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    • A statement that expresses a personal opinion or belief about some subject.

Occurrences of this Type (116)

  • "A sign of true friendship" was Karen's comment on Sylvia and me joining her and Håkon for this concert - a reference to the fact that I claim to be not particularly fond of Mozart and tend to be somewhat dismissive of Bruckner (one of Håkon's favourites). Well, I've decided to turn over a new leaf as far as Mozart is concerned: enjoy the pleasantness and accept that too much passion is not good for me. And as for the Bruckner: I have to admit that I enjoyed it, despite the disconcerting way in which the orchestra kept turning into an organ (and back again). But would he make it into my top ten symphonists? I don't think so. (Oslo Phil 2006-09-21)
  • (3 tickets) (Macbeth 2000-03-18)
  • (3 tickets) (Madama Butterfly 2000-02-21)
  • A long weekend in Paris visiting Sangeeta gave us the opportunity to hear this concert in the beautiful Saint-Chapelle inside the Palace of Justice. I remember rehearsing both of these works at Birstall in my early days as a bassoonist and they still mean a lot to me. (La Sainte-Chapelle 2002-06-08)
  • A performance in the series "Mesteraften" which included Balanchine's "Serenade" (music by Tchaikovsky) and Rudi van Dantzig's "Vier letzte Lieder" (Strauss), as well as Glen Tetley's "Rite of Spring". A nice enough evening, but it couldn't compare with the Rite we saw in Berlin last year. (Rite of Spring 2002-11-15)
  • After a long absence, I'm finally rediscovering Janáček. It was Dad who introduced me to his Sinfonietta in my youth, and I will never forgot the Promenade concert where I heard it live, together with friends from the Hampshire Youth Orchestra. Later I progressed to Taras Bulba and the string quartets, but opera wasn't my thing at the time, so I missed out on the bulk of his work. Now the Makropoulos Case is being performed in Oslo, and given my new-found penchant for opera I decided to give it a try. Suffice to say that it was marvellous - and that I'll be going back next week. (Makropoulos Case 1992-03-04)
  • After so many years of using Puccini and Tosca as examples in our topic maps I decided it was time to take the whole company to see the opera. The evening started at Santino's where I gave a potted introduction to the opera in a political and history context. Unfortunately Carol and her husband were unable to join us, which meant that we had a couple of tickets left over, so Håkon and Karen joined us for the performance itself, and we finished up with a beer at the bar on the corner of Youngstorget. All in all a very pleasant evening... the last we were to have as a company. (Tosca 2005-02-16)
  • After three recent performances in Oslo it was great to see this one in Prague. Very moving indeed. How I love this opera! (Jenůfa 2003-06-17)
  • An all-Janáček program: Tapsa's favourite composer! Håkon Austbø is a fine interpreter of Janáček and Truls Mørk is one of the world's best cellists, so this is going to be good. Two of the pieces (Pohádka and the third movement of the Overgrown Path 2) were used in the film The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which means we're only missing the Madonna of Frýdek (from the Overgrown Path 1). Might have to ask for that as an encore... Håkon and Karen will join us, and maybe also Joe, Pål, and Ana. I was so excited about this concert that I had to blog about it beforehand. Suffice to say that it fulfilled, nay, exceeded all my expectations. (Parkteatret 2006-01-26)
  • An amazing performance of the Rite of Spring (and another piece whose name I forget). The ending was especially memorable with the sacrifical victim dancing herself to death completely naked. Jim and Bettie were also at the performance; I was a bit surprised that they did not appear to be particulary shocked! (Rite of Spring 2001-05-25)
  • An exhilarating outdoor spectacular with flashing lights and fireworks, performed on the square between Oslo Town Hall and the harbour. Great fun! Sylvia and I got there early and quickly realized it was going to get a bit chilly, so I raced home by taxi to get some warmer clothes. We bumped into Jan Fredrik Rasmussen, who had sold us his house in Maridalsveien just two weeks earlier, and we've since discovered that Håkon was also there (but we didn't really know him then). (Open Air Opera 2000-08-19)
  • An ouverture played at breakneck speed, a set so naturalistic that we could immediately recognize the old tobacco factory in Seville, a Carmen and Don José neither of whom particularly impressed us: Sylvia and I were quite tired after a morning concert at the Philharmonie, a long walk down Unter den Linden, and a couple of hours at the Pergamon. We found the first act dull and the second only marginally better, and so we left in the second break and had a beer at the hotel before getting an early night. It's only the second time in our career that we've left a performance early (the first was in Chicago), but Sylvia had to work the next day and we needed to conserve our energy for Fidelio. And Carmen really isn't our favourite either. (Carmen 2007-06-17)
  • Another wonderful Mahler evening with Sylvia and Juan Pedro. I have to admit that the 5th is not (yet) my favourite Mahler symphony, although the Adagietto is very beautiful. (Oslo Phil 2002-04-11)
  • Another workshop for Nokia, this time for Riikka Helin and CDA, carefully arranged in order to coincide with this performance of Don Giovanni. Sylvia was with me on the trip but has no recollection of going to the opera. (On the other hand, she thinks we saw Madama Butterfly here together...) (Don Giovanni 2000-01-26)
  • Big crowd of us this time: Sylvia, Karen, Håkon, Hedda, Georgios, Sangeeta, and Iboya. Everyone enjoyed the Tchaikovsky (naturally), but I particularly liked the Enigma, having played it myself in the LSSO. (Oslo Phil 2005-11-10)
  • Despite a packed programme, with three operas in four days, Sylvia and I decided to go to this Sunday morning concert because we wanted to see the inside of the Philharmonie. It's a fantastic concert hall, with banks of seats surrounding the podium at all angles, and we were lucky enough to get seats in the middle of the block A, right in front of the conductor. The first half of the concert was so-so. I don't know what it is about French music from around the turn of the 19th century, but it really doesn't do anything for me. The Ravel was pleasant enough (but no more) and we both found the Chausson dull. But the Organ Symphony made up for everything - as I had known it would. (Philharmonie 2007-06-17)
  • Fond memories of a trip to London with Dad, Hedda (10) and Lisa (8) to see this Janáček opera. The poster in the guest room bears witness. Thea (15 months) was with her Granny at The Villa. (Cunning Little Vixen 1993-06-24)
  • For once it was my turn to accompany Sylvia on a business trip: a long weekend in Berlin, with tickets for three operas and an opportunity to catch a concert in the Philharmonie on the Sunday morning. This was my third Trittico and it differed from the others in putting Suor Angelica first, Gianni Schicchi second, and Il tabarro last, which I thought worked very well. Gianni Schicchi is fun, but I've always felt its levity to be a bit of an anticlimax after the intensity of the other two, so putting it in the middle makes a lot of sense. The production was amusing and rather traditional, except for the twist of portraying Amantio (sung by a grinning Hyung-Wook Lee) as an accomplice of Gianni Schicchi (and Lauretta as a dumb blond, replete with MP3-player). Suor Angelica took place in a dormitory, with Angelica spending most of the time on a bed, her herbal remedies replaced by pills and her sisters performing various forms of callisthenics around her. None of this wierdness bothered me, not even the impressively life-like Madonna on the balcony unfolding her hands and taking a quick smoke during the sisters' lunch break. But I did find the inventiveness detracted from the intensity of the final scene, and I wasn't reduced to jelly like I was in Oslo, despite fine singing by Amarilli Nizza. Il tabarro, on the other hand, worked very well. Chiara Taigi and Zoran Todorovich were magnificent as Giorgetta and Luigi, and the nightmare hopelessness of their situation was brought out by the succession of dreamlike apparations (including Mr. Spock), the portrayal of Luigi, Tinca and Talpa as bull, mole and fish, and the ambiguity of the ending, in which one wasn't quite sure whether Michele had killed Luigi or not. We both enjoyed it very much and stayed clapping until the bitter end. (Il trittico 2007-06-15)
  • Good seats in the fourth row at a Staatsoper that seemed a bit more run down than last time we were here six years ago - or was it just our imagination? I'm still not quite sure what I think of this opera. I'm trying hard to like it, but I found the first act disappointing, and I'm not sure if it was the fault of the production or the work itself. The set was interesting: a sloping white surface with grave-sized rectangular holes from which the prisoners emerged for their chorus. Christiane Libor's expressionless Fidelio irritated me during the first act, but she was completely transformed after throwing off her disguise in the second, and her voice was tremendous. The second act is altogether more satisfying than the first. There is less dialogue (or, at least, there seems to be less) and the music is far more riveting. A nice touch was the way the chorus emerged into various corners of the auditorium for the finale. "Almost like Dolby surround," quoth Sylvia. (Fidelio 2007-06-18)
  • Having cancelled my trip to Leipzig I was able to attend this concert - a silver lining indeed. Sylvia, Håkon and I sat behind the orchestra; Karen, Jan Fredrik, Olga and Mark in front; and ours was the better choice since the conductor was also the soloist and we had a fine view. The concerto is a wonderful piece, and the Leningrad is ... the Leningrad: great first movement, but he could have really stopped there. (Bergen Phil 2006-10-13)
  • Hearing this concert for the second night running, this time we sat in the front and had a perfect view of Håkon Austbø on piano and the ondes Martenot. The latter was at times rather ear-piercing, which was a pity, but other than that this was a fantastic experience. The Turangalîla goes straight into my top ten list of 20th Century symphonic works. (Oslo Phil 2007-02-16)
  • Håkon and Karen were keen to go to this performance. Not being a great fan of Baroque opera, I was somewhat sceptical but decided it was worth going, if only for the aria "Piangero". The production turned out to be very unusual and a lot of fun, and so a good time was had by one and all. (Julius Caesar 2005-02-22)
  • Håkon might call Carmina Burana "less than serious", but I love it, and not just because the O Fortuna conjures up pictures of Dad standing over the Sunday roast and conducting to it with the carving knife. This was a great performance with excellent soloists. Sylvia and I were right in front of them in row 3. The Previn pieces were not too bad, especially the last song in Honey and Rue which was basically a Negro spiritual. (Oslo Phil 2006-10-20)
  • I arranged for a meeting of the Reference Works Module Club to coincide with this particular concert and STEP invited everyone along. I remember Tibor, Holger, Anke, Ryszard, Jacek, Rafael, Petter Henriksen, Håkon Bergset being there, at least, as well as people from Dansk Gyldendal and BIFAB. The occasion was memorable for several reasons: I got to see Sylvia in a dress for the first time (she and I were not yet official, so the situation was a bit special); and the Gran Partita was one of the pieces we played at Dad's funeral (it's one of my favourite pieces by Mozart and I once played it myself). The venue, Würzburg's Residenz is an amazing baroque palace. The Symphony No. 34, normally only 3 movements, included the Minuet KV409, which, according to the program notes, was probably added to the symphony for a performance in Vienna. (Mozartfest 1999-06-17)
  • I can't remember who I went to this concert with. Sylvia was still in Germany and I hadn't got to know either Juan-Pedro or Håkon. I do remember that my colleague, Arvid, was singing in the men's chorus, however, and that I enjoyed the concert immensely. Kullervo has been a very special work for me ever since the winter of 74/75 in Reykjavík when I first got to know it while sitting writing in a candle-lit room in Gamli Garður. (Oslo Phil 1999-09-16)
  • I had a feeling that the Turangalîla Symphony might be a piece worth the effort of getting to know, so I listened to the CD a couple of times before going to the concert with Sylvia. We sat up the back and were both blown away by the piece. So much so that we went back the next evening... (Oslo Phil 2007-02-15)
  • I had decided that I wanted to spend my 50th birthday at a performance of a Janáček opera and, as luck would have it, my favourite - Makropoulos - was being performed in Stockholm. So Sylvia and I spent a couple of nights at the romantic Lady Hamilton hotel. On the afternoon of the performance we went to pick up our tickets and overheard a couple of Australians who were trying to get hold of a libretto in English. The box office didn't have one so I told them they could borrow mine and we arranged to meet an hour early at the Café Opera. It turned out that he was a student of that evening's conductor, Leif Segerstam, and she was playing French Horn in some German orchestra. Well, to cut a long story short, we ended up having dinner after the performance with them, and with Leif Segerstam and his ex-wife. All in all a memorable evening. Unfortunately, we lost contact with the Australians. (If you ever read this, please get in touch ;-) (Makropoulos Case 2003-03-18)
  • I had just come out of a History of the English Language class and was on my way to the library when I ran across this concert. To my great pleasure, the program had been changed at the last moment, from 2x Sønstevold and Debussy to Schubert and Brahms. A very enjoyable half hour. (Lunsj med kultur 2007-04-27)
  • I had met Jirka at the SC34 plenary in November and told him I'd be happy to come to Prague to lecture at his university - especially if it coincided with a Janáček performance. A month later it was all arranged and I got to see a very rare performance of Mr. Brouček, together with Jirka and his wife Lenka, who subsequently visited us in Oslo and attended our wedding. (Excursions of Mr. Brouček 2005-01-08)
  • I had to talk my way in without a ticket this evening because Sylvia was having dinner with colleagues and had the tickets with her. She arrived with 10 minutes to spare and we settled down with Torbjørn and Olga for another pleasurable evening. The talk on Beethoven in an architectural perspective was hardly about Beethoven at all - which is a pity, because I would have thought one could have drawn some interesting parallels between the structure of buildings and Beethoven's works. Anyway, the Opus 18 No. 6 (La Malinconia) was nice; the Opus 131 magnificent. What more can one say? (Beethoven Code 6/8)
  • I have no particular recollection of this concert, but I'm sure to have enjoyed the Brahms. The Berg is a piece I feel I ought to like, since so many people rave about it, but I've never quite got under its skin. The Chorale and Passacaglia I suspect were more interesting than enjoyable. As to who we went with: no idea. (Oslo Phil 2004-02-19)
  • I intend to see three performances of Jenůfa in Oslo this season, but I took pity on Sylvia and gave her the evening off. Hedda came with me instead - perhaps Georgios also, but I'm not sure. Anyway, we enjoyed it, whoever we were. (Jenůfa 2003-01-03)
  • I just had to come back for another dose of this opera after last week's revelation. Imagine having missed out on such wonderful music for so many years! I don't remember who accompanied me. Would I really have subjected Hedda to this at the tender age of 9? Or did Sally come along for a second time? I'll have to ask them. (Makropoulos Case 1992-03-09)
  • I love the beginning of this opera. And the middle. And the end. Grandmother Buriya's aria in the first act; the interaction between Jenůfa and Kostelnicka in the second; and the catharsis of the final act. It really is a jewel. What a pity the house wasn't packed. (Jenůfa 2003-01-11)
  • I picked this concert from a program of events that Erika had waiting for us when we arrived for a five-day pre-Christmas visit and we managed to get tickets for the four of us. The Meistersingerhalle is enormous and in the fourth row of the balcony the orchestra feels miles away. Fortunately the acoustics are quite good. I found Blomstedt's tempi to be a bit on the slow side: it's as if he loves the music so much he doesn't want it to ever end, but I would have preferred a bit more forward motion and - given the size of the hall - a bit more oomph as well. Nevertheless, a very enjoyable concert. (Bamberg Symphony 2006-12-14)
  • I tend to forget how much I love La Bohème! I've always liked the end of the first and fourth acts, but the more I hear it the more I appreciate the rest as well. Yes, I know it's impossibly sentimental, and I do feel a little manipulated by Puccini, but who cares? This production was very good and included a Korean and a Chinese singer in key roles. Gerhard and Erika accompanied Sylvia and I and a good time was had by one and all. (La Bohème 2006-12-17)
  • I think it was Sylvia, Sangeeta, Thea and I who went to this ballet but my recollection is hazy. What I *do* remember is that the heat in the auditorium was unbearable. The production used immense amounts of electric lighting and the ventilation at the old opera house is underdimensioned at best. I had to leave after the first act. The others found me over a Weissbier in a nearby bar an hour or so later. (Sleeping Beauty 2006-03-24)
  • I was delighted to discover that the Borodin Quartet were to play in Sandvika and got tickets for Sylvia, Thea and myself. Joe joined us as well and the concert lived up to all our expectations. The Beethoven was immeasurably more enjoyable without the dancing that had been inflicted on us two months previously, and Shostakovich's bleak and depressive last quartet was given a candlelit and very atmospheric rendering. (Borodin Quartet 2007-01-27)
  • I was giving a Topic Maps training course for NTC in Helsinki and got tickets for this performance for myself and some of the Nokia team (Kea, Sari and Tuula, if I remember correctly). (Madama Butterfly 1999-09-21)
  • I was in London again on business and it happened to be Mum's birthday, so I took an unprecedented risk and invited her to the opera. We met up in the city, had dinner together, and then went to the opera (which I think she really enjoyed). Afterwards I saw her off from Baker Street to Wendy's. It was a very special evening, of a kind that mother and son had never experienced before. (Il trittico 2001-03-30)
  • I was in Würzburg for an RWM meeting and we took off for a weekend in Berlin. All very cloak-and-dagger, meeting on the platform at Fulda. Got a room at the old Radisson SAS (now demolished) with a water bed and a wonderful panoramic view of the Dom. We thoroughly enjoyed the opera and had a great weekend. (Turandot 1999-01-23)
  • I was over in the UK on my own for a week, my main purpose being to drive Mum (and [[Barney|Barney]]) to Wales for a few days. This performance fitted in nicely and was hard to resist. Katya is one of my favourites and has been very special to me since 1993. Charles Mackerras is the grand old man of Janáček conducting. He led the first UK performance of a Janáček opera (Katya, actually) back in 1951 and here he was performing it for the first time at Covent Garden. I didn't think this would be Mum's cup of tea, especially after three days in Wales, so I asked Jenny to join me. We went down on the train from Huntingdon, had a nice meal at the Covent Garden restaurant, and enjoyed a memorable performance. Trevor Nunn's 1994 production was rather naturalistic and thus very different from the performance Sylvia and I saw in Munich, but the sweep of the Volga in the background was reminiscent of Munch's Scream, which seemed very fitting given the nightmarish quality of Katya's situation. Janice Watson was a tender Katya and Felicity Palmer the epitome of the mother-in-law from hell. (Kát'a Kabanová 2007-07-02)
  • I went through a period in the early '90s when I listened to Schubert's Lieder a lot. I don't do it so much now, but I still like them very much, especially Winterreise. I've always been a bit put off by the first song in Die schöne Müllerin, but once I get past that I think it's wonderful. This concert was recommended to us by Jan Fredrik, for which we are very greatful. The young Norwegian baritone Johannes Weisser is indeed very talented, and his performance was both exhilarating and moving. (Johannes Weisser 2007-04-25)
  • I'd seen this production twice earlier in the season, but two extra performances were put on in order for it to be filmed by NRK, and so I went along - to both of them. I love this opera, especially the last act, which is incredibly moving. (Makropoulos Case 1992-06-20)
  • I'm not a big fan of Richard Strauss, but this opera is different. I remember seeing a performance on TV with Catharina Malfitano and Bryn Terfel that made a great impression, and so did this live performance. I wonder if Elektra is as good? (Salome 2001-05-27)
  • I'm not sure what could have motivated me to get tickets for this particular opera, unless it was that I had just persuaded the librettist, Jon Bing, to chair the first Topic Maps conference. I guess it was amusing enough, but it's not the kind of thing I go to the opera for. (I wish I could remember who the third ticket was for...) (Circus Terra 2002-10-05)
  • I've been doing some work for Nokia Networks recently (designing a DTD for their DX documentation) and I've taken to planning my trips to coincide with opera performances. This is the first time I've seen Boris live. I remember watching a TV broadcast many years ago and finding it all a bit stupifying, but that was before I really got into opera. This performance really changed my opinion. I'm not sure what it is about the music, but I feel I could just wallow in it forever. I loved reading the great Russian novelists in my youth and this music is somehow part and parcel of the same affinity. I can't remember if anyone from Nokia joined me at this performance. Actually, I wonder if a cousin of Tuula might not have been singing. (Boris Godunov 1997-02-10)
  • I've been very fond of Sibelius' Kullervo Symphony for a long time, so I was curious about this opera by Sallinen. I can't say I enjoyed it all that much, which is probably not all that surprising given that it is much more modern, but I would be willing to give it a second chance. I don't think I went alone, but I have no idea who else was there. It could have been Thomas or Holger from STEP, or it could have been any one of a number of people from the DXDOC team. If anyone of you read this, please prompt my memory. (Kullervo 1999-01-20)
  • I've never had a chance to see Jenůfa live before, so I'm over the moon that it's on this season's programme in Oslo. We had three tickets for this concert, but I don't remember who accompanied Sylvia and me. The performance was very enjoyable and this is currently my favourite Janáček opera. I shall have to catch more performances over the new year. (Jenůfa 2002-11-30)
  • It felt almost as if this concert had been programmed for us. We had been to a couple of Håkon Austbø's concerts at Parkteatret last season and liked them so much we would probably have gone along whatever was on the programme. But in addition we had just discovered Messiaen, through two performances of the Turangalîla symphony, again with Håkon Austbø as soloist. Not only that, SRN had recently mentioned how much he liked the Quartet for the End of Time. So this concert was a no-brainer. We did our best to interest some of our friends, but everyone was busy, but we got there early, found good seats with a table, got a couple of bottles of Nøgne Øs bitter and sat back to enjoy a very fine performance consisting of excerpts from Vingts Regards (nos. 16, 17, 11, 13 and 14) and the whole of the End of Time. (Parkteatret 2007-04-24)
  • It was Lorca, Falla and the Granada connection that drew us to this concert while visiting Sangeeta. It was held in the chapel of a hospital in the suburbs of Paris and took some finding, but it was worth it. The Lorca songs, in particular, are very nice indeed, but solo guitar music isn't really my thing. (Jeunes Talents 2002-06-09)
  • Just Sylvia and I this time, but yet another very enjoyable concert. We managed to get seats in the front row once again, but it looks like we're going to have to arrive earlier from now on. The first half consisted of the G major (very light) and the "Quartetto Serioso" (not light at all); Christian Borch gave an interesting talk on Beethoven in a political perspective in which he compared Beethoven to Napolean, and also talked about the ways in which Beethoven's music has been used (and misused) as a political symbol in the years since his death, and the concert finished with the Harp Quartet. (Beethoven Code 3/8)
  • Just Sylvia and I, this time, and another very enjoyable concert by Ole Böhn and friends. The Mozart was pleasant, as expected; the Schubert magnificent. Dad was right: it is the greatest piece of chamber music ever written. And very well played. The first time I've heard it live. Quite an experience. (Vigelandmuseet 2006-01-22)
  • Much to Jim and Bettie's delight, the Oslo meeting of WG3 coincided with the Oslo International Church Music Festival, and they managed to catch an impressive number of concerts. This was the last one, and it turned out that quite a lot of people were interested in joining us, including Dmitry, Lynn, rho, Naito-san and his colleague, Håkon and Karen. Baroque music is generally not my thing, but I remember enjoying playing a few Handel oratorios in my youth, so I was hoping for the best, but I have to report that neither Sylvia nor I really enjoyed ourselves that much, despite an atmospheric session and good friends. (Actually, we preferred the Guinness with Dmitry, Naito-san and co. afterwards.) (Solomon 2007-03-24)
  • Mum was visiting us and we took her and Thea to this performance. She's never been a great one for classical music, but certain pieces appeal to her - especially ballets. We had recently made friends with Sangeeta and she joined us as well. (Swan Lake 2001-02-09)
  • My last chance to hear Makropoulos this season: irresistible, especially with cheap tickets because NRK is filming. That last act... Elina's monologue, where she finally tells the truth and realizes that it is better to die than to go on living a life of emotional amputation, continually changing her identity and looking on as her friends and lovers age and die around her. You really do feel so sorry for her, just like Janáček said we would. And now for the rest of his operas... (Makropoulos Case 1992-06-22)
  • My trip to Rome (to do consulting for FAO) had started out disastrously with my laptop being stolen just outside the Colosseum, but I was determined not to miss this rare performance of an early Cilea opera. It turned out to be a rather innocuous comedy of village life (à la Bartered Bride), but pleasant enough. (Gina 2001-11-18)
  • Not content with four operas in one week, we also managed to squeeze in this concert. Chopin is not one of my favourites but the concerto was quite OK. Dvořák's 7th, on the other hand, is a very enjoyable symphony if not quite in the same league as the 8th and 9th. (Czech Radio Symphony 2003-06-21)
  • Note: I have made this ternary, by including a role for the musical event. The original ontology (because it is OWL-based) has a binary relationship. If an artist performs throughout the whole musical event, use the Performer association type instead. This indirectly associates the performer with every work on the program. (Performs)
  • Note: In order to cater for people like André Previn, who are mostly known as conductors but have also composed music, the player of the composer role may be either a topic of type composer or a topic of type conductor. (Composed by)
  • Ontopia's Korean partner, INEK, had sent CK (Lee Chang Kyoo) to attend a training course and we invited him to join us for this performance. Håkon, Karen and Joe were also there. The production was supported by Amnesty International and the ending was very explicitly political, with the names of prisoners of conscious being displayed on placards. No mention of Guantanamo, though, which I felt was even more relevant ... so I "mentioned" it myself. (Fidelio 2006-02-09)
  • Our second Wagner opera - again sitting in the back row with Håkon and Karen. It was another Stein Winge production, but this one we rather liked: an enormous ship filled the stage and the singers spent most of their time clambouring around it. Very nice music. (Der Fliegende Holländer 2004-02-12)
  • Our third concert in four days, but we couldn't miss this one: it's been a while since we heard a sixth symphony; now we get to hear two! The concert as a whole was pleasant enough, but maybe we were suffering from an overdose. We liked the Shostakovich 6 best (though I still prefer both the 5th and the 10th). The Sæverud was OK. But though Håkon, Joe and Mark all raved about the Execution of Stepan Razin, I was not convinced; there is something about the combination of bass voice and orchestra that I find a bit cloying after a while. (Oslo Phil 2007-04-27)
  • Sylvia and I arranged a week's autumn break in Rome to coincide with this performance. Finally a chance to get to know Fidelio! This was something I'd been looking forward to ever since Selwyn had told me it was his favourite opera. And the verdict? Well, despite being a great admirer of Beethoven, I'm not convinced. The music is very moving at times and inspiring at others, but also a little trite here and there. Still, I will happily attend more performances in the future. Perhaps they will change my mind? (Fidelio 2004-10-15)
  • Sylvia and I caught this concert during a trip to Trondheim with Thea, who stayed with her old schoolfriend, whose name I forget for the moment. I also forget what was on the program, except for Ravel's String Quartet, which I'm rather fond of, having studied it for either A- or O-level (I forget which!). (Olavsfestdager 2001-07-30)
  • Sylvia and I met Lisa in London in order to check out Kingston University where she is thinking of studying Human Rights and Politics. This concert presented itself and we managed to get tickets at the last minute. It was our first concert with Lisa and I think she rather enjoyed it. We certainly did. (Philharmonia 2006-04-04)
  • Sylvia and I stopped off in Eisenach on our way to Müncherlbach and were lucky enough to get last minute tickets for this concert at the Wartburg, the famous castle where Luther did his bible translation, and also the scene of the medieval Minstrels' Contest immortalized by Wagner in Tannhäuser. One of the contestants in that contest was Wolfram von Eschenbach, who became something of a leitmotif at our wedding a week later. We got there early and had plenty of time to look around and eat a hearty Thuringian dinner. The concert was held in the magnificently decorated Festsaal on the second floor. Of the music it was the Schubert that appealed most to me (not unexpectedly), but the whole concert was very pleasant. (Wartburg 2005-08-13)
  • Sylvia and I were at XML '98 in Chicago and this was our very first opera together. Catherine Malfitano played a lead role in a very good production and, according to one reviewer, Paul Steinberg's sets and costumes were "witty, intelligent and beautiful." Despite this, we left during the interval: it was our last night after a busy week and we had other priorities... (Mahagonny 1998-11-20)
  • Sylvia and I were in London on business and simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to see an opera by my favourite composer. We both enjoyed it a lot, despite worrying about the singers falling off the angled floor on which most of the action took place. (Cunning Little Vixen 2001-02-16)
  • Sylvia insists that we sat in the front row of the balcony and that we saw the opera together with someone - but who? Hedda (and Georgios)? Catherine? Need to check. Anyway, we apparently enjoyed it. I can't remember a thing, but then most things from around that time are a bit hazy for me. (Manon Lescaut 2005-09-16)
  • Sylvia was a little trepiditious because this was her first exposure to Wagner but she lapped it up. It was also my first live performance since The Ring in London in the early '70s and I realized what I had been missing. We went with Håkon (big Wagner fan) and Karen (less so): it was the start of a process that led up to our own private Ring a couple of years later. (Lohengrin 2003-03-22)
  • Sylvia was working and Hedda had an exam, so I went on my own to this concert, but it was worth it because this is one of my favourite chamber pieces. The performance was somewhat marred by the hum of conversation coming from participants in a conference taking place in the same building, but the music was still very enjoyable. The performers were members of Oslo Philharmonic: Eileen Siegel and Kathrin Kolbanowicz (violin), Ida Bryhn (viola), Kari Ravnan (cello), and Christian Ihle Hadland (piano). (Lunsj med kultur 2006-12-08)
  • Sylvia's (very nice) present to me for my 50th birthday was a week in Prague and this was the first in a series of operas. The Bartered Bride is regarded as the Czech national opera, but I didn't know it (apart from the overture, which I think we played in the Intermediates). Pleasant enough, but not the highlight of the holiday... those are still to come. (Bartered Bride 2003-06-15)
  • Sylvia's parents were visiting us, so we thought we'd give them another dose of classical music before heading for the mountains at Gålå. They said they enjoyed the concert, and so did I. None of these works are among my very favourites, but just the fact that they are Russian makes up for that. (Oslo Phil 2006-03-09)
  • The Freiasalen is actually the workers' canteen at the Freia chocolate factory at Rodeløkka in Oslo. It boasts a large mural consisting of twelve paintings by Edvard Munch which one doesn't get to see very often. That was one reason for choosing this concert; another (for me) was the Italian Symphony which never fails to put me in a good mood. We went along with our new friend Prof. Ghosh whom I'd met on the steps of the National Library while researching into forgotten Norwegian opera composers. He was visiting Oslo from India to study a unique collection of Santali manuscripts collected by Norwegian missionaries in the early 20th century. Håkon and Karen joined us for the concert, together with a friend of theirs whose name I forget. The piece by Olav Anton Thommessen was rather interesting, and Christian Ihle Hadland played the Mozart exquisitely. During the interval we strolled the walled garden and were introduced to Eileen S. of the Oslo Phil. After the break, the Italian fulfilled all my expectations - and it took great restraint to stop myself from singing along. (Freiakonsert 2007-05-31)
  • The New Babylon is a Soviet film dating from 1929 and directed by Andrej Moskwin, to which Shostakovich wrote the score. This concert featured a showing of the film itself, accompanied by live orchestra, and it was quite an experience. Sylvia, Håkon, Karen and I were joined by a number of others, and after the concert we repaired to the Beer Palace where I had to give a lecture on the Paris Commune! (Oslo Phil 2007-01-26)
  • The first concert conducted by the Oslo Philharmonic new chief conductor. The Rautavaara was "interesting"; the Mahler, magnificent. Sylvia, Karen, and Håkon were there with me. (Oslo Phil 2005-11-04)
  • The first concert of the New Year was devoted to Bruckner, a composer I'm trying hard to like but without really succeeding. His eighth symphony I found less satisfying than the fifth: the climaxes are exciting enough, but the bits in between don't seem to hang together. According to Joe, it was partly the fault of the performance; Håkon, on the other hand, could not understand why everyone was not ecstatic. Afterwards to the Beer Palace. (Oslo Phil 2007-01-18)
  • The first half of this concert was spoiled a bit by worrying about the parking fine I would be getting for leaving the car somewhere I shouldn't have. Moving it during the interval resulted in much greater enjoyment of the second half. (Thanks for your moral support, Håkon!) The Scherzo was quite impressive considering it was written by a 13-year old (although it didn't sound anything like Shostakovich), and the piano concerto needs to be given another chance, but the 15th Symphony is really starting to grow on me. I remember first hearing it at the tender age of 18, the year it was written, and being put off by the references to Rossini's William Tell overture. I didn't realize at the time that the "ticka-tum, ticka-tum" rhythm was also a self-reference (to the first cello concerto, among other things). Now I know Shostakovich's work better, it seems much more natural - and much more acceptable. (Oslo Phil 2006-11-16)
  • The first in a series of 8 concerts covering all of Beethoven's string quartets. Sylvia and I got there early and saved a couple of seats on the front row for Håkon and Karen. Erik Fosnes Hansen and Olav Anton Thommessen had entertaining introductions and Oslo Strykekvartett gave a great performance. (Beethoven Code 1/8)
  • The first of the Winter Concert series given by Ole Böhn and friends. Went with Sylvia, Håkon and Karen, and enjoyed the concert very much, even though it was a bit long. The Brahms, in particular, was magnificent, especially the wild gypsy lament in the second movement. It is definitely the finest piece of chamber music ever written... at least until next week, when Schubert's String Quintet is on the program. (Vigelandmuseet 2006-01-15)
  • The last evening of a great concert series, once again with Thea in tow. Kim Haugen, Helen Vikstvedt and Jan Paul Brekke performed some rather amusing "theatre sport" after the Opus 135 and the first Razumovsky was very nice to listen to, but this wasn't our favourite evening of the eight. Maybe we were just nearing saturation point: 17 works in 13 days requires a bit of stamina. All the same, I would most definitely sign up another time! (Beethoven Code 8/8)
  • The last of our four Mahler concerts and the first time I've heard his 3rd symphony. Very typical Mahler, and a very enjoyable concert, but I'm going to have to listen to this symphony a few more times and get to know it better. This was Mariss Jansons farewell concert and the orchestra saluted him by playing Solveig's Song as an encore. (Oslo Phil 2002-05-30)
  • The last of the four operas this trip. Not my very favourite Puccini (I prefer Tosca and Turandot), but very nice all the same, especially the first and last acts. This has been a great week. Thank you, Sylvia! (La Bohème 2003-06-20)
  • The second of our four concerts in this season's Mahler series which Sylvia and I signed up for with Juan Pedro. Two of my very favourite works: the Brahms was an A-level set piece, so, although I've never played it, I know it almost backwards. The last movement, a chaconne (or passacaglia), is particularly magnificent. (Oslo Phil 2001-12-05)
  • The third performance during our week in Prague and I think the one that Sylvia enjoyed the most. The Song to the Moon is, of course, stunning beautiful, but the whole opera is also very fine. This production had a very atmospheric setting that was worthy of a fairy tale. (Rusalka 2003-06-18)
  • Thea, Sylvia and I were in the UK together and went to this performance together with Mum, Jenny, Phoebe and Rosemary. (Giselle 2005-03-26)
  • This concert celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Shostakovich and included a lecture by music professor Jon-Roar Bjørkvold. Most of the pieces were unfamiliar, but the whole concert was very enjoyable: I've had the 24 Preludes and Fugues for several years but never really got into them. Hearing Nos. 12 and 15 live was a revelation. We sat at a table with Gisle Kverndokk, whose "Heksevirvler" we had heard back in March, and Guri Egge's husband, whose name I forgot. (Marmorhallen 2006-09-25)
  • This concert was a bit of a scandal because Kaplan is a New York businessman with pots of money that he spends indulging his hobby: conducting Mahler's 2nd. Despite this, Sylvia, Juan Pedro and I enjoyed the concert: the orchestra and soloists did a great job and I love this symphony. (Oslo Phil 2001-11-30)
  • This evening started at San Lorenzo, where we had dinner with Carol and her husband Torstein (talking, among other things, about South Africa and our common friend, Selwyn Davidowitz, who does excellent tours of the Cape Town area). I was particularly looking forward to Coriolan, which I remember playing in an ad-hoc orchestra at Blackheath (under the baton of one Bob Pepper - what's "navnebror" in English?) back in the early '70s, but I found Previn's interpretation to lack the defiant Beethovenian spirit, both here and in the 4th. The Mozart was pleasant, with sparks of passion in the middle section of the last movement, and Elise Båtnes played very sweetly. Afterwards Carol and Torstein thanked us profusely for taking them to their first symphony concert for decades, and I promised to pick another one for us in a few months time. (Oslo Phil 2006-10-27)
  • This evening was quite fun. Håkon and Karen had left for Cuba, handing their tickets over to Olga and Ana. We took Thea along - not without a little trepidation, considering the program, but it turned out fine: she especially liked the Cavatina of the Opus 130. The second half of the concert took place in the auditorium and consisted of a rather silly but amusing film by the Oslo String Quartet followed by a performance of the Grosse Fuge. What an amazing piece that is! (Beethoven Code 4/8)
  • This second concert was as good as the first. The D major quartet was less weighty than Monday's F major, but still very enjoyable, and the second Razumovsky was wonderful. The talk (a philosophical perspective on Beethoven) was not particularly inspired, but never mind. (Beethoven Code 2/8)
  • This time Håkon brought his (13 year old?) daughter Annike and a friend along to join Sylvia, Karen and I. They both play the cello, but this was their first real symphony concert. We changed our seats after the first work so that they could see better. Heksevirvler was OK, considering it was written less than a year ago... (At least it was quite short.) I enjoyed the Mozart a lot even though I have to admit that I'm still not really a big Mozart fan. The Nielsen was wonderful and it was nice to see Audun (who sang at Håkon's 40th). (Oslo Phil 2006-03-16)
  • This time Torbjørn joined us. The C minor was enjoyable, especially the last movement, which is quite fun, but it does not match up to some of the other Opus 18 quartets. The Razumovsky was magnificent: it was already Torbjørn's favourite and may now have displaced the Opus 127 as Sylvia's, but I find it impossible to talk in terms of favourites when we are in this class. The talk on Beethoven in a psychological perspective was long and well-prepared but ultimately disappointing. Several times it seemed that we were on the verge of hearing something really interesting, but it never quite happened. (Beethoven Code 5/8)
  • This was a fabulous performance of one of my very favourite operas - and the first time I had seen it live. The RWM was providing me with convenient excuses to be in Germany, and Sylvia and I took the opportunity to travel by train to Munich where we stayed the night. It was Sylvia's first exposure to Janáček so I was a little nervous, but she loved it. The title role was sung by Catherine Malfitano. (Kát'a Kabanová 1999-07-20)
  • This was a great evening. The intimate setting of Parkteatret was enhanced by a few tables and chairs and wine was served. The theme of the recital was "From Waltz to Blues ~ Paris-Berlin" and the performers put on a great show, almost in the spirit of a 1920s cabaret. Just the two of us this time. (NB. Haven't included the complete program, since there were a lot of individual songs as well as the longer pieces.) (Parkteatret 2005-11-10)
  • This was a nice concert in an unusual location. We were expecting three second quartets but for some reason the program was changed and we got a third, a first and a second (in that order). I was fine with that - and very relieved that the Janáček hadn't been taken off. It was the first time I'd heard anything by Haas, although I had heard of him, having discovered Gideon Klein just a few months previously. Haas was a pupil of Janáček, but his style bears no immediate resemblance (unfortunately). The Prokofiev was also unknown to me (despite the recording I inherited from Dad). "Intimate Letters", on the other hand, is a piece I know backwards and the young Czech quartet's thrilling performance was capped by the cellist breaking a string just before the final climax. (Oslo Chamber Music Festival 2008-08-23 (1))
  • This was an opera that I didn't know at all, but I assumed the music would be nice since it was by Tchaikovsky. It turned out to be a wonderfully intense psychological thriller and I have since listened to it many times on CD. Now doesn't that just go to show... (Pique Dame 2003-02-15)
  • This was the first of a feast of musical experiences in connection with XML Europe in Berlin. Boris Godunov is one of my very favourite operas. Sylvia's parents came up to Berlin to watch it with us. (Boris Godunov 2001-05-20)
  • This was the first opera I took Sylvia to after she moved to Oslo. It's not as well known as Puccini's (and so the house was far from full), but it's full of great music, including "La Mamma Morta" and the defiant duet sung by Maddalena and Andrea before they are carted off to the guillotine. Highly recommended. (Andrea Chénier 1999-11-06)
  • This was the first time I heard a performance of my favourite Shostakovich symphony. Sylvia and Juan Pedro were also there. The Paganini was nothing special, but who cared? (Oslo Phil 2001-09-14)
  • This was the only classical music event we were able to catch during our 3-week holiday in South Africa. The setting was very atmospheric with the stage emerging out of a background of trees in a park on the outskirts of Cape Town, but we were a bit disappointed to discover that the ballet was to be danced to canned music whose sound quality left something to be desired. All the same, it was a pleasant evening (and the Firebird is a great piece of music). (In Retrospect 2004-01-18)
  • This was without a doubt the worst opera experience of my life! Håkon and Karen had managed to get tickets for Bayreuth and invited Sylvia and I along. It was our first time, so we were all really excited; it was also almost exactly two years to the day since our wedding in Wolframs-Eschenbach where the Parzival theme had been very much present, so all in all something to look forward to. Imagine, then, our disappointment when it transpired that an absolute cretin, a person with no appreciation of opera in general, or of Wagner in particular, had been let loose as producer and created what can only be described as a total travesty. His name is Christoph Schlingensief; he is apparently a "star" in Germany, but you can take it from me that he has absolutely nothing to say that is worth listening to. I will not sully this blog with the details; interested parties are referred to the "review by Alex Ross":http://www.therestisnoise.com/2004/08/emparsifalem_at.html, music critic of The New Yorker. Instead I will look on the bright side: it was an experience, after all - perhaps even something to laugh about in years to come - and the rest of the trip had been very pleasant. We had stayed a couple of nights with Sylvia's parents, visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber and enjoying the Müncherlbach Kirchweih, and we had a nice meal during the intervals. In fact, the whole weekend was perfect - except for the five hours spent watching Schlingensief's Schweinerei. (Parsifal 2007-08-26)
  • Torbjørn took the initiative to attend this performance and we were joined by Håkon, Hedda and Georgios. There are people who believe that Mozart's last opera has been unjustly neglected, and this production did what it could to inject some fun into the otherwise sterile opera seria style, but all the same: it has been a long time since I fell asleep at the opera! There are a couple of arias that might grow on me, but in general this is the kind of Mozart that does nothing for me. Still, I'm glad we went. (La Clemenza di Tito 2006-12-28)
  • Two batches of string quartets in one day was a little over the top, but I couldn't resist hearing Death and the Maiden. It has been one of my favourites (along with Schubert's A minor quartet) ever since I first got to know it in my teens and I wasn't disappointed. The rest was as anticipated: pleasant enough, but nothing special. Once again it was striking how little communication seems to take place between the members of the Quatuor Mosaïques... and yet how well they play. (Oslo Chamber Music Festival 2008-08-23 (2))
  • Two years ago to the day, on my 50th birthday, Sylvia and I ended up having dinner with Segerstam in Stockholm after a performance of The Makropoulos Case. So I wrote to him prior to this concert (which also happened to be on my birthday) inviting him out to dinner, along with Håkon and Karen. Unfortunately he had a prior appointment at the Finnish embassy, but we went backstage after the concert to say hello anyway. I gave him Uri Caine's CD "Primal Light" which is jazz based on themes from Mahler as a little thank you for the dinner two years ago. Four months later I got an email from his agent thanking me and saying that he'd finally got around to listening to it, loved it, and had bought 10 copies to give to friends! Oh - and the concert was wonderful. (Oslo Phil 2005-03-18)
  • Very user-friendly program, so I took Hedda, Georgios, and Thea along to this one (as well as Sylvia), as part of their education. They all enjoyed it, even Thea! (Oslo Phil 2005-09-23)
  • Was this really the first time I saw Tosca? And was it to go another five years before I saw it again? Hard to believe, because it seems so familiar, but that's what the evidence suggests. I assume I went with Sylvia - unless she was visiting Germany just then. I don't remember. Whatever: Shaw might have called it a "shabby little shocker", but I'm very fond of this opera. Great music in all three acts, and a slew of beautiful arias, including Recondita Armonia, Visse d'Arte, E lucevan le stelle and Va, Tosca! (Tosca 2000-01-13)
  • We arrived very early and decided to sit further back on the comfortable chairs for a change - especially since there was to be a dancer performing this evening. From what we overheard it seems she had only heard the music for the first time the day before, and, if you ask me, it showed: the Opus 132 is one of my favourite quartets and I really didn't need to have the Heiliger Dankgesang choreographed! (Beethoven Code 7/8)
  • We missed the day devoted to Schubert's chamber music because of Extreme, so this concert was by way of consolation. It took place at Gamle Logen which we had last visited during last year's Opera Ball. Karen, Lynn, Anna and Cathrine joined Sylvia and I, and we all had dinner at Engebret's Cafe afterwards. I particularly enjoyed the Schubert (one of my old favourites), but I have to agree with Sylvia that the quartet lacked the passion of the performances at Vigelandsmuseet. (Oslo Chamber Music Festival 2006-08-18)
  • We were in Barcelona for XML Europe 2002 and took this opportunity (together with Jim Mason) to see a performance of the opera that nearly cost Shostakovich his life. The production was fine and we enjoyed the music, but I'll need to hear the opera a few more times before I really appreciate it. (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk 2002-05-23)
  • Went to this New Year's Concert with Sylvia and her parents. Lots of nice, tuneful pieces: what more can one ask for? Erika and Gerhard seemed to enjoy themselves, so this is something we should do again. (Oslo Phil 2006-01-05)
  • Went to this one with Sylvia and Karen (Håkon was travelling). The Söderlind was a positive surprise, considering it was written in 1999. Funnily enough, it was inspired by Wolfram von Eschenbach and the Wartburg. Finlandia was exhilarating, as expected, and the Nielsen was very enjoyable. (Oslo Phil 2005-10-21)
  • What a great concert! Schubert's piano sonatas are not as well known as Beethoven's, but they are very fine, especially the later ones. Pictures at an Exhibition is lots of fun, and some of it is very powerful. But the piece I enjoyed most (of course) was In the Mists. Håkon, Karen, Sylvia and I sat on the front row of the podium, just behind Leif Ove. (Leif Ove Andsnes 2005-01-04)
  • Why on earth would we have bought tickets for La Traviata? I know it's not my cup of tea. Did someone else persuade us? (Torbjørn, perhaps?) Or were we just on a role, having been to five operas in the first 3 months of the year? Maybe I'll never know the answer, but I do know that I won't be prioritizing La Traviata again in the foreseeable future. (La Traviata 2003-04-26)
  • Without really knowing either of them particularly well, I've always regarded Otello and Aida as my favourite Verdi operas, but I was a bit disappointed by this performance. The last act is magnificent, especially the Willow Song and the Ave Maria, but I found the rest a bit dull. Some of the blame rests with Stein Winge, whose production I don't much like. For the rest, maybe I just wasn't in the right mood. I think Sylvia felt pretty much the same, but then she had been shopping for four hours earlier in the day... (Otello 2007-01-20)
 
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