Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February 28, 2004: I Puritani in Vienna

2004-02-28 I Puritani (Bellini), Wiener Staatsoper

Lord Gualtiero Valton = Goran Simic
Sir Giorgio = Alastair Miles
Lord Arturo Talbot = Joseph Calleja
Sir Riccardo Forth = Manuel Lanza
Sir Bruno Roberton = Benedikt Kobel
Enriquetta di Francia = Caitlin Hulcup
Elvira = Stefania Bonfadelli

Stefan Soltesz, conductor

(Vincenzo Bellini)
(36. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung)

Inszenierung: John Dew
Bühnenbild: Heinz Balthes
Kostüme: José Manuel Vazquez
Chorleitung: Ernst Dunshirn

After Signierstunde Carreras in Karajan Center it is time to see if my photos are ready. They are not. Back to the hotel to relax before the opera. I decide that I have time to go to Westbahnhof and to use the Internet café there, I do so. Then suddenly little time left. Unfortunately my irregularly eating have made my stomach uneasy. Luckily the Opera Toilette is there, and at the sound of Strauss I get "ready" for the opera. Hungry, feeling a bit sick and tired. But when I sit down and opera starts... the opera I Puritani by Vincenzo Bellini... then I don't feel so sick and tired. I can enjoy it.

I saw this opera earlier with Gruberova as Elvira. I was disappointed when I heard that she was ill. Stefania Bonfadelli replaced her. Last time I saw Bonfadelli was as Lucia di Lammermoor. But this time I really was positively attracted to her voice. This time I heard this warm voice and she was adorable. After just a few moments I did not miss Gruberova at all. Joseph Calleja, the young Maltese tenor (only 24) was wonderful as Arturo. The music of Bellini also was a revelation to me.

And I must tell of the impact that the subtitling that we got in the Wiener Staatsoper. I sat there and just decided not to read the synopsis of the opera. Last time I saw Puritani I bought a Libretti and sat desperately reading it in the pauses. But now relaxed and just see the history evolve before my very eyes. It meant that I did not know the ending of the opera. At the beginning I did not know who was singing but that cleared up. Wonderful singing. MAGIC.

Colored light. I can understand the Red color when the king of England is beheaded, all the statues also beheaded with heads on one side of the stage, the bodies in the rear of the stage. Blood.
Orange. When Arturo and Elvira meets in the forest. I would have thought Green was better. There were other colors in the production, purple... But really it seemed often superficial. But the production was otherwise very good.

BRAVA!! BRAVO !! Bravissimo!!

OD Travel
+ Photos

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

February 27, 2004: Jose Carreras Gala in Vienna

2004-02-27 Carreras Gala, Wiener Staatsoper

Part 1: Recital

José Carreras, tenor
Lorenzo Bavaj, piano

Part 2: Sly (act 3)
by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari

Sly = José Carreras
Dolly = Isabelle Kabatu
Diener = Boaz Daniel

David Giménez, conductor

Part 3: Carmen (act 4)
by Georges Bizet

Don José = José Carreras
Carmen = Agnes Baltsa
Escamillo = Boaz Daniel
Mercédès = Stella Grigorian
Frasquita = Bori Keszei

David Giménez, conductor

27. February 2004
José Carreras Benefit Gala,
Wiener Staatsoper.
Leukemia Foundation
30 years since Carreras made his debut in Wiener Staatsoper as the Duke in Rigoletto (1974).

Part 1:
Lieder & Arias by
Puccini, Verdi, Massenet, Cilea & Tschaikowsky.

Part 2: Sly (act 3)
by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari

Part 3: Carmen (act 4)
by Georges Bizet

(Firma Peter Kupfer Kulturmanagment & Media.)
José Carreras Benefiz-Gala zugunsten der Leukämiestiftung

-------------A Fantastic Night at the Opera--------------------------
Traveling had given my a bit of a head-
ache, but this was a magic day, Carreras in Wiener Staatsoper again, my head-ache just had to be cured in time. After a few tablets I was almost ready for Carreras and Opera. With my new camera I came to Vienna State Opera ready for a new meeting with Carreras' voice.

The first part was Carreras and Bavaj (piano) and songs of Tosti, Leoncavallo and Puccini. I found Carreras voice a bit heavy now for the lovely love songs, but in the French songs by Leoncavallo, and finally in Puccini he was much more in his right element. His voice is definitely right for opera.

The second part was Sly, last act. You really need to have seen the whole opera to really understand the agony Sly is in and what kind of person Sly is. Carreras was a wonderful Sly. But when Isabelle Kabatu came in that was when the level started to be ethereal. God, what a divine voice, and Carreras and Kabatu was just magic together. Sly dies and Dolly rages towards the cowards that have destroyed something really beautiful. It was a really heart-wrenching scene. And Giménez does make Wolf-Ferrari´s music really into the most fantastic music.

Giménez conducted Carmen with Baltsa & Carreras, last act. What can I say other than it was fantastic? Only this, I really wanted the whole opera with Carreras and Baltsa singing conducted by David Giménez.

Of course the Vienna audience was wild with excitement and love. There were speaks by Ioan Holender in the end, and a thank-you- speech from Carreras. And after the first part a big pay-check was given to Carreras.

OD Travel + Photos

Monday, February 26, 2018

February 26, 2008: Elektra in Florence (Firenze)

2008-02-26 Elektra (R.Strauss), Teatro Comunale di Firenze

Klytämnestra = Agnes Baltsa
Elektra = Susan Bullock
Chrysothemis = Christine Goerke
Aegisth = Stanford Olsen
Orest = Matthias Goerne
Der Pfleger des Orest = Uwe Griem
Die Vertraute = Marcella Polidori
Die Schleppträgerin = Cinzia Rizzone
Ein junger Diener = Saverio Fiore
Ein alter Diener = Franco Boscolo
Die Aufseherin = Stefannia Kybalova
Erste Magd = Manuela Bress
Zweite Magd = Silvia Mazzoni
Dritte Magd = Larissa Schmidt
Vierte Magd = Sabrina Testa
Fünfte Magd = Daniela SchiIllaci

Seiji Osawa, conductor


Information Plan
2007/2008 Season Opera

Tragedy in one act by Hugo von Hofmannsthal
music by Richard Strauss
conductor SEIJI OZAWA
singers and musicians

production New production in association with Tokyo Opera Nomori

place Teatro Comunale
road Corso Italia, 16
city Florence (FI)

phone 899.666.805 - 055 2779350

24-02-2008, h 20.30
26-02-2008, h 20.30
29-02-2008, h 20.30
02-03-2008, h 15.30
05-03-2008, h 20.30

I am bored....

For the third time I see this opera, Elektra by Richard Strauss. Yet another production. Vienna, Budapest and now Florence. Agnes Baltsa as Klytämnestra. This production is not bad. Actually it is a good one. The best of the 3. But I still have not learnt to love this opera. And with Seiji Osawa conducting; it is a one act opera lasting 1 h 50 mins, which is too long.

This was a black and white production. All in black except Klytämnestra and Aigist. It was a simple and compelling idea: the servants of the house acted like doubles to Elektra mimicking her moves and yet acted as the dogs that Elektra was living with according to the libretto. Everyone was in black dresses, Elektra's sister too. Hard and not necessary to see different except when singing.

The whole stage was a confined space with mural walls. Like a room and yet like outside with dirt on the ground. In the middle of the stage was a grave where a naked and dead Agamemnon was lying. It also worked as the "door" to the castle. Some times people would come into the stage or go out from the front side door (not visible from the audience room) but other times they would just simply appear from the back of the stage where it seem not be any opening. Appearing from the a wall of black clad women. Klytämnestra on her bed was carried by the servant from the back suddenly appearing from the confined space as the whole stage was.

The production was really stylish and clean. Had I loved this opera then I would have been overjoyed by seeing it. At the same time for me it acted like a decider I think I will not go to Munich for a 4th production of the opera even with Agnes Baltsa as Klytämnestra.

It is not that this opera is without beautiful music, it has that. But as it is an 1 act opera with no natural space for a pause/interval it is simply too long. And it is not a happy opera at all. Had it had a small comic relief it would not be too bad.

Singing was good. Chorus and dancers was fantastic. The ladies were great singers/actors. Orest was not at their level. Weak voice, little presence.

And too end it all, I did not take any photos. And I did not see Agnes Baltsa before or after the opera. I met an opera friend in the opera house we actually sat together. I was supposed to give her my address. And, guess what, I did not find her again. I was in the back of the opera house and in the front. Florence ain't my city... (McDonald's was good, does that count?)

OD Travel

5. Travel to Vienna /Florence: Florence in Februar...

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

Friday, February 23, 2018

February 23, 2008: Pagliacci in Vienna

2008-02-23 Pagliacci (R. Leoncavallo), Wiener Staatsoper

Canio (Pagliaccio) = José Cura
Nedda (Colombina) = Tamar Iveri
Tonio (Taddeo) = Georg Tichy
Beppe (Arlecchino) = Ho-yoon Chung
Silvio = Morten Frank Larsen
Erster Bauer = Jens Musger
Zweiter Bauer = Wolfgang Igor Dentl

Marco Armiliato, conductor

Inszenierung: Jean Pierre Ponnelle
Bühnenbild und Kostüme: Jean Pierre Ponnelle

Wonderful Pagliacci, such a relief after Cavalleria Rusticana. It was not that CavRust was bad, just that is was so disturbing to see the village people being so demonstrative unkind to Santuzza.

Pagliacci, on the other hand is a happy tale in the beginning and only ends bad. The Direktion of the Staatsoper asked Jose Cura to sing the Prologue and he did a wonderful Prologue and so it was only fitting that JC also had the last word "La commedia è finita". This Canio really had a good heart but a bad temper. I have seen this production before in Vienna, but this was the best one, obviously revamped the acting. Tamar Iveri was wonderful as Nedda.

Hard to say more than BRAVI, tutti!

OD Travel + photos

4 Travel to Vienna/Florence: 23 February Cav/Pag

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

February 23, 2008: Cavalleria Rusticana in Vienna

2008-02-23 Cavalleria Rusticana (P. Mascagni), Wiener Staatsoper

Santuzza = Georgina Lukács
Turiddu = Peter Seiffert
Alfio = Alberto Mastromarino
Mamma Lucia = Daniela Denschlag
Lola = Roxana Constantinescu

Marco Armiliato, conductor

Cavalleria Rusticana
Inszenierung: Jean Pierre Ponnelle
Bühnenbild und Kostüme: Jean Pierre Ponnelle

I suffered so with this Santuzza, the rejection of the villagers and even priests and children. It was almost unbearable to watch. I have never felt such a depression from this opera before. I felt that I was in this village that was so closed to kindness. Georgina Lukács was wonderful as Santuzza. Acting and with her voice. Really sad that it is the women who suffer most in such a patriarchal culture. When Turriddu was killed ...

Innegiamo with Lukács was a great moment of rare beauty and sense of kindness....

OD Travel + photos

4 Travel to Vienna/Florence: 23 February Cav/Pag

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

February 23, 2007: Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Oslo

2007-02-23 Il Barbiere di Siviglia (G. Rossini), Den Norske Opera

Almaviva = Juan José Lopera
Rosina = Virginia Tola
Figaro = Tom Erik Lie
Dr. Bartolo = Jonathan Veira
Don Basilio = Carsten Stabell
Berta = Toril Carlsen
Fiorello = Stevica Krajinonic
Ambrogio = Huw Reynolds
Notario / Rag doll = Martin Hasselgren
Police Officer = Petter Fegran

Tobias Ringberg, conductor


Opera i 2 akter av Gioacchino Rossini
- Libretto: Cesare Sterbini

Premiere: 23/2
Øvrige spilledager: 24/2,26/2, 28/2,1/3, 2/3, 3/3,4/3, 19/3, 22/3, 27/3
Spilletid: ca 2 t og 45 min
Fremføres på italiensk
Norske overtekster

Musikalsk ledelse: Tobias Ringberg
Regi: Francois de Carpentries
Dramaturg: Karine van Hercke
Scenografi: Emmanuel Clolus
Kostymer: Karine van Hercke
Lysdesign: Pierre Berthomé
Kormester: Steffen Kammler

Den Norske Operas kor
Den Norske Operas orkester

Produksjonen er et samarbeid med Opéra National de Lorraine, Nancy

The very famous ouverture beautifully played by the orchestra. At more than one occasion the orchestra stopped for so many seconds that a new listened would have thought the overture suddenly died. The conductor played the hammer-piano in the recitatives, although the singers were lively, the accompanist made so many extra thrills that it seemed to take forever until a new aria broke out and we could start enjoying ourselves again. But luckily the drama strong and very good comedy it was too.

Juan Jose Lopera was a wonderful Almaviva, wonderfully sung, acted. Tom Erik Lie was a very young Figaro, very enjoyable and humorous and a great voice. Doctor Bartolo was fully embodied with Jonathan Veira, a great singer and actor. Don Basilio was also wonderfully played and sung by Carsten Harboe Stabell. It was very sad that role of Berta has so little to sing but Toril Carlson sang Berta's aria wonderfully, what a wonderful warm soprano voice she has. Virginia Tola sang Rosina as mezzo soprano, beautiful sung and acted but she seemed to have a little voice compared to the other singers. Maybe she did not dare sing out too much.

The opera started at 1900 and ended at approx. 2200. And so my parents took the 2250 bus home. If we had come to late for that one, we would have to wait until 0050, 2 more hours.

The second act of il Barbiere was such a lot of fun, that I used many more muscles in my face than usual. "pace e gioia" . Juan Jose Lopera as the monk Don Alonso, hilarious...

February 2007: Il Barbiere in Oslo (2007-02-23)

OD Travel

February 23, 2003: Pagliacci in Hamburg

2003-02-23 I Pagliacci (R. Leoncavallo), Hamburgische Staatsoper

Canio / Bajazzo = José Cura
Nedda / Colombina = Hellen Kwon
Tonio / Taddeo = Ko Seng Hyoun
Beppe / Harlequin = Peter Galliard
Silvio = George Petean

Peter Veit
Steven Dom Glfford

Niksa Bareza, conductor

dei Monaco
Michael Scott
Florian Csizmadia
Jürgen Luhn
Thomas Mittmann

Beginn 19.30 Uhr Ende gegen 22.30 Uhr Pause von
ca. 30 Minuten nach »Cavalleria rusticana«

049. Vorstellung seit der Premiere am 28. Januar 1988

José Cura sings Pagliaccio (Canio)
Seng Hyoun Ko was an amazing Tonio. Hellen Kwon weak-voiced, but good actor. George Petean was OK as Silvio. Peter Galliard was a good Beppe.

José Cura was at times a brilliant Canio, I am sure that he will sing on February 25 much better. Premiere nerves, after conducting Cav (tired), and very cold weather in Hamburg.

OD Travel + photos

February 23, 2003: Cavalleria Rusticana in Hamburg

2003-02-23 Cavalleria Rusticana (P. Mascagni), Hamburgische Staatsoper

Santuzza = Ildiko Komlosi
Turriddu = Kristjan Johansson
Alfio = Ko Seng Hyoun
Lucia = Olive Fredricks
Lola = Antigone Papoulkas

José Cura, conductor

049. Vorstellung seit der Premiere am 28. Januar 1988
dei Monaco
Michael Scott
Florian Csizmadia
Jürgen Luhn
Thomas Mittmann

Beginn 19.30 Uhr Ende gegen 22.30 Uhr Pause von
ca. 30 Minuten nach »Cavalleria rusticana«

Kristjan Johannsson
(Für den erkränkten Attila B.Kiss)

José Cura conducts Cavalleria Rusticana
I really liked this production (Gian Carlo del Monaco) Ildiko Komlosi was wonderful as Santuzza. Kristjan Johannsson was OK as Turriddu (if only José Cura had sung it instead, what about, Cura conducts and sings Turriddu at the same time, somebody else acts Turriddu). Seng Hyoun Ko was wonderful as Alfio. Olive Fredricks was great as Mamma Lucia. Antigone Papoulkas was OK as Lola.

I think Cura was doing OK as a conductor, hard for me to say.

OD Travel + photos

Thursday, February 22, 2018

February 22, 2014: Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Christian Vásquez, Konzerthaus Berlin

2014-02-22 Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Christian Vásquez, Konzerthaus Berlin

José Cura, tenor
Claudio Bohórquez, Violoncello

Konzerthausorchester Berlin

Christian Vásquez, conductor

2014-02-22 Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Christian Vásquez, Konzerthaus Berlin

José Cura, tenor
Claudio Bohórquez, Violoncello

Konzerthausorchester Berlin
Christian Vásquez, conductor
This time I was in Berlin for a concert of South American music. It was a nice trip. Another time something I did just because Jose Cura would be there singing Argentinian songs.

A reviewer of the concert said that Cura seemed to be uncertain and not fully himself until he sang Aurora by Panizza. He must have been on another concert. The concert was on Friday 21, Saturday 22, and Sunday 23., I was there on Saturday, the reviewer was probably on Friday. I cannot be sure that he was wrong since I only attended the concert on Saturday but I think he was mistaken. Of course a tenor would sing an opera aria with a fuller voice than he would sing the delicate classical art songs of Guastavino and Ginastera. Aurora is an opera by Panizza, the Intermezzo Epico is an Opera Aria. The songs of Guastavino and Ginastera are canciones. With Aurora comes the Opera Tenor Jose Cura, with the canciones comes the recitalist Jose Cura. On Saturday Cura showed that he can sing with his sweetest voice what must be sung so and with more forceful when the text demands it. This is fine and delicate work done by a master. Everybody knows Jose Cura as a operatic tenor with his famous Otello, Samson, Calaf. So those who expect to hear something more like Otello find something familiar when he sings the Song to the Flag from Aurora.

I must say that I liked best Huapango by Moncayo. The orchestra works of Ginastera was too much noice. Of course, the cello player was divine. I loved the conductor. And Jose Cura was wonderful!!!

2014-02-22 Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Christian Vásquez, Konzerthaus Berlin

José Cura, tenor
Claudio Bohórquez, Violoncello

Konzerthausorchester Berlin
Christian Vásquez, conductor


Silvestre Revueltas (1899 – 1940)

Alberto Ginastera (1916 – 1983)
Konzert für Violoncello und Orchester Nr. 1 op. 36

José Pablo Moncayo (1912 – 1958)


Carlos Guastavino (1912 – 2000)
„Las nubes“ (Die Wolken)
Texte: Luis Cernuda Orchesterbearbeitung: Guillo Espel

Albero Ginastera
Tänze aus dem Ballett „Estancia“

Carlos Guastavino
Tres canciones
Texte: Luis Cernuda Orchesterbearbeitung: Guillo Espel

Alberto Ginastera
„Cancion al árbol del olvido“
(Lied auf den Baum des Vergessens, 1938) Text: Fernán Silva Valdés

Arturo Márquez (*1950)
„La Conga del Fuego“

Héctor Panizza (1875 – 1967)
„Intermezzo Épico“ aus der Oper „Aurora“

2 extra orchestra numbers, first was very famous and catchy but I don't remember what it is called, last one was Mambo from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein.

Then it was night talk with Jose Cura. My batteries was empty so no photos from the concert and only phone photos from the night talk in the music club.

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

February 22, 2008: Nabucco in Vienna

2008-02-22 Nabucco (G. Verdi), Wiener Staatsoper

Nabucco = Alberto Gazale
Ismaele = Marian Talaba
Zaccaria = Giacomo Prestia
Abigaille = Maria Guleghina
Fenena = Elisabeth Kulman*
Il Gran Sacerdote di Belo = Goran Simic
Abdallo = Benedikt Kobel
Anna = Caroline Wenborne*

Pier Giorgio Morandi, conductor

Two * role-debuts in Vienna State Opera. My sympathy lies with Abigaille. One could play her as just a power-hungry bitch. But then she is incomplete and you would oversee vital clues. She is Nabucco's daughter, or so she believes. She loves her father who all the time shows his affections is only for Fenena. Abigaille want to be loved. But even her love-interest love Fenena. But Abigaille is the daughter who really steps in Nabucco's shoes. For both Nabucco and Ismaele (the man she loves) she is willing to let go of power and instead of being Queen/Princess to be loved and love. If you really listen to what Abigaille says to Ismaele and Nabucco then you can hear a lot of compassion and love. But naturally Abigaille is really a complicated woman.

In the duet between Nabucco and Abigaille when Nabucco longs for Fenena, she says "You have another daughter" and runs towards him, and he rewards her with you are just a slave's daughter. Later he tries to save Fenena but Nabucco misses vital clues. Had he listened he would have understood to try to give Abigaille the kingdom (You shall be the Queen) is the wrong move, had he offered her "give me my daughter Fenena back and then then you too will be my daughter, and I will be you father) then I think things would be different. But he only sees the power-hungry woman and not a woman who wants her father's affection.

I see all the other characters in Nabucco as more fanatical and dangerous. Nabucco is a blood-hungry lion and so is Zaccaria even if Zaccaria is more religious. Ismaele and Fenena is also hard-hearted towards Abigaille and a bit fanatical. Of course the high-priest of Belo is fanatical. So Abigaille is the only one that is human and when Maria Guleghina sings Abigaille who cannot love her...

The Vienna production of Nabucco:
Inszenierung: Günter Krämer
Bühne: Petra Buchholz
Bühne: Manfred Voss
Kostüme: Falk Bauer
Licht: Manfred Voss
Musikalische Studienleitung: Jendrik Springer

I never quite liked it.
1- During the overture children acted like they were Abigaille, Fenena, Ismaele and Zaccaria in the children's room. That play did not give me anything.

2- This production uses the Holocaust in a way that I really don't think fits, not to the opera, and not at all, it seem like abuse of that great tragedy.

3- And the Holocaust reference would not be universally understood unless you have seen photos of Jews waiting with their luggage at the train station and read enough to understand what terrible places they were really going to.

Otherwise the production works very enough.


Maria Guleghina was a wonderful Abigaille. Her singing and acting was superb. She showed all the nuances of Abigaille. GREAT!

Alberto Gazale was really coming to be a Nabucco to be listening too. A bit weak in the beginning but then he really found his voice and was from that point on a Nabucco to be counted on. Leo Nucci, Renato Bruson, Juan Pons was great as Nabucco and now a new Nabucco has arrived. And I loved it how he when Abigaille came in dying to the stage I saw compassion in this last scene of the opera. GREAT!

Elisabeth Kulman sang Fenena. A beautiful voice, did her part wonderfully, one really hopes she gets a role she can shine into. Fenena is a small part. But she did it well!!

Marian Talaba was Ismaele. He really did sing and act well. A great part for Marian Talaba!

Goran Simic as the Great Priest of Belo (Baal) was really impressing this time. Full-bearded and full-voices. Great!!

Abdallo = Benedikt Kobel (did well)

Caroline Wenborne as Anna was a disappointment. Such a small role and she managed to be so very late in her most important moment "Oh fratelli, perdonate! Un'Ebrea salvato egli ha."

Giacomo Prestia as Zaccaria was really impressing. Rich voiced and acting well. GREAT!!

And after the opera: Maria Guleghina talked to her fans in fluent Italian and was the sweetest person. I even got to talk to her. WOW, I got even more a fan of her after that encounter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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

February 22, 2003: Eugen Onegin in Hamburg

2003-02-22 Eugen Onegin (P. Tsjaikovskij), Hamburgische Staatsoper

Larina = Renate Spingier
Tatiana = Danielle Halbwachs
Olga = Elena Zhidkova
Filipjewna = Kat ja Pieweck
Eugen Onegin = Jean-Luc Chaignaud
Vladimir Lenski = Piotr Beczala
Fürst Gremin = Simon Yang
Saretzki = Jörn Schümann
Triquet = Frieder Stricker

Friedemann Layer, conductor
Peter Tsjaikovskij
22. February 2003 19:30

Florian Csizmadia

Friedemann Layer,
for the sick Lothar Koenigs

Günter Hartmann
" Mitglied des Internationalen Opernstudios

Two sisters Tatiana and Olga fitted well together. But it was somewhat unusual to see Olga as the little, thin one, and Tatiana as well-gown, big young woman, at least when Olga being so small and thin. Tatiana the romantic heroine, and Olga the more earthly and happy little sister. But voice comes first, so when you get used to the figures, it works well. Wonderful voices. Really amazing how big a voice Olga had, to be so small in figure.

More troublesome to accept Tatiana, but you know it is like in real life, you can never tell from the outside of people who's the romantic and who's not. But in opera, like all art, we like to be a little challenges about our ideas, but not too much. I think if the production had been new, and with a director, everything would have been MUCH better.

Piotr Beczala as Lenski, was much better then this ONEGIN. Already I had some trouble believing in this Tatiana is the big Danielle Halbwachs, but with Jean-Luc Chaignaud as Eugen Onegin, I could not believe that Tatiana would fall in love with Onegin. As I started to accept this Tatiana, I could not BELIEVE that SHE would fall in love in this very unsympathetic Onegin. The harsh-voiced Frenchman being to a degree selfish, and totally unable to create any sympathetic reaction from people around him. Onegin should be like Don Giovanni, a man who does make woman fall in love, and men wanting to be him. A beautiful voice or a manner in walking / standing could have done that, but utterly boring persona, no.

Prince Gremin (Fürst Gremin), was sung by the Korean Bass Simon Yang. Very good, but when you have heard it sung better before, you know, it was not quite at the top. The aria where Gremin declares his love for Tatiana, is one of the big and greatest aria in all opera literature.

Then it was surtitled. Surtitling is serious and a difficult business, here the text did not repeat what the singers sung, and that did make it a little bit more difficult to GET IT. But the most terrible mistake, was the last sentence, it said something like, and this is my destiny. But Eugen Onegin last words are more: "Life is destroying me", this is a remark that can go into our very soul. Thanks to the surtitles, the end of Onegin did not have any impact on me. Had Jean-Luc Chaignaud really been able to transmit Eugen Onegin to the audience, it would have been a real shuttering experience.

GREAT opera, but it needs an EUGEN ONEGIN!!

Sonnabend,22.Februar 2003 In russischer Sprache
Lyrische Szenen
in sieben Bildern
Texte nach
Alexander Puschkin
von Peter I. Tschaikowsky und Konstantin Schilowski
Musik von
Peter I. Tschaikowsky

Friedemann Layer 0
Adolf Dresen
Margit Bárdy
Rolf Warter
Florian Csizmadia

OD Travel

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

February 20, 2010: Pagliacci in Vienna

2010-02-20 Pagliacci (R. Leoncavallo), Wiener Staatsoper

Canio (Pagliaccio) = José Cura
Nedda (Colombina) = Nicoleta Ardelean
Tonio (Taddeo) = Lado Ataneli
Beppe (Arlecchino) = Herwig Pecoraro
Silvio = Tae Joong Yang
Erster Bauer = Jens Musger
Zweiter Bauer = Wolfram Igor Derntl

Asher Fisch, conductor

José Cura plays Canio as a drunkard from beginning to end with serious violence problems. I did not really get Lado Ataneli's Tonio. I found him enjoyable to see and hear but I did not understand Tonio at all. Canio was easy to get into. Nicoleta Ardelean was giving her first time in Staatsoper as Nedda. She was also good and improved during the performance. The other roles was also solidly sung and acted. This time Tonio gets the Prologue.

José Cura in der Materialschlacht -

Die Presse seemed not to like José Cura at all. But loved Lado Ataneli as Tonio. A better Tonio than Jago. I saw Lado Ataneli as Jago in Hamburg 6 years and I think it was a better role for him. But of course that was in 2004.

Jean Pierre Ponelle - Regie, Scenography and Costumes

OD Travel + Photos
Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci in Vienna (20.2.2011)

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

February 20, 2010: Cavalleria Rusticana in Vienna

2010-02-20 Cavalleria Rusticana (P. Mascagni), Wiener Staatsoper

Santuzza = Dolora Zajick
Turiddu = José Cura
Alfio = Alberto Mastromarino
Mamma Lucia = Auro Twarowska
Lola = Roxana Constanisnescu

Asher Fisch, conductor

José Cura first performance in Vienna State Opera as Turriddu in Cavalleria Ructicana was a gigantic success. From the first moment I heard a tenor in great vocal shape. The Siciliniana was beautifully sung. His acting abilities makes him a superb Turriddu. Dolora Zajick was a good Santuzza, vocally and acting.

Aura Twarowska also sang for the first the role of Mamma Lucia in Vienna State Opera on February 20, 2010. She was great. Alberto Mastromarino was his usual Alfio, vocally not quite as great as I have heard him on earlier CavRust performances. Lola, Roxana Constantinescu, was also solidly sung.

As it was not the first time I saw this Jean-Pierre Ponelle production I noticed some small changes that made it even more clear what cruel situation Santuzza is in here. Even more pointing fingers than before. More hypocrisy. This time I think Alfio and all the village knows about Lola and Turriddu. They know about Turriddu and Santuzza too, why else would they be so cruel to Santuzza. Because Lola is married to a rich and powerful man, Alfio, in this village they pretend she is good. Because Santuzza had the mark of evil, read hear, and comes from the poor part of the village she is easy target. Turriddu is accepted although they don't really see much in him, he is a drunkard, because he is after all a man. And a man can do no evil, unless outed by another man.

Regie, Scenography and Costumes = Jean-Pierre Ponelle

OD Travel + Photos
Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci in Vienna (20.2.2011)

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

Friday, February 16, 2018

February 16, 2013: UN GIORNO DI REGNO in Kristiansund, Norway

2013-02-16 Un Giorno di Regno (Verdi),Operaen i Kristiansund

Belfiore = Lars Eggen
Baron Kelbar = Trond Halstein Moe
Marchesa del Poggio = Itziar Martinez Galdos
Giulietta = Anna Einarsson
La Rocca = Sverre Johan Aal
Edoardo = Kristian Krokslett
Grev Ivrea = Thomas Ruud
Delmonte = Aleksander Mork

Kjell Seim, conductor

Regie - Ronald Rørvik
Scene - Bo-Ruben Hedwall
Lights - Hans-Åke Sjøquist
Costumes - Else Lund
Hair & mask - Maren Togstad
Operaen i Kristiansund

Un Giorno di Regno, or Konge for en dag in Norwegian, is simply Giuseppe Verdi's most wonderful comedic opera. It was simply the most fun you can ever have in an opera. The genius of Giuseppe Verdi together with Ronald Rørvik's Regie. It proved you can laugh so much and have so much fun your face seem  to have been massaged through and through. One can listen to the Philips recording with Jessye Norman, José Carreras, Fiorenza Cossotto and Ingvar Wixell and hear it is beautiful music but to really get into the fun one would need to go to Kristiansund and see Rørvik's production. On Youtube one can see parts of Parma's production with great singers but for the fun one would need the Kristiansund production.

The chorus was a great part of making this production so special. Every single member had their job and did it magnificently. It was beautifully done with a musicality that was amazing. A choreography that never felt forced and always seemed right. Everyone could act towards their strength. Whatever your body-type were or whether you needed glasses everything could be used to enhance the story. It was brilliant. That the beautiful and young man that was Belfiore, Lars Eggen, was simply made into just the right type for the fake King Stanislaus. Eduardo was sung by Kristian Krokslett, a chubby man that did not look like the young lover Eduardo. What a tenor voice and a true comedian!!! Of course this production worked even better like that. In an ordinary production. Both Belfiore and Eduardo would have been looked upon as miscast. But no, they were brilliant. What to say about the rest? Simply that they were brilliant. Itziar Martinez Galdos was amazing as Marchesa del Poggio. Anna Einarsson was simply beautiful in every way. And they could be serious and comedienne. Trond Halstein Moe was the most unhinged Baron Kelbar, simply genious. Sverre Johan Aal was a great La Rocca. Bravi, tutti!!!

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

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February 14, 2015: Elektra in Hamburg

2015-02-14 Elektra (R.Strauss), Hamburgische Staatsoper

Klytämnestra = Agnes Baltsa
Elektra = Lise Lindström
Chrysothemis = Hellen Kwon
Aegisth = Peter Galliard
Orest = James Rutherford
Pfleger des Orest = Stanislav Sergeev
Schleppträgerin = Stefanie C. Braun
junger Diener = Daniel Todd
alter Diener = Dieter Schweikart
Aufseherin = Renate Spingler
1. Magd = Deborah Humble
2. Magd = Maria Markina
3. Magd = Rebecca Jo Loeb
4. Magd = Gabriele Rossmanith
5. Magd = Katerina Tretyakova

Simone Young, conductor
Chor und Orchester der Hamburgischen Staatsoper

INSZENIERUNG: August Everding


I loved the production. It was really like one can imagine the Ancient Greece was like. Lise Lindström who is famous for her Turandot had in the role of Elektra a much harder task. Her Elektra was believable as a crazy but very human woman. In this role Lise Lindström had to be present all the time, to be the person alway ON and never off. Taxing, is the least of this role. Agnes Baltsa, incredible that she is 70 now, sang the role of Klytemnestra and acted like the queen she is. Real singing from Agnes Baltsa and with real power. She was an extraordinary Klytemnestra. Nobody can do this role better. Hellen Kwon had the misfortune to be a more ordinary figure. Chrysothemis is the daughter who try be so nice that her mother Klytemnestra will give her the chance to live her own life. C just want to be an ordinary woman with husband and child. E want revenge. Klytemnestra want to no longer have nightmares or any dreams. Peter Gailliard was Aegisth and James Rutherford was Orest. The men pales at such women as Lise Lindström, Hellen Kwon and the divine Agnes Baltsa, but still they are in the right league.

Even with the head-ache doing their destructive work I was able to applaud them vigorously

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

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

February 13, 2004: Andrea Chenier in Vienna

2004-02-13 Andrea Chenier (Giordano), Wiener Staatsoper

Andrea Chenier = José Cura
Maddalena di Coigny = Norma Fantini
Carlo Gérard = Renato Bruson
Bersi = Elina Garanca
Gräfin di Coigny = Waltraud Winsauer
Madelon = Mihaela Ungureanu
Roucher = Boaz Daniel
Pietro Fléville = Hans Peter Kammerer
Fouquier Tinville = Goran Simic
Mathieu = Wolfgang Bankl
Abbé = Benedikt Kobel
Incroyable = Michael Roider
Hauhofmeister = Marcus Pelz
Dumas = Peter Köves
Schmidt = Johannes Wiedecke

Marcello Viotti, conductor
13. Februar 2004

(82. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung)

Dirigent: Marcello Viotti
nach einer Inszenierung von: Otto Schenk
Bühnenbild: Rolf Glittenberg
Kostüme: Milena Canonero
Choreinstudierung: Ernst Dunshirn

Beginn: 19.30

about Andrea Chenier

ANDREA CHENIER, Wiener Staatsoper 13.2.04.

Wonderful production of this most known opera by Umberto Giordano. But I must confess that I was not convinced this was José Cura's best performance as Andrea Chenier. Not that I regret coming to Vienna for this Andrea Chenier. It was interesting to see Renato Bruson as Carlo Gerard and Norma Fantini as Maddalena di Coigny.

But I found the overall impression was not convincing . But the house agreed on Boaz Daniel as Roucher was wonderful. In my opinion José Cura acted Andrea Chenier wonderfully, but sang less good. Pronunciation and timing was somewhat lacking. Renato Bruson was great as Carlo Gerard, but unluckily for me I find his voice a little too hard. Norma Fantini also great as Maddalena, but lacked some of the vocal weight that I heard she had when she sang Aida in Munich (2002). Margareta Hintermeier did not sing the role of the Countess (Maddalena's mother) and I wonder if not that would have made a difference, more weight and drama in this small role.

Madelons aria is always a highlight in the 2 act, but this time it could have easily been overlooked. It is usually quite emotional to listen to this aria. And when the judges came in the judgement scene I did not feel any weight and could not see who they were and neither did I feel the terror that the people feel when the terrible judges come. So act 3 was a little blass.

In the whole the crowd scene was not really good represented on the stage. Very few angry men did get into the gilded house during the party in act 1, the house guests outnumbered them. The crowds was really small and in this huge stage it almost looked stupid, it is afterall supposed to be Paris, a rather overcrowded city.

OD Travel + Photos

Monday, February 12, 2018

February 12, 2017: Anna Bolena in Lisboa

2017-02-12 Anna Bolena (Donizetti), Teatro Nacional São Carlos

Anna Bolena = Elena Mosuc
Enrico VIII = Burak Bilgili
Giovanna Seymour = Jennifer Holloway
Lord Percy = Leonardo Cortellazzi
Smeton = Lilly Jørstad
Lord Rochefort = Luís Rodrigues
Hervey = Marco Alves dos Santos
Giampaolo Bisanti, conductor
Maestro titular Giovanni Andreoli

Maestrina titular Joana Carneiro

Encenação - Graham Vick
Cenografia - Paul Brown
Desenho de Luz - Giuseppe Di Iorio

 Production - Fondazione Arena di Verona

I loved the production just as much as I did in Sevilla December 2016. This time it was different. Different singers and different feeling of the characters.

Burak Bilgili as Enrico had a smirk on his face that make him an instant villain. Jennifer Holloway as Giovanna Seymour was very tall and did not seem to be so unwilling to become queen and her relationship with the queen seemed hypocritical. Other than that it was amazing singing and acting from all.

Leonardo Cortellazzi was a wonderful Lord Percy, Lilly Jørstad was fantastic ad Smeton, Elena Mosuc was a gorgious Anna Bolena. Luis Rodrigues was great as Lord Rochefort. Among this gigant one could forget Marco Alves dos Santos as Hervey but we really should not forget him.

If one did not like the characters that Burak Bilgili and Jennifer Holloway brought in Enrico and Seymour it was a valid intepretation. Historically we know very little about Jane Seymour. The singing of all singers was at the highest standard. Also we had a great chorus and orchestra lead by maestro Bisanti.

In Sevilla and also in Parma the singing had been more come scritto, but here the singers was allowed to created a flourishes in their musical line. Excellently sung but I longed for the clarity of the come scritto approach. I am not a musicologist but those were my feelings,

Beautiful Lisboa but Sevilla will be closer to my heart. Elena Mosuc as Anna Bolena, the voice and acting, sublime. A new tenor to love: Leonardo Cortellazzi. This is the time for the Italian tenors to get to the opera ceiling. Divine voice, graceful acting, ah!

Opera Duets 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, February 10, 2018

February 10, 2009: Stiffelio in Vienna

2009-02-10 Stiffelio (Verdi), Wiener Staatsoper

Stiffelio = José Cura
Lina = Hui He
Stankar = Anthony Michaels-Moore (a)
Stankar = Mark Rucker (s)
Raffaele = Gergely Németi
Jorg = Alexandru Moisiuc
Federico = Benedikt Kobel
Dorotea = Elisabeta Marin

Michael Halász, conductor

Fault no.1: Anthony Michaels-Moore is onstage acting Stankar, but his name is not in the role lists, no mention of him at all. Fault no 2: Mark Rucker is beside the stage singing the role of Stankar with his notes before him, the role list says he is Stankar, but he is not onstage in costume. Fault no 3: the orchestra under Michael Halasz often sound like there is several orchestra members missing, and the conductor is careless so that the singers suffers, they have to fight to come in right on time.

The singers are wonderful. This Stiffelio seemed to have microphones for the radio broadcast. Saturday that was the superior performance was not broadcast, why? Because of the change in baritone, really?? Bad decision, and then to slight 2 baritones in one (see Fault 1+2). I found the acting of Anthony Michaels-Moore worth mentioning, he is great. But still I was disturbed when I understood that Mark Rucker would not be allowed to act as Stankar. If it was the will of either baritones then I will be content, but if it was the management then I really don't understand it. The audience that had not been there on Saturday was understandably confused. If only they had mentioned Anthony Michaels-Moore. M-M who acted admirably was too ill to be there for all the applause, so why wasn't he allowed to rest. If Mark Rucker would have to do some improvising then I would be sure the rest of the cast would have been up to it.

I have read two reviews of this Stiffelio, both praises the baritone Mark Rucker. One said that Jose Cura was no longer a Tenor Crown Prince, meaning he was no good, I guess. But the all the other got some praise. The other praised all, except Hui He who was too Diva and not Lina. Here both Jose Cura and Hui He are doing their best performances vocally and as actors, but the review doesn't like them. They are so wrong. I am really trying to understand how Jose Cura's singing could be prove that he is no longer good. I think the reviewer must already dislike his choices of how to use his voice for dramatic purposes. I can sometime disagree myself, but not this time. Hui He acting like a Diva, wow, not acting like Lina. What? Should she sing the arias bad, and then ... I really wondered, did we see the same performance?

(35. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung)

Dirigent: Michael Halász
Inszenierung: Elijah Moshinsky
Bühnenbild: Michael Yeargan
Kostüme: Peter J. Hall
Lichtregie: Paul Pyant
Choreinstudierung: Thomas Lang

Stiffelio: José Cura
Lina: Hui He
Stankar: Anthony Michaels-Moore
Raffaele: Gergely Németi
Jorg: Alexandru Moisiuc
Federico: Benedikt Kobel
Dorotea: Elisabeta Marin

Beginn: 19.30

Das Wunder Oper - Wiener Zeitung
Staatsoper: Tenor-Kronprinz? Längst gestürzt! - Die Presse

OD Travel + Photos
3 faults by Vienna Staatsoper, but Stiffelio still...

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

Friday, February 9, 2018

February 9, 2009: Un Ballo in Maschera, Vienna

2009-02-09 Un Ballo in Maschera (Verdi), Wiener Staatsoper

Gustaf III. = Ramón Vargas
René Ankarström = Dalibor Jenis
Amelia = Indra Thomas
Ulrica Arvedson = Elisabeth Kulman
Oscar = Ileana Tonca
Christian = Marcus Pelz
Horn = Janusz Monarcha
Warting = Dan Paul Dumitrescu
Richter = Peter Jelosits
Diener = Peter Jelosits

Paolo Carignani, conductor

INDRA THOMAS triumphs as Amelia

Ileana Tonca is wonderful as Oscar. Elisabeth Kulman, who I saw as Fenena, is actually a marvel as Ulrica. For the first time the scene with Ulrica made sense, both musically and as theatre. BRAVA!!!

First in the 3 act, the masked ball, was the costume of Amelia right for Indra Thomas. If this had been a new production then I would have wondered if the old art of making attractive costumes to big bodies had gone lost. Even with her costume not being right for her Indra Thomas managed to project her inner Amelia. Her voice reminded me of Jessye Norman. My wish for Indra Thomas is that she will be recognised as a great soprano, and then she could be DIVA enough to demand costumes that sits right. That would be great for her and her audience.

The men, Ramon Vargas and Dalibor Jenis took longer to warm up. But they were also great.

This production was no doubt set in the historical time of King Gustaf III of Sweden. I really liked it.

9. Februar 2009

(66. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung)

Dirigent: Paolo Carignani
Inszenierung: Gianfranco de Bosio
Bühnenbild: Emanuele Luzzati
Kostüme: Santuzza Calì
Chorleitung: Thomas Lang

Gustaf III.: Ramón Vargas
René Ankarström: Dalibor Jenis
Amelia: Indra Thomas
Ulrica Arvedson: Elisabeth Kulman
Oscar: Ileana Tonca
Christian: Marcus Pelz
Horn: Janusz Monarcha
Warting: Dan Paul Dumitrescu
Richter: Peter Jelosits
Diener: Peter Jelosits

Beginn: 19.00

OD Travel
+ Photos
INDRA THOMAS triumphs as Amelia, Vienna 2009-02-09

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

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

February 7, 2015: Macbeth in Berlin

2015-02-07 Macbeth (Verdi), Staatsoper im Schiller Theater (Berlin)

Macbeth = Plácido Domingo
Lady Macbeth = Liudmyla Monastyrska
Macduff = Rolando Villazón
Banco = René Pape
Malcolm = Florian Hoffmann
Dama di Lady Macbeth = Evelin Novak
Medico = Jan Martiník
Un Sicario = Jan Martiník

Daniel Barenboim, conductor


Peter Mussbach

Tenor Placido Domingo is now a baritone (just like he is sometimes the conductor. Tenor Rolando Villazon was in good shape as Macduff.

The production was good. It was one of the productions where the witches is really spot on. This was a believable theater. Scenography was just to give a emotional feeling. Colors and lights was also done to make us feel the reality in stead of just seeing it in a realistic setting. Placido Domingo's baritone was dark and heavy and he was a very much believable Macbeth. Ludmila Monastyrska was an amazing Lady Macbeth. Her voice has the most velvety, beautiful quality and at the same time she gives the role all the rage and all the other feelings. Beautiful and dangerous woman. Rene Pape as Banquo is naturally a solid choice and does this role well. Rolando Villazon was Macduff and in this production Macduff gets a little lost not strange when we Birnam forest move (Fangorn!!!! - Tolkien, dude).

Small things, sometimes Macbeth sings about something he sees but the production team misses to make the audience see it. Was it it misses or did they decide to do it like it.

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

February 7, 2009: Stiffelio in Vienna

2009-02-07 Stiffelio (Verdi), Wiener Staatsoper

Stiffelio = José Cura
Lina = Hui He
Stankar = Anthony Michaels-Moore (a)
Stankar = Mark Rucker (s)
Raffaele = Gergely Németi*
Jorg = Alexandru Moisiuc*
Federico = Benedikt Kobel*
Dorotea = Elisabeta Marin*

Michael Halász, conductor

Cough, cough, Stiffelio in Vienna:
one sings, the other acts

I didn't. Cough, I mean, But two people did. Maybe more. Annoying.

But the real news, Anthony Michaels-Moore is sick, he cannot sing. The American Mark Rucker steps in on very short notice. So there he stood beside the stage with his partiture singing Stankar while onstage Anthony Michaels-Moore acted Stankar (only mouthing his part). Strange to see and think about but this was like advanced synchron swimming. They did it very well. The actor Michaels-Moore was great as actor, the singer Rucker was great as Stankar. Maybe MM was not great, but opera is not straight theatre, so when we think it as opera acting, not being able to sing probably meant the actor too was a bit unabled by that.

Did Stiffelio, the opera, suffer from this? No, not at all. Was the other singers affected by this? No, they were all great. Did the conductor suffer? No idea at all.

It was a great success for Mark Rucker. People were wild. I was near 3 of them who seem to come only for him. (If there is 3 it must really be plenty.)

HUI HE was wonderful as Lina. And all the audience understood they, one could hear that in the applause. She was warm and acted her role wonderfully. Wonderful voice. JOSE CURA did one of his very best Stiffelio's, if not the best. I wish I could describe how I have seen how Jose has changed with this role. One the negative side: Federico di Frengel was rather thin and old, Raffaele was tall and somewhat big and young, but in the opera it should be possible to think Federico was Raffaele. Oh, that was maybe while it was so dark lit the stage. I thought that was to make it possible to Mark Rucker to read the notes.

Anyway, Mark Rucker was the super nice and happy man with a big laugh when he came out of the opera house. Hui He was also very nice and humble. Jose Cura sat down to as many signing and photos, even until the warming all to get out of the building, the lights are soon put out. It was a relief to Jose Cura, And really the fans was not slighted a bit.

A wonderful opera night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(34. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung)

Dirigent: Michael Halász
Inszenierung: Elijah Moshinsky
Bühnenbild: Michael Yeargan
Kostüme: Peter J. Hall
Lichtregie: Paul Pyant
Choreinstudierung: Thomas Lang

Stiffelio: José Cura
Lina: Hui He
Stankar: Anthony Michaels-Moore (acts)
Stankar: Marck Rucker (sings)
Raffaele: Gergely Németi*
Jorg: Alexandru Moisiuc*
Federico: Benedikt Kobel*
Dorotea: Elisabeta Marin*

(* Rollendebüt an der Wiener Staatsoper)

Beginn: 19.30

OD TRAVEL + Photos
For more reviews from my travels, see

Cough, cough, Stiffelio in Vienna: one sings, the other acts

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

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

February 6, 2005: Il Corsaro in Barcelona

2005-02-06 Il Corsaro (Verdi), Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona

Corrado = José Cura
Medora = Marina Mescheryakova
Gulnara = Susan Neves
Seid = Carlo Guelfi
Giovanni = Josep Ribot
Selimo / Un Eunuco Negro / Schiavo
= José Manuel Zapata

Marco Guidarini, conductor

Il corsaro (versión concierto)

Musical Director
Marco Guidarini

Orquestra Simfònica
del Gran Teatre del Liceu

Cor del Gran Teatre del Liceu


2005-02-06 Il Corsaro (Verdi), Barcelona

another wonderful concert performance with Jose Cura as Corrado,
Susan Neves as Gulnara, Marina Mescheryakova as Medora, & Carlo
Guelfi as Seid.

Some madrileño had come to Barcelona just to disrupt this
performance. But the Catalan audience hushed him.

OD Travel + Photos

Monday, February 5, 2018

February 5, 2005: Ewa Podles in Barcelona

2005-02-05 Recital, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona

Ewa Podles, mezzo
Roman Markowicz, Piano


Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
El desig de la noia, op. 74, núm. 4
El noi ben plantat, op. 74, núm. 8
L’anell, op. 74, núm. 14
Cançó lituana, op. 74, núm. 16
Estimat, op. 74, núm. 12

Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
Giovanna d’Arco (Cantata)
“E Notte”
“O mia madre”
“Eppur piange”
“Ah, la fiamma”
“Corre la gioia”


Serguei Rakhmàninov (1873-1943)
Crist ha ressucitat, op. 26, núm. 6
Des que ha arribat l’amor, op. 14, núm. 3
En el silenci de la nit, op. 4, núm. 3
Tot passa, op. 26, núm. 15
Tant bella com el migdia, op. 14, núm. 9
Rius de primavera, op. 14, núm. 11

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Zigeunerlieder, op. 103
“He, Zigeuner”, núm. 1
“Hochgetürmte Rimaflut”, núm. 2
“WiBt ihr”, núm. 3
“Lieber Gott”, núm. 4
“Brauner Bursche”, núm. 5
“Röslein Dreie”, núm. 6
“Kommt dir manchmal”, núm. 7
“Rote Abendwolken”, núm. 8

Date Serie Price scale*
Saturday 05-02-2005 18:00 h F IV

Saturday 5th, 2005. I decided go early to the Gran Teatre del Liceu to get the guided tour at 10am and I decided also to see the club Cercles de Liceu. Of course the most interesting part of the opera house was closed, the backstage, the technical areas, and not allowed to take photos of the stalls, but the mirror hall was allowed. And the club was nice, but not that interesting. I only got a head-ache after these guided tours. Then I needed some food and I went to the MacDonalds just over the road of Espai Liceu. I had an interresting view. The MacDonalds sign at the top of the small window and the view of Liceu and in the middle the front of the programme of Wolff-Ferrari´s Sly which I saw in June 2000. Ironic and worlds apart.

Then in the evening, Recital Ewa Podles at 1800. It lasted 2 hours with songs of Chopin, Rossini, Rachmaniov & Brahms, the first extra Cruda sorte from Rossini´s L'Italiana in Algeri. and then something that sounded like de Falla's Polo from Siete cançiones españolas, and Spanish song of Rossini.

Then I waited for Ewa Podles to come by the stage door. I took some photos, and I almost talked to her.

OD Travel

February 5, 2000: Carmen in Berlin

2000-02-05 Carmen (G. Bizet), Deutsche Oper Berlin

Carmen = Agnes Baltsa
Don José = Alberto Cupido
Micaela = Michaela Kaune
Escamillo = Ludovic Tézier
Zuniga = Arutjun Kotchinian
Frasquita = Esther Lee
Mercedes = Mariana Cioromila
Morales = Kay Stiefermann
Remendado = Uwe Peper
Dancairo = Morten Ernst Lassen
Lillas Pastia = Frido Meyer-Wolff
Andres = Ulrich George

Ralf Weikert, conductor

Saturday, 5. February 2000
Time: 19.00-22.30 hrs
Georges Bizet
Conductor: Ralf Weikert (Jiri Kout)
Regie: Thomas M. Zipf
Scenography: Pier Luigi Samaritani
Choir: Helmut Sonne
Choreography: Klaus Beelitz

with spoken dialogue
My first time in Berlin, too, but that's another story. It was not Agnes Baltsa's first time in Deutsche Oper Berlin. She really seemed to enjoy herself. Her voice was velvetly. In the beginning she seemed to be suffering from a cold. Maybe that cold had prevented her from singing Carmen in Zurich in January. To describe this evening in the Deutsche Oper, I must invoke the video from Metropolitan with Baltsa/Carreras. That was February 1987, 13 years ago. (My favourite video)-
Act 1: Much more beautiful setting in Berlin, than the Met. The people seemed more real. Beautiful dresses for the city folks. Morales (Kay Stiefermann, for an indisposed Peter Edelman) was funnier than the townspeople. Michaela (M. Kaune) was very pleasing in her singing and acting. More exciting than the Met. Zuniga was very imposing, great bass, this Aruntjun Kotchinian. Alberto Cupido, beautiful tenor voice, a real pleasure! The french dialogue was better spoken in the Met. AGNES BALTSA, incredible how she made Act 1 more exciting than I could have imagined it possible. When she was standing still, not even singing, just like all electricity was in her body. She was throwing some voltages to poor Don Jose. Agnes Baltsa even better than in video, how is it possible!!!
Act 2: The Lillas Pastia Tavern is really outside Sevilla, almost in the mountains. Quite understandable that the smugglers chose this place to be their rendevouz ordinaire. CHANSON BOHEMIENNE!!!. Agnes Baltsa is throwing herself into the singing/dancing. Beautiful voices from Mercedes & Frasquita. Escamillo (Ludovic Tezier), he is thrilling. Carmen is the only one not interested in him. Escamillo is singing the Toreador's Song and I am watching Carmen. Baltsa is thrilling in just being there, on stage, as Carmen.
Smugglers Quintet. Great. Loved sitting there listening for Agnes Baltsa's voice among all voices. Then Don Jose comes in. Although Alberto Cupido sings the Flower Song really well, has a beautiful voice. There is nothing wrong in his acting abilities. I long for the thrill (no 'that') Carreras brings in the video from the Met. SHE is great. The greatest moment of this act is "Non, tu ne m'aimes pas". That is simply GREAT. But the extra thrill is lacking. (It could be just because I am a Carreras fan, but...)
Zuniga, who is sung by an extraordinary bass, comes in. Or rather forces himself in. Breaking in, ridiculing Jose. Naturally the duel. Carmen makes the joke go to him, Zuniga, calling the other smugglers. For the first time, I realized that Don Jose could have chosen not to become a smuggler. It would have been another jail-sentence....
Act 3: A dangerous spot in the mountains. More reality than in the Met. What a great chorus Deutsche Oper has. So clear the voices ring. GREAT AGNES BALTSA!! Cardscene!! thrills upon thrills. The dialogue with the Guide, was better than in the Met. Not so exaggerating. MICHAELA Kaune sang the aria, with all what you can want. Duet/Duell Jose/Escamillo another highlight. CARMEN saves Escamillo!!. Fury from Don Jose. Then Michaela is found, the Ensembles is caressing my ears.
Act 4: Lovely scene outside the Arena. Maximum use of little place, and few people. Seems more than it is. Grand Parade! Duettino Escamillo/Carmen, Mercedes/Frasquita warn Carmen. GRAND DUET Jose/Carmen. ALL HIGHLIGHTS!!

great singing, acting and dialogue
Her Carmen is wild, only one Law (her own)
More persuading than ever! More Electricity! Fantasy Carmen!
great tenor voice, beautiful voice!
Difficult to hear what he is saying
Michaela = Michaela Kaune
Great Soprano voice
Acting and dialogue
Escamillo = Ludovic Tézier
Toreador's Song Great
Better than Ramey?
great voice, acting, dialogue
Zuniga = Arutjun Kotchinian
What a Voice!!!!
Greater than most Basses!

FRASQUITA = Esther Lee (Cornelia Götz)
MERCEDES = Mariana Cioromila
MORALES = Kay Stiefermann (Peter Edelmann)
DANCAIRO = Morten Ernst Lassen
LILLAS PASTIA = Frido Meyer-Wolff
ANDRES = Ulrich George

OD Travel

Saturday, February 3, 2018

February 3, 2008: Le Cid in Zurich

2008-02-03 Le Cid (J. Massenet), Opernhaus Zurich

Rodrigue = José Cura
Chiméne = Isabelle Kabatu
L'Infante = Isabel Rey
Don Diège = Andreas Hörl
Le Roi = Massimo Cavalletti
Le Comte de Gormas = Cheyne Davidson
St. Jacques = Tomasz Slawinski
1 envoyé Maure = Kresimir Strazanac
Don Arias = Miroslav Christoff
Don Alonzo = Reinhard Mayr

Michel Plasson, conductor

Finally in Zurich to see Le Cid with Jose Cura as Rodrigue. A new singer as The King. His debut. Massimo Cavalletti did well.

Difficult music in act 1+2, almost no help in orchestra for the singers. Mass scenes are wonderfully sung.

Did not like the scenery in this production. If you sat in the middle or high up you could see everything. But for those on the sides very much up the opera was not to be seen because of 2 decorative walls. So how could the L'Infante Isabel Rey see Chiméne Isabelle Kabatu when she came from the right, not at all. Stupid.... Just like Isabelle Kabatu was looking out in the audience when she "saw" Rodrigue Jose Cura. (stupid).

Michel Plasson directed the orchestra and so he must be blamed for the slow and boring "Pleurez mes yeux" from Isabelle Kabatu. Kabatu was in excellent form especially in acts 3+4, but she was boring and having heard Montserrat Caballe singing this opera means that one know how wonderful and exciting it can be.

The great and wonderful aria from LE CID "O souverain, o juge, o pere" was not such a jewel in the opera version. The concert version is so much more wonderful, the opera has the chorus interrupting and St. James singing to Rodrigue. Very disappointing.......

The costumes was somewhat extreme "historic" idiocy. Jose Cura in soldier's uniform was great. Otherwise the production was a half-way: modern in scenography and "traditional" in costumes, and Regie was not great. Did Chiméne have to act like a silly teenager? Stupid. Luckily Isabel Rey was wonderful, acting a dignified L'Infante.

Andreas Hörl was a wonderful Don Diego. The arrogant Count of Gormas was sung by Cheyne Davidson.

Isabelle Kabatu and Isabel Rey sound perhaps too alike to make the duet great. I wound have wanted more music for L'Infante and Isabel Rey. A duet with Rodrigue Jose Cura would have been great.

I found the libretto somewhat weak and the music unexciting.

Le Cid - Massenet
with German subtitles

Supported by the Georg and Bertha Schwyzer-Winiker-Foundation

Michel Plasson

Nicolas Joel

Set design
Andreas Reinhardt

Andreas Reinhardt

Jürgen Hoffmann

Choir rehearsal
Jürg Hämmerli

Isabelle Kabatu (Chiméne), Isabel Rey (L'infante); Jose Cura (Rodrigue), Andreas Hörl (Don Diège), Massimo Cavalletti *role debut (Le Roi), Cheyne Davidson (Le Comte de Gormas), Tomasz Slawinski (St. Jacques), Kresimir Strazanac (1 envoyé Maure), Miroslav Christoff (Don Arias), Kresimir Strazanac (Don Alonzo)

OD Travel + Photos

# Le Cid in Zurich 2008, February 3
# Finally Zurich and Le Cid

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

February 3, 2005: Il Corsaro in Barcelona

2005-02-03 Il Corsaro (Verdi), Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona

Corrado = José Cura
Medora = Marina Mescheryakova
Gulnara = Susan Neves
Seid = Carlo Guelfi
Giovanni = Josep Ribot
Selimo / Un Eunuco Negro / Schiavo
= José Manuel Zapata

Marco Guidarini, conductor

First I took the night bus to Oslo as usual. Luckily my bus was not affected by the bad weather, real snowy conditions that had closed som montain roads. So I came in Oslo in good time for my flight. And then I was in Barcelona after almost 3 hours on the plane. All one had to look forward to was untasty plane food. So bad
that only the cola light and Pringles tasted good. At last, Barcelona airport and my first encounter with the Catalan way of queuing. Very polite and nice queu for taxi. And there were many taxis and many people, and it was quick and polite. So then I was at my hotel. Nice hotel but my room was very cold. Then I went to Placa
Catalunya to get used to going to the centre and to have some nice food (and get my tickets). Then soon it was time to get to the Liceu for a concert version of Verdi´s Corsaro.

The orchestra was onstage. It was chairs and note-stative for the singers. I was on front row. It was a wonderful sung and "acted" Corsaro, Medora was wonderful, Gulnara even more wonderful, & Corrado, the Corsair, Jose Cura was splendid. After a long wait Jose Cura came out at the stage door. He was photographed, and after signing and talking to his fans, at proximo midnight it was truely

Today, Friday 4th, I have been suffering headaches, after my first try out, I had to stop before I came to Placa Catalunya, I stopped at Provinca and sat down at a small cafe, unfortunately It was heavily music'ed. So I had to get to Muntaner and my hotel. After more tablets and eating, and laying in my bed. I was ready to go out again. Placa Catalunya and down la Ramblas to Liceu and down to the harbour (almost) and the up again. At Placa Catalunya I visited Fnac, at Liceu I visited the Shop and then Placido Domingo came, he is singing Parsifal day, and I got one good photo of him, when I came up from the harbour, I was hijacked into a restaurant, ate great ensalada and had a bite of pollo, then back to Muntaner, and
my hotel.

OD Travel
+ Photos

Friday, February 2, 2018

February 2, 2013: Carmen in Munich

2013-02-02 Carmen (G. Bizet), Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich) 

Carmen = Nancy Fabiola Herrera
Don José = Thiago Arancam
Escamillo = Vitaliy Bilyy
Micaëla = Aga Mikolaj
Zuniga = Tareq Nazmi
Moralès = Andrea Borghini
Dancairo = Alexander Kaimbacher
Remendado = Kevin Conners
Frasquita = Eri Nakamura
Mercédès = Julia Faylenbogen

Asher Fisch, conductor

Nach einer Produktion von Lina Wertmüller
Chöre - Sören Eckhoff
Bühne und Kostüme - Enrico Job
Licht - Franco Marri


CARMEN with Nancy Fabiola Herrera

Thiago Arancam has won 3 Prizes of Operalia 2008 and audience in Munich loved him, just like the audience in Stockholm did. For me he does not have a great voice. Once he can sing all notes free and unguarded then I might like him. The way he sang ruined the flower aria for me, I could not wait for it to stop. The duet in the end was much better. He seemed freer and I could enjoy some if his notes.

Nancy Fabiola Herrera is the Carmen of our times. I have heard more exciting singing but she makes CARMEN totally Spanish. And I just love her interpretation. I just want to shout Viva España!! Viva Nancy!! BRAVA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vitaliy Bilyy was superb as Escamillo. His looks, singing and acting was superb! It seems to be hard to find a great Escamillo these times. But now he is found and the perfect Ecamillo is Vitaliy Bilyy!!!!!! BRAVO!

Aga Mikolaj was Micaela. Her French was not that good (like Arancam whose French was...), but all could be forgotten. She was a marvellous Micaela. BRAVA!!

Lovely production!! What a CARMEN, Nancy Fabio Herrera!!!

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