Monday, October 30, 2017

October 30, 2010: Samson et Dalila in Karlsruhe

2010-10-30 Samson et Dalila (C. Saint-Saëns),Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe

Samson = José Cura
Dalila = Julia Gertseva
Abimelech = Lukas Schmid
High Priest = Walter Donati
Ancient Hebrew = Walter Shreyek (statist) / Luiz Molz (voice)
First Philistine = Sebastian Haake
Second Philistine = Alexander de Paula
Messenger = Andreas Heideker
Young Hebrew = Sebastian Shaible

Jochem Hochstenbach, conductor

Inszenierung - José Cura
Ausstattung - José Cura
Einstudierung der Chöre - Ulrich Wagner
Dramaturgie - Annabelle Köhler
Regieassistenz - Eva Schuch

I would love to say that I really loved this production of Samson et Dalila since this was with REGIE UND AUSTATTUNG José Cura. What is great about this production is that the concept works, it makes sense and it does not go against the music or the words in the opera. I think that Regie and Konzept is often made against the story and music and very often just to shock, that is the cheap way to work. Here you have the opposite someone really doing the REGIE as the handiwork it should be. And so here it works. Without earlier knowledge of the opera and story the production works even better. Then there are some errors that directors should try to avoid. One should never have to read the concept of director in order to understand it and it should be obvious who is who. It was not obvious that the children dressed in red was Philistine children. Had the Philistine been dressed in red and not in a formal dark wear (Abimelech, Grand Prêtre) it would have been clear that children in red are Philistine, other children are Hebrew. With some of the important ideas of José Cura is the children, the innocent ones, trying save each other, not caring who is the enemy. Without clarity here much understanding is already lost in act 1.

My other complaints are much more my personal view. In my view it was too much violence showing here. Compared to other "shows" it is not too much violence. But it is José Curas choice to show how violent the regime the Hebrew are under. This does undermine the other idea that José Cura has that Samson is nothing more than a suicide bomber using religion as a pretext for violence. With violence so great must not revolt come and therefore is not Samson forced to become the leader. That is just my view. So Samson is a hero in this production even if Cura is trying to show us that this revolt was not without Hebrew casualties.

In this concept the Old Hebrew is killed by the High Priest in front of the children and women. The children dressed in red then saves more lives from the murderous High Priest. But if you have not read in the program that this means Philistines are saving Hebrews, children saves children, then one important point is lost. Because the Old Hebrew is killed before the "Hymne de joie, hymne de délivrance" sung by the Old Hebrews and other elders this become a sombre song offstage as we see the dead Hebrews are carried into the stage. Still it does not really make sense that the High Priest should shoot the Old Hebrew as he sings "Maudit soit le sein de la femme qui lui donna le jour!". Why shoot a man when he could strangle the woman who might just be Samson's mother or wife? It would have been really chilling. But then the concept would not work, or what...

Here there are no doubt about Dalila. She never loved Samson. This Dalila is a woman that is callous and uses her allures to trap men and to be powerful and rich. I can accept that but I would have loved her to have many layers to her. I find it harder to just accept the sexualization of Dagons priestesses. But then they are just Dalila's tools. It is as if we are to believe that Dalila and her "sisters" hate men because they love women. I find it cheap. And I find it strange that all the priestesses are inside Dalila's hut the Soreck valley.

When the High Priest visits Dalila he is shown as big shadow behind the tall veil. Unfortunately this High Priest as he is singing hiw big shadow makes any tremulus in the hands very visual and that goes against his portrayal as a strong man.

José Cura showed himself as a man capable to create a Samson et Dalila that is really modern and true to the music. The rave reviews was not completely unjustified. And then there is the voice and acting of José Cura. He is the complete Samson. Wonderful singing and acting. Julia Gertseva was Dalila. She is a promising Dalila, her voice is sometimes just short of really opening up and then she could be a Dalila for the ages. Other than that, she is spotless. The other singers was not up to the highest standard where Cura and Gertseva reigned. The chorus was exceptional. The statists did a good job. The children was wonderful.

In the end I will mention the teenager, an invention of José Cura. A long-haired teen-ager that I thought would be like a Samson double. It is an operatic trend of using doubles in opera. But in this production he is just the ardent follower of Samson who idolizes Samson. He is disappointed by Samson when he falls for Dalila, but when he himself is used by Dalila, he understands and forgives and saves the children from the destruction of Samson on Samson's command.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 26, 2013: La Battaglia di Legnano in Hamburg

2013-10-26 La Battaglia di Legnano (Verdi), Hamburgische Staatsoper

Federico Barbarossa = Tigran Martirossian
Rolando = Giorgio Caoduro
Lida = Alexia Voulgaridou
Imelda = Rebecca Jo Loeb
Arrigo = Yonghoon Lee
Marcowaldo = Viktor Rud
1. Console di Milano = Vincenzo Neri
2. Console di Milano = Alin Anca
Il Podestá di Como = Szymon Kobylinski
Un scudiero di Arrigo = Manuel Günther
Un araldo = Sergiu Saplacan
Simone Young, conductor

Inszenierung - David Alden
Bühnenbild - Charles Edwards
Kostüme - Brigitte Reiffenstuel
Licht - Adam Silverman
Chor - Eberhard Friedrich

Giuseppe Verdi
La Battaglia di Legnano
SA, 26.10.2013 19:30 Uhr

What a wonderful opera night in Hamburg!!!

The great Simone Young conducted a superb cast. Loved the music and singing. This is an opera that shoud be played more in theatres around the world.

First it starts with one of the most beautiful Verdi ouvertures. Simone Young knows how to get best of the orchestra with great clarity it shines. What a demanding, physical work it is to be a conductor. Not only that but concentration and a great precision is needed.

Viva Italia!!! That is the theme of the opera. An Exit sign is on the stage. What does that mean? USCITA means just EXIT, but why is it onstage. It does naturally help the people to find the exit door but it is just never explained.

The chorus is just not on the stage but on the roof/floor of the stage. "Viva Italia" is sung a capella with the chorus dressed in classic Milanese cloths. The men are on the second floor. The women on the stage. The men onstage are actors not singers unless they have a role like being the Herald and such. A wounded Arrigo comes onstage, he is weak and wounded in his arm, he need support of a stick to hold himself erect. Yonghoon Lee sings Arrigo's aria ernestly and with a haunty beauty. Then comes Rolando and the two friends are now reunited. The young Giorgio Caoduro is convincing as Rolando. In Hamburg Arrigo and Rolando is of the same age. Rolando is an important man in Milano, he is the captain of the city. Arrigo has just been released from war prison. La Battaglia is an opera filled with patriotic moments and it the most Milanese opera. All of the opera happens in Milano, the main city of Lombardy.

The marches of La Battagia gives the opera the  most vigorous feeling.

After the scene of prisoners of war coming wounded to the city and not that welcomed by officials. Hospital bed and now out, in comes women happy for Italia. So strange that Lida is not happy. Married with one child, she cannot forget her first love, Arrigo. Her father and brothers are now all dead. Her father arranged the marriage of Lida and Rolando. She thinks Arrigo is dead, too. Alexia Voulgaridou is really a wonderful Lida. A wonderful coloratura. Unfortunately Marcowaldo, who has been allowed to stay at their home by a generous Rolando. He is the servant who fancies his boss' wife. This is a real annoyance for Lida but worse is it that he is present when Lida is beeing told Arrigo is alive. That a sad Lida is suddenly giddily happy is a giveaway. Great coloratura aria!!! Then Rolando comes with Arrigo. Now Marcowaldo has double reason to doubt. Then Rolando has to go out on official business. Arrigo is now alone with Lida. He wastes no time in accusing Lida of all sorts. The singing is glorious and musically the duet is just wonderful. But Lida never gets the chance to explain herself. Arrigo seems to believe that Lida as a woman could be free to chose whatever she wants. Arrigo is blind with fury. I loved you as a god, now I see you as a demon. But what would an opera be if the characters was thinking before acting. Opera is often all emotion. Reason be damned!

So now Lida is back to unhappiness again.

In Hamburg it seems that the opera is happening during the risorgimento. Act 2 starts with the Mayor of Milano and a group of important who is about to agree with the opressor Barbarossa. Rolando and then Arrigo are outraged of the patriotic weakness. They will never accept Barbarossi. But then suddenly Barbarossa with his big, red beard appears. He was in the room all the time while Rolando and Arrigo was insulting him. Great scene. Barbarossa has already surrounded the city. He gloats, Rolando and Arrigo counter that with patriotic will will Milano cast out the foreign army. The city is in turmoil and burns already. Barbarossa is not the destiny of Milano. NEVER!!


Arrigp desperate of love and patriot as he is. He joins the Cavalieri della Morte. Dressed in the flag of Italy with a skull in his hand Arrigo swears to be a Cavlier della Morte. The scene is of glorious gloom and a musical feast. And on this note, the lights go out and we can now eat, drink, relax.

Why a pause at the beginning of act 3? Musically it simply ends better so it feels right. After act 2 we just feel a scene is over but it not as clear. Anyway, that was the decision in Hamburg.

So after a pause of 25 minutes we are in the Rolando household. Lida is extremely agitated, Arrigo has joined the death/suicide squad. This is just a scene of extreme feeling. Lida is in secret writing a note to Arrigo. Imelda agrees to carry it, to give it to Arrigo. But sleazy Marcowaldo gets hold of the document.  Rolando comes to Lida to say goodbye and since it is war again and he could die. He is very emotial and Lida becomes teary-eyed, too. Their boy is seated and Rolando gives instructs Lida "tell him he is of Italian blood, then him he is my son". Beautiful duet. Then a scene with Rolando and Arrigo alone. Rolando does not know that Arrigio has joined the death squad so he asks Arrigo to take care of his wife and son. Arrigo who has shown no mercy toward Lida, he can feel sorry Rolando, the man who "stole" Lida from him. Beatiful scene. As Rolando is about to depart Marcowaldo shows the letter Lida wrote to Arrigo and naturally Rolando waste no time to think and goes into fury about the "betrayal" immediately.

Arrigo is in his appartement feeling sorry for himself. So sure of his death is Arrigo so he is writing his mother to prepare her. Having heard no word from Arrigo since Arrigo has not received the note, Lida comes. She confesses her love. But even as that makes Arrigo happy Lida tells him he must live for his mother just as she must live for son. The appartment is on the second floor and the stage is covered in blue light as it night and the river runs there. Rolando appears, Arrigo hides Lida. Rolando has decided against killing Arrigo. Arrigo is to die the slow, agonizing death of shame. Rolando knows that for Arrigo that is worse than death. For Lida, another shame, to no longer be a part of the Rolando household, Rolando will no longer accept her as his wife. Infamia!!! Desperately Arrigo throws himself in the river. He will find a way to join the Componi della Morte. This scene is just Verdi magic.

Act 4. War is over. Lida is overjoyed to hear that Arrigo managed to get to his squad, His shame has been averted. Masses celebrate. A mourning sound is heard. The death squad leads a mortally wounded Arrigo, a man dying for the fatherland cannot lie. Rolando must understand that Lida is innocent. Will Rolando not accept and hold the hand of Arrigo. Rolando forgives Arrigo and possibly Lida, too. Arrigo dies as hero. The opera ends beautifully!!!!!

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

October 26, 2001: I Capuleti ed i Montecchi in Oslo

2001-10-26 I Capuleti ed i Montecchi (Bellini), Oslo Konserthus

Giuletta = Patrizia Biccirè
Romeo = Ingebjørg Kosmo
Capellio = Carsten Stabell
Tebaldo = Salvatore Fisichella
Lorenzo = Magne Fremmerlid

Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz (Norway), sick (child)***
Replaced by Patrizia Biccirè, Italian Soprano

a wonderful replacement, wonderful Giulietta. Passionate singing, making Giulietta come forward as a person. Ingebjørg Kosmo, a wonderful mezzo, her voice was velvety, sometimes she was lacking in strength, but Bellini is demanding for the voice. Magne Fremmerlid was a big-voiced Lorenzo. I just couldn't believe he was Norwegian. Carsten Stabell as Capellio was a disappointment, weak voice and little presenza. SALVATORE FISISCHELLA was a magnificent Tebaldo.

Romeo's big scene in the end of the opera, was a HIGHLIGHT, and so touching when Giulietta wakes up. I almost cried. Kosmo and Biccire was top class!!

***Luckily as far as I know her child is now well after fighting Leukemia***

OD Travel

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

October 25, 1998: Fedora in Zurich

1998-10-25 Fedora (Giordano), Opernhaus Zurich

Fedora Romazoff = Agnes Baltsa
Loris Ipanoff = Josep Carreras
De Siriex = Philippe Duminy
Olga Sukareff = Sona Ghazarian
Boleslao Lazinski = Thomas Grabowski
Dr. Boroff = Rolf Haunstein
Baron Rouvel = Emilio Ruggiero
Grech = Giuseppe Scorsin
Cirillo = Rudolf A. Hartmann
Désiré = Miroslav Christoff
Nicolas = Arno Weinländer
Sergio = Peter Kálmán
Dimitri = Judith Schmid
Dr. Lorek = Damon Nestor Ploumis

David Gimenez, conductor

1.act : A room in Vladimir's house in St. Petersburg. The servants drinking, and playing cards. Then the great Fedora (Baltsa) come in. This was so special, that I got tears in my eyes. Never experience something quite like this. Great acting-singing everyone. Great Cirillo.

2. act : Fedora's house in Paris. Ballroom. A great ballroom, nice dresses. When Carreras came into the stage, my heart almost stopped. So good-looking, in god form. Singing like a god. Baltsa was great, but she was overwhelmed by Carreras. Amor ti vieta, was a dream. The high-charge duets, was gorgeous.

3. act : Love-nest in Switzerland. A great act, with overwhelming duets.
Never was Fedora's death so moving.

Musikalische LeitungDAVID GIMÉNEZ

Bedienstete, Ballgäste
und PolizeiagentenANNA-MARIA JOURVELIN*O,
* Rollendebüt
0 Mitglied des Internationalen Opernstudios
,Sonntag, 25. Oktober 1998Wiederaufnahme, Freier Verkauf
Pausen nach dem 1. und 2. Akt
Beginn: 20.00 Uhr

And after a fantastic evening at the opera.
Signierstunde in the Opera Foyer.

OD Travel + Photos

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

October 25, 2014: Carmen in Madrid

2014-10-25 Carmen (G. Bizet), Teatro de la Zarzuela (Madrid)

Carmen = María José Montiel
Don José = Javier Palacios*
Escamillo = Rubén Amoretti
Micaëla = Sabina Puértolas
Zuniga = Francisco Tójar
Moralès = David Rubiera
El Donairo = Javier Galán
El Remendado = Néstor Losán
Frasquita = Isabel Rodríguez García
Mercédès = Marifé Nogales
CURRO FLORES = José Vicente Ramos
UN GUÍA = Juan Pedro Schwartz

Yi-Chen Lin, conductor
Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid
Coro del Teatro de La Zarzuela
Antonio Fauró

Stage directo - Ana Zamora
Sets - Richard Cenier
Costumes - Deborah Macías
Lights - Pedro Yagüe, Miguel Ángel Camacho
Asesor de verso - Vicente Fuentes
Asesor de movimiento coreográfico -
Javier García Ávila
Video design - Álvaro Luna
Director assistant - Fuensanta Morales
Costumes assistant - Anuschka Braun
Sets assistant - Almudena Bautista

Maestro repetidor - Andrés Junco

JAVIER PALACIOS as DON JOSE in replacement for Jose Ferrer who was not well.

Yes that was the announcement that started this Carmen in Madrid's Teatro de la Zarzuela. And a great Don Jose he was, this Javier Palacios on Saturday, October 25th, 2014. Maria Jose Montiel was Carmen just as expected.

This was not the usual Carmen, this was an opera turned zarzuela but for me it was nothing like a true zarzuela just Carmen sung and spoken in Spanish. No Lillas Pastia here, in this Carmen he was names Curro Flores. Here the spoken dialogue was in Spanish almost the same as the original French but expanded to more dialogue and more realistic in then Spanish version. But in this version I could here no doubt the music was French. Strange that when sung in French I could feel it spanishness and only lose Spain and suddenly be in France in the dialogue.

Zarzuela it might not be but the cast was strong with Maria Jose Montiel as a great Carmen, Javier Palacios also in great voice and believable as Don Jose. Sabina Puértolas as Micaela was a wonder as a strong Spanich Micaela. Rubén Amoretti was a rather usual Escamillo when compared to Montiel, Palacias and Puertolas. Francisco Tójar as Zuniga and David Rubiera as Morales were both great actors and singers.

Ana Zamora as stage director created a bright colored Carmen but her idea was that Carmen was to be very feminine but not feministic. That sound like someone who thinks that feminists can not be feminine. She tried to make Carmen into something "more" by setting each act into a newer time so Carmen ended in the 1960s or so. But Carmen can very well be a femistic idol, she rules her own and no man can make her different. Don Jose is a man still very much in the paternalistic pattern, his idea of honor, and he thinks Carmen can be become his help mate. He never listens to her views or believe in them as real. In the end he can only look at Carmen as an Idol or a Demon. Don Jose never sees himself as a man who chooses, so he think he has to kill her when she refuses to save him from himself. Micaela is a brave woman even if she fears Carmen. She never gives up. The soldiers street harassment of Micaela as young, unprotected girl (17)  walks into Sevilla to ask after Don Jose, the officer. Escamillo, the cynic, is he really that much better than the other men, or is he is just the benevolent sexist. And what would really be Carmen's story if Jose did not kill her? Maybe we should also ask how happy would Micaela  and Don Jose be together if Carmen never happened to them. What would be Micaela's story?

Bright colored Carmen, sweetly done, but still no layers here in Ana Zamora's zarzuela version of Carmen. Still: Viva Espana!!!

Zarzuela en cuatro actos, basada en la ópera cómica de Ludovic Halévy y Henri Meilhac
Traducción de Eduardo de Bray

Estrenada en el Teatro-Circo Alegría de Barcelona, el 7 de abril de 1890
Nueva producción del Teatro de la Zarzuela

10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 23, 25, 26, 29, 30 y 31 de octubre de 2014
19:00 horas (domingos, a las 18:00 horas)

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October 24, 1998: Tosca in Zurich

1998-10-24 Tosca (Puccini), Opernhaus Zurich

Floria Tosca = Daniela Dessì
Mario Cavaradossi = Neil Shicoff
Baron Scarpia = Ruggero Raimondi
Cesare Angelotti = Jacob Will
Il Sagrestano = Martin Zysset
Sciarrone = Rolf Haunstein
Un carceriere = Peter Kalman

Marcello Viotti, conductor

Daniela Dessi was a superb Tosca, everything, her acting, her voice was great.I was really swept away with this great actress-singer. Neil Shicoff was Cavaradossi, he too was good. Ruggero Raimondi was a great Scarpia.

Musikalische Leitung MARCELLO VIOTTI
Inszenierung ULRICH PETER


Ort und Zeit der Handlung: Rom, Juni 1800

Musikalische Assistenz
und Einstudierung KELLY THOMAS, HERVE MAHE,
LODOVICO ZOCCHE Abendspielleitung und
Regieassistenz ULRICH SENN
Organisation und
Betreuung der llinder SUSY SIEGRIST
Souffleur ADRIANO
Technische Leitung WERNER HUBER
Leiter des Ausstattungswesens BRUNO STUCKI

Samstag, 24. Oktober 1998Samstag-Abo
Pausen nach dem 1. und dem 2. Akt Beginn: 19.30 Uhr
Ende: ca. 22.15 Uhr

OD Travel

Monday, October 23, 2017

October 23, 2005: Rigoletto in Nordfjordeid

2005-10-23 Rigoletto (Verdi), Opera Nordfjord

Monterone = Knut Skram
Rigoletto = Thorbjørn Lindhjem
Gilda = Trude Helen Binderø
The Duke = Gardar Thor Cortes
Maddalena = Anna Einarsson
Sparafucile = Trond Gudevold
Borsa = Gunnar Domstein
Marullo = Morten Kvaal
Count Ceprano = Bjørn Gisle Seter
Countess Ceprano / The Page =
Ann Magritt Bjørnsen
Giovanna = Solfrid Bjørkum

Michael Pavelich, conductor

First time as opera director, famous Norwegian actor Toralv Maurstad is making his debut with the tragic opera Rigoletto by Verdi in Opera Nordfjord. In my opinion this must be one of the most successful productions of this opera. With two veteran baritones Thorbjørn Lindhjem as Rigoletto and Knut Skram as Monterone, no wonder it works out well. This Monterone is truly impressive, and this Rigoletto is very dramatic and real. Soprano Trude Helen Binderø as Gilda is more than just a beautiful voice. Duke of Mantua is sung by tenor Gardar Thor Cortes from Iceland, a great promise with not only beautiful voice but perfect diction, and a great actor, too. The Swedish mezzo-soprano Anna Einarsson sang Maddalena and what a great mezzo voice it was, very impressive. Trond Gudevold as hired murderer Sparafucile was another great find. How wonderful to find people who can act in such a natural way, that is sometimes missing in the Sparafuciles of the world. Also Gunnar Domstein as Borsa impressed me much, imagine that he is not a professional opera singer. Marullo sung by baritone Morten Kvaal did not impress me in the same degree but then Marullo is not often marked upon when you see this opera. Bjørn Gisle Seter as Count Ceprano was vocally underpowered and not always quite there as an actor. Ann Magritt Bjørnsen who sang both Countess Ceprano and the Page did a good job though I did not quite agree on the interpretation of Countess Ceprano but that must be the director's fault, or maybe it is just my impression.

The known scenography and costume designer John Kristian Alsaker was responsible in making this RIGOLETTO such a great success.

And conductor Michael Pavelich lead this Rigoletto to a successful end. Strangely this time the orchestra was not together all the time as yesterday. But that is just blue-berries.

***On an earlier post about Rigoletto someone tried to tell me that I wrong about feeling that either Morten Kvaal or Bjørn Gisle Seter was not great (which was my impression) or that I was wrong in state that one of them was even singing. Well, what can I say, I only have the role list from Opera Nordfjord and no one told me about a change in casting.***

Of course, I am interested in knowing who really sang what, but to just say I am wrong or even rude when I personally find such or such singer underpowering, that is a bit too much, isn't it?

OD Travel + Photos

Sunday, October 22, 2017

October 22, 2005: Rigoletto in Nordfjordeid

2005-10-22 Rigoletto (Verdi), Opera Nordfjord

Monterone = Knut Skram
Rigoletto = Thorbjørn Lindhjem
Gilda = Trude Helen Binderø
The Duke = Gardar Thor Cortes
Maddalena = Anna Einarsson
Sparafucile = Trond Gudevold
Borsa = Gunnar Domstein
Marullo = Morten Kvaal
Count Ceprano = Bjørn Gisle Seter
Countess Ceprano / The Page =
Ann Magritt Bjørnsen
Giovanna = Solfrid Bjørkum

Michael Pavelich, conductor

On my OperaDuetsPhotos site I wrote (earlier) that I traveled to Nordfjordeid to see Knut Skram as Monterone.

When Knut Skram came into the stage it was a truly operatic occasion. A thunder, unbelievable wonderful moment that almost in itself foretold that this Rigoletto production was a well-crafted and sure in detail. Was it the director Toralf Maurstad or was it the world famous Norwegian baritone Knut Skram that made the crucial impact. (Probably both...)

Maybe better start from the beginning. On this next to last opera performance for the season, the house was full with people. The scenography it self told of a wonderful opera performance to expect (and the newspapers had had raves for reviews). The Opera intendant Kari Standal Pavelich welcomed us the Rigoletto, one interval after act 1. Then the conductor Michael Pavelich came. And for me I noticed immediately that the responds conductor and orchestra was well-tuned. I did not like the updating and silly dancing in the beginning of act 1, and having a Icelandic tenor singing Questa o quella in Norwegian seemed like a gamble. But to sing the Duke is never easy, and Norwegian would have been hard even for a Norwegian-speaking tenor. He did well, Thor Gardar Cortes, fought bravely with our Norwegian vowels, and even managed to act as the Duke. I think that that all managed very well to sing in Norwegian, having a theatre man as director must have helped a lot. Having Thorbjørn Lindhjelm's Rigoletto meant that bel canto lines were few, mostly a few with Gilda, but opera is not just about singing it is about DRAMA, and here was it high drama, true acting. Having quite a few limitation in his voice and voice production meant that every ounce of opera experience was drawn out to make this Rigoletto stand out as a real human being. When Monterone came in the sonorous voice of Knut Skram, one almost though they should have swapped role, but then the high drama would have suffered. Having a true force of nature as Monterone is so right, and why should poor Rigoletto with his such a life to live in this kind of society sing beautifully, there is no delight in Rigoletto's life than Gilda....

Another wonderful thing in this production is really how the scenography is just working perfectly, so that when Rigoletto is going home and meet the hired assassin Sparafucile it is totally believable. And the one have Trond Gudevold's Sparafucile. Great wonderful acting by both men. A bass that is absolutely perfect and wonderful acting. And then finally Gilda, Trude Helen Binderø, what a warm wonderful soprano voice. It is so seldom that Gilda is sung with such a warmth in color. Those perfectly rounded tones. I think maybe it is because of her special quality of voice that it was often difficult to hear the Norwegian words she sang. There I think the cold and often hard tone of voice of many sopranos that sings Gilda would be more easily to hear the diction. Again our Rigoletto is heroically using his registers to make the father/ daughter duet a beautiful duet. Lindhjem knows how to manipulate his voice in the dramatic right way. The acting is as it was all night perfect. Solfrid Bjørkumas Giovanna was also in every inch the role, very good interaction with Rigoletto, Gilda and the Duke. I did not need to worry about the duet Gilda and the Duke. I am still amazed that it worked so well with the Norwegian lyric. After such love duet, no surprise that Caro Nome was excellently sung by Trude Helen Binderø. And that when the noblemen came to rob Gilda from Rigoletto there was no surprise that the chorus with Marullo, Borsa and Count Ceprano did very well as they did all the evening. It is a joy to have such a believable scene being so well acted and sung.

In the interval I had the pleasure to talk a bit Kari and Michael Pavelich. It is some of nicest features of Opera Nordfjord, you get so close the action and people. It is like a local mega-event.

Act 2 Thor Gardar Cortes sang a wonderful Ella mi fu rapita-Parma veder le lagrime. Something funny must have happened on the stage when the chorus was coming in telling the Duke about Gilda's abduction. There was laughter, and I have no idea what really happened. Anyway, Possente Amor mi chiama was potently sung. And the another "highlight" Rigoletto's Cortigiani...where I longed for more beautiful singing but the drama was there and that is more important. Then it was the duet father/daughter. What can I say, more than fantastic.

Act 3 could it be better, yes. What a quartet, La donna e mobile. And I loved the Swedish mezzo as Maddalena, Anna Einarsson. And the Death scene so moving......


From fingers and baton of Michael Pavelich and every single person a Thank You and 3 Cheers!!!

OD Travel + Photos

Saturday, October 21, 2017

October 21, 2001: L'Elisir d'Amore in Nordfjordeid

2001-10-21 L'Elisir d'Amore (Donizetti), Opera Nordfjord

Nemorino = Nils Harald Sødahl
Adina = Cecilia Lindwall
Dulcamara = Anders Vangen
Belcore = Espen Langvik
Giannetta = Synnøve Nordvik

Michael Pavelich, conductor

I was at the last performance!
First time in Nordfjordeid, I stayed at the Hotel Nordfjord, where they had opera buffé. I came late the evening before, and I choose to have my dinner (opera buffé) since I was hungry, I had to wait until the guests came from their overa experience. Absolutely fabulous!

Because of the timetables in Sogn og Fjordane, it was not possible for me to come in time for Saturday's performance, and that was completely sold out by the time I remembered Opera Nordfjord, but I was in time to get some of the few tickets that was left on Friday. Thursday I had suddenly seen a page on the net about this opera, I thought about it, found out I had time, last performance Sunday, came home after work, and phoned the hotel to find out about the opera-package, was it available, did they have room. They had only 2 rooms, so I booked it right-away, didn't ask for the prize. And in my lunch-pause at work, I went to the post office to get ticket. Got it! Saturday, bus ride to Nordfjord. Found my hotel, I was rainy and cold in the evening. Nice atmosphere, many pictures from opera performances on the wall. NICE!!

Sunday, started with breakfast (obvious I woke up first, got dressed....). I have two pictures from my last opera travel, one picture of Carreras and one of Bavaj in Stavanger 22.9.2001, so I had to finish my film. My new location was Nordfjordeid, some great photos, some Ok and some relatively bad photos from my walk in the center of Nordfjordeid.

Then came the time, 1400, I took a taxi from the hotel 1330. And it was really crowded in Fjordane folkehøgskule. CROWDED. I met my college from work and her husband. Many people from Western Norway, many from Bergen, or so it seemed. Luckily I got a better seat than I had bought with the help of the nicest person in the hotel, or most opera mad. (Somebody had chosen to stay home?!). They sang Donizetti's music in Norwegian, luckily I know the Italian text well from the CD-libretto. "Venti scudi" became "fire tusen" (4000 NOK). A well known revue/cabaret artist from Norway had done the Norwegian text, it was a nice job. But, however, it will always be hard to hear the words when the top notes are sung, so knowing the original well was an advantage. Professional singers and orchestra, an amateur chorus. I liked the production. I liked the conducting, very vibrant. The tenor was best and the baritones were very good too. Maybe the aula was not given the right acoustic to the sopranos. The Swedish Adina sang well, and was very good in Norwegian. Only when I talked to her after the performance, was it obvious that she was from Sweden. The Norwegian Giannetta seemed vocally weak and she need to stand out from the other voices.

Back to the hotel, I found out that orchestra and soloists all lived in my hotel. Just before I went to take the bus home, I got the chance to talk to Cecilia Lindwall and get her autograph.

I think I will make this an annual tour.

OD Travel

October 21, 1998: Carmen in Zurich

1998-10-21 Carmen (Georges Bizet), Opernhaus Zurich

Carmen = Sylvie Brunet
Don Jose = Francisco Araiza
Micaëla = Margaret Chalker
Escamillo = Cheyne Davidson
Frasquita = Elena Mosuc
Mercedes = Irene Friedli
Zuniga = Jozsef Dene
Remendado = Volker Vogel
Dancairo = Martin Zysset
Moralès = Peter Kalman
Lillas Pastia = Adriano

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor

Carmen without Baltsa, but with Sylvie Brunet

This was a very good production. Jean Pierre Ponnelle's scenography and original production. But first someone from the management, told us that Agnes Baltsa had recently come from Vienna, she was having bronchitis, and that Sylvie Brunet had used much of the day to prepare herself for singing today, as well as on Friday. I don't like her myself, but she is a good Carmen. I found her a little too vulgar. Francisco Araiza was a totally convincing Don Jose, This was a more violent Jose, than I was used to. Violent from the start. First highlight was the duet Michaela/Don Jose, the soprano was superb. Araiza coughed during the duet, so I guessed he had a bit of cold. Margaret Chalker was the Michaela. Second highlight was her aria in the third act, another highlight was the duet Don Jose/Escamillo. The Escamillo was good in the Toreador-song, but I wanted a more substantial Escamillo, like Raimondi.

In the Second act, it was obvious for me, that she can't dance, her rhythmic was lacking. But the Smugglers quintet was real good. Good Remendado/Dancairo/Frasquita/Mercedes. The Frasquita (Elena Mosuc, soprano) was indeed excellent. The Scene Don Jose/Carmen, was so sexy, almost too much. Her dancing (again), and she sang "Tra-dla-dla" where it should be "Tra-la-la-la...", and that does make a difference, vulgarity versus elegance.

Third act, was a highlight in the entity, Ensemble singing, acting, all, perfect.

Fourth act, always a pleasure. The great ensemble, singing.acting. The duettino Escamillo/Carmen gave none impression, as I think it ought to do. In the ensemble, Don Jose with Michaela, almost unseen got into the crowd. Carmen waited for Escamillo, her friend notice Don Jose, watching them singing the duettino, warns her, Escamillo prays on stage to the Madonna, Escamillo goes into the corrida. Carmen waits for Don Jose, It is a great duet. Everything in the duet is true, at last Don Jose, after begging her one last time, , stabs her. When he sings "Vous pouvez m'arreter", Michaela looks out of the windows, and her shoulders move in weeping...

Great Opera in Zurich October 21, 1998

Inszenierung/BühnenbildJEAN-PIERRE PONNEllE

2. LeutnantTHOMAS PÜTZ
" Rollendebüt

Verlag: AIIkor-Edition Kassel
Kritische Neuausgabe nach den Quellen von Fritz Oeser

Mittwoch, 21- Oktober1998Wiederaufnahme
Freier Verkauf
Lichtpausen nach dem 1. und 3. Akt Pause nach dem 2. Akt
Beginn: 19.00 Uhr
Ende:22.30 Uhr

OD Travel

Friday, October 20, 2017

October 20, 2006: Samson et Dalila in Bergen

2006-10-20 Samson et Dalila (Saint-Saëns), Vest Norges Opera (Bergen)

Samson = Jorge Perdigon
Dalila = Graciela Araya
Grand Pretre de Dagon = Anooshah Golesorkhi
Abimelech = Theodore Coresi

Anne Randine Øverby, conductor

C.Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
20., 22. & 28. oktober kl.19.30.
ARENUM, Solheimsviken

REGI - Bruno Berger Gorski
SCENOGRAFI - Dirk Hofacker
KOSTYME - Opera Bergen
LYSDESIGN - Jens Lange

VNOs orkester

Bergen Operakor

CONDUCTOR - Anne Randine Øverby

It was more special than I had thought, this was the premiere, and it was even Graciela Araya first attempt to sing Dalila. And the mezzo/contralto from Chile sang Dalila's aria "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix" exquisitely. Of course, the second act was the best part of the opera, as it almost always is. Here Graciela Araya (Dalila), Jorge Perdigon (Samson) and Anooshah Golesorkhi (Grand Pretre) was at their best. Some minor missteps, due possible that the conductor was not in front but at the side.:Araya was a bit unlucky 2 times with Anooshah Golesorkhi. Other times I would say that the best musical and acting came when Graciela Araya sang together. Acting was superb. What can one say about Anooshah Golesorkhi, the Grand Pretre of Dagon, than he was perfection, first time any one in that role blew me away, what a voice and actor. Great !!!! And to say more about Graciela Araya, our Dalila, after just 5 days of rehearsing she was amazing. Her voice was much deeper than I was used to in that role, and I am truly sorry that I will not see and hear her on Sunday 22 and Saturday 28, too, because I am sure she will be even more sensational with more practice. Most of all I wish I would be in Bergen on October 28th, that I am sure will be the best performance, since it usually that some time to settle in. Then it is Jorge Perdigon, our Samson, weak in the beginning of the opera, but that made sense. Great acting, his best act was act 2, but also wonderful in act 3. But not quite the voice that Samson needs. I have heard Carreras as Samson in 1996 Zurich, and Jorge is not yet at that niveau, he not near Jose Cura. But how can I know until I have heard him in a true opera house. But still I am sure he sound like a little voice against the two big voices of Dalila & Grand Pretre.

The production was OK. Costumes: White for the Jews, Black for the Philistine. Green for Samson, and with DIEU on his jacket. And DIEU was writing on the blocks when God was present.

Not to forget. I was lucky enough to speak to Graciela Araya after the opera, and got my photo taken with her. And wow, she looks good in black, not to mention the dress she had in the opera, very classy.

Then I had some problems finding where to go to get to my bus to the city center, and then it was an easy walk to my hotel.

OD Travel

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October 19, 2013: Don Carlo in Vienna

2013-10-19 Don Carlo (Giuseppe Verdi), Wiener Staatsoper

Philipp II = Ferruccio Furlanetto
Don Carlo = Ramón Vargas
Rodrigo = Ludovic Tézier
Elisabeth von Valois = Tamar Iveri
Prinzessin Eboli = Violeta Urmana
Großinquisitor = Eric Halfvarson
Mönch = Dan Paul Dumitrescu
Tebaldo = Ileana Tonca
Lerma = Xiahou Jinxu
Herold = Xiahou Jinxu
Stimme vom Himmel = Valentina Nafornita

Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

Daniele Abbado | Regie
Graziano Gregori | Bühnenkonzeption
Angelo Linzalata | Bühne
Carla Teti | Kostüme
Alessandro Carletti | Licht
Boris Stetka | Regiemitarbeit
Simona Bucci | Choreographie

Giuseppe Verdi
19. Oktober 2013
19:00-22:30|1 Pausen|Preise G

Did I like the production? Well, it was OK but nothing new and interesting. The stage was just like how do we move this walls around. The effect was nothing really. Costumes good but not amazing. Modern kind of historic. It was the majesty of Ferruccio Furlanetto, the vulnerality of Ramon Vargas, the vigor of Ludovic Tezier, the sweetness of Tamar Iveri, the passion of Violeta Urmana, these singers made the opera real.

Xiahou Jinxu as Lerma/Herold was just wonderful!! A wonderful voice, a skilful presention and a singer for the future. Loved him!!! Of course I adored Ramon Vargas who is a great singer and actor. I found the interaction between Vargas and Ludovic Tezier as Don Carlo and Rodrigo, just perfect. Tezier was a really wonderful Rodrigo. The interaction between Ferrucio Furlanetto and Tamar Iveri as Fillip II and Elisabeth was another high. Vargas as Iveri also very good. I really liked Violeta Urmana and her Eboli.

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October 19, 2007: Elektra in Vienna

2007-10-19 Elektra (R.Strauss), Wiener Staatsoper

Klytämnestra = Agnes Baltsa
Elektra = Deborah Polaski
Chrysothemis = Silvana Dussmann
Aegisth = Michael Roider
Orest = Ain Anger
Pfleger des Orest = Wolfgang Bankl*
Vertraute = Zsuzsanna Szabó
Schleppträgerin = Daniela Denschlag*
junger Diener = Herwig Pecoraro
alter Diener = Marcus Pelz
Aufseherin = Waltraud Winsauer
1. Magd = Janina Baechle*
2. Magd = Zoryana Kushpler*
3. Magd = Sophie Marilley*
4. Magd = Ǻsa Elmgren
5. Magd = Caroline Wenborne

Michael Boder, conductor

Only Agnes Baltsa could make me see this opera and only AGNES BALTSA made it worth the time

Boring, boring, boring.... But Agnes Baltsa is GREAT. This opera needs so much, it is dark and so much monologue, beautiful music. Elektra is sung by Deborah Polaski, her voice is sometime too weak, the orchestra is heavy, and then where is the excitement the intense feeling, I did not feel it. Her sister is sung by Silvana Dussmann, and her we have a singer and actress who can transmit feelings. But it is Elektra who is supposed to outshine everybody else. Even the brother Orest sung by Ain Anger is more exciting and Aigist too (Michael Roider).

Agnes Baltsa as Klytämnestra is in a league of her own. She owns the stage, she is interesting, you see how this woman is totally crazy in her misunderstanding of it all.

But a great Elektra performance needs an Elektra who is shaking your world, here I did not find that. That Chrysothemis would outshine Elektra, what a concept...

But Klytämnestra is QUEEN!!!!!!! Hail, Agnes Baltsa! The Greek mezzo... DIVA

19. Oktober 2007

(51. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung)

Musikalische Leitung: Michael Boder
nach einer Inszenierung von: Harry Kupfer
Bühnenbild: Hans Schavernoch
Kostüme: Reinhard Heinrich
Chorleitung: Janko Kastelic

(* Rollendebüt an der Wiener Staatsoper)

Beginn: 20.00

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October 19, 1998: Fedora in Vienna

1998-10-19 Fedora (Giordano), Wiener Staatsoper

Fedora Romazoff = Agnes Baltsa
Loris Ipanoff = José Cura
Olga Sukarew = Ildiko Raimondi
De Siriex = Georg Tichy
Dimitri/Savoyarde = Svetlana Serdar
Baron Rouvel = Peter Jelosits
Cirillo = Aik Martirosyan
Dr. Boroff = Yu Chen
Grech = Rudolf Mazzola
Dr. Lorek = Marcus Pelz
Nicola = Peter Tuff
Sergio = Hakki Özpinar
Michele = Josef Stangl
Boleslao Lazinski = Paul Harris
Ivan = Nicholaas van Huyssteen

Anton Guadagno, conductor

Fedora in Vienna

A good Choice: Taking the night to Vienna, having bought ticket already. I could get right to the opera.

This time, the best seat in the house, ATS 2000 so 9.33 my train left from Zurich, and 18.45 I was in Vienna.
19.05 in the Vienna State Opera.
Got my splendid ticket, and bought a program, sat down in my seat after having to wait a long time at the stairs.
What kind of Fedora did I get:
The opera started at 2000, and lasted till 2230.
At 23.30 my train left from Vienna.

The Tenor (Jose Cura) was much improved, my favorite Mezzo (Agnes Baltsa) was divine.
His Amor ti vieta, and Vedi io piango was great.
The 3rd act, fantastic.(Better than in 1997)
Very sexy: Baltsa & Cura.


Montag, 19. Oktober 1998 STAATSOPER.
30. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung
Koproduktion mit den Bregenzer Festspielen

Oper in 3 Akten nach Victorien Sardou
von Arturo Colautti
Musik Umberto Giordano

Dirigent Anton Guadagno
Inszenierung Jonathan Miller
Ausstattung Tobias Hoheisel
Lichtgestaltung Paul Pyant
Choreinstudierung Ernst Dunshirn

Bühnenorchester der
Österreich ischen Bundestheater

OD Travel + Photos

" Stipendiat des
Herbert von Karajan Centrums

October 19, 1990: The Phantom of the Opera in Oslo

1990-10-19 Phantom of the Opera (Ken Hill), Det Norske Teatret (Oslo)

Christine Daeé = Solveig Kringlebotn
The Phantom of the Opera = Paul Åge Johannessen
Raoul = Yngve Gåsøy
La Carlotta = Anita Rummelhoff

Oslo 19/10-1990
Music from operas by Donizetti, Gounod, Mozart, Offenbach, Tsjaikovsky, Verdi and Weber.

This was not the famous musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, but rather theater with music from great operas with new text. Of course the story of the same from the same novel Lloyd Webber founded his musical on.

Our Norwegian Soprano Solveig Kringlebotn is more known as SOLVEIG KRINGELBORN

OD Travel

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October 18, 1998: Attila in Zurich

1998-10-18 Attila (Verdi), Opernhaus Zurich

Attila = Ruggero Raimondi
Ezio = Leo Nucci
Odabella = Mara Zampieri
Foresto = Boiko Zvetanov
Uldino = Miroslav Christoff
Leone, alter Römer
[Papst Leo I.] = Guido Götzen

Vladimir Fedoseyev, conductor

Attila at 20.00, during and after Andrea Chenier I had a bit of a head-ache, but to my amazement, I found out that a GREAT opera performance can cure that.

Ruggero Raimondi, was a great Attila, but Nesterenko was better in the video from Verona, I think. Mara Zampieri has the most beautiful voice, and sang the difficult and vocally demanding role of Odabella, in the most exquisite way. Leo Nucci was much better than I would have thought possible for him. Boiko Zwetlanov was as good as anyone singing Forest.

und Bühnenbild ERWIN PIPLlTS
Lichtgestaltung JÜRGEN HOFFMANN

Mit Unterstützung der Schweizer Rück als Hauptsponsor
sowie der Marion Mathys-Stiftung
Musikalische Einstudierung
und Regieassistenz CLAUDIA BLERSCH
Regiehospitanz SUSANNE SCHMIDT
Inspizienz PAUL SUTER
Souffleuse URSULA MORI
Sonntag, 18. Oktober 1998Sonntagabend-Abo A
Pause nach dem 1. Akt
Beginn: 20.00 Uhr Ende: ca. 22.10 Uhr

OD Travel

October 18, 1998: Andrea Chenier in Zurich

1998-10-18 Andrea Chenier (Giordano), Opernhaus Zurich

Andrea Chénier = Giuseppe Giacomoni
Maddalena di Coigny = Gabriele Lechner
Carlo Gérard = Giorgio Zancanaro
Bersi = Margaret Chalker
La Contessa di Coigny = Renate Lenhart
Madelon = Judith Schmid
Roucher = Cheyne Davidson
Pietro Fléville = Rudolf A. Hartmann
Fouquier Tinville = Rolf Haunstein
Mathieu = Giusppe Scorsin
Incroyable = Martin Zysset
Abate = Miroslav Christoff
Schmidt = Werner Gröschel
Der Haushofmeister = Andrew Costello
Dumas = Simon Jaunin
Flando Fiorinelli = Ann Bechman
Gérards Vater = Victor Sandhofer

Manfred Honeck, conductor

Sunday at 1400 the opera was Andrea Chenier, a revelation of a soprano Gabriele lechner, a beautifully sung Maddalena, the Andrea Chenier of the day was Giuseppe Giacomini, was a disappointment, but the "old guy" Giorgio Zancanaro was a much better Gerard than in the video from Covent Garden with Plácido. The regie was genial, the "lights" told a sweet love-story before the Improvviso and during Fleville's romanza.

Great choreography and acting, all the singers and chorus.

Musikalische Leitung MANFRED HONECK
;Inszenierung HANS HOLLMANN
Spielleitung ULRICH SENN
Bühnenbild HANS HOFFER
Lichtgestaltung JÜRGEN HOFFMANN

Der Haushofmeister ANDREW COSTELLO°
Dumas, Präsident
des Wohlfahrtsauschusses SIMON JAUNIN°
Flando Fiorinelli, ein Musiker ANN BECKMAN
Idia Legray,
eine junge Aristokratin ANDREA SARHAN
Orazio Coclite,
Mathieus Begleiter RICO TREVISAN
0 Mitglied des Internationau,n Opernstudios

Beginn: 14:00 Uhr
Ende: ca 16.45 UHR

OD Travel

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October 17, 2007: Andrea Chenier in Barcelona

2007-10-17 Andrea Chenier (Giordano),
Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona

Andrea Chenier = José Cura
Carlo Gérard = Carlos Álvarez
Maddalena de Coigny = Deborah Voigt
Bersi = Marina Rodríguez Cusí
Comtessa de Coigny = Viorica Cortez
Madelon = Irina Mishura
Roucher = Miguel Ángel Zapater
Pietro Fléville = Enric Serra
Fouquier Tinville = Enric Serra
Mathieu = Philip Cutlip
L'Increïble = Francisco Vas
El mossèn = Josep Ruiz
Schmidt = Vicenç Esteve Corbacho
Un Majordom = Vicenç Esteve Corbacho
Dumas = Manel Esteve Madrid

Pinchas Steinberg, conductor

Direcció d'escena / Dirección de escena / Stage Director Philippe Arlaud
Escenografia / Escenografía /Set Design Philippe Arlaud
Vestuari / Vestuario / Costume design Andrea Uhmann
Il·luminació / Iluminación / Light Design Philippe Arlaud
Coreografia / Coreógrafo / Choreography Keith Morino
Producció: The New National
Theatre Foundation -Tokio

"Questo azzurro sofà là collochiam."
In this production the Majordomo said blanco (white) instead of azzurro (blue) because in this production almost all were dressed in white, and then some tricolor. In this production Madame la Guillotine was omnipresent and the director heavy-handedly gave us the message of the revolution is eating its own, all acts ended with people onstage being murdered. In this Andrea Chenier there was no doubt that Chenier and Maddalena died along with a lot of people that we had seen alive in other acts, Roucher, Bersi etc. Only children was alive to show the flag and be revolutionary.

Wonderful José Cura as Andrea Chenier! Anna Shafajinskaia had been called to the Opera house to maybe step in for a sick Deb Voigt. That would have been very interesting!! But La Voigt did not feel that ill. I can understand that to sing in Liceu, it would be hard to say another must sing for me today. Deborah Voigt is not my ideal as Maddalena di Coigny. She is acting very well, although I find her portrayal to girlish, (loved Maria Guleghina in the DVD from Bologna), and I find it hard to war up to her voice.

Carlos Alvarez was wonderful as Gerard. Very youthful, and this Gerard was really like
Contessa said:
Quel Gérard! L'ha rovinato il leggere!

This Carlo Gerard was destroyed by the reading of books.

I did not take any photos inside the Liceu. I was too nervous, but the good thing with that is that I could concentrate on applauding. BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At the stage door: conductor, Roucher, Voigt, .... No José Cura and I waited a LONG time. But Carlos Alvarez came, but I did not take his photo, I did not take any photos at all in Barcelona. I talked to him. Told him how great I found him in this production and even mentioned how much I liked his Macbeth in the DVD with Maria Guleghina. WOW, Carlos Alvarez!!!!! I talked...
.. but no photos.

OD Travel
My original blog post

Saturday, October 14, 2017

October 14, 2011: Gala with Jose Carreras in Vienna

2011-10-14 Gala-Abend mit Startenor Jose Carreras, Konzerthaus Wien

Josep Carreras, tenor
Sylvia Schwartz, soprano

David Gimenez, conductor
Orchester der Volksoper Wien

It was Spanish zarzuela and Italian songs. Carreras started softly with Cancion Hungara from Alma de Dios in the first part and ended the second part with full power in Coren'grato. Sylvia Schwartz is a young soprano with a nice voice. She was most impressive when she sang duets with Carreras, especially in El Duo de la Africana. She got to sing some of the best soprano arias from zarzuela and operette, still I was often left cold. The Guiditta aria in the extras was her best. Carreras sang with his soul and mine responded. David Gimenez was a wonderful conductor. Neither singer nor conductor had their notes in front of them, only the orchestra had notes. That was impressive. The orchestra responded well to David Gimenez.

1 El Sombrero de Tres Picos - Danza final 6:21 Conductor David Gimenez
Falla, Manuel de (1878 - 1946)

2 ALMA DE DIOS - Cancion Hungara 4:40 José Carreras
Serrano, José (1873 - 1941)

3 EL NINO JUDIO - De Espana vengo 5:25 Sylvia Schwartz
Luna, Pablo (1879 - 1942)

4Festeig2:49José Carreras
Toldra, Eduard (1895 - 1962)

5Canco de Grumet 2:17 José Carreras
Toldra, Eduard (1895 - 1962)

6 LA BODA DE LUIS ALONSO - Intermedio 5:52 Conductor David Gimenez
Jiménez, José Alfredo (1926 - 1973)

7LA DEL SOTO DE PARRAL - Ya mis horas felices 4:44 José Carreras
Soutullo, Reveriano (1880 - 1932) y Vert, Juan (1890 - 1931)

8 EL BARBERO DE SEVILLA - Me llaman la Primarosa 4:23 Sylvia Schwartz
Jiménez, José Alfredo (1926 - 1973)

9 EL DUO DE LA AFRICANA - Duo y Jota 5:55 Sylvia Schwartz, José Carreras
Fernández Caballero, Manuel (1835 - 1906)


10 Era de Maggio 2:50 José Carreras
Costa, Pasquale Mario (1858 -1933)

11La Serenata 3:03 José Carreras
Tosti, Francesco Paolo (1846 – 1916)

12 Il Bacio 2:53 Sylvia Schwartz
Arditi, Luigi (1822 – 1903)

13Passione 3:22 José Carreras
Valente, Nicola (1853 - 1939)

14 Tu ca nun chiagne 2:35 José Carreras
de Curtis, Ernesto (1875 - 1937)

15 L'AMICO FRITZ - Intermezzo 4:46 Conductor David Gimenez
MASCAGNI, Pietro (1863 - 1945)

16 Non ti scordar di me 3:09 José Carreras, Sylvia Schwartz
de Curtis, Ernesto (1875 - 1937)

17Les filles de Cadiz 3:35 Sylvia Schwartz
Delibes, Leo (1836 - 1891)

18 Coren'grato 3:09 José Carreras
Cardillo, Salvatore (1874 – 1947)


19 Chitarra Romana 2:17 José Carreras

20 GIANNI SCHICCHI - O mio babbino caro 2:48 Sylvia Schwartz
PUCCINI, Giacomo (1858 - 1924)

21 Extra JC 2:46 José Carreras

22 GIUDITTA - Meine Lippen sie küssen so heiss 5:26 Sylvia Schwartz
Lehar, Franz (1870 - 1948)

23 LA TRAVIATA - Libiamo ne' lieti calici 3:07 José Carreras, Sylvia Schwartz
VERDI, Giuseppe (1813 - 1901)

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Friday, October 13, 2017

October 13, 2012: I Capuleti ed i Montecchi (Bellini) in Oslo

2012-10-13 I Capuleti ed i Montecchi (Bellini), Den Norske Opera & Ballett (Oslo)

Giulietta = Marita Sølberg
Romeo = Vesselina Kasarova
Capellio = Magne Fremmerlid
Tebaldo = Diego Torre
Lorenzo = Yngve André Søberg

Antonio Fogliani, conductor
Den Norske Opera & Ballett

Chorus and Orchestra

It was Vesselina Kasarova's debut in Oslo's new opera house, but it was Marita Sølberg's triumph.

It was strange being in Oslo for an opera. This was a concertant opera. But that was not it. My mother died early Monday morning. And now on Sunday this opera, I Capuleti ed i Montecchi, a Romeo and Julia story. My mother died of breast cancer. This time it had spread through her body.

I still liked Bellini's music and the opera, but I could not get into it. It was too far away from my life. Marita Sølberg was fantastic. Her voice is so warm and so she was the ideal Giulietta. Vesselina Kasarova is, of course, the famous Bulgarian mezzo, but I have never really warmed up to her. She was a teenage Romeo, walking strangely about. Her voice was more soprano than mezzo. Diego Torre was a wonderful Tebaldo. Loved his tenor voice. Magne Fremmerlid as Cappelio and Yngve Andre Søberg as Lorenzo are two amazing basses who sang well. The conductor Antonio Fogliani worked hard to get the right sounds from the orchestra. The chorus sang well. It would have been wonderful if it could have become staged this opera, but that was not to be this time.

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October 13, 2011: Madama Butterfly in Vienna

2011-10-13 Madama Butterfly (G. Puccini), Wiener Staatsoper

Cio-cio-san, aka Butterfly = Daniela Dessi
B.F.Pinkerton = Marian Talaba
Sharpless = Eijiro Kai
Suzuki = Juliette Mars
Goro = Herwig Pecoraro
Yamadori = Peter Jelosits
Kate Pinkerton = Jeanine De Bique
Onkle Bonze = Alexandru Moisiuc
Der kaiserliche Kommissär = Marcus Pelz
Der Standesbeamte = Martin Müller
Mutter Cio-Cio-Sans = Arina Holecek
Base = Denisa Danielová

Patrick Lange, conductor

Regie - Josef Gielen
Bühnenbild - Tsugouharu Foujita
Kostüme - Tsugouharu Foujita

I really liked Eijiro Kai as Sharpless. Marian Talaba was even from front row a weak Pinkerton. He struggled with the singing. He was clearly not at ease. He was a great Stewa in JENUFA so why not in Madama Butterfly. Daniela Dessi was really good in act 2+3, I guess maybe it took me almost the act 1 to get it. The love duet was almost all Dessi, Talaba was too weak.

I loved my seat and that I could see what happened in the orchestra. They seemed to enjoy themselves, those men and women in the orchestra. I loved to watch the female first violinist. It gave depth to my understanding of the music of Giacomo Puccini.

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October 13, 1997: Fedora in Vienna

1997-10-13 Fedora (Umberto Giordano, Wiener Staatsoper

Fedora Romazoff = Agnes Baltsa
Loris Ipanoff = José Cura
Olga Sukarew = Anat Efraty
De Siriex = Davide Damiani
Dimitri/Ein kleiner Savoyarde =
Dana Liliana Ciuca
Desire = Helmut Wildhaber
Baron Rouvel = Franz Kasemann
Cirillo = Peter Köves
Dr. Boroff = Marian Pop
Grech = Rudolf Mazzola
Dr. Lorek = David Cale Johnson
Nicola = Friedrich Springer
Sergio = Johann Reinprecht
Michele = Martin Thyringer
Boleslao Lazinski = Paul Harris
Ivan = Nicholaas van Huyssteen

Anton Guadagno, conductor

I chose a cheap ticket that made the opera look like this:

Act 1 Vladimir's Palace
I saw Agnes Baltsa in a beautiful red dress 3 times.
Nothing else. Luckily I knew the opera, so I knew what was going on. Wonderful singing. But my question was: "How was the acting. And the room?"

Act 2 Fedora's Palace in Paris
This time I saw more. I could see 1/3 of the stage. And luckily I could most of Agnes Baltsa & Jose Cura when they were together. I had to lean out to see them. GREAT singing!
But Cura was sobbing in "Vedi, io piango" ruined the moment.

Act 3 LoveNest in Switzerland
I could see everything. GREAT.

Jonathan Miller

Tobias Hoheisel

Paul Pyant

Johannes Meister

OD Travel

Thursday, October 12, 2017

October 12, 2011: La Fanciulla del West in Zurich

2011-10-12 La Fanciulla del West (G. Puccini), Opernhaus Zurich

Dick Johnson (Ramirez) = José Cura
Minnie = Emily Magee
Jack Rance = Claudio Sgura
Harry = Michael Laurenz
Jake Wallace = Davide Fersini
Nick = Martin Zysset
Ashby = Giuseppe Scorsin
Sonora = Cheyne Davidson
Sid = Tomasz Slawinsky
Trin = Ilker Arcayürek
Bello = Kresimir Strazanac
Joe = Boguslaw Bidzinski
Happy = Thomas Tatzl
José Castro = Valeriy Murga
Larkens = Aaron Agulay
Billy Jackrabbit = Thomas Forde
Wowkle = Bettina Schneebeli
Un Postilione = Patrick Vogel

Carlo Rizzi, conductor

Producer/production - David Pountney
Set design - Stefanos Lazaridis
Costumes - Sue Willmington
Choir rehearsal - Ernst Raffelsberger

Claudio Sgura sang instead of Ruggero Raimondi the role of Sheriff Jack Rance. New for the Zurich production, he is not new for the role, he did it before in London etc.

I would not be surprised to hear that it was the production itself which induced Ruggero Raimondi to withdraw. In the Zurich production no stage is plain and straight. It makes it hard to walk especially as one is supposed to be natural. And it is the biggest drawback to this production and does not seem to serve any meening. Too bad otherwise it could have been perfect. I like the way it uses movie to enhance the drama.

Emily Magee as Minnie was in a fantastic voice and her acting ditto. And I had not been bored by this opera before Minnie (Emily Magee) came into it nor later even as I had a severe head-ache going on all the time. It was Claudio Sgura who really came to be the Jack Rance when Minnie came. I loved him in this role. He reminded me so much of the young Silvano Carroli in the 1983 DVD from Royal Opera House. Jose Cura was Dick Johnson with heart and soul, he voice was beautiful, clear and his acting was superb.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 10, 2009: Carmen in Munich

2009-10-10 Carmen (G. Bizet),
Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich)

Carmen = Julia Gertseva
Don José = José Cura
Escamillo = Teddy Tahu Rhodes
Micaëla = Maija Kovalevska
Zuniga = Christian Van Horn
Moralès = Nikolay Borchev
Dancairo = Christian Rieger
Remendado = Kevin Conners
Frasquita = Lana Kos
Mercédès = Heike Grötzinger
Lillas Pastia = Manfred Ultsch

Karel Mark Chichon, conductor

CARMEN: This time, like all other times with Carmen, the conductor is too fast in the Prelude. I think the rest of the world disagree with me, but that is my opinion. What can I say about the production? Well, it was YELLOW. Is that a code for Seville... It was in my opinion a fairly traditional Carmen. There was some really good ideas there and sometimes the execution of ideas was wonderful. Julia Gertseva was a wonderful Carmen. I had not expected to love her as Carmen, but Carmen is really her role. Brilliant. José Cura was an excellent Don José. Vocally and acting brilliantly. The only thing is that here is French dialog. And that is hard stuff. I really think Julia Gertseva was the best in dialog, very clear, easy to hear, unfortunately I doubt it was the best French diction. Micaela was sung and acted superbly by Maija Kovalevska. It must have been the best Micaela I have seen. Zuniga and Morales seemed to young. Nikolay Borchev (Morales) seem to be the old type opera singer who sings to the audience. Christian Van Horn (Zuniga) right voice but too young for Zuniga. The smugglers Dancairo (Christian Rieger), Remendado (Kevin Conners) was alright, but Frasquita and Mercedes was another species of singers. Lana Kos was nothing short of wonderful as Frasquita. She makes you want more. Beautiful woman, voice and a sure actress. Heike Grötzinger as Mercedes was also a luxury Besetzung. This time one felt that Frasquita could easily become Micaela, and Mercedes could be Carmen.

Act 2 a gipsy camp with tents. I don't like it. And then the Fat Lady as Fat Gypsy Lady. OK, no not OK. A little too much of EXOTISM made of Gypsies, especially Gypsy Women, Zigeunerinnen. Problematic, the ROM people has been marginalized a long time when not looked as Exotic. OK, so it is CARMEN. But a little more respect. A big program but nothing about how the Roma people was treated in Spain in the time of Carmen or about how it is now or why not in the European History. But essays, essays about other things. Our chance of insight wasted. Insight of women's situation in Spain would be appreciated instead of just Carmen and who was she, what kind of love... boring stuff.

I almost forgot Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Escamillo. Doesn't that say it all. Almost forgot. Yes, young and beautiful (handsome, I mean), but it the end easy to forget. The last duet with Carmen (Julia Gertseva) and Don José (José Cura) was absolutely the best. Ever...

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October 10, 2004: Verdi Gala in Parma

2004-10-10 Buon Compleanno Maestro Verdi, Teatro Regio Parma

Elena Borin, Adriana Damato, Tiziana Fabbricini, Alessandra Rezza,
Mezzo: Alessandra Canettieri
Valter Borin, Luca Casalin, José Cura, Zvetan Michailov
Leo Nucci, Vladimir Stoyanov
Franco De Grandis, Federico Sacchi, Riccardo Zanellato

Renato Palumbo, conductor

10 October 2004

Parma - Teatro Regio, 10 October 2004, at 20.30
excerpts from Giovanna d'Arco, Alzira, Attila, Macbeth,
I Masnadieri, Il Corsaro

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Regio di Parma

Conductor Renato Palumbo
Regie Lorenzo Arruga

Actors Olga Gherardi, Giancarlo Giannini
Chorus Master Martino Faggiani
Audiovideo Dynamic s.r.l. DVD
Supported by Banca Popolare dell'Emilia Romagna

Tragic opera with a prologue and three acts on a libretto by Temistocle Solera, from Die Jungfrau von Orléans by Friedrich Schiller.
Milan, Scala Theatre, February 15th, 1845.

Sinfonia (ca. 7 minutes)

2 minutes: Olga Gherardi, Giancarlo Giannini

Prologo, Scena IV (6,5 minutes)
Oh ben s'addice questo... Sempre all’alba ed alla sera…
Giovanna - Adriana Damato, soprano
Adriana Damato sang this difficult opera aria with great passion. Her dark-hued voice has a very special appeal. She obviously knew this aria, she didn't need to use the notes. This aria is one that is hard to love at first hearing but then it is almost addictive. The passion, the early Verdi sound and this soprano voice was a perfect match.

1 minute: Olga Gherardi

Atto I, Scene III, IV (7,5 minutes)
Ho risolto… Dunque, o cruda, e gloria e trono... È puro l'aere - limpido il cielo
Giovanna - Adriana Damato, soprano
Carlo - Jose Cura, tenor
A tenor and soprano both with a dark hue in their voices. Passionate duet. Perfect together. The only thing that I missed during the whole concert was more acting and interacting, not just standing there and singing gloriously. Not a fault of Jose Cura. I simply loved È puro l'aere - limpido il cielo.

2,5 minutes: Olga Gherardi, Giancarlo Giannini

opera with a prologue and two acts on a libretto by Salvatore Cammarano, from Alzire ou les Américains by Voltaire
Première: Naples, San Carlo Theatre, August 12th, 1845.

Atto I, Scena VIII (5 minutes)
Nella polve genuflesso…
Gusmano - Vladimir Stoyanov, baritone
Alvaro - Franco De Grandis, bass
Alzira - Tiziana Fabbricini, soprano
Zamoro - Valter Borin, tenor
Ataliba - Federico Sacchi, bass
Zuma - Alessandra Canettieri, mezzo
Great voices. Franco de Grandis fabulous, Vladimir Stoyanov glorious, Valter Borin wonderful beautiful tenor voice. And the ALZIRA, Tiziana Fabbricini very special soprano voice; the sound of her voice is edgy but it is warm when you come into center of the voice. She shines though this wonderful scene.

Atto I, Scena VIX (5 minutes)
Qual suon?...Che avvenne?... Trema, trema... a ritorti fra l'armi
Gusmano - Vladimir Stoyanov, baritone
Alvaro - Franco De Grandis, bass
Alzira - Tiziana Fabbricini, soprano
Zamoro - Valter Borin, tenor
Ataliba - Federico Sacchi, bass
Zuma - Alessandra Canettieri, mezzo
Ovando - Luca Casalin, tenor
The same great voices with Luca Casalin in the comprimario role of Ovando.

Atto II, Scena III (8 minutes)
Per chi? - Per me. S' ei muore, io moro...Il pianto, l’ambascia…
Atto II, Scena IV: Di pira non più, ma d'ara, e talamo
Alzira - Tiziana Fabbricini, soprano
Gusmano - Vladimir Stoyanov, baritone
Ovando - Luca Casalin, tenor
Wonderful duet, I think it is Tiziana making it so divine, wonderful. But of course, the baritone is good too. Her sound is just right for Alzira, especially in this duet

Atto II, Scena VI (7,5 minutes)
Miserandi avanzi… Irne lungi ancor dovrei... Non di codarde lagrime
Zamoro - Zvetan Michailov, tenor
Otumbo - Luca Casalin, tenor
Another tenor as Zamoro. Zvetan Michailov's tenor is darker than Borin's, more muscular. Irne lungi ancor dovrei... is a wonderful aria. After these excerpts I think that ALZIRA must be a wonderful opera, at least that the music is great.

2,5 minutes: Olga Gherardi, Giancarlo Giannini

Opera with a prologue and three acts on a libretto by Temistocle Solera, taken from Attila re degli Unni by Zacharias Werner.
Première: Venice, La Fenice Theatre, March 17th, 1846

Prologo, scena III (7,5 minutes)
Di vergini straniere…Allor che i forti corrono...Da te questo or m'é concesso
Odabella - Alessandra Rezza, soprano
Attila - Riccardo Zanellato, bass
Aldino - Luca Casalin, tenor
The great aria of Odabella is wonderfully sung by Alessandra Rezza. Allor che i forti corrono.... Great applause and BRAVA!!!

Prologo, scena III (8,5 minutes)
Uldino, a me dinanzi...
Prologo, scena IV: Attila!-Oh, il nobil messo!
Prologo, scena V
La destra porgimi. . . Tardo per gli anni, e tremulo…
Attila - Riccardo Zanellato, bass
Ezio - Leo Nucci, baritone
One of great joys of ATTILA is these wonderful duets. Riccardo Zanellato is great as Attila but it is Leo Nucci who is the man. Tardo per gli anni, e tremulo… is wonderfully sung. (Avrai tu l'universo, Resti l'Italia a me.)

Prologo, Scena VII (5 minutes)
Quai voci! Oh, tutto... Qui, qui sostiamo!… Ella in poter del Barbaro!
Foresto - Jose Cura, tenor
One of the highlights of the concert. Jose Cura is just marvelous as Foresto.
Ella in poter del Barbaro is just wonderful, never knew it was such a wonderful aria before I heard Jose Cura sing it!!!! BRAVO!!

Prologo, Scena VII (4 minutes)
Cessato alfine il turbine... Cara patria, già madre e reina
Foresto - Jose Cura, tenor
Jose Cura sang Cara patria, già madre e reina with his dark passion.

Atto II scena I (5 minutes)
Tregua è con gli Unni…Dagli Immortali vertici
Ezio - Leo Nucci, baritone
The other great man in this concert was Leo Nucci who was simply the greatest as Ezio. I saw Leo Nucci as Ezio in Zurich in 1998. He was wonderful. But in 2004 he is better than in 1998. BRAVO!!!!

Atto II scena II (5,5 minutes)
Chi vien?... Salute ad Ezio
Atto II scena III: Che brami tu?
Atto II scena IV: È gettata la mia sorte
Ezio - Leo Nucci, baritone
Foresto - Valter Borin, tenor
Another Foresto, good, but no Jose Cura. Leo Nucci È gettata la mia sorte. Grandissimo!!!

PAUSE ( 25 minutes)

2 minutes: Olga Gherardi, Giancarlo Giannini

Opera in four acts on a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, from William Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name.
Première: Florence, Pergola Theatre, March 14th, 1847.

Atto I, Scena V (9,5 minutes)
Nel dì della vittoria…
Atto I, Scena VI: Al cader della sera il Re qui giunge
Atto I, Scena VII: Duncano sarà qui?...qui? qui la notte?...Vieni T’affretta!...
Lady Macbeth - Alessandra Rezza, soprano
un servo - Federico Sacchi, bass
Wonderful soprano voice. Passionate rendition of the aria, but I miss the ugly, dangerous sound when she sings "Duncano sarà qui?...qui? qui la notte?". It is too beautiful sung, that is true Lady Macbeth singing.

1 minute: Giancarlo Giannini

Atto I, scena XVI (8 minutes)
Di destarlo per tempo il Re m'impose
Atto I, scena XVII: Oh, qual orrenda notte!
Atto I, scena XVIII: Orrore! orrore! orrore!
Atto I, scena XIX: Schiudi, Inferno, …
Macbeth - Leo Nucci, baritone
Lady - Tiziana Fabbricini, soprano
Banquo - Riccardo Zanellato, bass
McDuff - Valter Borin, tenor
una dama - Elena Borin, soprano
First Macduff, then a short Banquo scene (beautiful singing by Riccardo Zanellato), then Macduff has found the old king dead, killed. Wonderful singing by the ensemble. Beautiful a-capella parts. Tiziana is a wonderful Lady with her Macbeth (Leo Nucci). Leo Nucci and Tiziana Fabbricini really enjoyed being the couple Macbeth.

0,5 minute: Olga Gherardi

Atto IV Scena V (6,5 minutes)
Perfidi…! Pietà rispetto, amore,…
Macbeth - Leo Nucci, baryon
Leo Nucci is fabulous in all scenes and arias. Only one small thing he sings "honore" when it is "amore", Pieta, rispetto, amore. Otherwise it is just stupendous.

Atto IV Scena VI: (8,5 minutes)
E' morta la Regina!
Atto IV Scena VII: Sire! ah, Sire!
Atto IV Scena VIII: Via le fronde, e mano all'armi!
Atto IV Scena IX: Carnefice de' figli miei, t'ho giunto.
Atto IV Scena X: Infausto giorno!
Atto IV Scena XI: Ove s'è fitto l'usurpator?... Salve, o re!
Macbeth - Leo Nucci, baryon
Malcolm - Luca Casalin, tenor
McDuff - Valter Borin, tenor
una dama - Elena Borin, soprano
Leo Nucci shines, great chorus. Unfortunately the orchestra has trouble in being together in Act IV scene IX, the announcement of Macduff coming is fuzzy, disorderly, embarrassing. But it comes together in the end.

3,5 minutes: Olga Gherardi, Giancarlo Giannini

Opera in four acts on a libretto by Andrea Maffei, from the tragedy Die Räuber by Friedrich Schiller.
Première: London, Her Majesty's Theatre, July 22nd, 1847.

Parte I, scena III (10,5 minutes)
Vecchio! Spiccai da te… La sua lampada vitale…
Parte I, scena IV: Signor, che volete?
Parte I, scena V: Fra poco, Francesco, sarai qui signore!
Franceso - Leo Nucci, baritone
Armino - Luca Casalin, tenor
What can anyone say about Leo Nucci, he is a miracle...

Parte II, scena VI (6 minutes)
Come splendido e grande… Di ladroni attornato…
Parte II, scena VII: Capitano! noi siamo cerchiati. . .
Carlo - Zvetan Michailov, tenor
Rolla - Luca Casalin, tenor
Zvetan Michailov sings this aria wonderfully.

Parte III, scena II (7 minutes)
Qual mare, qual terra da me t'ha diviso?
Amalia - Adriana Damato, soprano
Carlo - Valter Borin, tenor
Wonderful duet, Valter Borin and Adriana Damato is just perfect together.

1,5 minutes: Olga Gherardi, Giancarlo Giannini

Tragic opera in three acts, on a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, taken from The Corsair by George Byron.
Première: Trieste, Teatro Grande, October 25th, 1848.

Atto I scena II (6,5 minutes)
Tutto parea sorridere…
Atto I scena III: Della brezza col favore...
Corrado - Jose Cura, tenor
Giovanni - Federico Sacchi, bass
I have heard Jose Cura sing the aria "Tutto parea sorridere" before even more beautiful than here in Parma but is was wonderful with the chorus and Federico Sacchi as Giovanni, Corrado's second in command on his pirate ship.

Atto I scena IV (6 minutes)
Egli non riede ancora!...Non so le tetre immagini…
Medora - Adriana Damato, soprano
Adriana Damato sang this aria .... que possa dire... I loved it. Only one regret, how I would have loved to hear the Corrado/Medora duet from act 1 with Cura and Damato, or the Corrado/Gulnara duet from act 2 with Jose Cura and Adriana Damato. That would have been something to die for...

2,5 minutes: Olga Gherardi, Giancarlo Giannini

Atto II, scena X (14 minutes)
Si risparmi quell'uom
Corrado - Jose Cura, tenor
Gulnara - Alessandra Rezza, soprano
Seid - Vladimir Stoyanov, baritone
Giovanni - Federico Sacchi, bass
Selimo - Luca Casalin, tenor
How is it possible to be disappointed with this great wonderfully sung scene from Il Corsaro. It just so happens that I know that there is even more beautiful scenes in this opera that I would rather hear;


Medora e Corrado.

È pur mesto, o Medora, il canto tuo


Medora, Corrado e Gulnara con alcuni Corsari.

Ah quest'amplesso è balsamo

But all is not lost I will see/hear the whole opera in Barcelona, February 2005

Happy Birthday, Maestro Verdi!!!
Most wonderful Verdi concert!!
Magic in Parma!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OD Travel + Photos

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October 7, 2004: Stiffelio in Zurich

2004-10-07 Stiffelio (Verdi), Opernhaus Zurich

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

Stefano Ranzani, conductor

Since I saw this opera production at the premiere on Sept 26th I didn't expect to be surprised. The most important first, this time I did not get the feeling that Stiffelio forgave his wife. It was only the priest, the man did not forgive anything. The women's sin was not the kind that were forgiven, but that a brother would forgive a brother was expected as natural. Indulgira... But Honor was more important than Lina's soul and her happiness was counted for nothing. This time that was very evident.

Stiffelio (Jose Cura) was from the very beginning of the opera he wants his wife to love him to touch him but he is not willing to love her, touch her himself. All the, Non ha per me un accento non un sguardo, but it was he who was not talking to her, looking to her. She was all his. His very unchristian "only a heart that is not
hurt can forgive", where as the Christian sentiment is the forgive another that have hurt you, that is in a way the essence of Christianity. Jose Cura's Stiffelio is very dual, he brings love to the world. but not to his wife. His anger is dangerous even the lethal kind. But he is known as generosity himself, of course again not including his wife. Suspicious to his wife all from the beginning of the opera, he never did understand her love. And when Lina is about to confess he is never interested in how did Lina get involved in Raffaele de Leuthold, it is just enough that she says he
was seduced and he jumps at the possibility to kill Raffaele in a duel. Not a thought of Lina and her predicament.

Stankar (Leo Nucci) the same honor-driven madness and little love and caring for Lina, his daughter. The same selv-pity, Lina pensai che angelo. He thought Lina was only there to make him proud, and make him important.

Lina (Emily Magee) the adulterous wife of a priest. Always searching forgiveness, and always Stiffelio, Stankar and Raffaelle getting in the way for forgiveness and happiness. Her hands always searching for Stiffelio's hand for support and love. And in the end God's forgiveness is pronounced in public with Stiffelio as Priest reading
from the Gospels about "the one without sin can throw the first stone".

It was wonderful sung and acted and I do love this opera but I still like the Moshinsky production best as I saw it on video with Jose Carreras from Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

But this is a great role for Jose Cura.

I took some marvelous photos from Zurich. Unfortunately I tried my luck at one of Zurich's internet-cafe, and a whole memory card of 128 MB was then not usable again of the many photos 26 of what I think was my best Stiffelio photos. Luckily for me I had bought a new one, and my last 4 photos was on my new memory-card.

OD Travel + Photos

Thursday, October 5, 2017

October 5, 2014: I Puritani (Søner av sola), Nordfjordeid

2014-10-05 I Puritani (Bellini), Opera Nordfjord

”Søner av sola" = Sons of the Sun (Jostein Avdem Fretland)
Svavna (Lord Gualtiero) = Bjørn Gisle Seter
Svidre (Sir Giorgio) = Trond Gudevold
Vakar (Lord Arturo Talbo) = Bo Kristian Jensen
Snjodainn (Sir Riccardo Forth) = Trond Halstein Moe
Stallarbrut (Sir Bruno Robertson) = Petter Wulfsberg Moen
Arnaviv (Enrichetta ´di Francia) = Gro Bente Kjellevold
Svava (Elvira) = Ditte Højgaard Andersen

Michael Pavelich, conductor

Regie - Michael Pavelich
Scenography - Sunniva Bodvin
Costume design - Anne Gotaas

Light design - Hans Åke Sjøquis

Simply the best Elvira of all times: Ditte Højgaard Andersen as Svava(Nordfjordeid 2014-10-05)

The Opera Nordfjord production of I Puratani by Bellini was called Søner av sola (Sons of the Sun) and was called a fantasy opera. Norse mythology in stead of Civil War in England. New translation by young Norwegian Jostein Avdem Fretland.

Two Danes as the protagonists Svava (Elvira) and Vakar (Arturo): Ditte Højgaard Andersen & Bo Kristian Jensen. Trond Gudevold was Svava's uncle Svidre (Giorgio) and Bjørn Gisle Seter was Svavna (Valton), King of the Volunds. Then as the other man who loves Svava and had the King's promise to have her Snjodainn (Riccardo), a great Volund leader,  was the great Trond Halstein Moe. The other tenor of the group Stallarhrut (Bruno) was Petter Wulfsberg Moen. As Arnaviv (Enriquetta), Queen of the Egds was Gro Bente Kjellevold. ¨

The two lovers comes from different people Svava of the Volunds and Vakar of the Egds.No politics is involved, it is just two different people and maybe different Gods. The cast of two Danes and the rest Norwegians was great. Fabulous singing of the soloists, a great chorus and orchestra conducted by Michael Pavelich, the man himself.

Michael Pavelich also had the Regie, Scenography was by Sunniva Bodvin. Costume design by Anne Gotaas. Light design by Hans Åke Sjöquist. Masks by Maren Togstad. Assistant regie and choreography by Marit Grytnes Dullaert.

In this new production there was an added element Herkja, a Volve working for Svidre played by Jannik Bonnevie. The opera started with the vigorous prelude of Puritani and then full stop and then words, words and words and then finally the opera started again. I was bored while she explained the background or something. But then it started. Puritani is not Norma, it has many good parts but Norma has a story that makes sense and you can feel for Norma and Pollione and Adalgisa. Puritani, yes even in this Norse fantasy opera version has the same weaknesses. But the aria, and duets and ensembles are just smashing wonderful. And we had Bel Canto here and also stupidity as sometime come with bel canto repertoire. Trond Halstein Moe, the old wolf of Norwegian opera (I probably read to many novels about shifters) was wonderful as the young and dashing Snjodainn, powerful and so bel canto. I was surprised how little stage time Svavna, Bjørn Gisle Seter, had, but yummy. Trond Gudevold as Svidre and Ditte Højgaard Andersen in duet was amazing. Trond Gudevold was like a bel canto God, Ditte was the Godess of all. Gro Bente Kjellevold was great to stand out. The tenors Stallarhrut, Petter Wulfsberg Moen had such a beautiful tenor voice, but poor Vakar or rather Bo Kristian Jensen had all those nasty high note to press out.

It was a beautiful production in Nordfjordeid but I am sorry to say I am not totally on board but I think it is the opera's fault. I Puritani, I am sorry, but I can not love you.

Still it is totally you have to go and see and experience this. Because you listen to Met on Demand for hear some Puritanis and not even Joan Sutherland or Edita Gruberova are better than Ditte Højgaard Andersen!!!

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