Saturday, 8 December 2012

Soprano Annette Dasch saved the opening of La Scala's 2012/2013 season

Annette Dasch as Elsa von Brabant

The French-German television channel ARTE last night made it possible for European opera lovers to join the audience at the opening of the 2012/2013 season at the La Scala in Milan. As promised, Wagner's Lohengrin was an evening of "great wagnerian voices", with the fresh septuagenerian Daniel Barenboim conducting a staging by Claus Guth.

Although everything went well, it was actually a small wonder that the opening performance took place at all. This announcement on the La Scala's webpage gives us a hint of how close to a catastrophe they were less then 24 hours before the opening:

Cast change on 7 December - Annette Dasch from Bayreuth to La Scala
Due to a persistent flu, Mrs. Anja Harteros is forced to postpone her debut in Lohengrin, which opens our 2012/2013 Season. With Mrs. Ann Petersen also having contracted a similar indisposition, the part of Elsa will be sung by Mrs. Annette Dasch, who has sung the role since 2010 at the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth.
The Teatro alla Scala wishes to thank Mrs. Dasch, who arrived last night in Milan, and with her generosity has given a sign of her affection to the Theatre and friendship to La Scala.

Annette Dasch was thus the star of the evening in two ways, as a singer and as the person who saved the opening night of the new opera season at the La Scala. To be able to perform such a major role on very short notice is a feat not many singers are capable of doing. 

Jonas Kaufmann as Lohengrin

Jonas Kaufmann was the other great star last night. His Lohengrin was both powerful and - where it was needed - beautifully smooth. 

This is a positive blog, which is why it is sufficient to say that Claus Guth had chosen to transfer the opera from the 10th century Antwerp to something that looked like a 19th century Belgian prison. Thank God, he did not choose a date 100 years later, which would have brought us another "modernized" opera performance, with the the singers appearing in Nazi uniforms.

Dasch and Kaufmann toghether

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Views from my balcony (4): Snow on treetops

Today's light snowfall has added some nice "clarity" to the trees in the Kulla Gunnarstorp nature reserve.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Cruise ships in Øresund 2012 (2)

Crystal Symphony in Øresund on August 23.

Here is the second part of my summary of the 2012 Øresund cruise season. Below you will find some of the ships which sailed in the Sound after the middle of June:

MSC Poesia sailing northwards in the Sound on June 17.
Costa Voyager in the Scandinavian summer evening (June 18).
Rotterdam also on June 18.
Silversea passing Kronborg castle on June 23.
Oriana and a Scandlines ferry on June 23.
MSC Magnifica also on June 23.
Celebrity Eclipse in the strong early morning sun on July 4.
Caribbean Princess in Helsingborg on July 5.
Mein Schiff 2 in the Sound on July 8.
Costa Fortuna passing Hittarp in the Sound on July 15.
Arcadia on its way northwards in the Sound on July 20.
Costa NeoRomantica approaching Helsingborg on July 22.
Astor in the early evening of July 31.
Marco Polo sailing northwards in the Sound on August 8.
Queen Mary 2 moored at Hamlet's Kronborg Castle on August 21.
Vision of the Seas in the Sound on August 21.
Black Watch on August 30.
Costa NeoRomantica on August 31.

Monday, 3 December 2012

The tenth first of Advent concert from the Frauenkirche in Dresden

Christian Thielemann conducting the Staatskapelle Dresden.

The Christmas and New Year concert season on European television took off yesterday with the traditional  "Adventliche Festmusik aus Dresden". This was the tenth first of advent concert from the beautifully rebuilt Frauenkirche with the Staatskapelle Dresden, this time again led by its Principal Conductor Christian Thielemann. The Sächsische Staatsoper Chorus and the star soloists, mezzo Elisabeth Kulman, tenor Benjamin Bruns and violonist Lisa Batiasvili all shone in a program of music by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Gonoud, Humperdinck, and a first performance of a Christmas piece by Wilhelm Kienzl. Another memorable first of advent concert from Dresden broadcast by German ZDF, although the television director could could have opted for somewhat less movement from the cameras.

Lisa Batiasvili
The Frauenkirche

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Cruise ships in Øresund 2012 (1)

2012 was another great season for cruise ships in ØresundCopenhagen - again this year chosen "Europe's Leading Cruise Port" - set a new record this year with 376 cruise ship calls, 840,000 visiting passengers and 230,000 crew members. In addition a number of cruise ships visited the ports of Helsingborg and Helsingør.

Below are some of my favorites during the first part of the 2012 cruise season. (A selection of pictures from the rest of the season will be published later.)

AidaCara - here photographed on April 20 - was the earliest cruise ship in the Sound in 2012. 
AidaBlu on 30 April
Mein Schiff 2 in the early morning hours.
Queen Elizabeth early in the morning on its first 2012 Øresund visit on May 12.
Norwegian Sun sailing northwards in the Sound on May 13.
Discovery on its way to Copenhagen on May 14.
AidaCara on its way to southwards in the Sound on May 18.
MSC Poesia  sailing northwards in  Øresund on May 20.
Azura on its way to Copenhagen on May 22.
AidaBlu  and a swan on May 24.
Costa Fortuna in the early evening on May 27.
Silversea on May 30.
Balmoral in the Sound on Jun 2.
CostaNeoRomantica and Hamlet's Kronborg castle on June 4.
Classic cruise liner Marco Polo on a gray and hazy June 8.
MSC Lirica on June 10. 
Jewel of the Seas going northwards in the Sound on June 10
Delphin heading north on June 15.
Queen Elizabeth on its way to Copenhagen on June 15.

The Wilson Newcastle in the Sound

This is the cargo ship Wilson Newcastle (123 x 16m) in Øresund on December 1. The ship was on its way to Oslo.