Luis Basso

Bravi, tutti! And I did not have head-ache this time. So this time I waited for the artists to come out. Ihad to give up waiting for Angela Gheorghiu.

I can only repeat myself that this was a wonderful, traditional production. I think Angela Gheorghiu was better this day. I think that since I am deaf on one ear it is hard to me get the right sound in my head and something was slightly off in the sound this day but I think it was probably just my deaf ear and that problem.

The audience was definitely different, they were laughing more something I do not like when I am in an opera house enjoying opera. Not that it was malicious the laughter I just found it out of place.

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

July 6, 2004: Viva la opera, concert in Berlin

2004-07-06 Viva la opera, Classic Open Air Berlin

José Cura, tenor & conductor
Montserrat Caballé, soprano
Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau
Golo Berg, conductor


01. Verdi: La Forza del Destino- ouverture (Anhaltische Filharmonie Dessau, cond. Golo Berg)
02. Verdi: Forza - duetto "Ah, per sempre" (Caballé & Cura)
03. Puccini: Manon Lescaut - intermezzo
04. Puccini: Gianni Schicchi - "O mio babbino caro" (Caballé)
05. Puccini: Tosca - "E lucevan le stelle" (Cura)
06. Rossini: Il Barbiere in Siviglia - ouverture (orchestra)
07. Giordano: Andrea Chénier - "Come un bel di di Maggio" (Cura)
08. Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur - "Dal sultano amurato - Io son l'umile ancella" (Caballé)
09. Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur - "L'anima ho stanca" (Cura)
10. Giordano: Fedora - duetto, "Ella fuggi" (Caballé & Cura)


11. Verdi: Otello - "Ave Maria" (Caballé, conductor: Cura)
12. Verdi: Otello - "Gia nella notte densa" (Caballé & Cura)
13. Leoncavallo: Pagliacci - intermezzo (orchestra)
14. Leoncavallo: Pagliacci - "Vesti la giubba" (Cura)
15. Massenet: La Vierge - "L'extase de la Vierge" (Caballé)
16. Bizet: Carmen - "La fleur que tu m'avais jetée" (Cura)
17. Verdi: La Traviata - brindisi (Caballé & Cura)

Cura sang 2 songs from the Boleros album
(Como novios & Esta tarde vi llover),
Caballé sang a quick zarzuela aria, and "Berliner Luft", and in the end Cura sang "Nessun dorma" from Turandot by Giacomo Puccini with Caballé on stage directed to her.

2004-07-06 Tuesday
Going to Berlin, not with SAS this time but with Norwegian ( Everything went well, I found my hotel easy enough. I remembered from last time I stayed at Hotel an der Oper (that was in 2000, when I saw Agnes Baltsa as Carmen in Deutsche Oper Berlin).

More difficult, however, was it for me to find Gendarmenmarkt. The map given to me by the hotel concierge did not show Gedarmenmarkt, and then my concierge told me the faster way to get to this place, either I misunderstood her or not, I was walking quite a bit and got real tired in my legs, finally I realized that I was probably walking in the wrong direction (which usually when walking and looking at a map). When I in the end bought a map in which luckily Gedarmenmarkt was marked could I finally get a hold on where I was and "soon" I was at Gedarmenmarkt. It was almost totally veiled in a white cloth but at the ending notes of "Nessun dorma" in the veiled voice of Jose Cura, I was at the right point. After one round of walking around the Markt and standing there, I was now hungry and found that I must eat before the concert. Underground here and there. I ate Chinese food, and went back again.

First I saw one JCx members, then 2 at once. Then when I was at my seat there a whole road of members of the Cura Connexion. Splendid! I saw Montserrat Caballe with a white hospital stick, problem with her hip, I gather. In the concert she did not use it. I wonder if it had been easier to her to sing, if she could have leant to that stick. Anyway it was a wonderful concert. She of course was no longer the Queen of the velvety pianissimo anymore. Which was clear to anyone on some of the arias and duets but there was truly moments of exquisite beauty. Jose Cura was on the other hand perfect, only moment of inspection was in the beginning of the concert and it was simply because of the microphone, when that was sorted out it was honey all the way.

The orchestra and the conductor was wonderful in the Forza Ouverture the Barbiere Ouverture and the Manon Lescaut intermezzo. A true joy to listen too. After a momentous Forza del Destino ouverture, the duet from act 1, Alvaro and Leonora. Caballe's voice decline was obvious, jumping from notes, words that eloped, but together they were acting the moment of this difficult duet. Then the orchestra was playing the intermezzo from Manon Lescaut, it was soothing the soul. Then Jose Cura sang E lucevan le stelle, it was really amazing and emotional. Then Barbiere Ouverture, and Cura sang "Come un bel di di maggio", from Andrea Chenier. And another Verismo aria Montserrat Caballe sang "Io son l'umile ancella" (started with the rezitative? "Dal Sultano Amurato") not like Mirella Freni sang it but another kind of perfection. BRAVA!!!. Then a "mosquito" stopped Cura in the beginning of the aria "L'anima ho stanca", luckily with a bit of Coca Cola he could sing again, and it was another splendid Adriana Lecouvreur aria. And then the two stars sang Fedora duets that ends act 2. And then the first part ended in the right sentiment.

Part 2 Cura conducted Caballe in Ave Maria from Verdi's Otello. She did not sing the Salce-aria (Mia madre avea una povera ancella) that the program stated, it was wise. She sang the Ave Maria as a devout Catholic, it was heart-warming to listen to. Then They sang the love duet of Otello together. Then the orchestra started with the
intermezzo from Pagliacci and Cura came in and sang Vesti la giubba. Montserrat sang an aria from la Vierge by Massenet. Wonderful!! And continued in the French vein, Cura sang the Flower aria from Carmen. And the official program ended with the Brindisi from La Traviata.

Extras Cura sang two songs from the Boleros CD (Como novios, Esta tarde vi llover), Montserrat Caballe sang one Zarzuela aria (a real quick one), and the Berliner Luft. And in the end Jose Cura sang Nessun dorma, with Caballe as the receiver of all his vocal passion.

In the end of this wonderful evening, the JCx members ended in a cafe. In the end it was really night 0130, I think and I took a taxi to my hotel.

OD Travel + Photos