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75° Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

Florence, Italy,  4th may – 10th june 2012

“Il Viaggio – Dalla Mitteleuropa al Sudamerica”

“The Travel – From Mitteleurope to South America”

By Fabio Bardelli

translation from italian to english Bruno Tredicine

The Rosecavallier by Richard Strauss will be back at the repertoire, conducted by Zubin Mehta.

FLORENCE: This year the prestigious Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, still one of the most important musical events in Italy, reaches its 75th edition. It was founded in 1933, so it’s the oldest Italian Festival and surely one of the most important worldwide.

Florence is internationally viewed as the cradle of culture; here Opera was born, thanks to Giulio Caccini and Jacopo Peri, between the 16th and 17th centuries. Music and culture are deeply rooted in this town, so it was almost a natural process that gave birth in 1933 to this Festival, thanks to Luigi Ridolfi, Vittorio Gui and their farsightedness.

Over the years the Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino added other “side events” of extra-musical nature, while operas and concert were still the core of the manifestation.

This year, checking the program, it seems that these “side events” have taken more space, leaving almost music on the background, as if – being impossible to organize musical performances of the highest interest – they had preferred to fill the season with any kind of events.

This year the title “From Mitteleurope to South America” is the fil rouge of the Festival, which is dedicated to Amerigo Vespucci, on the 500th  anniversary of his death. He was a Florentine, a great navigator whose name is tied to the discovery of faraway lands in South America.

Zubin Mehta

So this Festival is almost a prologue of next tournée of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra under Zubin Metha, next August in South America.

Regarding the operas, the Management has to fight against the economical crisis, something that affects the whole cultural world in Italy. Anyway, the good new is that Richard Strauss opera Der Rosenkavalier is back to Florence after 23 years. Strauss’ masterwork will be conducted by Zubin Mehta always beloved by the local audience, so much that in 2006 he was nominated Honorary Life Conductor of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra. Der Rosenkavalier will be staged by Eike Gramss and the vocal cast will be first class.

A contemporary opera, commissioned by the Theatre, is La Metamorfosi, based upon Franz Kafka, composed by the young italian componist Silvia Colasanti.

Two works by Bela Bartòk in one evening will follow, the ballet The miraculous Mandarin (choreography by Jo Kanamori) and the opera Bluebeard’s Castle.

Still in the ballet field, there will be Hindemith’s The four Temperaments with the historic choreography by George Balanchine, and Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht (choreography by Susanne Linke). The Bartòk evening should have had Seiji Ozawa on the podium, but unfortunately he had to cancel for health reasons, so in his place we will see the Hungarian conductor Zsolt Hamar.

Radu Lupu, piano Photo: Mary Robert, Decca

Then, there will be symphonic concerts and solo recitals; among others, pianist Radu Lupu, a concert under Zubin Mehta and the final evening with Georg Friedrich Händel’s oratory “Israel in Egypt” under Fabio Biondi.

Many concerts will take place in the old Teatro Comunale, but some of the others in the Sala Grande of New Florence Opera House, where works are still in progress and that will be completed unfortunately with some delay on the program. But the Sala Grande is ready, at least for concerts; it was inaugurated last December, so it’s beautiful and important to see some of the performances there, almost as a sign of change for the future.

John Cage

For the rest, there are many concerts, also of contemporary music, tributes to John Cage and Messiaen, Rihm and Debussy, plays, movies, meetings, art exhibits and so on, in many of Florence’s most important locations, such as Teatro della Pergola or Chiostro di San Lorenzo.

A musical evening with soprano Angela Gheorghiu and tenor Saimir Pirgu will be the link with Tuscan Sun Festival, that this year will move from Cortona to Florence from 11th to 18th June.


SINFONIA en PERIGORD 27th August to 1st September 2012. 22nd Edition of beautiful baroque music in surrundings from the actual periode.

The 22nd Festival Sinfonia en Périgord

PERIGORD: One of the highlighted music festivals in the summer is arranged in Perigord, where the one more beautiful place after the other is being filled up with audience and music from all kind of the baroque periode.

By Henning Hoholt

From 27 August to 1 September 2012

Josyane Bartoli Falcon, President of CLAP, and the Festival Director  David Théodoridès, (seee photo), is again, this year for the 22 time, inviting to Sinfonia en Perigord. 

This annual event with baroque music brings us together for a week to travel together, Périgueux and its suburbs, some of the finest pages in this directory. Again this year, from 27 August to 1 stSeptember, we are invited to a veritable anthology of 15 concerts full of surprises and discoveries. This year the concerts will be arranged in different places in Perigueux and in the beautiful Monastery in Chancelade, wher this year also a concert in the beautiful garden will be arranged.

Prefecture de Perigueux, home for the Saturday afternoon concerts.

The Baroque world is in perpetual turmoil: of course you will find some great regulars Sinfonia, the image of La Fenice, La Simphonie Marais, Le Parlement de Musique, Collegium 1704, La Chapelle Rhenish or Sagittarius.

But this edition is also an opportunity to discover sets guests for the first time in the Périgord: Matches, The Concert of the Hostel Dieu, Les Bijoux Indiscrets … sign of the vitality of this music that brings these talented artists in sharing a burgeoning repertoire.

Each concert will offer the opportunity to immerse themselves with delight in the splendor of the great moments of the directory: Mass for four choirs Gabrielli, Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater, Crucifixus Lotti, the famous Handel’s Messiah. Exultate Jubilate or the divine Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. So many shows to 17h preceded concert inviting you to travel to the heart of the art form especially if the baroque world.

Sinfonia en Perigord do not forget that the festival has also a mission to discover new talent. As they pursue their free concert series earlier in the day by inviting young promising talent training. These concerts, free admission, can attend the birth of Baroque-ups, the festival has chosen to encourage and monitor, the image of the Hills of Reuil, today invited as part of a concert show “Dante,” who, two years ago, inaugurated the series of Freedom Concerts.

Périgueux and Chancelade will be the jewel cases chosen for this route in the heart of Baroque music that brings us together more each year, to share moments that hopefully memorable.

So be welcome at the 22 th Festival Sinfonia en Périgord.

From the program:

Musikalische Exequien – Heinrich Schütz

Chœur Dordogne en Sinfonia, Ensemble Sagittarius – direction Michel Laplénie


Lundi 27 août 2012 – 21h00

Abbaye de Chancelade

En 3 années de travail sous la direction de Michel Laplénie, le chœur amateur Dordogne en Sinfonia a acquis une réelle et belle couleur vocale, qui lui ouvre les portes du grand répertoire.

Les Oiseaux – Couperin, Haendel, Vivaldi

La Simphonie du Marais – Hugo Reyne


Mardi 28 août 2012 – 17h00

Jardins de l’Abbaye de Chancelade

Le chant des oiseaux a inspiré de très nombreux compositeurs, et la flûte a été choisie comme l’instrument parfait pour illustrer ce thème en musique…

Venetia Miraculum Mundi – Giovanni Gabrieli

Ensemble La Fenice & Arsys Bourgogne
Direction Jean Tubery & Pierre Cao


Mardi 28 août 2012 – 21h00
Abbaye de Chancelade

Dans la Venise des Doges, les fêtes liturgiques majeures de l’année étaient autant d’occasions de dévoiler les fastes et la splendeur de la cité lacustre.

(Concert en Liberté) Quand l’Allemagne rêve d’Italie

La Quinte du Loup, Trio vocal & basse continue


Mercredi 29 août 2012 – 15h00

Espace François Mitterrand, Périgueux

Musique de l’Allemagne et de l’Italie du 17e siècle.

L’Archange et le Lys – Boësset, Moulinié, Dumont

Ensemble Correspondances – direction Sébastien Daucé


Mercredi 29 août 2012 – 17h00
Abbaye de Chancelade

Des nombreuses congrégations qui peuplaient Paris au XVIIe siècle, le couvent de Montmartre se distingue par bien des points…

Lamentazioni pour la Semaine Sainte & Stabat Mater – Alessandro Scarlatti

Le Parlement de Musique – direction Martin Gester


Mercredi 29 août 2012 – 21h00
Abbaye de Chancelade

Les Lamentations de Scarlatti sont parmi les compositions les plus étranges et les plus poignantes jamais écrites sur ces textes bouleversants…

(Concert en Liberté) Madrigaux guerriers et amoureux

Ensemble Actéon


Jeudi 30 août 2012 – 15h00

Espace François Mitterrand, Périgueux

Autour du 9livre de madrigaux de Claudio Monteverdi…

Fontana d’amore – Schein, Monteverdi

Ensemble Sagittarius – direction Michel Laplénie


Jeudi 30 août 2012 – 17h00

Abbaye de Chancelade

Genre vocal où musique et poésie s’allient de façon très étroite pour exprimer états d’âme et émotions amoureuses, le madrigal apparait en Italie au XVIè siècle…

Respons & Responsoria – Haendel, Vivaldi, Zelenka

Collegium 1704 & Collegium Vocal 1704 – direction Vaclav Lukz


Jeudi 30 août 2012 – 21h00

Eglise Saint Etienne de la Cité, Périgueux

Au début du 18e siècle, Dresde, la capitale de Saxe, vit un fleurissement culturel inouï qui fait de ce siège d’August II le Fort, un des centres culturels européens les plus rayonnants de l’époque…

(Concert en Liberté) Joquin Desprez, l’apogée de la musique flamande

Ensemble Opalescences, Saskia Salembier


Vendredi 31 août 2012 – 15h00

Espace François Mitterrand, Périgueux

Dans son manuel de politesse, Il Cortegiano, Baldassare Castiglione vante avec humour la renommée de Josquin Desprez et sa musique…

Dante, Sur le Chemin de nos Peurs – Haendel, Pergolèse, Vivaldi…

Ensemble Les Monts du Reuil

Spectacle musical en quatre tableaux

Vendredi 31 août 2012 – 17h00

Centre départemental des Communications, Périgueux

Au milieu du chemin de notre vie, je me trouvais dans une forêt obscure, car j’avais perdu la voie droite…

Messiah – Haendel

La Chapelle Rhénane – direction Benoît Haller


Vendredi 31 août 2012 – 21h00

Eglise Saint Etienne de la Cité – Périgueux

Dans cette œuvre magistrale et fondatrice, Haendel met à la disposition de la prédication le ressort dramatique et musical de l’opéra…

(Concert en Liberté) Si j’étais… ou l’art du portrait

Michaël Parizot, clavecin


Samedi 1er septembre 2012 – 15h

Espace François Mitterrand, Périgueux

To The Sweetest Queen – Henri Purcell

Compagnie Les Bijoux Indiscrets, Claire Bodin


Samedi 1er septembre 2012 – 17h00

Grands Salons de la Préfecture, Périgueux

Aimant très sincèrement la musique, la reine Mary…

Mozart, Entre Ombres & Lumières

Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu – direction Franck E. Comte
Heather Newhouse, Soprano

Concert de Clôture

Samedi 1er Septembre – 21h00

Eglise Saint-Etienne de la Cité, Périgueux

Napoleon’s Wars, seen with Louis François Lejeune´s eyes


VERSAILLES: From 14 February to 13 May 2012, the palace of Versailles presents the exhibition Napoleon’s Wars. Louis François Lejeune, general and painter in the Africa and Crimea rooms.

The curatorship of this exhibition is provided by Valérie Bajou, Curator at the palace of Versailles.

Detail photo: Henning Høholt

From 14 February to 13 May 2012, the palace of Versailles presents the exhibition Napoleon’s Wars. Louis François Lejeune, general and painter in the Africa and Crimea rooms.

At Versailles this summer’s exhibition in 2012 is an interesting presentation of Napoleon III’s wars. At that time film and photographic equipment didn´t exist, if one would prove something, they had to ask artists to documentary it in the form of drawings and sketchesrecorded at the first site, which then was brought in to the artists’ studies and developed into paintings, small and large, as in Versailles some in very large sizes. These are participating to provide an interesting insight into how this happened, but this is also a innfalsport, a documentation of how one should go dressed at that time, which of course has inspired contemporary fashion, and also continues to inspire fashion creators when they need to renew themselves, or perhaps during dry for ideas.

Introducing text and all detail photos, most of which are details from a very large paintings by Henning Høholt

Photo: Henning Høholt

The soldier, spy, painter and diplomat Louis François Lejeune(1775 – 1848) is a unique figure in the history of his time: as a soldier, he fought in all the wars of the Revolution and the Empire before reaching the rank of brigade general. But that was not enough for him: during his military career he painted the principal battles in a dozen paintings, then described the Napoleonic campaigns at length in his Souvenirs.

Detajl photo: Henning Høholt

The exhibition is designed to do justice to this colourful artist. It presents his drawings and his paintings in the context of the artists of his time, as well as his personal memories of military and civilian life during the Empire, the Restoration and the July Monarchy.

Six sections present his production of battle paintings, from his observation of the theatre of operations until their exhibition in the Parisian salons. Through the life and works of Louis François Lejeune, the visitor discovers an eyewitness account of the wars of Napoleon.

Stéphane Baron (1830-1921) after Jean Urbain Guérin (1760-1836)
Portrait of Louis François Lejeune
Oil on cavas. H. 1,16 m ; W. 0,70 m
Château de Versailles, MV 6536
© J.-M. Manaï


In the course of his life, the general and painter Louis François Lejeune (1775-1848) alternated between military missions and periods consecrated to painting.

Lejeune studied painting in the private studio of the landscape painter Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819), and at the Royal Academy of Painting, which he entered in 1789. In 1792, aged 17, he abruptly interrupted his studies and enrolled in the army, in the Compagnie des Arts.

He rose up rapidly through the ranks: after being incorporated into the Engineering Corps, he became one of the aides de camp of marshal Alexandre Berthier in 1800. During twenty years he took part in most of the military campaigns, including the siege of Charleroi (1794), the crossing of the Rhine (1795), the second Italian campaign (1800), the first German campaign (1805), the war in Spain (1808-1812) and the Russian campaign (1812).

Photo: Henning Høholt

While he embraced his military career with enthusiasm, Lejeune did not forget his vocation to be a painter. In 1798, he exhibited for the first time in the Salon with The Death of General Marceau. The success of The Battle of Marengo, exhibited in the Salon of 1801, led him to undertake a cycle of paintings of battles in which the triumphal marches of the armies are balanced by the long hours spent in bivouacs and sieges.

Detail Photo: Henning Høholt

The Battle of Aboukir and The Battle of the Lodi Bridge were exhibited in 1804. The Bivouac of Napoleon on the Eve of Austerlitz was the only commission he ever received. This cycle of paintings shows an encyclopaedic aim as Lejeune also depicted battles in which he did not participate. While fully pursuing his military career, he managed to have works presented up until 1845 in nearly all the Salons during the Consulate, the Empire and the Restoration.

Detail Photo: Henning Høholt

In 1835, the July Monarchy put an end to the functions of Lejeune in the army. He then began a career as a public figure: he was appointed Director of the School of Beaux-Arts in Toulouse.

He was also appointed interim Mayor of that city in 1841.

At the same time he was writing his Souvenirs, in which he presented his experience of Napoleon’s wars.

He died in 1843 in Toulouse at the age of seventy-three.

Catalogue of the exhibition

Les Guerres de Napoléon. Louis François Lejeune, général et peintre
edited by Valérie Bajou
co-published with Hazan, 2012
28 x 24 cm, 280 p., €39

Les Guerres de Napoléon.

Louis François Lejeune, général et peintre

Of the 120 works – paintings, drawings, maps and scientific instruments – presented in this catalogue, thirteen paintings of battles by Louis François Lejeune(1775-1848) are kept in the palace of Versailles and reveal a unique figure of the 19th century who had three full careers: artistic, military and political.

Detail photo: Henning Høholt

After his apprenticeship under the painter Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, Lejeune participated in seventeen military campaigns around Europe as an indefatigable aide de camp, then an engineering officer drawing on his skills in mathematics, and later as a reconnaissance officer with an eye for detail that made him a perfect spy.

Louis François Lejeune fought and painted for 20 years, becoming the war reporter of the Napoleonic adventure. His works are both historical documents of the wars of the Revolution and the Empire and instruments of propaganda in favour of the Emperor.

Detail photo: Henning Høholt

The catalogue of the exhibition also shows how he used topographical reports for the composition of his battle paintings.

For the first time, paintings kept until now by descendents of the artist will be presented to the public, portraits and landscapes that will offer a more intimate view of this outstanding artist.

Detail photo: Henning Høholt


By Henning Høholt

PARIS: It is not only the Ballet at the Paris Opera which is presenting ballets in Paris. Internationally the large famouse companies are also visiting Paris, and many smaller companies tryes to attend the interest of the Paris audience, and it is very interesting to notice that they are being noticed, and they are through that helping to build up their international image.

This summer Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shall visit Théâtre du Châtelet between 25 June – 21 July, and Paul Taylor Dance Company at Théâtre National du Chaillot between 19.-28. June. Both companies in the fram of the ballets summer festival in Paris Les Eté de la Danse. Lately we had the farewell tourne visiting Theatre de la Ville of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, who has stopped after Merce Cunningham´s died.

Contrasting to Les Ballets Russes 2012  at Théâtre des Champs Élysées which presents Cléopatra – Ida Rubinstein, Firebird and La Spectre de la Rose, 28 June to July 1st.  – But in fact contrasting is perhaps not correct to say. As what Les Ballets Russes was presenting 100 years ago, was at that time contemporary dance. Please read or presentation of the Les Ballets Russes programme at for 29th March.

Summer Dance Program

Renee Robinson in Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

In 2012, the festival Les Etés de la Danse will have the pleasure to present the return of the ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER from June 25 – July 21 at the landmark Théâtre du Châtelet, under the artistic direction of its new director Robert Battle, for his first season.

Presenting 28th performances, with several different programs.

The company will perform a large and varied repertory of ballets, including the long time favorite Master work : Revelations.



ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER grew from a now-fabled performance in March 1958 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Led by Alvin Ailey and a group of young African-American modern dancers, that performance changed forever the perception of American dance.

Briana Reed. Photo by Andrew Eccles

The Ailey company has gone on to perform for an estimated 23 million people at theaters in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents — as well as millions more through television broadcasts.

In 2008, a U.S. Congressional resolution designated the Company as “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world,” one that celebrates the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage.

When Mr. Ailey began creating dances, he drew upon his “blood memories” of Texas, the blues, spirituals and gospel as inspiration, which resulted in the creation of his most popular and critically acclaimed work, Revelations.

Although he created 79 ballets over his lifetime, Mr. Ailey maintained that his company was not exclusively a repository for his own work.

A. Douthit K. Boyd and Y. Lebrun. Photo by Andrew Eccles

Today, the Company continues Mr. Ailey’s mission by presenting important works of the past and commissioning new ones. In all, more than 200 works by over 80 choreographers are part of the Ailey company’s repertory.

Before his untimely death in 1989, Alvin Ailey designated Judith Jamison as his successor, and over the next 21 years, she brought the Company to unprecedented success.

In July 2011, Ms. Jamison passed the mantle to Robert Battle. In announcing his appointment as Artistic Director, Ms. Jamison stated, “Combining an intimate knowledge of the Ailey company with an independent perspective, Robert Battle is without question the creative force of the future.”

The 15 ballets :
• 3 ballets d’Alvin Ailey : Night Creature, Revelations, Streams
• 3 ballets de Robert Battle : In/Side, Takademe, The Hunt
• 1 ballet de Judith Jamison : Love Stories avec Robert Battle et Rennie Harris
• 3 ballets d’Ulysses Dove : Episodes, Urban Folk Dance, Vespers
• 1 ballet de Camille A. Brown : The Evolution of a Secured Feminine
• 1 ballet de Rennie Harris : Home
• 1 ballet de Ohad Naharin : Minus 16
• 1 ballet de Paul Taylor : Arden Court
• 1 ballet de Joyce Trisler : Journey

– – – – – – –

Paul Taylor Dance Company at Théâtre National du Chaillot between 19.-28. June

Cloven Kingdom par la Paul Taylor Dance Company. Photo Tom Caravaglia

After welcoming the dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov last September, the National Theatre of Chaillot has renewed its partnership with The Festival of Dance Summers in with the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Esplanade par la Paul Taylor Dance Company. Photo: Paul B. Goode

Paul Taylor (81 years) is a figure “history” of the American modern dance.

Having started as a dancer of the Martha Graham Dance Company – like the late MerceCunningham – he moved away from these two choreographers, creating his own style, both made of fluidity, agility, strength and athletic daring provocations, indicating a free spirit and nonconformist.

Company B par la Paul Taylor Dance Company. Photo: Paul B. Goode.

The work of Paul Taylor (135 choreography to date) has several facets: clear andsometimes joyous, sometimes dark, sometimes funny, often even wacky, but alsolyrical and poetic.

Choreographer architectures light listening to music, he is alsoworried the observer of society, pitching with a portrait of the corrosive humorbehaviors, mocking the foibles of his contemporaries and denouncing the manipulators or the influence exerted by a group.

He also enjoys playing appearances and the real border of dream and imagination, visited by the angel of the bizarre.

The Paul Taylor Dance is not just “entertainment”.


Les Etés de la Danse is an annual dance festival that began in July 2005 with an extremely well received engagement of the San Francisco Ballet. Addressing the lack of major performing arts presentations during the summer in Paris, the festival brings the world’s greatest companies to enthusiastic audiences in the European capital of dance. Madame Jacques Chirac, former First Lady of France, is the Honorary President of the festival; Marina de Brantes, a leader of numerous artistic and humanitarian organizations, is the President of a prestigious Board composed of a number of prominent cultural, social, business and political figures. Valery Colin, a former dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet, is the festival’s founder and director.

The festival first presented the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2006 and it was a such a tremendous success for both the large audiences and the dance critics, the festival invited them back in 2009. In the mean time, Les Etés de la Danse invited two other fantastic ballet companies to perform in Paris : the National Ballet of Cuba in 2007 and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal in 2008. During the 2010 cross-year organized by France and Russia, the festival invited two long-awaited Paris premieres. First, Mikhail Baryshnikov performed in his internationally acclaimed program of contemporary solos and duets, and then the National Ballet of Novossibirsk presented some of its repertory, under the dynamic artistic direction of ballet star Igor Zelensky. During the summer of 2011, the Miami City Ballet, directed and founded by Edward Villella, one of America’s most valued dancers was invited in July. Their parisian premiere was the occasion for this company to celebrate it’s 25th anniversary. Then in September the festival was proud to present In Paris the new creation of the Dmitry Krimov Laboratory and the Baryshnikov Art Center (BAC). This work, staring Mikhail Baryshnikov, was greatly appreciated.

Thousands of people from all over the world are expected, once again, to attend next summer’s festival of Les Etés de la Danse to see performances, films, open classes, exhibitions and educational programs.

Beloved Renegades par la Paul Taylor Dance Company. Photo: Paul B. Goode


Marc-Antoine Charpentier


AIX EN PROVENCE: Biblical tragedy in five acts with and a prologue
Libretto by Père François de Paule Bretonneau
Created on 28 February 1688 at the Collège Louis-le-Grand in Paris

Musical direction William Christie
Stage direction Andreas Homoki
Set designer Paul Zoller
Costumes designer Gideon Davey
Light designer Franck Evin
David Pascal Charbonneau*
Jonathas Ana Quintans
Saul Neal Davies
Achis Frédéric Caton
Joadab Krešimir Špicer*
La Pythonisse (Witch of Endor) Dominique Visse
Ghost of Samuel Pierre Bessière
Chorus Les Arts Florissants
Orchestra Les Arts Florissants

William Christie. Foto: Ana Bloom, Virgin Classics

David and Jonathan by Marc-Antoine Charpentier with Les Arts Florentine and William Christie is one of the festivals highlights summer 2012.

Production / Coproduction

Festival d’Aix-en-Provence new production
In coproduction with  the Opéra Comique in Paris, the Théâtre de Caen and the Teatro Real in Madrid

6 performances between 6-19th July 2012. 

“And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and Jonathan his son, and he said it should be taught to the people of Judah […]:
Ye mountains of Gilboa,
Let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you,
Nor fields of offerings:
For there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away,
The shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. […]
O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.
I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan:
Very pleasant hast thou been unto me:
Thy love to me was wonderful,
Passing the love of women.
How are the mighty fallen,
And the weapons of war perished!”

Old Testament, Samuel, Book 2, I, 17-27.

The Old Testament tells how the young David, victor over Goliath, calmed King Saul’s dreams with his psalms and how he developed a deep friendship with the King’s son. Inspired by this deep affection, Charpentier composed an opera for a boys’ school: David and Jonathan, a biblical tragedy which, beneath its edifying veneer, displays vibrant scenes that are as passionate as those of the great French lyric tragedy of the time. The opera freed the French composer from comparison with Lully, in whose shadow he remained while the latter was still alive. Since its premiere at the Louis-le-Grand Jesuit College in 1688 and its modern revival in 1981 at the Lyon Opera, David and Jonathan has been played in concert, recorded on a few occasions but rarely staged. William Christie, who already produced a seminal recording of the opera, will conduct the first staged version of Charpentier’s masterpiece at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence summer 2012.


Florence, Italy. Teatro della Pergola. march 31st, 2012

Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes is touring Europe celebrating the 25 years since his debut, and he has given a very beautiful concert in Florence in Teatro della Pergola, filled up with enthusiastic audience.

Review by Fabio Bardelli, translation from italian to english Bruno Tredicine.

Stage photo from Andsnes concert at Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris by Henning Høholt

LEIF OVE ANDSNES, at Theatre des Champs Elysees. 26.3.2012. Photo: Henning Høholt

Although Leif Ove Andsnes is  may be not so well known in Italy, he has played in many countries, and his large discography offers a wide repertoire, from Bach to twentieth century composers.

The program presented in this celebrative occasion is quite varied, a sign of his intellectual curiosity.

As a matter of fact (as the pianist himself has stated), it represents a summa of diverse but for him equally important works: a summa of works he studied and played at the beginning of his career and others that he particularly loves, as well as a composer, Bartòk, whose concerts with orchestra and chamber music he has performed above all.

Andsnes’ technique is almost perfect, but he doesn’t display it just for the sake of eliciting ovations that are an end in themselves.

His touch is allways beautiful, elegant,  firm, varied and quite expressive.

Haydn‘s famous Piano Sonata in C minor sounded bright and full of body, colours, nuances and expressivity.

But if the whole concert was remarkably admirable, the highest point was perhaps Bartòk’s Suite for piano op. 14, which I had never heard before so full of life and meaningful; the third movement was specially impressive, performed with a deep sense of rhythm and musical colours.

AndsnesDebussy was splendid, with his incessant chromatic research in Reflects dans l’eau and an extraordinary expressive restraint in Hommage à Rameau.

The second part of the concert was entirely devoted to Chopin, with a sort of an anthology that included some of his most renowned pages. Among the selection I was specially impressed by the Waltzes where the Norwegian pianist showed an extraordinary sense of rhythm. No need to say that all the rest of his Chopin was however performed with taste, always choosing the right mood and never failing to capture the audience.

In the whole, it turned out to be a wonderful afternoon of music, a high class concert, and we really hope that we will have more occasions to hear more often again this young musician, who has already a firm place among the greatest in today’s piano world.

At the end, the large, albeit a bit too noisy audience filling the Teatro della Pergola, bestowed an authentic ovation on Leif Ove Andnes, who rewarded them with three splendid encores.


– F. J. HAYDN: Piano Sonata in C minor, Hob. XVI:20

– B. BARTÓK: Suite for Piano Op. 14, Sz.62

– C. DEBUSSY: Images, Set 1

(Reflets dans l’eau, Hommage à Rameau, Mouvement)

– F. CHOPIN: Waltz in F minor, Op.70, No. 2

– F. CHOPIN: Waltz in G flat Major, Op. 70, No. 1

– F. CHOPIN: Waltz in D Flat Major, Op. 70, No. 3

– F. CHOPIN: Waltz in A Flat Major, Op. 42

– F. CHOPIN: Ballade No. 3 in A-flat Major, Op. 47

– F. CHOPIN: Notturno in Si maggiore, op. 62 n. 1

– F. CHOPIN: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23

PARIS: In Stefan Herheims regi of Eugene Onegin in Amsterdam Onegin is really the titelroleholder, Bo Boje Skovhus, as he is present on stage a lot of the time, even, when he is only thought about, speaking about or been writing to,  as for exempel in Tatjanas letter scene, where he is reading her letterand replying on it in writing when she sings it. This gives an unexpected affect, but it works very well.

Review from Mezzo live HD by Henning Høholt

Bo Skovhus as Eugene Onegin (center), Amsterdam.. Photo Forster

Stefan Herheim commencement of Eugene Onegin in Amsterdam with the title role holder, played and sung by the outstanding Danish baryton Bo Boje Skovhus, in retrospect, experiencing the story accompanied by important parts of the music, which is formed like an overture.

Alexander Meier-Dörzenbach is as often in the connection with Stefan Herheim responsible for the dramaturgie. This cooperation is working well.

From Eugene Onegin in Amsterdam. Bo Skovhus in the Titelrole. Photo: Forster

Eugene Onegin is also already present in the first pictures and find Tatjana and Olga’sinitial duet, and mother and Filipievna´s quartet with them, and that farmers arrival and autumn celebration with song and dance, while also includes guest from Prince Gremins bal in the third act of participating and he is with and participate in the dance. An interesting approach, but when you eventually are used to Stefan Herheim lively Fantasy, it works quit understandable and feels right.

Although I am in the first act missing “peasant romanticism” “from the Russian countryside,even though farmers are acting in their national style costumes, but before EugenOnegin and Lenskijs official entrance in the history we have come back in history,as we well basically used to it.

In Tatjanas letter scene, Krassimira Stoyanova is doing it wonderful, and with her Onegin in the stage , like she is singing the letter to him, it is being a fantastic experience, he is like a secretary writing Tatjanas letter to him self, and just running out of the scene just before the aria is ending. WOW.  However it needs an Onegin who is also a good actor together with a good regissør who know how to form this, and a singer (and actor) who can play the role, in this Skovhus as Onegin and Herheimas the instructor is perfect.

Andrej Dunaev as Lenskij, Bo Skovhus as Onegin and Elena Maximova as Olga. Photo Forster

When Onegin returns to reply for the letter, Herheim is letting a young actress appear as Tatjana, when the real Tatjana, Stoyanova, in her last act outfit is watching their appearance, as she is now the one looking backwords and remembering her self as young and innocent. And the Prince Gremin is entering leading her back to the last act party.

Onegin, in the center, Guy de Mey as Monsieur Triquet. Photo: Forster

Tatjanas birthday party is opened with a Russian bear on stage, but after the introduction tunes we are at the big ball. Where Onegin doesn´t feel at home, as every body is looking at him and speaking about him as Tatjanas fiancée. Then he deside to irritate Lenskij by flirting and dancing with Lenskijs girlfriend Olga. But during Monsieur Triquets (Guy de Mey)  gratulation sung to Tatjana, Onegin is trying to stretch out a hand to Lenskij, like to tell him, taht I am only joking, byt Lenskij has been jalous, and refuses to take Onegins hand.

The duel scene follows, surronded by people, and Onegin is again attending and trying to square oup with Lenskij, wo again refuses it

The Polonaise opening of the last act is showing Omlympic acrobats, and the Prince from Swan Lake enters with both the Blanck and the White Swan, but the Prince is make courting  to Onegin,  and folcloristic  dancing detalis and costumes. When Tatjana and Prince Gremin (Mikhail Petrenko) enters the Prince Gremin is in Uniform and Tatjana a beatiful imperial outfit with diadem. Petrenko performs Prince Gremins famous aria in a splendid way. But honestly i prefer a voice with an even deeper sound in that special demanding aria.

Krassimira Stoyanova as Tatjana and Bo Skovhus as Onegin in the letter scene! Photo: Forster

Elena Maximova (Olga) has a very beautiful voice, and Krassimira Stoyanova (Tatiana) and Andrej Dunaev (Lenski) are both wonderful.

The scenographcs solution by Philipp Fürhofer is working, and is i one way ok. But it is not the best scenographic solution that I have seen.

The costumes by Gesine Völlm are not good, but they are in a way following up the wishes in the ideas for the production. But it is a mixture of fantasifull combinations of different periodes, folcloristic, Empire, uniforms from different periodes, evening dresses and outfits. Sometimes I am feeling the costumes are too much, and not really tastefully. In other productions from other Stefan Herheim team, that I have seen, the scenography and costumes has been more successfully than this. The read dress for Tatjana, that she is using a lot of times during this production was not nice. Many of the others she wear is much better.

Why the production is good is because of the outstanding cast, and the wonderful singers, headed by Bo Skovhus. Furthermore the Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the Operachoir is playing and singing absolutely wonderful and the musically leadership is in the best hands by Mariss Jansons.

Eugène Onéguine, by Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Koor van De Nederlandse Opera
Mariss Jansons (direction), Stefan Herheim (mise en scène),

Krassimira Stoyanova (Tatiana),

Elena Maximova (Olga),

Nina Romanova (Filipievna),

Olga Savova (Madame Larina)

Andrej Dunaev (Lenski),

Bo Skovhus (Eugène Onéguine),

Mikhail Petrenko (Gremine), Guy de Mey (Monsieur Triquet), Roger Smeets (Zaretsky), Peter Arink (Petrovich), Richard Prada (Zapevalo).

ConductorMariss Jansons.  Regie: Stefan Herheim. Decor: Philipp Fürhofer. Costumes: Gesine Völlm. Light: Olaf Freese. Dramaturgie: Alexander Meier-Dörzenbach. 

Enregistré au Het Muziektheater d’Amsterdam le 23 juin 2011 – 2h30
TV regi by Misjel Vermeiren

Permit me in this special connecting to remember experiences that I personally have had with the opera Eugène Onéguine:

The world famuus russian soprano Galina Wishnevskaya made her debut at the Opera de Paris, Palace Garnier as Tatjana. Many years later she had her goodbye there also as Tatjana. This evening was conducted by Genadij Rostropowich, her husband, and was send in TV. The Danish Queen Ingrid and her daughter Princess Benedikte attended the peformance and was welcomed by the operaentrance by mr Rostropowich who followed them to their seat at the first Balcony range. After that he came out from there, and came directly to me and asked. “Please, could you help me to find the door to go behind stage?”  “With pleasure mr. Rostropowich” I replyed, and I assisted him to the stage door.

My first Onegin was with the outstanding mezzosoprano Edith Thallaug as Tatjana  around 1980 at the Norwegian Opera in Oslo, she was then the big mezzo soprano at the Stockholm opera.

Selfportrait, Edvard Munch made many selfportraits of him self, this is perhaps one of the less wellknown, but it is interesting to see how he composed the picture, as it is described in the poster On Stage, where his cooperation with Max Rheinhardt is mentioned, and also Munchs talent for placing the figures and the details in a picture, as if it was on a theatre stage. Photo: Henning Høholt

After a successful Edvard Munch retrospective, the Pompidou Centre turns to Henri Matisse for an introspective exhibition on Fauvism (Matissepaires et séries), It opened 7th March 2012.

But before that we had the great pleasure to attend the


The Modern Eye. Watercolour. Edvard Munch. Photo Henning Høholt

L’OEIL MODERNE 1900-1944

By Henning Høholt, text and photos from the exhibition.

PARIS: It was a great pleasure to enjoy how deeply the curator has gone in to the job, and formed an exhibition, showing even us “Old Munch connoisseurs”  (As i thought that i am). Sides of Edvard Munch´s artistic side, that I haven´t seen earlier. And also presenting works, that I didnt know exists. It was presented at Centre Pompidou, Paris September 21 2011 – January 23 2012. Still that this exhibition is finished in Paris. We are presenting text and photos from the event. As it might be of comon interest to many readers to enjoy how these curators was presenting the works and ideas of Edvard Munch.

The Sun, (The modern eye?) Photo: Henning Høholt

On stage.

The Centre Pompidou presents “Edvard Munch, l’oeil moderne” [Edvard Munch, the modern eye], a collection never-seen-before in France of around eighty paintings, thirty artworks done on paper, fifty photographs and a film.

Workers. Please note the theatrical composition. Photo: Henning Høholt

Showing the work of the famous Norwegian painter (1853-1944) in a different light, this exhibition shows how much the artist’s curiosity for all of the forms of representation of his era fuelled his inspiration and his work. His experience of photography, cinema, his readings of the illustrated press and even his work for the theatre profoundly influenced his work, the brilliant modernity of which the exhibition reveals.´

The Modern Eye, watercolour by Edvard Munch. A person and a bird. Photo: Henning Høholt

The Modern Eye. Edvard Munch. Photo: Henning Høholt

This exhibiton has been a large succes for the exhibition place and for Norway, and is one of the good ways of presenting Norway abroad.

The outside world. Edvard Munch. Photo: Henning Høholt

Fire. Please note how Edvard Munchs interests for what was happening around him in the world has been shown in his paintings on many different levels. Photo Henning Høholt

St. Matthew Passion opens Easter celebration at the Theatre des Champs Elyseeson Monday evening. It was a peaceful serious presentation. Talents Lyric and Arsys Bourgogne Choir, in addition 6 young girls from Childrens Choir de la Maitrise de Paris. Conducted by Pierre Cao.

Pierre Cao

Review by Henning Høholt

The St. Matthew Passion is a sacred oratorio from the Passions written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra, with libretto by Picander (Christian Friedrich Henrici). It sets chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew, (in the German translation of Martin Luther) to music, with interspersed chorales and arias. It is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of classical sacred music, and is one of the very popular pieces to be played, not only around Easter, where the history actually is happening, but also through out all the year, often as a work for church concerts.

Excellent performed with great musicality, where I particularly appreciated the conductor Pierre Cao´s calmness, where he gave each sections the opportunity to develop their musicianship in the major sections where the two orchestras and two choirs sang and played together, but also in the many beautiful arias, which in this passion will be performed in single instrumentation often with just continuo, – an organ, cello, bass, and either one or two flutes or oboes, or 1 violin or viola amore.
This gives a very nice feeling, when this is the basis for the performance of the dramatic story of Jesus from the last Sacrament, to the crucifixion, with all the known details of St. Matthew Gospel, mainly chapters 26 and 27.

The most famous of choir parts is “O Mensch, bewein deine Sunde gross” as is well known from St. John´s Passion, which also has an overall figure, but here in St. Matthew Passion hear it only 5-6 times. This is a ceremony in itself, suitable hostfor this type of works by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Markus Schäfer

The narration of the Gospel texts are sung by the tenor Evangelist in secco recitative accompanied only by continuo. The brilliant cast was leaded by the outstanding Evangeliste Markus Schäfer, (tenor) which has a beautiful tenor, with a lot of deliciouous colours, which suited the different recitative parts very well. Jesus was sung by the basse Wilhelm Schwinghammer, which did it very well.  The words of Jesus, also termed Vox Christi (voice of Christ), usually receive special treatment. Bach created particularly distinctive accompagnato recitatives in this work: they are accompanied not only by continuo but by the entire string section of the first orchestra using long, sustained notes and “highlighting” certain words, thus creating an effect often referred to as Jesus’s “halo”. But remakrable: Only his final words, written in Aramaic language: Eli, eli, lama sabachthani (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?), are sung without this “halo”. In the revision of 1743–1746, it is also these words (the Vox Christi) that receive a sustained continuo part.

Marianne Beate Kielland. Photo Veronica Mel

The outstanding Norwegian mezzosoprano Marianne Beate Kielland took very good care of all her parts, and in deed, some of the most beautiful soli is placed to the mezzo. The Aria (no 39). with the beautiful violin solo by the first violin: Erbarme dich, mein Gott, um meiner Zähren Willen!  was a master piece and a beautiful violin tuneSabine Goetz was this evenings soprano, unfortunately not all the time successfull with the intonation.The young tenor Simon Bode did an excellent job, his voice is very beautiful, and he has the talent of very good expression and a beuatiful sound. Markus Flaig was a good baryton. Furthermore there were five very good soloists from the choir taking good care of the minor, but importent, roles.  These are named parts for Judas, Peter, two high priests, Pontius Pilate, Pilate’s wife, two witnesses and two ancillae (maids). Here in this version we also enjoyed two organs, as in the 1736 version.

Many composers wrote musical setting of the Passion in the late 17th century. Like other Baroque oratorio passions, Bach’s setting presents the Biblical text of Matthew 26–27 in a relatively simple way, primarily using recitative, while aria and arioso movements set newly written poetic texts which comment on the various events in the Biblical narrative and present the characters’ states of mind in a lyrical, monologue-like manner.

The original Latin title is  Passio Domini Nostri J.C. Secundum Evangelistam Matthaeum translates to “The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Evangelist Matthew.” It is also rendered in English as St. Matthew Passion and in German as Matthäuspassion.

Although Bach wrote four (or five) settings of the Passions only two have survived; the other is the St John Passion. The St Matthew Passion was probably first performed on Good Friday (11 April) 1727 in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, where Bach was the Kantor of the School and Directoris Chori musici of Leipzig. Bach revised it by 1736, performing it again on 30 March 1736, this time including two organs in the instrumentation. He further revised and performed it again on 24 March 1742. Possibly due to the second organ being under repair, he switched the continuo instrument to harpsichord in Coro II, reinforced the continuo group in Coro II with a viola da gamba, and inserted a ripieno soprano in both movements 1 and 29. There is evidence of a further revision in 1743–1746, when the score as we know it originated, but no performance.

It is remarkable that two distinctive aspects of Bach’s setting spring from his other church endeavors. One is the double-choir format, which stems from his own double-choir motets and those of many other composers with which he routinely started Sunday services. The other is the extensive use of chorales, which appear in standard four-part settings, as interpolations in arias, and as a cantus firmus in large polyphonic movements. This is notable in “O Mensch, bewein dein’ Sünde groß”, the conclusion of the first half – – a movement which Bach also used as an opening chorus for the second version (1725) of his St John Passion (later – ca. 1730 – he reverted to the originally composed “Herr, unser Herrscher” there). The opening chorus, “Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen” is also notable for the use of chorale cantus firmus, in which the soprano in ripienocrowns a colossal buildup of polyphonic and harmonic tension, singing a verse of “O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig.” This was sung in only in 1742 and 1743–1746 and had been played on the organ before.

Urban Circolombia in Paris 2012, Finale picture. Photo: Tomas Bagackas

The good circus initiative Urban Circolombia is guesting at Cirque en Chantier in Paris, performing splendid circus artistic of high quality.

Review by Henning Høholt. Photos from the performance: Tomas Bagackas.

PARIS: Urban is a free evocation of life in the streets of Cali, Colombia, where the exuberance, the music is dance with force as necessary counterpoints, the happy violence commonplace of the popular neighborhoods, from where all the young artists on scene comes.

The street is like the circus, it’s all about balance. Daring, risk, fall, get up, again. And always hope. Except for Cali, Colombia. Its the thread of life which is extremely tense, rhythm challenges, confrontations and battles of all kinds that drive theqoutidien the rythm.

Urban Crcolombia in Paris 2012. Phptp: Tomas Bagackas

These young Circolombian artists reveal these moments of incredible dramatic power, using and abusing their splendid acrobatic body to dispose of a joyful madness in the story of their lives on stage, they are not content to play, they live … While keeping your eyes on the star shores, that they eventually come caressing

Flying jumper in Urban Circolombia 2012. Photo: Tomas Bagackas

A spectacle at an absolutely new force , flamboyant, contagious, and totally delightful.

The initiative, to let these talented young people get this fantastic possibility, to develope their talents in different artistic ways is outstanding, and it is noted how well it works out on stage.

The program consist of a line of good well trained and well performed single parts, where, of course, as allways some are more succesfully than others, and we can also notice the difference beteween the artists, how far they have reached in their developement, some ar finished stars as the one girl in the many different trapez numbers, and some of the flying jumpers, while others still are on the way in their developement, but not all completely finished. These single artistic pieces are very well performed.

Flying jumper. Photo: Tomas Bagackas

The week point in this production is in between the numbers. It seems that the cooperation, the bridge building between the numbers is not good enough developed yet. In this the artistic management need to make a better plan for the whole performance, so also the in between parts are going safer, and dont like like too much improvisation. It is to write a playbill, and choreographe these parts carefully. Then it will work too, and the performance with all its good ideas will be even better.

Flying Jumper. Photo: Tomas Bagackas

Daniel Barenboim: Bruckner / Mozart.

Staatskapelle Berlin at Salle Pleyel, Paris

Daniel Barenboim, Photo: Sheila Rock, EMI classics

Daniel Barenboim has with the work of Anton Bruckner complicity particular, to the point that the Israeli-Argentine leader has become over the years one of his best servants.

When the highly experienced Staatskapelle Berlin, unites power and precision with Daniel Barenboim, the conductor/pianist will deliver his interpretation of Anton Bruckners  Symphonies No. 7 and No. 9. The first parts of the concert will be dedicated to another of his favorite composers, Mozart, which he conduct from the piano chair.

We enjoyed these programmes during the Enescu Festival in Bucarest last summer. To have Daniel Barenboim both conducting these demanding Bruckner Sympnonies,  and in the first part every day, himself to be soloist and also conducting from the piano two of Mozarts Piano Concertos,  no  24 and 22. It is an extraordinary event, and also to meet this soloist/conductor full of generosity to his audience and to the orchestra. A extraordinary star visit!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 20h 
Thursday, April 19, 20h 

Dorothée Gilbert - José Martinez. Photo: Sébastien Mathé/ Opéra national de Paris

Dorothée Gilbert as Swanilda, Mathias Heymann as Frantz, José Martinez as Coppélius and Fabrice Bourgeois as Spalanzani are heading the splendid cast from the Ballet from Opera de Paris in their performing of  the wonderful ballet Coppélia,  together with Corps de Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris, Patrice Bart (Chorégraphy), and the wellknown music splendid played by  Orchestre Colonne, conducted by Koen Kessels. The production which is presented at Mezzo was enregistrated at Palais Garnier, Paris, mars 2011. TV realisation by Vincent Bataillon.

Review by Henning Høholt

Swanhilde and her girl friends, finale of Valse Lente, 1st, Act. Photo: Sébastian Mathé.

Coppelia is a charming, funny ballet full of humor and ballet mime. It is often performed by small ballet companies because it doesn’t require a large cast of roles. But in the Paris version by Patrice Bart (Chorégraphy) it is a large version we are getting, and it suits in deed this ballet very well. It gives us the possibility to enjoy all the famus musical parts well danced. In the Paris version i feel that I am at home. They have all the famous numbers included in the ballet, and they are dancing splendid.  Susch as the Czardas in its very full, the Mazurka.  The famous Valse Lente with a lot of danseuses. Dance of the hours.  In the second act we of course enjoy the Waltz of Coppelia, brilliant performed by  Dorothée Gilbert. elegantly danced together with three of the female “dolls” in doctor Coppelius atellier.

José Martinez as dr. Coppelius. Photo: Sebastian Mathé

I am use to that dr. Coppelius is danced by an old dancer, but in the Patrice Bart version he is letting a young dancer, José Martinez be Coppelius,  but assisted by an old doll maker, this is giving new possibilityes, as José Martinez can participate with many great soloparts allready in the first act, and in ensembles and pas de deux with the  one he think is his doll Coppelia, (Dorothée Gilbert) and with Swanhilda (Dorothée Gilbert). Her Reel is virtuose. This idea gives the Paris Coppelia a special dimension.

Mathias Heymann has  as Frantz several wonderful solo parts, as forexempel his brilliant and demanding entre in to the atellier of Coppelius, where he save Swanhilda, and bring her out to the dream world. where they have their  final love pas de deux. A version, that I have not seen earlier, but it functions very well, which brings her out to the streets of her home city, and she is saved.  However, I am missing the part of Coppelia, where in the studio of Coppelius, he is trying to get Frantz drunk, so he can steel his heart and soul. This detail is of dramatic importence for understanding the history. But as allways, Coppelias basement gives the possibillity to several versions.  Furthermore, i missed the last act with the wedding scene.

The basic is as follows: Coppélia is a sentimental comic ballet with original choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon to a ballet libretto by Saint-Léon and Charles Nuitter. It was based upon two macabre stories by ETA Hoffmann, Der Sandmann (The Sandman), and Die Puppe (The Doll).

Dorothée Gilbert - Mathias Heymann - José Martinez. Photo: Sébastien Mathé/ Opéra national de Paris

Coppélia concerns an inventor, Dr Coppelius, (José Martinez ) who has made a life-size dancing doll. It is so lifelike that Frantz, (Mathias Heymann) a village swain, becomes infatuated with it and sets aside his true heart’s desire, Swanhilde (Dorothée Gilbert). She shows him his folly by dressing as the doll, pretending to make it come to life and ultimately saving him from an untimely end at the hands of the inventor.

The story begins during a town festival to celebrate the arrival of a new bell. The town crier announces that, when it arrives, anyone who becomes married will be awarded a special gift of money. Swanhilde and Franz plan to marry during the festival. However, Swanhilde becomes unhappy with Franz because he seems to be paying more attention to a girl named Coppélia, who sits on the balcony of a nearby house.

Coppelias face. In front José Martinez as Dr. Coppelius. Photo: Sébastian Mathé

The house belongs to a mysterious and faintly diabolical inventor, Doctor Coppélius. Although Coppélia spends all of her time sitting motionless and reading, Franz is mesmerized by her beauty and is determined to attract her attention. Still upset with Franz, Swanhilde shakes an ear of wheat to her head: if it rattles, then she will know that Franz loves her. Upon doing this however, she hears nothing. When she shakes it by Franz’s head, he also hears nothing; but then he tells her that it rattles. However, she does not believe him and runs away heartbroken.

From Coppelia 1. act. Photo: Sebastian Mathé

Swanhilde and her friends find themselves in a large room filled with people. However, the occupants aren’t moving. The girls discover that, rather than people, these are life-size mechanical dolls. They quickly wind them up and watch them move. Swanhilde also finds Coppélia behind a curtain and discovers that she, too, is a doll.

Dr. Coppelius returns home to find the girls. He becomes angry with them, not only for trespassing but for also disturbing his workroom. He kicks them out and begins cleaning up the mess. Swanhilde is still there, hidden. She dresses up in Coppelia’s clothes and pretends that the doll has come to life. Dr. Coppelius becomes confused. Then in this version Frantz arrives and are leading Swanhilde away, and it all ends with their love pas de deux.

Coppelia in this version from Palais Garnier can be enjoyed many times during the Easter periode, and after at Mezzo Live HD: 03 / 04 – 10h30, 06 / 04 – 10h30, 14 / 04 – 07h00, 14 / 04 – 21h00, 15 / 04 – 03h30, 15 / 04 – 17h30, 16 / 04 – 00h00.

Swanhildes friends entering the atellier of Dr. Coppelius, opening 2nd. act. Photo: Sebastian Mathé

Doctor Coppélius is not unlike Hoffmann’s sinister Herr Drosselmeyer in “The Nutcracker

Alternative versions: A variation of the Coppélia story is contained in Jacques Offenbach’s opera, The Tales of Hoffmann, a fictional work about the same Hoffmann who wrote the story that inspired Coppélia. The opera consists of a prologue, three fantastic tales in which Hoffmann is a participant, and an epilogue. In it we meet the macabre Svengali-like travelling magician of the same name.In the first story, based on Der Sandmann, Hoffmann falls in love with a mechanical doll, Olympia, but in this case, the story takes on a melancholy tinge as the doll breaks apart.

In 1974 George Balanchine choreographed a version of Coppélia for the New York City Ballet. He was assisted by Alexandra Danilova, who had performed the title role many times during her dancing career. She staged the Petipa choreography for Act II. Balanchine created new choreography for Act III and for the mazurka, czardas and Frantz’s variation in Act I.

Sunday evening April 1, Mezzo presented Don Quixote in a version with the Dutch National Ballet

Don Quixote with Dutch National Ballet at Mezzo. Matthew Golding as Basilio, Anna Tsygankova as Kitri in the Grand Pas de Deux, last act. Photo: Angela Sterling

Review by Henning Høholt.

Matthew Golding as Basilio, Anna Tsygankova as Kitri. Don Quichot, choreography Alexei Ratmansky. All photo's : Angela Sterling

AMSTERDAM: Dutch National Ballet with their version of Don Quixote. Realised and additional choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, but based on the version by Marius Petipa and Alexandre Gorsky. This version has been created exclusively for the company by leading Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. Specially we enjoyed that the version is different in many details to the one by Rudolf Nureyev, and are moving the parts in the history, and adding some more Ludwig Minkus music, which we are not used to hear, us who are family with the John Lanchberry arrangement, made for Rudolf Nureyevs TV version. that we enjoyd very many times in the 1980´s with the Norwegoan National Ballet, when Rudolf Nureyev and Patrick Dupont danced the role as Basilio in Oslo together with the two ballerinas Leonie Leahy and Sissel Westnes. This musical arrangement refresh the history, and gives many new details, and also details, and the possibility to new soloparts. Furthermore the modern designs for the ballet costumes and scenography , by the renowned French designer Jérôme Kaplan, refer to the times ofCervantes.

Anna Tsygankova as Kitri. Photo: Angela Sterling

The ballet Don Quixote – an audience favourite of prestigious companies like the Bolshoi Ballet, Ballet de l´Opera de Paris, Norwegian National Ballet, Lithuanian National Ballet, The Boston Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. It was a great pleasure to enjoy the new production Don Quixote  (from February 2010) made with Dutch National Ballet. In the leading roles Anna Tsygankova was beautiful and virtuose as Kitri, Matthew Golding showed very much virtuosity and were masculin handsome as  Basile showing flamboyant leaps, dizzying pirouettes and crisp pointe work, that are standard features of the production, but also by these outstanding dancers gave them every opportunity to show off their technical prowess.

Matthew Golding as Basilio. Photo': Angela Sterling

Furthermore Peter de Jong  gave the titelrole new sides as Don Quichotte, forexempel his participating in the Dryade Garden, where he was not passive, as we often have seen, but naturally active together with the Dryades, and the very virtuose Maia Makhateli as Amor, and the  beautiful Sasha Mukhamedov as the Queen of the Dryades. Very well in tradition to the comic story based on Cervantes’ masterpiece, which makes strong demands on the dancers’ acting abilities, somthing that Peter de Jong  as Don Quixote, Karel de Rooij (Sancho Panza), Dario Mealli (Gamache), Altin Kaftira (Lorenzo, the father of Kitri), took very good care of. The conductor, Kevin Rhodes that we are familiar with from before, gave the dancers very good tempi, that they deserved, and could fill up, so it was clearly that they enjoyed it on stage.

Don Quichotte at MEZZO.

Chorégraphy: Marius Petipa, Alexandre Gorsky & Alexei Ratmansky,
Dutch National Ballet

Orchestre , Holland Symphonia
Chef d’orchestre, Kevin Rhodes

Peter de Jong (Don Quichotte), Karel de Rooij (Sancho Panza), Photo: Angela Sterling

Anna Tsygankova (Kitri), Matthew Golding (Basile), Peter de Jong (Don Quichotte), Karel de Rooij (Sancho Panza), Dario Mealli (Gamache), Altin Kaftira (Lorenzo), Natalia Hoffmann (Mercedes), Moises Martin Cintas (Espada), Maiko Tsutsumi (Piccilia), Nadia Yanowsky (Juanita), Maia Makhateli (Cupidon), Sasha Mukhamedov (Reine des Dryades)

Directors for the TV production: Adrienne Liron and Jeff Tudor.

Don Quixote will be repeated again on Mezzo:  04 / 04 – 09h30. 09 / 04 – 16h45 and 14 / 04 – 09h30.

Torkil Damhaug fikk Rivertonprisen, foto Fredrik Arff, fra Cappelen Damm

Den norske kriminallitteraturene har sin egen pris, “Rivertonprisen”, som deles ut av Rivertonklubben i samarbeid med andre aktører i bokbransjen. Torkil Damhaug mottok nylig denne prestisjefylte prisen sammen med en gylden og plombert revolver.

Prisen kalles også Den gyldne revolver.

Omtalt av Synnøve Nord

Rivertonklubben ble opprettet i 1972, og har siden delt ut en årlig pris til det beste norske kriminallitterære arbeid. Klubben er oppkalt etter Stein Riverton – Sven Elvestads pseudonym som kriminalforfatter. Han var inntil da den mest kjente norske forfatter internasjonalt i denne sjangeren.

Årets jury har bestått av Nils Nordberg, Magnhild Bruheim og Else Barratt-Due. De har først lest og valgt ut fem blant de ca 40 kriminallitterære arbeidene fra 2011. Fra denne shortlisten har de i neste omgang valgt ut vinneren.
De fem forfatterne og romantitlene: Torkel Damhaug “Ildmannen”, Terje Emberland og Bernt Roughtvedt “Stormlaget” (anmeldt i Kulturkompasset), Thomas Enger “Fantomsmerte”, Knut Faldbakken “Natthagen” og Jørn Lier Horst “Vinterstengt”.

Ildmannen, cover. forfatter Torkil Damhaug. Boken han fikk Rivertonprisen for.

Leder av Rivertonjuryen for 2011, Else Barratt-Due presenterte årets vinner for presse og fagfolk for kort tid siden. Hun fremhevet i sin tale at årets vinner hadde skilt seg helt klart ut. Boken fanger med en gang leseren inn i fortellingens univers, som både er vondt, sterkt og aktuelt. Den tar blant annet opp temaer som det å vokse opp med ulike røtter, utnyttelsen av ungdom, den forsømte og den som fraskriver seg ansvaret.

Prisvinneren Torkil Damhaug debuterte som forfatter med romanen “Flykt måne” i 1996. I 2007 skrev han sin første kriminalroman, “Se meg, Medusa”. Han er lege og psykiater av yrke, og bosatt i Lørenskog. Det kan trygt hevdes at hans profesjon og dermed kunnskap om menneskesinnet er en positiv faktor i fortellingen av romankarakterenes sinn, tanker og handlinger.

At prisen kalles “Den gyldne revolver” har også sammenheng med Stein Riverton. Hans detektiv Asbjørn Krag hadde to gyldne revolvere. Frem til 2001 kunne man ikke motta prisen mer enn én gang. Da ble dette endret, og Gunnar Staalesen og Jon Michelet har til nå mottatt Rivertonprisen to ganger.

De andre nordiske land har tilsvarende priser for å hedre sine kriminalforfattere. I Norden har man også en felles pris som deles ut til årets beste nordiske kriminalroman. Prisen Glassnøkkelen har sitt navn etter Dashiell Hamett’s krimklassiker med samme tittel. Siste nordmann som mottok denne prisen var Kurt Aust i 2004 for “Hjemsøkt”. I 2011 gikk Glassnøkkelen til svenske Leif G.W.Persson for “Den døende detektiven” (anmeldt i Kulturkompasset).

Torkil Damhaug gir ut sine bøker på cappelen Damm. 

Danser sa vie - DANCE YOUR LIFE at Centre Pompodue. Last day April 2nd. 2012. Photo: Henning Høholt.

DANCE YOUR LIFE at Pompidou Center, Paris last day April 2nd 2012.

This outstanding exhibition has managde to collect the mst impressing collection of dance with links to visual arts from 1900 until today. It is a large success for the Pompidou center, and has been visitid by a large audience.

Please enjoy the photos from the exhibition by Henning Høholt

Presentation of the exhibition
by Christine Macel and Emma Lavigne, curators at the Musée national d’art moderne

From November 2011, the Pompidou Centre is showing an unprecedented exhibition on the links between the visual arts and dance, from the 1900s until today. “Danser sa vie” shows how they lit the spark of modernity to feed the major movements and figures that have written the history of Modern and Contemporary art. In a space of over two thousand square meters, the exhibition illustrates its theme with works by artistic figures of the 20th century, the founding movements of modernity, as well as the work and research of contemporary artists and dancers.

The entrance room is acting as an introduction, dominated by Henri Matisse large La Danse de Paris (1931-1933), where it immediately is placed in cooperation with a life performer of today. Photo: Henning Høholt

Divided into three parts, the exhibition shows art and dance’s common interest in the moving body. Highlighting this hidden side of the avant-gardes and this vibrant source of inspiration for contemporary art, “Danser sa vie” brings together all disciplines in an enriching dialogue – from the visual arts – up to contemporary video – and choreographic art. A vast selection pf paintings, sculptures, installations, audiovisual works and choreographic pieces testify to their ceaseless exchanges in a sometimes inseparable dialogue.”

“My art is just an effort to express the truth of my being in gesture and movement. (…) When I was in front of the audiences that flocked to see my performances, I never hesitated. I gave them my soul’s innermost impulses. From the beginning, I have only danced my life.” Isadora Duncan, My Life, 1928.

A Fauns Afternoon, that Vaslav Nijinsky created in 1912 as a part of Dhiaghilevs Ballets Russes, is presented in film version, but a never version with Nicola Le Riche from Ballet de l´Opera de Paris. Photo: Henning Høholt

A cross between Dionysian burst of life and Apollonian aspiration, dance played a pivotal role in the modern aesthetic revolution. Thanks to pioneers such as Loïe Fuller and Isadora Duncan, not to mention the genius of Vaslav Nijinsky, the art of the body in motion, an art of space and time, underwent an unprecedented shift. This upheaval had a decisive influence on the development of the visual arts. “Danser sa vie” retraces this little-known history, highlighting the common themes between the modern era and today, in order to delve back to the sources of dance, recently rekindled by the contemporary art scene. Its aim is to highlight dance as “a hidden face of the avant-gardes” and to weave arabesques in the historical design which links the past to the present : this desire became stronger in the wake of the loss of figures lately as important as Pina Bausch, Merce Cunninghma or Kazuo Ono.

The exhibition is organized around three sections with a constant to-and-fro between historical works and today, with unprecedented encounters. One of the main challenges was how to “exhibit dance”. Mediums are intermingled to encourage the spectator’s complete immersion, projecting him as close as possible to the body in motion through the use of film.

Costumes, and the same costumes in action in the film form the prformance behind. Photo: Henning Høholt

The first room introduces the exhibition’s themes: the modern masterpiece by Henri Matisse “La Danse”, on exceptional loan from the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, faces a work by Tino Sehgal, whilst the artist Daria Martin’s film, with its fixed tableaux where the camera moves in place of the body, represents the great figures of modern dance from Josephine Baker to Oskar Schlemmer and Martha Graham.

The same costumes seen from the backside.

These intermingled histories are part of a circuit articulated around a statement by Isadora Duncan that opens the 20th century. “My art is just an effort to express the truth of my being in gesture and movement. (…) From the beginning, I have only danced my life” she wrote in her biography My Life.

Duncan announced thus one of the firm convictions of 20th century art, the attempt to link art to life, from the Dadaists to the participative works of current art. As Merce Cunningham also says, dance is “the visible manifestation of life”, and “that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.” It places life at the heart of its project.

Dance sculptur, inspiration between dance and sculpturer. Photo: Henning Høholt

Three sections define the history of modern and postmodern dance with that of the visual arts. The first deals with the dawn of a new subjectivity which is embodied in the work to become its expression, the second deals with the abstraction of the body and its mechanization, and finally the third focuses on performance, born with the Dada avant-garde, which defined itself through dance to the point of merging with it from the 1960s.

Female dance sculptur, inspiration between dance and sculpturer. Photo: Henning Høholt

“Gesture is the direct agent of the heart”, claimed François Delsarte, a nineteenth century thinker who posthumously influenced the advent of modern dance and its art of expression. The invention of a new subjectivity and expressivity was explored through the emergence of free dance, unfettered by classical ballet and epitomized by the figure of Isadora Duncan. Dancers began to convey a sensual fervour that on occasions caused scandal, as was the case with Nijinsky’s rendition of Afternoon of a Faun which represented a new source of Dionysian inspiration for artists. In Germany, the Expressionist current triggered a wealth of exchanges between painters and dancers.

Art inspired by Dance. Or Art as inspiration for dance. Photo: Henning Høholt

While Laban embodied the new figure of the dancer as educator and theoretician, Mary Wigman, one of his pupils at the free community of Monte Verità, best epitomized the figure of woman beset with life and death urges, as illustrated in her famous Witch’s dance. Wigman, who viewed herself as a dancer of humanity, proved equally fascinating to painters Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, not to mention her pupil Gret Palucca. Following on from this Ausdruckstanz, a reflection of German Expressionism, came the creation of Theatertanz by Pina Bausch, who was herself a descendant of the choreographer Kurt Jooss.

Pina Bausch, front of dance book.

Dancers and artists invent a new repertory of gestures and plastic forms, inviting the body to cross the threshold of modernity.

The history of abstraction would not be what it is without dance. Mirroring the technical innovations of an increasingly industrialized twentieth century, dancers and artists invented a new repertory of gestures and plastic forms, inviting the body to cross the threshold of modernity. At the turn of the century, inspired by the advent of electric lighting, Loïe Fuller’s creative imagination sparked another revolution with her kinetic ballets. The impact of her serpentine dances on artists, from the chromatic, rhythmical symphonies of Sonia Delaunay to the vibrant energy of Gino Severini and Fortunato Depero’s Futurist works, was considerable.

“Dance has always drawn on life for its rhythms and forms (…) One must imitate the movements of machines with gestures; pay assiduous court to steering wheels, ordinary wheels, pistons, thereby preparing the fusion of man with the machine, to achieve the metallicity of the Futurist dance”, wrote Filippo Tommasso Marinetti in his “Manifesto of Futurist Dance” in 1917.

The whole gamut of avant-garde movements, Cubism, Futurism, Orphism, De Stijl, Dada, Bauhaus or Russian Constructivism, also latched on to dance, all fascinated by the body in motion and by the colours, lines, energy and rhythms of dance. From Francis Picabia to Fernand Léger, from Theo Van Doesburg to Varvara Stepanova, dance generates new abstract rhythms and mechanical ballets. This geometrised, elementarised, mechanised and stylised body also played a fundamental role in the research instigated by Laban, dancer, draughtsman and founder of the choreutic. His icosahedron, a multi-facetted volume encapsulating all the possible movements of the body, proved to have a major influence on dancers such as William Forsythe, and is also echoed in Olafur Eliasson’s more contemporary investigations, including Movement microscope (2011), a work directly inspired by this legacy specially created for the exhibition “Danser sa vie”.

Oskar Schlemmer’s humanist thought, firmly anchored on the future of Man in the face of technology, is echoed for its part in the works of many contemporary artists. One of them is Alwin Nikolais, whose aesthetic premise integrates the world of technology and the stage using lighting effects to create a metamorphosis, turning the geometrised bodies of the dancers into phantasmagorical elements of a global composition. The same can be said of Nicolas Schöffer, who, in the multimedia show Kyldex blends his dancers into his cybernetic sculptures, creating a single organism to depict the continuous flow of energy.

“Look at Jasper Johns’ and Robert Rauschenberg’s painting. They use the canvas as I use the stage.” Merce Cunningham

The last lap of the exhibition explores the exchange between dance and performance art. Ever since the first Dadaist acts at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich during the First World War, dance and performance have been inextricably linked. Dancers Mary Wigman, Emmy Hennings, Suzanne Perrottet and Sophie Taueber-Arp all took part in the Dada adventure, and key figures emerged in the Twenties, such as Valeska Gert or Niddy Impekoven. Performance art would not have been the same without dance. Black Mountain College was the hub of intense activity, with dance and performance becoming increasingly intertwined, largely thanks to the contribution of John Cage and Merce Cunningham in the late 1940s.

Film screening of different kind is being presented. Here a "Dance with me". film. Photo: Henning Høholt

In the 1950s, on America’s West Coast, dancer Anna Halprin made an unprecedented foray into the dialogue between art and life, dance and performance, by inventing “tasks”, movements tied to everyday acts, nature and the socio-political arena. The innovations of the Judson Dance Theater in New York in the 1960s and the happenings of Allan Kaprow and Fluxus in the 1950s and 1960s turned the body in motion into a seismograph of the soul-searching of contemporary society. The aesthetic, formal and conceptual to-and-fro between choreographers and artists seemed boundless. Some, like Robert Rauschenberg, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Morris and Trisha Brown, described themselves as plasticians just as readily as choreographers.

Merce Cunningham’s frequent encounters with abstract expressionist painters led to his conception of the stage space as a non-figurative painting, or as a non-hierarchical space. He is surrounded by a constellation of artists such as Nam June Paik, Warhol or Rauschenberg who were to renew with him the notion of the total art work and of Wagnerian theatre.

Pompidou Center is reaching out to many kind of groups, introducing the fantastic dance art to young and old. Here a group of children being informed. Photo: Henning Høholt,

The experimental tendency of post-modern dance, where art and dance merged, rejected traditional stage designs and the stakes of artistic representation. Trisha Brown, both dancer and plastician, was equally at home in a museum venue, on roofs or in the street. Dance was everywhere and anyone could become a dancer, according to the choreographers Deborah Hay, Steve Paxton and Anna Halprin. As philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman recalls “most of the time, we dance to be together”. This invitation to dance your life has a particular resonance in contemporary art and dance, especially through the revival of a new interest in popular dance, a ceaseless source of inspiration for artists, from Sonia Delaunay and the Bal Bullier to Josephine Baker‘s frenzied dances for Alexander Calder.

In combination for the exhibition it is followed up with an interesting large catalogue made by Christine Macel and Emma Lavigne. 320 pages, including 270 colour illustrations.

The golden age of disco in the late 1970s with John Travolta’s memorable performance in the film Saturday Night Fever still inspires new versions today.

Catalogues waiting for the visitors in the bookshop. In addition to the catalogue a 60 pages illlustrated exhibition guide with 70 illustrations is awailable. Furthermore an Anthology with writings on Dance 240 pages.

In the early 1960s, when he was still dreaming of becoming a tap-dancer, Andy Warhol imprinted his Dance Diagrams with foxtrot steps. The club culture he helped to forge inspired many later artists. The golden age of disco in the late 1970s, with John Travolta’s memorable performance in the film Saturday Night Fever is still inspiring Ange Leccia today, who also worked for a show by Merce Cunningham. Bootsy Collin‘s funk music formed the basis of Adrian Piper’s Funk Lessons and the later Shiva Dances, while bal populaire street parties and go-go dancers were to inspire two unique performance works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, an important artist working in the 1990s.

The bookshop at the Pompidou Center has an updated large well selcted assortiment of dance and choreography books in combination with the Dance Your Life exhibition. Photo: Henning Høholt

Jérôme Bel also draws on great pop music hits for his momentous piece The Show Must Go On … Recent years have witnessed a strong resurgence of dance in contemporary art. Throughout the exhibition, different works by Matthew Barney, Simon Dybbroe Moeller, Olafur Eliasson, Daria Martin, Jeff Mills, Kelly Nipper, Mai-Thu Perret or Tino Sehgal dialogue with modern masterpieces.


By Henning Høholt

As this presentation is so well made, and with so much of interesting details, it seems that the curators,  Christine Macel and Emma Lavigne, completely have forgotten that contemporary dance also existed outside of France and United States.

Why is Birgit Culberg and her special style note mentioned? Outstanding selected choreography by her: The road to Klockrike, Miss Julie based on August Strindbergs novel , The Moon Reindeer, The Lady from the Sea. Psychological insight was Miss Cullberg’s strength, as she showed again in 1982 when the Cullberg Ballet, which she founded in 1967, made its belated United States debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in attendance.

Never shy about exploring the neurotic and the erotic, Miss Cullberg was represented by a duet, ”Adam and Eve,” and an especially sensuous performance of ”Miss Julie,” which nonetheless focused on the class differences between Julie and her servant. In ”Adam and Eve,” Daniela Malusardi and Niklas Ek, Miss Cullberg’s elder son, moved seamlessly from innocent playfulness to adult passion, a couple expelled from Eden but rejecting God as well.

I am too missing her sons Mats Ek on this presentation. In some of Ek’s former choreographies, traditions of Kurt Joos and of his mother, Birgit Cullberg may be apparent. He uses classical as well as modern dance techniques. Social engagement of psychological dilemmas combined with subtle humor, form the basis of his choreographies. For Ek, movement is a means of individual expression. Aesthetic value is not his first priority.

Ivo Cramér,  who often worked in folklore-inspired style with a burlesque incurring and mimic elements, His dance dramas have often had historical and religious subjects. His key work The Prodigal Son, for example, inspired by Dalarna paintings from the eighteenth century, depicting the biblical story of the prodigal son.. From 40th century onwards, Cramer created 200 ballets works. Other missing names are the Rolf de Maré and The Ballet Suedoise.  

Ny norsk Ballett,Norwegian ballet ensemble from 1948 to 1955, with headquarters in Oslo. Managers and principal choreographers were Gerd Kjølås and Louise Browne.Rita Tori replaced 1953 Browne, and the ensemble’s name was changed to the Norwegian National Ballet.

And the outstanding Norwegian choreographers Kjersti Alveberg, Alveberg’s ballets have always been thematically oriented – many were inspired by art, philosophy, poetry and music.  Her own statement: “I didn’t choose dance. Dance chose me! It’s not how you move, but what moves you “.   In 1990 her full length ballet: “Volven”, (Scandinavian saga of creation), premiered at The Norwegian National Ballet with music by Synne Skouen. Her creation “Volven” has been said to be the most grandious and poetic epos created by a Norwegian choreographer so far.

Sølvi Edvardsen  Norwegian choreographer, considered one of the nation’s best. She studied at the Ballet Institute, specializing in Indian dance, with her very demanding and own style.  The high artistic standard gave Sølvi Edvardsen Ballet Critics 1984 for her work Kimen (The Seed) and the same prize to dancer Catherine Smith for her performance in the balletTerra  in 1987. Her first full-length ballet,  the ninth in a row for the Collage. Through her carriere she has for several productions been coopearating with contemporary visual artists in different fields.

From Finland Jorma Uotinen is clearly missing. He is an outstanding Finnish dancer, choreographer, and in the later years singer. As a dancer and choreographer, Uotinen has worked both in many dance groups, both in and outside of Finland, since 1970.

The Royal Danish Ballet’s unique position in many ways has long shadowed the emergence of other ballet ensembles in Denmark, especially in modern dance. The opening of the Dance House in Copenhagen in 1987 have strengthened theposition of modern dance, and in 1993 opened a new scene, specifically designed for the modern dance groups. It is also on a trial basis opened a government-sponsored school that provides instruction in modern dance technique. It is firstand foremost postmodernist dance drama, created in collaboration with Danish modern composers, that characterizes the new dance groups. In addition to theaforementioned groups, it is Enjoy the Danish Dance Theatre, led by Anette Abildgaard and Warren Spears. By Danish choreographers, it is particularly Flemming Flindt who has won acclaim for his Enetime (solo lession) etter Ionesco drama.

It seems that the curators, still they have done a great work, only have had their eyes open in only a few directions, and except for the danish virtual artist Olafur Eliasson, dont know that Scandinavia exist.

However the choise the curators has done to present Dance and the Visual Arts in the 2oth and 21 st Cneturies is well done, but definitely not complete. With nearly 450 works they have included a lot. The exhibiton traces the high points of an untold story.

The videodance festival pesents 250 films that trace the history of dance since the beginning of the twentieth century. Numeros events have been organised in association with the exhibition:

Fauré, Saint-Säens, Debussy, Ravel –  and Bizet with Orcestre National de France, conducted by Daniele Gatti. Cellosolist Antonio Meneses

Review by Henning Høholt

Daniele Gatti, music chief of Orchestre National de France.

Gabriel Fauré Pelléas and Mélisande. It´s interesting that with a few weeks interval to experience how different two famous French impressionistic composer Debussy and Fauré  in Paris are describing their impression of teh romantic love affair between Pelléas and Mélisande. Where Claude Debussy, in his operaversion, that we revieved lately at Opera Bastille, is composing impressionistic music in his way, and where I find that Gabriel Fauré is like a more romantic, less impressionistc composer, who with another melodic language is describing the history. The pianissimo ending of 1st part were beautiful played. 3rd part with the flute and harp soloists were good.

Historically about Pelléas et Mélisande, Op. 80 is a suite derived from incidental music by Gabriel Fauré (in 1898)  for Maurice Maeterlinck´s play of the same name. He was the first of four leading composers to write music inspired by Maeterlinck’s drama. Debussy opera (1902), Schoenberg early tone poem (1903) and Sibelius  incidental music (1905) followed in the first decade of the 20th century.

Fauré’s music was written for the London production of Maeterlinck’s play in 1898. To meet the tight deadline of the production, Fauré reused some earlier music from incomplete works, and enlisted the help of his pupil Charles Koechlin, who orchestrated the music. Fauré later constructed a four-movement suite from the original theatre music, orchestrating the concert version himself. This is the suite the orchestra perfromed to night consisting of the four parts Prelude, Fileuse, Sicilienne, which is probably the most wellknovn and La Mort de Mélisande (The Dead of Mélisande).

Camille Saint-Säens Celloconcert no 1 in A minor, Op. 33 in 1872, when the composer was age 37.  Saint-Saëns broke with convention in writing the concerto. Instead of using the normal three-movement concertto form, he structured the piece in one continuous movement. This single movement contains three distinct sections. Those sections, tightly-structured, share interrelated ideas. It is a briljant masterpiece which makes a good  dialogue between the soloinstrument and, when played with such a maestro as Antonio Meneses it is wonderful. How he form and take the leadership and when the coordination with the orchestra function so well as in this case it is a pleasure. Saint-Saëns very often uses the solo cello here as a declamatory instrument. This keeps the soloist in the dramatic and musical foreground, the orchestra offering a shimmering backdrop.  In the second part  the solocadenza also gave it a little dramatized feeling, where the strings are answering with a sitat like theme. And from that part the opening theme is being developed and dramaticed. This leads over to the virtuose final part. The music is tremendously demanding for soloists, especially in the fast third section. This difficulty has not stopped the concerto from becoming a favourite of the great virtuoso cellists. It reminds me of a floating river, with its swingings and stops by small quiet beaches. Beautiful. As an encore Antonio Menese played Courante by Johann Sebastian Bach.

After the break Claude Debussy Jeux, one of  Debussys playfull things in his usual “swinging rubato mood”. Jeux (Games) is the last work for orchestra written by Claude Debussy. Described as a “poème dansé” (literally a “danced poem”), it was originally intended to accompany a ballet, and was written for the Ballets Russe of serge Dhiaghilev to be choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky. Debussy initially objected to the scenario, but reconsidered the commission when Diaghilev doubled the fee. Debussy wrote the score quickly, from mid-August to mid-September 1912. That the piece gives the audience (and musicians) the feeling like they are enjoying a kind of a game is based in that the number of tempo markings in Jeux is around 60, sufficient that is being described the score as changing “speed and nuance every two measures”. The thematic motifs of Jeux are likewise very short, often two measures long or constructed from two single-measure building blocks. This gives the playfull feeling, but is also extemely demanding for the condutor and the musicians to get to be successful, but it seemes like the orchestra enjoyed it, and the were well prepared. Delicius clarinet, and remarkable english horn soli.

Maurice Ravel, master of instrumentation extraordinare, his Daphne and Chloe, second suite for orchestra, Lever de jour (Sunrise Day), Pantomime, Danse générale. Compiled in 1913, based on Nos.10, 11 and 12 from the original ballet. Starts elegant  with a beautiful “forest” atmosphaere in the wood instrument group in combination wit the harps and with a “carpet” of strings laying under, elegantly performed. Daniele Gatti is building up the most wonderful climaxes in this. In the second part (if there are any parts), opens with a brillinat first flute solo which continues through all the 4 flutes in the group, topped by the piccolo flute, and ending deep down by the deppest flute. Very well worked. It tells about excellent preparation and cooperation work.

Historically about Daphne and Chloe:

Daphnis et Chloé is a ballet with music by Maurice Ravel. Ravel described it himself, as a “symphonie choréographique” (choreographic symphony). The scenario was adapted by Michael Fokine from an eponymous romance by the Greek writer Longus thought to date from around the 2nd century AD. The story concerns the love between the goatherd Daphnis and the shepherdess Chloé. The ballet is in one act and three scenes.

Ravel began work on the score in 1909 after a commission from Sergei Diaghilev. It was premiered at the Théâtre du châtelet in Paris by his Ballets Russes on June 8, 1912. The orchestra was conducted by Pierre Monteux, the choreography by Michael Fokine. Vaslav Nijinsky ad Tamara Karsavina danced the titelparts of Daphnis and Chloe. Léon Bakst designed the original sets.

Extra number: George Bizet Carmen ouverture, – spite in that he is not an impressionist, a wonderful evening with only French compositions on the program.

Please enjoy our review from Pélléas and Mélisande at Opera Bastille at:

16th International Solo-Dance-Theatre Festival Stuttgart
A Homage to Tanja Liedtke

The Winners Have Been Selected
The 6 winners of the 16th International Solo-Dance-Theatre Festival Stuttgart are the crème de la crème: this year, 24 dancers and choreographers were chosen for the competition from 316 applications and 11 of them entered the finale which took place on sunday evening. At 10 p.m. the winners were announced. They were awarded for their extraordinary performances.

1st prize Choreography: Rodrigue Ousmane. Photo: Lars Menzel

1st prize in choreography
Rodrigue Ousmane with „Leda“ (see photo)
2nd prize in choreography
Eran Gisin with „Emotions, job, emotions, once a day“
3rd prize in choreography
Verena Wilhelm with „Fire and Forget I“

1st prize in dance: Eleesha Drennan with „Whiskers“. (see photo)

1st. Price Dance: Eleesha Drennan. Foto Jo Grabowski

2nd prize in dance
Hugo Marmelada with „Stepping over stones“
3rd prize in dance
Cass Mortimer Eipper with „Body Song“
Audience prize
Hugo Marmelada (choreography and dance) with „Stepping over stones“
The finale was also reached by:
Emma Sandall (choreography) with „Body Song“
Michael Miler (choreography) and Noa Algazi (dance) with „ME-ror“
Paolo Mangiola (choreography) and Fukiko Takase (dance) with „Nuclear Romances“.
The International Solo-Dance-Theatre Festival has been held by the vhs stuttgart since 2006. It enables young dancers and contemporary choreographers to present their pieces to an international top-class jury and an enthusiastic audience.

The Prizes:
1st prize EUR 3.500 donated by the Ministry of
2nd prize EUR 2.500 Science, Research and the Arts
3rd prize EUR 1.500 Baden-Württemberg
1st prize EUR 3.500 donated by the city of Stuttgart
2nd prize EUR 2.500 donated by WALA Dr. Hauschka Kosmetik
3rd prize EUR 1.500 donated by the city of Stuttgart
Audience prize:
EUR 500 donated by Christine Gugel

The Jury:
Christine Brunel (Germany)
Choreographer and dancer
Cristina Castro (Brazil)
Shane Carroll (Australia)
Dancer and dance teacher
Marco Goecke (Germany)
Samuel Wuersten (Netherlands)
Artistic director of the „Holland Dance Festival“.
Head of the Festival: Gudrun Hähnel
Artistic Director: Marcelo Santos
Curators: Marcelo Santos, Petra Mostbacher-Dix, Gudrun Hähnel, Birgit Brinkmann
Presentation: Aylin Bergemann
Funding provided by the city of Stuttgart, the Tanja Liedtke Foundation, the Robert
Bosch Stiftung, the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg,
the Department of Culture and the Arts in West Australia, WALA Dr. Hauschka
Kosmetik, Bürgerstiftung Stuttgart, the embassy of Spain, the consulate general of
Israel, the embassy of Portugal and the Instituto Camões Portugal, Christine Gugel,
the hotel Rieker Novum and goldfish.

Probably:  One of the big events in the Paris Ballet world autumn 2012 will be the guesting of the world famous  Ballet Trocadero Monte Carlo at Folies Bergere:

Ballet Trocadero Monte Carlo at Folies Bergere, Autumn 2012.

The program will be:

From Swan Lake act 2. Musikk Peter Tsjaikovskij

A Pas de Deux

Go Barocco. (satire on Balanchine’s choreography)

Walburgis night (Music Wagner?)

Historically regarding Les Ballets de Trockadero Monte Carlo:

Les Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo is an American all-male drag ballet corps which parodies the conventions and clichés of romantic and classical ballet. The company was co-founded by Peter Anastos, Natch Taylor and Antony Bassae in New York City in 1974, producing small, late-night shows, in off-off Broadway lofts. Their first show as on September 9, 1974, at a second story loft on 14th street, in the heart of the meat-packing district. The current artistic director is Tory Dubrin.

After receiving a favorable critical review in The New Yorker by Arlene Croce, it was discovered by a wider audience. The “Trocks” toured the world, with prolonged engagements in many major cities. In 2008 they performed at the Royal Variety Performance in front of Prince Charles.

The dancers portray both male and female roles in a humorous style that combines parodies of ballet, posing and physical comedy with “straighter” pieces intended to show off the performers’ technical skills. Much of the humor is in seeing male dancers en travesti; performing roles usually reserved to females, wearing tutus and dancing en pointe.


Founded in 1974 by a group of ballet enthusiasts for the purpose of presenting a playful, entertaining view of traditional, classical ballet in parody form and en travestiLES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO first performed in the late-late shows in Off-Off Broadway lofts.

The TROCKS, as they are affectionately known, quickly garnered a major critical essay by Arlene Croce in The New Yorker, and combined with reviews in The New York Times and The Village Voice, established the Company as an artistic and popular success.

By mid 1975, the TROCKS’ inspired blend of their loving knowledge of dance, their comic approach, and the astounding fact that men can, indeed, dance en pointe without falling flat on their faces, was being noted beyond New York. Articles and notices in publications such as Variety, Oui, The London Daily Telegraph, as well as a Richard Avedon photo essay in Vogue, made the Company nationally and internationally known.

The 1975-76 season was a year of growth and full professionalization. The Company found management, qualified for the National Endowment for the Arts Touring Program, and hired a full-time teacher and ballet mistress to oversee daily classes and rehearsals. Also in this season, they made their first extended tours of the United States and Canada. Packing, unpacking, and repacking tutus and drops, stocking giant sized toe shoes by the case; running for planes and chartered buses all became routine parts of life.

The troupe Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo, performs with Shirley MacLaine (center) on her 1977 television special "Where Do We Go From Here?"

Since those beginnings, the TROCKS have established themselves as a major dance phenomenon throughout the world. They have participated in dance festivals in Bodrum (Turkey), Holland, San Luis Potosi, Madrid, Montreal, New York, Paris, Spoleto, Turin, and Vienna.

There have been television appearances as varied as a Shirley MacLaine special, (enjoy photo from 1977) the “Dick Cavett Show,” “What’s My Line?” “Real People,” “On-Stage America,” with Kermit and Miss Piggy on their show “Muppet Babies,” a BBC Omibus special on the world of ballet hosted by Jennifer Saunders and have had their own solo specials on national networks in Japan and Germany, as well as a French television special with Julia Migenes.

A documentary was filmed and aired internationally by the acclaimed British arts program, The South Bank Show. The Company was featured in the PBS program, The Egg, about arts in America, winning an emmy award for the director and appeared in a segment of Nightline in December 2008. Several performances were taped by a consortium of Dutch, French and Japanese TV networks at the Maison de la Danse in Lyon, France, for worldwide broadcast and DVD distribution. Awards that the Trocks have won over the years include for best classical repertoire from the prestigious Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards (2007) (UK), the Theatrical Managers Award (2006) (UK) and the 2007 Positano Award (Italy) for excellence in dance. In December 2008, the Trocks appeared at the 80th anniversary Royal Variety Performance, in aid of the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund, in London, in the presence of members from the British royal family, inclusive Prince Charles.

The TROCKS’ numerous tours have been both popular and critical successes – their frenzied annual schedule has included seven tours to Australia and New Zealand, twenty six to Japan (where their annual summer tours have created a nation-wide cult following and a fan club), ten to South America, three tours to South Africa, and sixty four tours of Europe. In the United States, the Company has become a regular part of the college and university circuit in addition to regular dance presentations in cities in 49 states. The Company has appeared in over 30 countries and over 500 cities worldwide since its founding in 1974.

Increasingly, the Company is presenting longer seasons, which have included extended engagements in Amsterdam, Athens, Auckland, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Brisbane, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Cologne, Glasgow, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Lisbon, London, Lyon, Madrid, Melbourne, Moscow (at the famed Bolshoi Theater), Paris (at the Chatelet Theater), Perth, Rome, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Vienna and Wellington.

The Company continues to appear in benefits for international AIDS organizations such as DRA (Dancers Responding to AIDS) and Classical Action in New York City, the Life Ball in Vienna, Austria, Dancers for Life in Toronto, Canada, and London’s Stonewall Gala. In addition, The TROCKS have given, or participated in special benefit performances for Connecticut Ballet Theater, Ballet Hawaii, Rochester City Ballet, Sadler’s Wells Theater in London and the Gay and Lesbian Community Center and Young Audiences / Arts for Learning Organization, and the Ali Forney Center, benefiting homeless gay youths in New York City. In 2009, the Trocks gave a benefit performance for Thailand’s Queen Sirikit’s Scholarship Fund in Bangkok, which helps finances schooling for children of impoverished Thai families, and helped raise over four hundred thousand dollars.

The original concept of LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO has not changed. It is a Company of professional male dancers performing the full range of the ballet and modern dance repertoire, including classical and original works in faithful renditions of the manners and conceits of those dance styles. The comedy is achieved by incorporating and exaggerating the foibles, accidents, and underlying incongruities of serious dance. The fact that men dance all the parts–heavy bodies delicately balancing on toes as swans, sylphs, water sprites, romantic princesses, angst-ridden Victorian ladies–enhances rather than mocks the spirit of dance as an art form, delighting and amusing the most knowledgeable, as well as novices, in the audiences. For the future, there are plans for new works in the repertoire: new cities, states and countries to perform in; and for the continuation of the TROCKS’ original purpose: to bring the pleasure of dance to the widest possible audience. They will, as they have done for thirty four years, “Keep on Trockin’.”

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Inc.
is a nonprofit dance company chartered by the State of New York, Eugene McDougle, President; Lucille Lewis Johnson, Vice President; Vaughan de Kirby, Vice President; Tory Dobrin, secretary/treasurer.

TOURNEPLAN 2012 (so far:)
April 3 – 8
Teatro de Bellas Artes, Bogota, Colombia
April 30 – May 6
May 7 – 13
May 14 – 20
Esplanade Theater, Singapore
Thailand Cultural Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Academy of Performing Arts, Hong Kong, China 
June 18, 19
June 27, 28, 29, 30
Kuopio Festival, Kuopio, Finland
Tanzsommer, Insbruck, Austria 
June / July Europe
September 25 – October 7  Follies Bergere, Paris, France
October 26, 27
October 30
November 1
November 3, 4
November 6, 7
November 9 – 11
November 15 – 18
ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland, New Zealand
Opera House, Wellington, New Zealand
Civic Theater, Newcastle, Australia
Palais Theater, Melbourne, Australia
Canberra Theater, Canberra, Australia
Her Majesty’s Theater, Adelaide, Australia
Regal Theater, Perth, Australia 

Les Ballet Russes 2012

Andris Liepa receive flowers, beacuse of his 50 years birthday. Photo Henning Høholt

Monday the 2012 Les saisons Ballet Russes at Theatre des Champs Elysees, 28 June to July 1st 2012 was presented.

By Henning Høholt

The program, which is a Hommage to Ballets Russes by Sergei Dhiaghilev includes a new production of Cléopâtre – Ida Rubinstein by the choreographer Patrick de Bana . The Firebird to the music by Igor Stravinsky, and La Spectre de la Rose to music by Carl Maria von Weber.

It was presented at a reception in the residence of the Russian Ambassador in Paris.  Andris Liepa, chairman of the Martin Liepa Foundation presented the program.

Cléopâtre – Ida Rubinstein by Patrick de Bana.

Patrick de Bana, choreography for Cléopâtre. Photo: Henning Høholt

In addition to the “original” composers for the Cléopâtre presented by Dhiaghilev in 1909, Ravel, Stravinski, Rimski-Korsakov, Massenet, Fauré, Glazunov, the choreographer Patrick de Bana has also choosen music by the Turkish contemporary composer Omar Faruk Tekbilek, (*1951) who has the right dreamy atmosphare, and rhytmic in his music, for what de Bana wants to show in his version.

Casting in Cléopâtre:

Ilze Liepa shall perform the role as Ida Ruinstein/Cléopâtre. Furthermore the dancers: Artem Yashmenikov, Mikhail Lobukhin, Mikhail Martynyuk, as Vaslav Nijinsky. Danila Korsuntsev, Natalia Balakhnicheva, Alexandre Timofeeva as Anna Pavlova. Veronika Varnovskaya and finally Igor Pivorovich as Serge Dhiaghilev.

Omar Faruk Tekbilek.

Originally presented in June 1908 as Nuit d’ Egypte by Mikhail Fokine
Music by Arensky, Glazunov, Glinka, and Mussorgsky
Music for Cléopâtre‘s disrobing scene: Mlada by Rimsky-Korsakov. Original Choreography by Mikhail Fokine
Costumes and Decor by Léon Bakst.
Produced by Serge Diaghilev, Serge Lifar, Gabrielle Astruc (and others) at the Chatelet Theatre. 

Andris Liepa (right) presents the choreographer of Cléopätre, Patrick de Bana, and the librettist Jean-Francois Vazelle. Photo: Henning Høholt

In 1908 This was the premiere of Ballet Russes in Paris, and a whole new era in Ballet began with this production. In the audience were Auguste Rodin, Isadora Duncan, Yvette Guillbert, Gabrielle Faulk, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Jose-Maria Sert, Gabrille Rajane, and Jean Cocteau,

After her season with Ballet Russes, Ida Rubinstein dances at the Olympia Theater in Paris, the London Colosseum, and other music hall-style venues in France and Italy. She performs as Cleopatra, and does Tchaikowsky’s Dying Swan among other pieces. She sails to New York to perform at the Metropolitan Opera.

Léon Baskt’s design of Ida in Cléopâtre (1909)

Ida Rubinstein as Cléopâtre (1909)
Jpg by M. Evans from scan of P.D. image

Léon Baskt’s set design for Michel Fokine’s Cléopâtre 

Many of the twentieth century’s notions about Eastern dance came not from the Arab world, but from Russia. The most notable and successful exporter of pseudo-oriental dance was the Ballet Russe, the legendary company that enchanted the world with its portrayals of forbidden harems and provocative temptresses. Included in the ensemble’s repertoire were the so-called “oriental ballets:” Scheherazade, Cleopatra, Thamar, Le Dieu Bleu, Les Orientales and the Polovestian Dances from Prince Igor. Here the genius of Russian composers, dancers, choreographers, and theatrical designersmerged to create a dazzling vision of the exotic East, a vision so powerful that it still conti nues to shape popular notions about Eastern dance to the present day.1 

 However. The roots of the Ballet Russe must be sought in the Orientalist vein, which ran through Russian literature and music of the nineteenth century, as well as in the historical experience of the Russian people themselves. Geographical proximity had always given the Russians exposure to Eastern peoples, although this contact was sometimes unwilling, as in the case of the thirteenth century Mongol invasion. As a result of the centuries spent under the Tatar yoke, Russia was often viewed by the West as more Asiatic than European. The proverb “scratch a Russian and find a Tatar” insinuated that beneath the Western facade lurked an Oriental character. Clearly traditional kaftan worn by Russian noblemen and the opulent splendor of the Kremlin interior reflected Asiatic style.

Alexandra Timofeeva as The Firebird

The Firebird (French: L’oiseau de feu) is a 1910 ballet created by the composer Igor Stravinsky and choreographer Michael Fokine. The ballet is based on Russian folk tales of the magical glowing bird of the same name that is both a blessing and a curse to its captor.

The ballet has historic significance not only as Stravinsky’s breakthrough piece — “Mark him well”, said Diaghilev to Tamara Karsavina, who was dancing the title role: “He is a man on the eve of celebrity…” — but also as the beginning of the collaboration between Diaghilev and Stravinsky that would also produce Petrushka and The Rite of Spring.

The Firebird ballet was the first of Dhiaghilev´s Ballets Russes productions to have an all-original score composed for it. Alexandre Benois wrote in 1910 that he had two years earlier suggested to Diaghilev the production of a Russian nationalist ballet, an idea all the more attractive given both the newly awakened French passion for Russian dance and also the ruinously expensive costs of staging opera.

Benois collaborated with the choreographer Michael Fokine, drawing from several books of Russian fairy tales including the collection of A. Afanasyev, to concoct a story involving the Firebird and the evil magician Kashchei.

Diaghilev desided after a search among different composer to give  the commission to the 28-year-old Stravinsky.

The ballet was premiered by the Ballets Russes in Paris on 25 June 1910. Even before the first performance, the company sensed a huge success in the making; and every performance of the ballet in that first production, as Karsavina recalled, met a “crescendo” of success. The critics were ecstatic, praising the ballet for what they perceived as an ideal symbiosis between decor, choreography and music.

For Stravinsky, it was a major breakthrough both with the public and with the critics, The Firebird’s success also secured Stravinsky’s position as Diaghilev’s star composer, and there were immediate talks of a sequel, leading to the composition of Petrushka and The Rite of Spring.

In the version presented now the casting is: Alexandra Timofeeva as The Firebird. Ilya Kuznezov as Prince Ivan. Natalia Balachnicheva as The Princess. Igor Pivorovich and the solists and and the Kreml Ballet.

Le Spectre de la Rose: Nikolai Tsiskaridze.

Le Spectre de la Rose is a ballet of the Ballets Russes based on a poem by the French poemist Théophile Gautier. The music, by Carl Maria von Weber, was his 1819 piano piece Invitation to the Dance, in the 1841 orchestration by Hector Berlioz. Choreography was by Michael Fokine and set and costume design by Léon Bakst. It was premiered on April 19, 1911 by the Ballets Russes in the Théâtre de Monte Carlo.

The story is about a debutante who falls asleep after her first ball. She dreams that she is dancing with the rose that she had been holding in her hand. Her dream ends when the rose escapes through the window. The dancers at the original performance were Vaslav Nijinsky as the Rose and Tamara Karsavina as the Girl.

In the production that Andris Liepa will present in Paris the casting is Nikolai Tsiskaridze as the Rose and Marianna Ryzhkina as the Girl.  The costumes is by Anna Nezhnaya after Léon Bakst.

Andris Liepa is planning to present the ballet Le Coq d´Or in Paris on 2013 in combination with that it is 100 yers Jubilee for the Theatre des Champs Elysees. Portrait photo: copyright: Kulturkompasset

Le coq d’or in 2013.

For the season 2013 Andris Liepa plans to guest Paris with the ballet Coq d´Or with music by Rimsky-Korsakov.

The ballet Le Coq d’or (The Golden Cockerel) was originally staged in 1914 in London and Paris, by Michael Fokine for Diaghilev´s Ballets Russes. This work was an opera-ballet, a danced interpretation of the Rimsky-Korsakov´s epic opera of the same name, with the dancers accompanied by a chorus and solo singers.

About the Opera version of Le coq d’or:

The Golden Cockerel (Russian: Золотой петушокZolotoy petushok) is an opera in three acts, with short prologue and even shorter epilogue, byNikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Its libretto, by Vladimir Belsky, derives from Alexander Pushkin´s 1834 poem The Tale of Golden Cockrerel, which in turn is based on two chapters of Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving. The opera was completed in 1907 and premiered in 1909 in Moscow, after the composer’s death. Outside Russia it has often been performed in French as Le coq d’or.

PARIS: Once again it was a pleasure to enjoy Leif Ove Andsnes recital concert at Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris. Andsnes is touring with a brilliant program as it is 25 years since his debut. The Paris program included Haydn, Bartok, Debussy  in the first part and the second half Chopin. In the first part Bartok was extraordinary.

On stage after the concert Leif Ove Andsnes receiving congratulations from Lorentz Reitan and Henning Høholt.

A full concerthall at Theatre des Champs Elysees, including the ambassador from Norway Tarald Brautaseth, the former director from Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Lorentz Reitan, who is now preparing the 250 years Bergen orchestra Junilee, and others gave ovations to Andsnes, and he returned with three enchores, Chopin, Rachmaninov and Grieg (of course).

The concert was organized by Jeanine Roze productions.

Next recital at Theatre des Champs Elysees with Leif Ove Andsnes will be in 2012 April 5th. Presenting a programme by Beethoven, Liszt and Chopin.

PARIS: Orlando Paladino (Haydn) at Theatre du Chatelet, was extraordinay good. I have never seen so good a combination between scenography, costumes, dancers, acrobats, singers, musicians. WOW. And the applause wouldnt stop, so they had to give two enchored, the last was definitely not prepared or planned, and became like a happening on stage. Wonderful.

Review by Henning Høholt

Alcina, the fairy, landing from the "heaven": Anna Goryachova n the center, right Ekaterina Bakanova as Angelica. Left Alcinas guard. Photo: Foto; Marie-Noëlle Robert. Scenography, costume: Nicolas Buffe.

Joseph Haydn: New production from the Théâtre du Châtelet: Orlando Paladino.

Following in the footsteps of some illustrious predecessors, not least Händel with his celebrated Orlando, Joseph Haydn and librettist Nunziato Porta were the next to relate the embroiled adventures of Ariosto’s hero.

In a piece combining elements of comedy, magic and heroism, the two authors conduct the action at a devil’s pace, its virtuoso delivery being not without its similarities to Rossini.

Orlando paldino, first act. In the tower: Ekaterina Bakanova as Angelica, the Princess. Foto; Marie-Noëlle Robert. Scenography, costume: Nicolas Buffe.

It seems that it has been a very playfull and fruitfull cooperation between the three outstanding “players”, Kamel Ouali, regi and choreography, Nicolas Buffe, scenography, costumes and the visuall conception, and last, but not least, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, musicality in making this production. Very well helped by the brilliant and playfull light by Renaud Corler.

Pasquale, (Bruno Taddia) is entering in this transport "monster" . The person here is a model.

I enjoyed the very many, but not too many, creasy ideas on stage, inclusive the different transportation bicycles, scooters, cars, and the twisting transparent tower in the first act. Furthermore the sea in the second act, which reminds me of old days scenery at Drottningholm Court Theatre by Stockholm, Sweden. And even with the same type of “sound”.

Furthermore the ballet and the acrobatic events, which only entertained, lifted up some parts of the “entertainments” and didn´t disturbe.  – In this playfull cooperation, notthing was too much. (But I hate, when I see in other performances notice that the stage director don´t trust in the music, and are starting putting in effects to make the stage alive). Here the good action was underlining the playfull production.

Krešimir Špicer´s long and beautifull aria in the last act was a hit.

Sincerelly I do hope that Theatre du Chatelet will put this production back on stage again, so an even much larger audience would get the possibility to enjoy it.

A very good art book presenting  Nicolas Buffe´s art is awailable in the bookshops. Buy it. It is good!!!

In the outstanding cast we enjoyed:

Direction musicale: Jean-Christophe Spinosi

Orlando Paladino, first scene second act. On the bridge: Kresimir Spicer as Orlando paladino. Photo: Marie-Noëlle Robert

Mise en scène et chorégraphie: Kamel Ouali
Conception visuelle et costumes: Nicolas Buffe
Lumières: Renaud Corler

Orlando: ( alternating ) Krešimir Špicer, at the Sunday performance that i attended. /David Curry

Kresimir Spicer was singing the part of Orlando on March 17, 21 & 25.
David Curry was singing the part of Orlando on March 19 & 23.

Angelica: Ekaterina Bakanova
Rodomonte: Joan Martín-Royo
Medoro: Pascal Charbonneau
Licone: ( en alternance ) David Curry on my performance /Krešimir Špicer
Eurilla: Raquel Camarinha

Anegelica and Medoro: Ekaterina Bakanova and Pascal Charbonneau. Photo: Marie-Noëlle Robert

Pasquale: Bruno Taddia
Alcina: Anna Goryachova
Caronte: Adam Palka

I also want to mention the names of the acrobates, dancers, and the jumping wader:

Acrobates: Compagnie des Farfadais – outstanding.

Danseurs: Marjorie Ascione, Delphine Attal, Cécile Chaduteau, Iskai Davis, David Drouard, Fly, France Hervé, Medhi Ouacheck, Geoffrey Ploquin, Gaëtan Renaudin, Salem Sobihi, Nadine Timas, Alexandre Zounoun.

The jumping wader: Louis Fait.

Wild with desire for the princess Angelica, the paladin Orlando is intent on thwarting the love of the young woman for her betrothed, Medoro. His squire, Pasquale, seizes on the opportunity to woo the shepherdess, Eurilla, while the boastful knight, Rodomonte, becomes Angelica’s protector and the sorceress, Alcina, watches over the lovers’ happiness.

The work:

Rodomonte: Joan-Martin Royo, surrounded by left David Curry as Licone and right raquel Camarinha as Eurilla. Photo: Marie-Noëlle Robert

Composed by Joseph Haydn and staged in 1782 after the libretto by Nunziato Porta, his usual librettist, this comic heroic drama inspired by Ariosto’s work was already part of the particularly “comic” opera repertory in 18th century musical theatre.

Intended to celebrate the visit of the Grand Duke Paul of Russia to Eszterháza in 1782, and staged for the festival of St. Nicholas (Patron Saint of Prince Eszterházy), Orlando Paladino was staged 30 times after its creation before becoming Haydn’s most popular opera, thereby taking him across Europe between 1791 and 1798.

As testimony to its widespread circulation, thirteen German copies and eight Italian copies of the score still remain in existence. But it was the publication of the critical edition, in 1972, which marked its big come-back to the international stage, in the early 80s.

It provides for irresistible entertainment, whose virtuosity and happy combination of serious and comedic, magic and heroic, is somewhat reminiscent of Rossini…

Ncolas Buffe´s oriental phantasy world is the surrounding around Orlando paladino. Photo: Antoine Piechaud.

Nicolas Buffe describes his world:

Ornament, grotesques
My work inherits its structure from the Roman grotesques, those ornaments rediscovered during the Renaissance in the ruins of Emperor Nero’s Golden Villa. Grotesques permit great freedom of work: improbable encounters, cumulative imagery, negation of spaces and fusion of species, the manipulation of weightiness of form and an insolent proliferation of hybrids. Far from being senseless, these juxtapositions permit great depth of iconological and iconographical debate.

Discoveries, DIY and a mix of erudite culture and pop culture
Joining, sticking, combining figures taken from popular and erudite culture, I proceed by producing the most eloquent associations according to whim. The dialogue between past and present, which is deeply ingrained in my work, is tantamount to entertainment. However, as during the Renaissance, it is a serious game that I strive to produce, one that questions and stimulates thought.

Nicolas Buffe is represented by galerie Schirman & de Beaucé.

Jean-Christophe Spinosi is conducting the playfull performance. Photo: Genestier.

Jean-Christophe Spinosi reacquaints himself here with some characters who are familiar to him, thanks to his having directed and recorded them in the Vivaldi version for his Orlando furioso. He forms a team with choreographer, Kamel Ouali,

Kamel Ouli, stage director and choreographer. Photo: DR

to whom Le Châtelet has already played host for the stage production of Gérard Pesson’s Pastorale, and Kamel Ouali is this time also responsible for stage direction. Combining comics, cartoons and manga with the unbridled energy of Renaissance grotesqueries and other ornamental exuberances, visual artist, Nicolas Buffe, transports us into a world where pop and classical culture merge to become one.

PARIS: Musically is the modern production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart´s opera Don Giovanni a victory for the chief conductor Philippe Jordan and for Petter Mattei in the titelrole as Don Giovanni at Opera Bastille. Visually a scandal.

Review by Henning Høholt. Photos by:  Charles Duprat , Opera de Paris.

à gauche :
David Bizic (Masetto)
Aleksandra Zamojska (Zerlina)
Peter Mattei (Don Giovanni). Photo: Charles Duprat

It is a privillige for a stage director and an operachief that they can make productions of good operas from the worlds most famouse composers, and then change it away from the original history, spite in often trying to keep the libretto, which then, unfortunately often is coming in conflict with what we do see on stage. But it has to be done with musicality, and intelligencce. Furthermore. To renew and modernice needs talent.

Such as for exempel the outstanding young Norwegian regissoer Stefan Herheim and his staff is doing, with their modernizing of operas, latest La Boheme,  Lulu, Tannhäuser, Julius Cæsar, Salome. And hopefully with the coming Die Meistersinger in Nürnberg in Paris. This group is working with talent and musicality.

Don Giovanni: Petter Mattei is kissing David Bizic (Leporello) when he wants him to continue working for him. Modern nice detail. Photo: Charles Duprat, Opera de Paris.

The case in this renewed production of Don Giovanni at Opera de Bastille, which is a revival from a production at Palais Garnier is, seen with my eyes, that it lacks of talent. It doesn´t has a good idea for wh y it is renewed, and therefore no mission, than just to make soemthing completely strange, or to try to update it to our day.s I looks like the history could be hoing in in our days, and like forexempel Rome ond Juliet it could, but then the music and the libretto is wrong. Critic colleagues of mine tells that it was working better at Palais Garnier, when it was premiered there in 2006. It was for the first time presented in this production at Opera Bastille in 2007.

Scenography. Photo: Charles Duprat, Opera de Paris.
Performances until 21 avril 2012

In this production I feel like being in a cold foyer of a hospital, or an office building, with a large all round window wall in the right side, giving us a look out to other  modern houses a cross an open place. In this scenography all the performance is going on,

The scenography by Christopher Kanter  is  NEVER functioning, so we understand what it is all about. Furthermore, as it often happens by opera productions at Opera de Paris the light, responsible André Didot,  is bad. It was not possible to see the faces and get an idea of the mimic, and in Don Giovanni and many other productions, mimic is importent, and specially, when it is in this very large operahall Bastille. The bad lighting is a seriouse complain, and the management will hopefully notice that for further productions, as this is not functioning.

If I see this production with other eyes, it has been a strong dramatically history about a young man, Don Giovanni, with too good a position in life, too much money, and a position,  and a  hunger for sex with girls, which does that he is non stop using his position to get what he wants. – With this point of view, I do observe that it has an idea. But then it would have been better to ask a contemporary composer to write a new opera, with music, whioch is uppdated, to the picture we see for our eyes. But then they would probobly not have got the posibility to get full houses, because in this case, it is Mozarts music, who are selling the tickets, not the new idea.  i dislike the missuse and spoiling of a beautiful opera.

However, as often mentioned. Musically it is of the very highest class at Opera de Paris. Petter Mattei has the most beautiful voice for Don Giovanni, and he looks good. I was not so happy for Patricia Petibon as Donna Anna, but her Don Ottavio, Bernard Richter was extraordinary good. Donna Elvira, sung by Vérinique Gens was best of the female roles. She has the little extra in her voice that Donna Elvira needs. Leporello was very well sung and played by David Bizic, and Il Coommendatire was in the best hands  by Paata Burchuladze, Zerlina was Gaëlle Arquez and Masetto Nahuel di Pierro.

Véronique Gens (Donna Elvira), Le Commandeur et à l'extrême droite : Patricia Petibon (Donna Anna). Photo: Charles Duprat.

As mentioned the scenography by Christoph Kanter was wrong, as it doesn´t give the right surroundings so the audience can understand the history. the costumes by Annette Beaufays, ordinary daily suits. Nothing to write home about. and hopeless light.  Furthermore the music is wrong for the modern outfit.

Some details were good. Staginng y the acting singers was made as a good theater production staged by Michael Haneke. When we try to see it as a modern history, which could have been from our days. Don Giovanni, Petter Mattei is kissing David Bizic (Leporello) when he wants him to continue working for him. It could have happend to day. A modern nice detail. The orchestra on stage in the final scene, how it came in, and shouldplay for the dinner, functioned well.  The funny details with Leporello eating discretely behind, was lost. But the backstage orchestra didn´t have any reason for being there, as we were not in such surroundings  where such events are going on. The wedding preparations for Masetto and Zerlina was not clear in the history, and the washing/cleaning people celebrating them didn´twork out. The funeral of the Commandant was lost, and to let it look like he was in a  sideroom, when he should arrive in the last act, didn´t work out. The party where DOn Giovanni shall run away with Zerlina didn´t function.

Specailly during the first act I was feeling that this was a scandal. However, during the second act I started to understand the history better, and in the end it became understandable from a modern view. And i Liked the last picture, with all the choire and the singers sitting around the window, and together singing the Epilogue,

Philippe Jordan has the right musically feeling, and together with his outstanding orchestra it works well, and with outstanding soloists in the orchestra.

ANNA BOLENA in Florence

Anna Bolena: Mariella Devia. Foto: Opera di Florenze.

ANNA BOLENA by Gaetano Donizetti

FLORENZE: It is truly surprising that such a Belcanto milestone like Gaetano Donizetti’s Anna Bolena had never been performed in Florence in modern times. On the other hand, the fortune of this work started in 1957, with the historical revival at La Scala with Maria Callas in a production by Luchino Visconti.

From the 1960s on, important primadonnas have included this opera in their repertoire, but none of them was called to perform it in Florence.  Old nineteenth century Florentine chronicles report only a handful of performances, beginning in 1832.

Thus this staging in Florence is an authentic event, something not to be missed, not least because the protagonist is one of the most important interpreters of Donizetti’s operas in the last decades, soprano Mariella Devia.

Henrik VIII: Roberto Scandiuzzi. Foto: Opera di Florenze

I am hard pressed to detect Graham Vicks hand in this production, set in the gloomy and steely scenes by Paul Brown, who also designed the beautiful and rich costumes, reminiscent of the Northern European painting in their shapes and colours; Henry VIII’s costumes stood out for their lavishness, with Roberto Scandiuzzi looking as if her has jumped off one of Hans Holbein’s well-known portraits.

The hunting scene was highly effective: Bolena and the King were on fake horses recalling images from British paintings, but whoever is familiar with

Florentine art could think also of Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Castagno.

Vick’s staging has been reprised by Stefano Trespidi: the main characters’ acting was well thought of, but the same can not be said about the chorus, generally too static and with some moments when the movements were puppet-like almost like a parody.

From a mere musical point of view, the performance had a rather sleepy start, but caught life as it progressed. The score was played almost in its integrity, opening many pages that traditionally are cut, so that the opera acquired nearly Wagnerian proportions (about three hours and ten minutes of music).  In order to sustain such length (and notoriously not all Bolena’s music stays at the same high quality level), the opera would have needed better conducting than Roberto Abbado‘s slow and sleepy approach. The conductor proved to be able to follow the singers quite well, but failed to give a decisive imprint to this arduous score, which – deprived of theatrical vitality – at times sounded even boring.

From Anna Bolena in Florenze. To the left: Mariella Devia in the titelrole. Foto: Opera di Florenze

The protagonist, Mariella Devia, is a highly experienced Italian soprano, who knows quite well how to pace herself. She saved her energy in the first act, while showing all her strengths in the second, with an excellent duet with Seymour and an exhilarating finale, where she gave all of herself literally spellbinding the audience filled to capacity.

Rightly so, Ms. Devia, keeping into consideration her vocal characteristics, highlights the pathetic and sorrowful side of Anna Bolena, to the detriment of her regalness.  As a whole, her performance tended to emphasize the most lyrical moments – albeit at times with a certain lack of expressive pathos – over moments when a more vibrant vocal and declamatory presence would have been desirable.

Unfortunately she did not pay too much attention to the regal and incisive recitatives or some key phrases of this magnificent Donizetti role (one for all: the famous Giudici…ad Anna! ) which went totally unnoticed, even though perhaps a character such as the unfortunate Queen is not after all ideal to completely highlight her interpretative gifts.  One might rhetorically wonder who, in the current international scene, could sing this role with a better stylistic propriety.  The answer would be similarly rhetorical: nobody.

Next to her stood mezzo-soprano Sonia Ganassi as Giovanna Seymour. A highly skilled and intelligent singer. Ms. Ganassi has nevertheless lost some security and richness of timbre over the years.  Her ligne du chant was however quite accurate, which allowed her to achieve several truly felicitous moments, particularly in Act II.

Josè Maria Lo Monaco was quite convincing in the difficult role of the page Smeton, and created a more than acceptable character acting-wise.

Unfortunately the male cast was not even remotely on the same level.  Percy was Shlava Mukeria, a Georgian tenor with a tiny and unpleasant voice; inaudible in the low register, it acquires a certain security above the stave.  His vocal delivery is exactly the opposite of the typically Italian expansiveness that Donizetti requires from a tenor.  The quality of his timbre being truly poor, what emerged was rather a caricature of the character of Percy, who in theory should be an ardent and disappointed young lover.

Roberto Scandiuzzi was an unacceptable Enrico VIII, his voice having lost colour, support, shine and even a good pitch.  Barely adequate was Luca Casalin as Sir Hervey, while Konstantin Gorny’s Lord Rochefort was several notches below any acceptable level.

The performance was in the whole very warmly greeted by the audience, with a triumphal ovation for Mariella Devia.

Review by Fabio Bardelli, translation from italian to english Nicola Lischi

ANNA BOLENA by Gaetano Donizetti

Florence, Italy. Teatro Comunale. 15th march, 2012

Direttore: Roberto Abbado

Regia: Graham Vick,  (ripresa da Stefano Trespidi). Scene e costumi: Paul Brown, (ripresi da Elena Cicorella)

Luci: Giuseppe di Iorio, (riprese da Gianni Paolo Mirenda)

The cast:

Enrico VIII: Roberto Scandiuzzi

Anna Bolena: Mariella Devia

Giovanna Seymour: Sonia Ganassi

Lord Rochefort: Konstantin Gorny

Lord Riccardo Percy: Shalva Mukeria

Smeton: José Maria Lo Monaco

Sir Hervey: Luca Casalin

Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Maestro del Coro: Piero Monti

OPERA by Oscar Bianchi (1975)
Belgian première

Thanks to my eyes. Photo: Elisabeth Carrecchio

BRUXELLES: After the earlier creations of House of the sleeping beauties in May 2009 and Matsukaze in May 2011, La Monnaie presents for the first time a work by Oscar Bianchi, one of the most promising composers of his generation. Thanks to my eyes is a “chamber opera” for twelve musicians, commissioned by the T&M in Paris and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and created in July 2011 in Aix. The libretto, in English, is taken from a theatre text by Joël PommeratGrâce à mes yeux, created in 2003. This is the first collaboration in the world of opera of the composer and the man of theatre who will also be producing the work. Joël Pommerat is presently writing a new opera with the Belgium composer Philippe Boesmans, and commissioned by La Monnaie for 2014.

“In Joël Pommerat’s theatre the words search for one another, the sentences thrust themselves, break and curl up, until they emerge from the depth of silence, unspoken feelings and unconfessed secrets.” When one reads Didier Méreuze’s commentary on the work of this playwright, one understands why the composer, Oscar Bianchi, was seduced by the sophistication of this text whose fierceness and depth fit easily into the dense fabric, the resounding subtlety and the sharp sense of dramaturgy of Bianchi’s music. Not at all surprising that from the encounter between these two great artists of the 21st century, rose a work of such magnitude.

Oscar Bianchi

After the creation in Aix-en-Provence, the French conductor Franck Ollu leads for the first time the Orchestre symphonique de la Monnaie for the creation in Brussels.  At La Monnaie, in 2009, he conducted the concert Com que Voz, a composition by Stefano Gervasoni inspired by the Portuguese Fado.

The cast is composed of the world creation’s performers. We will hear the German baritone Hagen Matzeit in the role ofAymar, the Scottish bass Brian Bannatyne-Scott in the role of The Father, the English soprano Fflur Wyn in A Young Blonde Woman, the Israeli soprano Keren Motseri in the role of A Young Woman in the Night and two actors in the roles of The Mother and The Man with Long Hair, the French Anne Rotger and Antoine Rigot.

Working alongside Joël Pommerat, we will find Eric Soyer for the scenography and the lighting, and Isabelle Deffin for the costumes.


1 April 2012 (avant-première) – 15 :00

3, 5, 6, 10 & 11 April 2012 – 20:15

Théâtre National

Commissioned by T&M-Paris / Réseau Varèse & Festival d’Aix-en-Provence

Production Festival d’Aix-en-Provence

In co-production with La Monnaie ¦ De Munt, Théâtre National, T&M-Paris / Théâtre de Gennevilliers CDNCC & Musica – Festival International des musiques d’aujourd’hui de Strasbourg

Co-presentation Théâtre National

Statens Museum for Kunst, thanks to a large donation given the opportunity to acquire a distinctive work of Asger Jorn. The new picture, with the explanation/titel: I’m sick and tired of the sun, (1961) occupies a central place in the new presentation of the “Danish and International Art after 1900”, which opens the 30th March 2012.
Asger Jorn. Le soleil m’emmerde (I’m sick and tired of the sun), 1961.
Oil on canvas 162 x 129.8 cm

Jorn donated to the Statens Museum for Kunst

Ny Carlsberg Foundation has led the way with a significant donation, and with additional support from Hermod Lannungs Museum Foundation, has succeeded the National Gallery of Art to acquire a significant Asger Jorn painting. The 162 x 129.8 cm painting with the devil in French title Le soleil m’emmerde (I’m sick and tired of the sun) is shown for the first time at Statens Museum for Kunst, when the new presentation of the modern collection “Danish and International Art after 1900 “opens on 30th in March.

Museum Director Karsten Ohrt says:
Thanks to the two funds, and especially the New Carlsberg Foundation, the museum has acquired a significant complement to the collection of Asger Jorn works. A painting by Jorn in size is a rare sight in the art market, and it had met international interest, before we could secure it. In the collection of Jorn’s works have been focusing on the period 1940-55, and the assembly have therefore lacked good and significant examples of Jorn’s mature and late work.

Jorn in focus
In connection with the new presentation of the National Gallery of Modern collection Jorn has been a central location. Besides nyerhvervelsen museum owns 15 paintings. For the current presentation “Danish and International Art after 1900” is the same time the museum has succeeded to borrow another seven paintings by Jorn from private collections, so that the presentation is to show significant pieces of paintings from start to finish in the artist’s oeuvre.

Jorn exhibition 2014
There will be the current presentation opportunity for a good warm up for the big retrospective exhibition of Asger Jorn, Statens Museum for Kunst in 2014 to mark the 100-anniversary of the artist’s birth.

Picturesquely rebellion
With its enormous and varied life work Jorn embedded itself as a major figure in the expressive tradition of Nordic art history. Jorn’s artistic touches and challenges one of the 20 century continuing controversy about the role of traditional painting and its continued relevance in the visual arts. Le soleil m’emmerde from 1961 is in this sense an aggressive response to contemporaneous groups that would define and limit art’s trajectory. As such, it helps newly purchased work for a better understanding of the period’s artistic struggles, while it strengthens the museum’s Jorn collection, which appears more vital and versatile than ever before.

Please enjoy how Nicolas Joel, Director of the Opéra de Paris presents the programme for 2012-13:

Palais Garnier, Paris. Photo: Henning Høholt

Opera programme includes:

This season will be rich in celebrations. In 1713, Louis XIV, wishing to consolidate the Royal Academy of Music, established a dance school which has ever since perpetuated the tradition of French choreographic style. In 2013, we will also be celebrating the bicentenary of two of the great reformers of 19th century opera, Wagner and Verdi, with The Ring of the Nibelung conducted by our musical director Philippe Jordan, along with Verdi’Falstaff and the Requiem.

We shall play host to La Fille du regiment starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Florez and to a new Carmendirected by Yves Beaunesne and performed by Anna Caterina Antonacci and Karine Deshayes. Both Ponchielli’s flamboyant La Gioconda, with Violeta Urmana and Marcelo Alvarez and Hänsel & Gretel by Humperdinck, staged by Mariame Clément and conducted by Claus Peter Flor, will also join the repertoire.

Other works alongside Tosca, Le Nozze di Figaro and La Cenerentolainclude Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress, Mussorgsky’s Khovantchina and the diptych formed by Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg and Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges.

Opera Bastille, Paris.

The Ballet programme includes:

In this its tercentennial season, the Paris Opera Ballet will be showing off its eternal youth and creativity. The greatest choreographers will be present. What better proof of the company’s extraordinary diversity than the fact that Pierre Lacotte’s La Sylphide, Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quichottand Signes by Carolyn Carlson and Olivier Debré all contribute to making up its identity? Marie-Agnès Gillot will create her first choreography for the Company and a new Boléro will be unveiled by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Damien Jalet and Marina Abramovic. All this and more keep the passion and spirit of this incomparable opera house alive whilst arousing the curiosity and passion of our ever-growing audience.

Merethe Lindstrøm wins the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2012

The Norwegian author Merethe Lindstrøm has won the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2012 for her novel “Dager i stillhetens historie” (“Days in the History of Silence”).

Mar 22, 2012
Merethe Lindstrøm

Photographer: Johannes Jansson/

Merethe Lindstrøm: Cover: Dager i stillhetens historie. (“Days in the History of Silence”). Aschehougs forlag

This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say:

“In a gentle, precise and thoughtful prose Lindstrøm relates how a dramatic past slowly breaks into an elderly woman’s life and consciousness.”

Merethe Lindstrøm was born in Bergen in 1963. She made her debut with the collection of short stories “Sexorcisten og andre fortellinger” in 1983.

A characteristic of Merethe Lindstrøm‘s writing is her focus on modern people’s quest for others and for meaning.  She was nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize in 2008 for her collection of short stories “Gjestene” (2007).

“Dager i stillhetens historie” (“Days in the History of Silence”) (2011) is her latest novel for which she was awarded the Norwegian Critics Prize for best adult literary work.

Merethe Lindstrøm, winner of Nordic Litteraturprize 2012. Foto: Mats Køber.

This year there were 14 different authors from the Nordic countries and Greenland, Åland, the Faroe Islands and the Sami Language Area on the list of nominees for the prize.

The Nordic Council Literature Prize is worth DKK 350,000.

– – – – – – – – – –

The Nominations for 2012 were:

The national members of the Adjudicating Committee had nominated the following works for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2012. The winner will be chosen by the Adjudicating Committee at its meeting in Reykjavik in the spring of 2012. The prize is worth 350,000 Danish kroner.


Vibeke Grønfeldt
Novel, Samleren, 2011

Janina Katz
Skrevet på polsk
Poetry, Rosinante, 2011


Gösta Ågren
I det stora hela
Poetry collection, Söderströms, 2011

Saila Susiluoto
Poetry, Otava, 2010


Bergsveinn Birgisson
Svar við bréfi Helgu (Svar på brev frå Helga)
Novel, Bjartur, 2010 (Norwegian translation Johannes Gjerdåker)

Gerður Kristný
Blóðhófnir (Blodhov)
Poetry, Mál og menning, 2010 (Swedish translation John Swedenmark)


Øyvind Rimbereid
A poem, Gyldendal, 2011

Merethe Lindstrøm
Dager i stillhetens historie
Novel, Aschehoug forlag, 2011


Katarina Frostenson
Poetry collection, Wahlström & Widstrand, 2011

Eva-Marie Liffner
Novel, Natur & Kultur, 2011

Faroe Islands

Hanus Kamban
Gullgentan (Guldpigen)
Short stories, Mentunargrunnur Studentafelagsins, 2010
(Danish translation, Kirsten Brix)


Tungutaq Larsen
Poetry collection, Forlaget Atuagkat, 2011

The Sami Language Area

Rawdna Carita Eira
ruohta muzetbeallji ruohta (løp svartøre løp)
Poetry, Gyldendal, 2011

The Åland Islands

Leo Löthman
Transportflotte Speer
Novel, PQR-kultur, 2011

Kasparas Uinskas

KASPARAS UINSKAS plays Brahms pianoconcerto no 1 in Vilnius

The charismatic pianist Kasparas Uinskas will perform at the Vilnius Congress Concert Hall. His international career was launched at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Washington’s J. F. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage,London’s Wigmore Hall, Berlin Philharmonic.

At the Verbier Classical Music Festival in Switzerland, one of the most famous festivals in Europe, he received the Reuters Grand Prix and an invitation to debut at this festival. He also has given solo recitals at the following festivals: the Aspen Music Festival (USA), the Music Festival of the Hamptons (USA), and the Holland Music Sessions (the Netherlands).

The pianist is also known for his educational work in Lithuania: he tries to change young people’s attitude to classical music giving exciting concert programmes. Uinskas’ started his musical career with playing the piano since the age of six; graduating from the Warsaw F. Chopin Music Academy and the Juilliard School in New York he returned to Lithuania to complete his studies at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre graduating in 2007.

23 March 2012, Friday, 7 pm: Symphony concert “SPRING SERENADE”

 Brahms. Concerto for piano and orchestra in D minor, No 1, op.15

Dvořák. Serenade for strings in E major, op. 22

R. Strauss. Suite “Der Rosen Kavalier”, op. 59

Soloist: KASPARAS UINSKAS, piano



Symphony concert “Spring serenade”
At the “Spring Serenade” symphony music will also be performed – Dvořák’s lyrical “Serenade” that was composed in eleven days and Strauss’ suite form the popular opera “Die Rosen Kavalier”.Atvars Lakstīgala, the chief conductor of the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, a conductor of the Latvia’s National Opera, will conduct the concert. Debuting at the opera theatre in 2009, in 2010 he earned the prestigious Latvian prize the Grand Music Award for the Best Debut and concerts with the Liepaja Symphony orchestra. Lakstīgala is also known as a distinguished French horn player and a laureate of many international competitions, among which are the International Woodwind and Brass Instruments Competition in Poland (2000) and the International A. Jurjāns Wind Instruments Competition in Latvia (2001).
The winner of the 2012 International Ibsen Award announced in Berlin this morning.
The International Ibsen Award, one of the world’s most prestigious theatre prizes, is awarded for bringing a new artistic dimension to the world of drama or theatre. The winner receives 2.5 million kroner (330.000 Euro).The winner of the International Ibsen Award 2012 is Heiner Goebbels.The jury says:
“Heiner Goebbels – creator of works for theatre, theatre director, composer, musician, teacher and festival programmer – is one of the great creative personalities of today. He is responsible for an astounding body of work in disparate disciplines and has exerted a profound influence on theatre practitioners and musicians. 

His theatrical work extends from a large scale work for the opera house to an installation for theatre without actors. Each piece is essentially different in character and form and each is genuinely ground breaking. He is a true innovator and his works defy conventional definition.

He has explored and expanded the relationship between theatre and music and in so doing has developed the elements of theatre in a way that has opened up new insights and possibilities. In this way he fulfills the fundamental purpose of theatre to widen our experience of ourselves and of the world.

His work has been seen in over 50 different countries transforming the experience of audiences and influencing a wide range of performing and creative artists. In addition he has been a pioneer in the use of technology in theatre.

The power and significance of his work will in the future increase and will influence theatre and theatre making for the decades and generations to come.”

About the winner: Heiner Goebbels was born in Germany, 1952. He has composed and directed music theatre since the 1990s. Some of his most famous works include Black on White, Max Black, Eraritjaritjaka, Stifters Dinge, and Songs of Wars I Have Seen. Most have been produced by Theatre Vidy, Lausanne.

Heiner Goebbels is professor at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies of the Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, President of the Theatre Academy of Hesse, and artistic director for RUHRTRIENNALE.

·         The award ceremony takes place during the International Ibsen Festival at the National Theatre in Oslo 23.8.-9.9. Eraritjaritjaka will be the festival’s finale.

·         The Norwegian government funds the award.

·         The award has previously been awarded to Peter Brook, Ariane Mnouchkine and Jon Fosse.

·         Henrik Ibsen was born in Skien, Norway on the 20th March 1828.

Tom Remlov, John Helmer Fiore, Anne Gjevang og Espen Giljane presenterte mandag programmet for 2012-2013 sesongen på Operaen i Oslo. Foto: Erik Berg

Rekordsesongen 2012-13 ble mandag lansert i foajeen på Operaen. 394 forestillinger og konserter og alt fra oljeopera til ny dans og gratis festkonsert står på programmet som fristende presenteres i vår rykende ferske sesongbok.

Rekordprogram i Operaen

Fra oljeopera til ny dans og gratis festkonsert. Den Norske Opera & Balletts neste sesong er tidenes største. Aldri før har det vært spilt så mange forestillinger og konserter.

394 forestillinger og konserter står på programmet for høsten 2012 og våren 2013. Over 300 av dem er opera- og ballettforestillinger. Det er det høyeste antallet i Den Norske Opera & Balletts historie.

I løpet av sesongen vil åtte nye verk se dagens lys på en av Operaens scener. Knut Vaages nyskrevne oljeopera Khairos – en on & offshore-opera er en av nyhetene. Dessuten skaper blant andre Jo Strømgren, Ingun Bjørnsgaard, Alexander Ekman, Medhi Walerski og Cina Espejord nye danseverk.

Regissører og koreografer ser med friskt blikk på kjente verk og det blir nye produksjoner av blant annet Madama ButterflyI Capuleti e i Montecchi og Flaggermusen. Sistnevntes forviklingskomikk foregår i Laurence Dales regi i et dekadent motemiljø i New York.

Correa-Carreño ved presentasjonen av sesongprogrammet 2012-13. Foto: Erik Berg

Koreografen Medhi Walerski er blitt en snakkis i den europeiske danseverden. Han er inspirert av at det i 2013 er 100 år siden Stravinskys Vårofferet hadde sin urpremiere, og med det som utgangspunkt lager han ny dans.

Noen av det norske opera- og ballettpublikummets favoritter kommer tilbake. Regissør Stefan Herheim, som nylig gjorde suksess med sin tolkning av La Bohème, besøker oss igjen med Richard Strauss’ Salome. Denne produksjonen ble både genierklært og omdiskutert ved premieren i Salzburg i 2011. (Kritikk fra Salzburg premieren har vært presentert i Kulturkompasset)

De anerkjente koreografene Nacho Duato og Jiří Kylián kommer også tilbake. Førstnevnte med en hyllest til Bach og sistnevnte med en helaften bestående av tre norgespremierer.

Operaorkestret medvirker i de fleste opera- og ballettforestillingene, men inntar også scenene alene. Med musikksjef John Helmer Fiore i spissen åpner de sesongen med gratis festkonsert på Operataket 26. august. Denne sesongouverturen har nå blitt en årlig begivenhet der de sammen med Nasjonaloperaen og Nasjonalballettens krefter serverer smakebiter fra kommende sesong.  Dessuten byr de blant annet på tre hovedscenekonserter neste sesong. Først i et Wagner- og Strauss-program med Terje Stensvold som solist, deretter en Mahler-konsert dirigert av legenden Leif Segerstam og så et rent Prokofiev-program dirigert av Kirill Karabits. Fiore dirigerer også Operaorkestret og Operakoret i Elgars The Dream of Gerontius i Oslo Domkirke neste vår.

Solveig Kringlebotn og Nils Harald Sødal sang fra Flaggermusen. Foto: Erik Berg

På Scene 2 fortsetter Operaorkestret med sine kammerkonserter i den nye satsningen Lørdag i Operaen. Lørdag ettermiddag får du musikernes favorittstykker – med bolle og kaffe til.  Samme scene forvandles til et stilfullt gammelt teater når Nasjonalballetten og Bjarte Hjelmeland inviterer til Music Hall der danseverk med stort spenn kommer som perler på en snor.

Her inviterer også Barnekoret til en kveld med sanger av Astrid Lindgren, og de feirer at det er 100 år siden Thorbjørn Egner ble født med operaen Musikantene kommer til byenFor unge blir det også en storsatsing på Hovedscenen, med en moderne opera om Robin Hood.

Gjeve gjester fra fjern og nær kommer til Operaen. Nederlands Dans Theater 1, Carte Blanche, Opera Nordfjord og Sangkraft Berlevåg er noen av dem. For ikke å nevne Berliner Philharmoniker med Sir Simon Rattle, Santa Cecilia med Sir Antonio Pappano og Oslo-filharmonien med Jukka-Pekka Saraste.

Den Norske Opera & Ballett, Sesongprogram 2012-2013. Foto: Erik Berg

Dessuten skal Den Norske Opera & Balletts egne kompanier ut på tur. Nasjonaloperaen starter allerede til sommeren med gjestespill av Peter Grimes og Den fjerde nattevakt ved den anerkjente operafestivalen i Savonlinna. De gjester også Sandnes med suksessoppsetningen The Rape of Lucretia og til Harstad kommer de med Barberen i Sevilla. Disse to egenproduksjonene kommer også tilbake til Scene 2 denne sesongen. Nasjonalballetten tar med sitt septemberdansprogram til Nord-Norge og for første gang gjester de Svalbard.

Også denne sesongen gjøres plass til ytringer utenfor kjernerepertoaret. Det blir blant annet thailandsk og karibisk dans og hip hop fra Stovner, dessuten Grammy-vinnende jazz med Tony Bennett når Oslo Jazzfestival kommer til Operaen, og fullt trøkk med Motorpsycho og Kaizers Orchestra, som kommer med konsertproduksjoner spesiallaget for Hovedscenen.

Som en del av sommerprogrammet forvandles storsalens forscene om til en tropisk øy i Haydns opera Den øde øya. Her møtes også breaking og ballett når KingWings og Nasjonalballetten inntar scenen.

Utendørs blir det blant annet konsert med Kent og Åge Aleksandersen, Mikael Wiehe og Kim Larsen på Operataket.

Salget av enkeltbilletter starter 19. mai kl. 10.
Se hele programmet på

3,000 artists from 47 nations to Edinburgh in August for Edinburgh International Festival 2012

Cinderella - Mariinsky Ballet

 EDINBURGH: It’s here! The full programme for Festival 2012 has now been launched. Packed full of world-class dance, opera, theatre and music from around the world, Festival 2012 brings over 3,000 artists from 47 nations to Edinburgh in August for what promises to be an extra special year. We’d love you to join us.

Start planning your Festival now

Public booking opens on Saturday 24 March, so start planning your Festival today to ensure you don’t miss out on those must-see shows. Director Jonathan Millls has presented the 2012 program.

2008: Macbeth

Exceptional drama from some of the world’s greatest theatre directors including Tadashi Suzuki, Silvia Purarete, Dmitry Krymov and Matthew Lenton.

For the first time since 2008, the Festival returns to the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston with a packed programme offering three outstanding productions –  TR Warszawa’s 2008: Macbeth, acclaimed director Christoph Marthaler’s Meine faire Dame- ein Sprachlabor and a rare chance to see Ariane Mnouchkine’s spectacular fantasy, Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir.
Deborah Colker Company
We have scintillating classical and contemporary dance, from the famed Mariinsky Ballet’s innovative interpretation of Cinderella to the sultry Tatayana from Brazil’s Deborah Colker Dance Company.
Scottish Opera - Clemency
Our opera programme includes a new production of The Makrololus Case by Czech composer Leos Janácek from Opera North, Les Arts Florisant’s version of Charpentier’s David et Jonathas and world premieres from Scottish Opera.
Experience the very best international orchestras, ensembles and soloists, from our intimate morning recitals at the Queen’s Hall to large scale evening concerts in the Usher Hall including the London symphony Orchestra led by Valery Gergiev, the Cleveland Orchestra, Nicola Benedetti, Deborah Voigt, David Daniels and many more.

SAME DIFFERENCE: Andreas Heise; Lucas Lima; Kristian Ruutu; Richard Suttie. Photo: Erik Berg.

“Shoot the Moon was again the highlight of the evening”.

Lightfoot/León presents three ballets, two of this evening’s ballets have never before been performed in Norway; Safe as Houses and Same Difference , in addition one ballet from the repertoare with the Nationalballet, Oslo, the successful Shoot the Moon.

Review by Tomas Bagackas

OSLO: When Espen Giljane started his periode as balletchief in Oslo, he also brought with him something new for the Norwegian audience. The two international choreographers Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leónand their contemporary dance language, and their ballets, with their own costumes and scenography, was bringing new choreographic blood and inspiration in to the company.

SAME DIFFERENCE 2012: Yolanda Correa; Kristian Alm, Photo: Erik Berg

After many years (12) with Dinna Bjørn as balletchief, the Norwegian audience has got used to the most famouse choreographers in the world, through the international contact nett of Dinna Bjørn and the balletchiefs before her.  In fact, all the world famouse choreograhers has been presented and choreographing ballets  for the Norwegian audience, and the dancers of the National Ballet, to a great pleasure for the audience, and for the dancers, who has got used to very high quality of modern dance.

SAFE AS HOUSES 2012: Nasjonalballetten. Photo: Erik Berg

By bringing in Paul Lightfoot and Sol León to the Norwegian National ballet scene opened up even more new ways of dancing, looking and enjoying contemporary dance, and this cooperation has been a great succes for the Norwegaian Natinal Ballet, for Espen Giljane and for Paul Lightfoot and Sol León.  

SAFE AS HOUSES 2012: Yoel Carreno. Photo: Erik Berg

Espen Giljane has as balletchief for the Norwegian Nationalballet  given us a present, that will be remembered in the balletmilieu for a long time.

The program:

SAFE AS HOUSES 2012: Philip Curell; Maiko Nishino; Ole Willy Falkhaugen. Photo: Erik Berg


Music: Johann Sebastian Bach and Knut Nystedt.

Safe as Houses was beautiful, estetic, as a history abut how the life passes on. while a large rotating wall conjures ever-changing scenes and situations, in the direction as a clock, where the dancers danced on both sides. Maiko Nishino; Ole Willy Falkhaugen, Philip Curell, and further Yoel Carreno  are in the front in this production.

The delectable and much lighter Safe as Houses is inspired by Norway’s winter landscape, which the choreographic duo experienced during a season with the Norwegian National Ballet in Oslo. The dancers perform to music by Johann Sebastian Bach and Knut Nystedt (Immortal Bach).

Shoot the moon: Eugenie Skilnand; Philip Currel. Photo: Erik Berg


SHOOT THE MOON 2012: Kristian Alm. Photo: Erik Berg

Music: Philip Glass.

The highlight of the evening, Shoot the Moon, makes a popular return. It was a a touching history about the life and love affair in a family. It was fantastic , and the music suites this production well, exiting lighting. A backdrop of changing images gives brief glimpses into a series of rooms and relationships. Christine Thomassen; Gakuro Matsui, Eugenie Skilnand, Philip Currel and Kristian Alm are doing a great job in this ballet. Yoko Toda is pianosolist in Philip Glass: Tirol Concerto for piano and orchestra, Movement II, Øyvind Bjorå konsertmester.

Shoot the Moon 2012: Christine Thomassen; Gakuro Matsui. Photo: Erik Berg

SAME DIFFERENCE 2012: Stine Østvold og Richard Suttie. Photo: Erik Berg


Music: Philip Glass.

Choreography, scenografi and costymes: Paul Lightfoot og Sol León. Lightdesign: Tom Bevoort. 

In Same Difference, The evening’s final piece, we meet seven surreptitious characters who inhabit a dark, surrealistic world. In this piece it was a lot of energy, screaming and effects, letting the dancers work in a theatrical way.  Unfortunately  a lot of the dance disappeared in the chaos. The work reflects the tone of Phillip Glass’ insistent yet beautiful music. In the Same Difference Lightfoot/León has choosen music from Glass Symphony no 3  and String Quartet no 5.  The dancers are Kristian Alm, Andreas Heise, Yolanda Correa, Kaloyan Boyadjiev, Lucas Lima; Kristian Ruutu; Richard Suttie and Stine Østvold are at the front.  It is also the last production that Richard Suttie is starring in with the Nationalballet.

Musikalsk ledelse: Per Kristian Skalstad

Nutcracker, applause with MOscow Ballet Theatre in Paris. Photo: Henning Høholt

After nearly three weeks with performances of Swan Lake, the Moscow Ballet Theatre Friday 16 March premiered The Nutcracker with music by Peter Tsjaikovskij, choreography by Marius Petipa and  Anatoly Emelianov.

Review by Henning Høholt

In the front line we enjoyed the companys two stars Natalia Kleymenova and Dimitry Petrov. Unfortunately i didn´t find any role list with whom were dancing Drosselmeyer, Little Clara, her brother, her parents, the little nutcracker and the solists in the first act, King of the Rats,  neither with any of the very good solists in the national dances in second act. What a pity, because many of these solists were good, and in deed deserves to have their name on print. Neither i found who had made the costumes, scenography and light. To be polight to the participating artists. A role list is a must, at least if a company like this shall performe and work internationally!!! But it was told that the choreography was by Anatoly Emelianov, and forgetting that it is based on the famouse choreography Marius Petipa. It was not a completely new creation bAnatoly Emeliano, but placed in to an arrangement. 

Nutcracker at Theatre Comedia, Paris

The Nutcracker is not an easy ballet to stage, as there are many short parts, which shall work out, the rats, the solders, arriving and departing to the Christmas party, the fight between the Rats King and the Nutcracker Prince. It worked well. The performance was good. The small corps de ballet did a really good job, the lines was there, when the should be on place, their coordination functioned well.

The scenographic solution with back carpets, side legs and roof was good, as it easily changed colours with the changing of ligth. In the first act, during the party, I would have preferred a bit mor light changes to underline some details in the changing pictures, but for the snow flakes ballet and the second act it worked very well.

The pictures told well the parts of the history. Unfortunately, i was missing the main history of little Clara who got the Nutcracker at the Christmas party. She got the Nutcracker, danced by a young handsome soloist, but then the dream disappeared and went over to all the soloistic parts, and when she then in the very end came back it was another girl in the same coloured outfit as Clara, and she didn´t come on stage for the applause. I do understand that a small touring company, sometimes has to do such arrangements, but, Itf it is supposed to be the Nutcraclker, then it is importent to fullfile the history, and in this case letting the Little Clara be the throughgoing figure.  It is also firts time I have seen the Snow Queen being danced by the same star as the princess in  the Grand Pas de Deux, as I suppose was Natalia Kleymenova. Her partner, as i suppose was Dimitry Petrov. They both did a good job, Beautiful details, good solo parts, stability,  lightness, scene charm. A safe couple.

Good costumes, beautiful colours, with good details for the stage.

The companys artistic director is Anna Grogol.

Theatre Comedia, Paris is a beautiful theatre, comfortabel, a nice entrance part, salon and restaurant.

Jonas Kaufmann at Theatre des Champs Elysees. Photo: Henning Høholt.

PARIS: Jonas Kaufmann presented his version of Gustav Mahler s Kindertotenlieder and 6 songs by Richard Strauss at Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris Monday. March 12th. 2012. Together with Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons.

Review and reportagephotos by Henning Høholt

Gustav Mahler´s (1860-1911) Kindertotenlieder,  (from 1904): (Songs on the Death of Children, though more closely translated as Children’s songs about Death) is a song sycle for voice and orchestra. The words of the songs are poems by Friedrich Rückert was first on the programme. Usually the work is scored for a vocal soloist (the notes lie comfortably for a baritone or mezzosoprano), but here it was sung by a tenor. Jonas Kaufmann has a very beautiful voice with a lot of deliciouse nuances. Andris Nelsons got out of the orchestra many good nuances on al levels. However. Kindertotenlieder became boring. I was missing spirituality, some thing which could have been lifting it up to another level. It don help that the soloist and the orchestre is good in their work. furthermore Jonas Kaufmann was using scores, which keeped him concentrating a lot of reading. It was boring, I am not sure if this was because that it usually is sung by a baritone or a mezzo, and it was because it in this case was a tenor. But I choose to feel that Jonas Kaufmanns version of Kindertotenlieder will grow and be more expressiv, when he get used to it, and can drop the scores.

Jonas Kaufmann in front of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Photo: Henning Høholt

After the break a long line of Richard Strauss (1864-1949) wonderful songs changed the atmosphaere, in this the audience got what they were coming for. this was elegant, well performed, had an enery which was good. In addition Jonas Kaufmann also seemed more at home in these songs, that he sung without scores. This was representative for the soloist and the orchestra. The Richard Strauss songs we enjoyed were: «Ruhe, meine Seele», opus 27 n° 1 – «Ich trage meine Minne», opus 32 n° 1 – «Cäcilie», opus 27 n° 2 – «Morgen», opus 27 n° 4, including a splendid violin solo by the first violinist in the orchestra. – Heimliche Aufforderung», opus 27 n° 3. In addition we got an encore also by R.Strauss.

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) Symphony no 2 (1902) ended the evening. It became EXTRAORDINARY. In Paris and in many part of the middle of Europe. Unfortunately we dont hear Sibelius often. In fact it seems like in this part of Europe, the conductors, orchestras and the audiences dosn´t know that Scandinavian/Nordic composers exist. What a pity. They are missing treasories of music. As this Sibelius 2nd. Symphony is a splendid exampel for. The orchestra and its soloists showed all its best sides in this performance.

Birmingham Symphony Orchestre. Conductor Andris Nelsons. Photo: Henning Høholt

However. I had the feeling that by a few moments Nelsons overdid it, the pizzicato opening of the third part was elegant, but after that i fell that it for a periode was going to fast, until the fanfare signals in the trumpets, after that it was splendid. But what is so fantastic with these kind of live concerts, and why the concerthouses are being filled up with audience time after time, is that the conductor has the privillege that he can form each of the pieces in his personal way, after his personall ideas. And also with this concert it was great to enjoy how mr. Andris Nelsons feel that Sibelius Symphony no 2. shall sound. Also after this the orchestra answered the large applause with an encore, a Sibelius piece for strings.

Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at Theatre des Champs Elysees. Photo: Henning Høholt

This Paris visit of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra was in the frame of  an europé tourné including concerts in Essen, Munich, Vienna and Stuttgart. Which ended up in Paris with Tristan and Isolde, concertant the evening before and as the finale this concert with Jonas Kaufmann at Theatre des Champs Elysees.

11 komponister konkurrerer om Nordisk Råds Musikpris 2012

Bedømmelseskomiteen for Nordisk Råds Musikpris har i år valgt at nominere 11 komponister til den store nordiske pris.

Temaet for årets musikpris lyder:

’Prisen gives for et værk af en nulevende komponist. Der fastsættes ingen genbegrænsninger, men det forudsættes, at værket opfylder høje kunstneriske krav, og at værket inden for sin genre kan betragtes som originalt.’

Magne Hegdal er blant de nominerte til Nordisk Råds Musikpris.

Norske Magne Hegdal og Ole Henrik Moe er blant de nominerte.

Ole Henrik Moe jr. nominert til Nordisk Råds Musikkpris. Photo by Kirsti Reinsberg Mørch

De nominerede for 2012 er:


Illustrationer I-IV  / Else Marie Pade
Else Marie Pade (1924) var blandt de første pionerer i verden, som seriøst arbejdede med den konkrete og elektroniske musik. I 1950’erne og 60’erne realiserede hun, i tæt samarbejde med teknikere på Danmarks Radio, en omfattende mængde banebrydende værker. Hendes En dag på Dyrehavsbakken og Syv Cirkler er henholdsvis det første stykke konkrete og det første stykke elektroniske musikalske værk, som er skabt på dansk jord. I de seneste ti år er Pades værker blevet genstand for en intens opmærksomhed blandt musikere og komponister, og hun er bl.a. hædret med den livsvarige kunstnerydelse fra Statens Kunstfond i Danmark.

4 Rooms  / Jacob Kirkegaard
Med inspiration fra den konkrete musik, skaber Jacob Kirkegaard (1975) sine bemærkelsesværdige værker via brug af reallydsoptagelser. Ved hjælp af uortodokse metoder og optageudstyr, indfanger han sjældne og hidtil ukendte lyde og klange fra et væld af overraskende steder i verden, f.eks. en gejser, nordlys, syngende sand fra Oman ørkenen, et atomkraftværk, selv lyde fra det indre menneskelige øre. Med værket 4 Rooms udfolder Kirkegaard lyden fra fire forladte rum i den radioaktive eksklusionszone i Tjernobyl, Ukraine; en svømmehal, en kirke, et auditorium og en gymnastiksal. Rum, som tidligere har været fyldt af menneskelig aktivitet og liv, men som med ét blev forladt på grund af katastrofen i 1986.


“Vie” / Jukka Tiensuu

Født i 1948. Cembalist, pianist og dirigent med et bredt repertoire fra tidlig til moderne musik. Han har arbejdet som fri improvisator med internationalt kendte musikere, og han har givet koncerter i de fleste europæiske lande, USA og Asien. Han har desuden afholdt kurser om barokmusik og nutidig musik. Hans kompositioner spænder fra soloværker for kantele (citarlignende finsk folkeinstrument) til værker for kor og orkestre, og fra kompositioner for harmonikaensembler til elektronisk musik og computermusik. Han har arbejdet i adskillige studier og forskningscentre over hele verden.

Red earth and rain / Eero Hämeenniemi

Født i 1951 i Valkeakoski, Finland. High School-eksamen i 1969 på South West High School, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Han begyndte at studere indologi, filosofi og musikvidenskab på Helsingfors universitet i 1971, men besluttede sig for at koncentrere sig om komposition. Han dimitterede fra Sibelius-Akademin som komponist i 1978 efter at have taget en grad i musikteori i 1976. Han fortsatte sine studier i Krakow, Polen og Siena, Italien i 1979. Herefter fik han et Fulbright-legat og rejste til USA, hvor han studerede hos Joseph Schwantner på Eastman School of Music i 1980-1981. Han studerede klassisk tamilsk og indisk kultur (i perioden 1999-2006 med afbrydelser) hos professor I. Sundaramurti, tidligere prodekan på Tanjore Tamil University.


Askur & Embla – The first day may be / Kári Bæk
Kári Bæk (f. 1950) er aktiv i det færøske musikliv, både som korleder og musiker, med obo som instrument, og – især de seneste 20 år – også som komponist. De første værker var for kor, men efterhånden har han også skrevet for soloinstrumenter og ensembler af varierende størrelse. I 2011 kom et musikeventyr, Veiða vind, for symfoniorkester. Mange af Káris værker er blevet uropført af færøske og nordiske kor og ensembler som Mpiri, Tarira og Aldubáran ofte i forbindelse med musikfestivalen Summartónar. En del af hans værker findes på cd med disse ensembler.
Ask og Embla blev til af to stykker træ, som Odin, Vile og Ve, de tre gudebrødre, fandt på stranden. De snittede to figurer ud af træet, og Odin syntes så godt om dem, at han besluttede sig for at puste liv og ånd i dem. Vile gav dem forstand, og Ve gav dem alle sanserne.


Dreaming  / Anna Thorvaldsdóttir

Komponisten Anna Thorvaldsdottir har en passion for at arbejde med omfattende soniske strukturer, og hendes musik stræber efter at skabe en flydende verden af lyde med en gådefuld, lyrisk atmosfære. Annas musik opføres jævnligt i Europa og USA, og hendes værker er blevet nomineret og præmieret ved flere lejligheder, eksempelvis ved Icelandic Music Awards, Prix Europa og den årlige International Rostrum of Composers. Hun har desuden fået International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition.  Hun har en MA og en ph.d.-grad fra University of California i San Diego. Albummet Rhízōma, som inkludererDreaming for orkester, blev udgivet den 25. oktober 2011 på det amerikanske pladeselskab Innova Recordings, og er blevet særdeles godt modtaget.

Flutter for flute, orchestra and field recordings of insects / Þuríður Jónsdóttir

Komponist og fløjtenist Þuríður Jónsdóttir har studeret musik på Island og i Italien. Hun tog eksamen i fløjte, komposition og elektronisk musik på konservatoriet i Bologna, og derefter fortsatte hun sine studier i komposition hos F. Donatoni og A. Solbiati.  Hun har ofte beskæftiget sig med forholdet mellem akustiske og elektroniske lyde, eksempelvis i værker, hun har skrevet for solofløjte og elektroniske lyde, kor, orkester og opera. Hun har desuden lavet en lydinstallation og et radiospil. Hun har blandt andet samarbejdet med grupperne Caput, Adapter, FontanaMix og EnsembleMa. Hendes musik er blandt andet blevet opført på festivalerne Présences, Musica Nova, ISCM og NMD. Hun har haft opgaver for en række institutioner og musikere, herunder Radio France, Deutsche Radio og Nomus.


Vent Litt Lenger / Ole-Henrik Moe

Ole Henrik Moe jr. nominert til Nordisk Råds Musikkpris. Photo by Kirsti Reinsberg Mørch

Ole-Henrik Moe er født i Oslo i 1966. Ole-Henrik Moes Vent Litt Lengerudfordrer et af de helligste rum i den klassiske musik – strygekvartetten. Værket er skrevet til Ardittikvartetten, som er en institution i vor tids komponerede musik. Moe træder ind i violinens anatomi, et instrument som også er hans eget. Han afsøger violinkroppen i sin jagt efter nuancerede klange i området mellem toner og støj, i grader af tæthed og overgange fra det klare til det hårde. Forløbene kan virke improviserede, men de er nøjagtigt noterede og ofte i flere parallelle grammatikker. Men uanset hvor præcist dette univers er defineret, er der altid en menneskelig berøring til stede. Musikken er blevet beskrevet som postspektral støjmusik, og både i sin egen praksis og i kunstneriske samarbejder forener komponisten det præcist komponerede med folkemusik og den elektroniske støjmusiktradition.

Magne Hegdal er blant de nominerte til Nordisk Råds Musikpris.

Stort sett  / Magne Hegdal

Født i 1944 i Gjerdum, Norge. Han har studeret komposition hos Conrad Baden og Finn Mortensen, og dimitterede som komponist fra Musikkonservatoriet i Oslo i 1972. Magne Hegdals Stort sett for violin og klaver udtrykker en række forskellige holdninger til det at komponere. Fra det umiddelbare følelsesudtryk til musik, hvor komponisten modtager mere, end han skaber. I det, som først fremstår som et tolvtoneunivers, fremtræder efterhånden referencer til anden musik – Beethoven, Schumann, Cage, Grieg, folkemusik.  Referencerne fremstår i højere grad som stærke minder, end som distancerede citater. At huske, samle og genopdage får således betydning, både her og i de lange forløb, som er direkte komponeret. Hos Hegdal er tilfældigheden som værktøj nært forbundet med at opleve naturen eller at se et landskab. Stort sett betyder både et vidt perspektiv, en tidsangivelse (ofte, men ikke altid) og et sæt eller en samling. Det sidste kan henvise til andre værker, som giver forskellige syn på det at komponere, eksempelvis C.P.E. Bachs Sechs Sammlungen eller Ives’ A Set of Pieces.


Golden Dances of the Pharaohs / Victoria Borisova-Ollas
Victoria Borisova-Ollas er født i 1969 i Rusland, men hun har boet i Sverige i mange år. Hun fik sin første internationale anerkendelse, da hendes værk Wings of the Wind fik andenpladsen i Masterprize-konkurrencen i 1998. Kritikerne var begejstrede og beskrev hendes værk som et stykke ”sparkling sonic poetry”. Hun gør brug af et originalt og innovativt vokabularium af lyde til at skabe akustiske rum af storslået skønhed og intensitet, som kan fortrylle både den sofistikerede lytter og den nysgerrige, men knap så erfarne lytter. Victoria påbegyndte sine musikstudier i en tidlig alder. Efter at være dimitteret fra Central School of Music i Moskva og senere fra det berømte Tchaikovsky-konservatorium, fortsatte hun sine studier i komposition på Musikhögskolan i Malmö og på Royal College of Music i London.

Eleven Gates / Anders Hillborg

Anders Hilborg er født i Stockholm i 1954. Han fik sine første musikalske erfaringer som korsanger, og han var desuden involveret i forskellige former for improviseret musik. Fra 1976 til 1982 studerede han kontrapunkt, komposition og elektronisk musik på Kungliga Musikhögskolan i Stockholm, hvor han blandt andre blev undervist af Gunnar Bucht, Lars-Erik Rosell, Arne Mellnäs og Pär Lindgren. En anden vigtig inspirationskilde var Brian Ferneyhough, som ved flere lejligheder var gæsteunderviser på Kungliga Musikhögskolan. Ud over at fungere som underviser fra tid til anden, har Hillborg været freelance-komponist på fuld tid siden 1982. Han har et omfattende virkefelt, som dækker både orkester-, kor- og kammermusik samt film- og popmusik.

Tag en virtuel tur blandt de nominerede. Her kan du høre uddrag af deres musik, og du kan klikke dig videre ind i musikernes eget spændende univers, hvor du kan komme endnu tættere på musikken.

Vinderen af Nordisk Råds Musikpris bliver offentliggjort i begyndelsen af juni 2012, og prisen bliver overrakt under Nordisk Råds session i Helsingfors i november.

Shadowland : Pilobolus Dance Theatre                                                                                    Folies Bergères

Review by Christophe de Jouvancourt

The première of Shadowland, by the Pilobolus Dance Theatre, took place yesterday at the Folies Bergères theatre in Paris. This Broadway show was totally amazing. Everything was in it, entertainment, poetry and, which is a good surprise, a real artistic work. The audience was clearly receptive and this show deserves to be a success.

Shadowland, Foto> John Kane

Shadowland was created by the American company Pilobolus. It is based on an original music by David Poe and is a really innovative artistic concept. The synopsis is written by Steven Banks, the creator of the famous cartoon character Sponge Boband tells the story of a young woman in search of herself. The main character, MOLLY GAWLER,  is really charming and the story has all the ingredients of a good tale. It is very funny and dreamlike, and delights both children and adults.

Shadowland In the middle MOLLY GAWLER. Foto> John Kane

The dancers have a really specific technique that is the signature of the Pilobolus group and was necessary to create this show. Hidden behind a screen, they play with the lights and their shadows; melt their bodies on a proper choreography to create animals, objects and fantasy characters. They use sets and costumes, created by Neil Patel and Liz Prince, to make it look like a movie or a cartoon. It is very difficult to describe but the result is stunning.

The parts of dance with the shadows alternate with parts of more conventional dance, which is necessary for the story and interesting to understand how the dancers develop the choreographic vocabulary. Unfortunately, the technique is really made to play with the shadows and when the dancers are not behind the screens the dance seems poorer and this makes the show less impressive. However, it has not a big influence on the global impression made by the show and the experience really worth it.


The Pilobolus group is a very successful dance company and one can understand why. Created in 1971, the company has presented its work all around the world and, with Shadowland, has created a new concept which may inspire some contemporary dance companies. Some advertisements have already been made by the company, like for Hyundai, Ford or even Google.

Stéphane Degout (Pelléas) et Elena Tsallagova (Mélisande). Foto: Charles Duprat.

It is Debussy year this year and it´s giving many extraordinary possibilities to enjoy works of all kind by this  outstanding French composer.

Claude Debussy by Marcel Baschet 1884

Claude-Achille Debussy (22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures working within the field of impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions. In France, he was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903.  A crucial figure in the transition to the modern era in Western music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers.

His music is noted for its sensory component and for not often forming around one key or pitch. Often Debussy’s work reflected the activities or turbulence in his own life. In French literary circles, the style of this period was known as symbolism, a movement that directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant.

Elena Tsallagova expressiv and very beautiful as Mélisande. Foto: Charles Duprat.

Debussy’s Pelléas and Melisande premiered in 1902, after ten years of work. It would be his only complete opera. Based on the play by Maurice Maeterlinck, the opera proved to be an immediate success and immensely influential to younger French composers, including Maurice Ravell. This work, brought a fluidity of rhythm and colour quite new to Western music. Together with his three Nocturnes (1899), include characteristic studies in veiled harmony and texture as demonstrated in Nuages; exuberance in Fêtes; and whole-tones in Sirènes. Contrasting sharply with Wagnerian opera.

Pelleas and Melisande is remarkabel with a beautiful fluidity of rhythm and colour. In the staging by Robert Wilson made in 1997, revieved again in 2000, 2004 and repeated now again, it is typically in the Robert Wilson style, – “have you seen one, you don´t forget his style”. The performances by Robert Wilson are “all looking the same”, his Madame Butterfly here in Paris, his Peer Gynt in Oslo at Det Morske Teatret are all looking the same, with the same light, scenography, costumes background, also for Peer Gynt in Oslo, but added a few “Norwegian” details. This production is a co-production with the Salzburger Festspiele.

Anne Sofie von Otter (Geneviève), Stéphane Degout (Pelléas) et Franz Josef Selig (Arkel). Foto Charles Duprat.

Well, in connection with Pelleas and Melisande the Wilson stylisme suits the prodcution well. Robert Wilson has elegantly build it up around the lost ring, which is appearing on the background when needed according to the text, in different sizes, looking like a moon or sun. The appearing singers does mr. Wilsons stilisisme well, and it suits the melodic floating. It is a very beautiful opera, both in the usical and visual way. In addition, this time it is conducted by the new music chief Philippe Jordan, which is lifting it up, by giving his orchestra, – and singers, plenty of time, needed, to explore the beautiful lines in the Debussy music. Remarkable beautiful soloplayers in the orchestra pit.

As it is usual at Opera de Paris, we are enjoying a list of outstanding singers, the best established singers possible to get casted, and in the production for 2012 they are Stéphane Degout as Pelléas, Elena Tsallagova as Meélisande, – she was a dreram. Vincent Le Texier does an outstanding Goland. Franz Josef Selig is Arkel. While Julie Mathevet is the little Yniold. Anne Sofie von Otter is splendid as Geneviève and Jérôme Varniera shepherd.  and the doctor.

Elena Tsallagova (Mélisande) et Vincent Le Texier (Golaud). Foto Charles Duprat.

The costumes in the typically, but elegant and beautiful Robert Wilson style is by Frida Parmeggiani. Robert Wilson is together with Heinrich Brunke responsible for the elegant light. And in this production at Opera Bastille the light is in the way so it is possible to enjoy the mimic. And when so little is on stage of scenographie, nothing nearly, except the stylistic forest, and the torch, the mimic is importent.

For the future. I am looking forward to a new Pelléas and Mélisande production at Opera de Paris which will open up for letting a scenographer make the scenes which are described in the history, it might be interesting for the audience to enjoy..

Once again we had the pleasure of a vist by Birmingham synphony Orchestra at Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris. This time wit a full concertversion of Richard Wagners opera Tristan and Isolde, Sunday 11. March 2012.

Review by Henning Høholt

It became a great victory for the orchestra and its extraordinary conductor Andris Nelsons. – And for them who couldnt attend it, – as it was completely sold out. France Musique broadcasts the concert Saturday June 2nd. 2012. Don´t forget it!!!

The male choire who followed very well up were accentus, leaded by Pieter-Jelle de Boer.

The role list was as following:

Isolde: Lioba Braun. Tristan: Stephen Gould. Kurvenal: Brett Polegato. King Marke: Matthew Best. Brangäne: Christianne Stotijn.  A sailor, a helmsman: Ben Johnson. A shepherd: Benedict Nelson.

Wonderful Orchestral Soloists: English horn ? outstanding of stage.  Solo bratch ? 1st. Violin? and many more.

The roles are demanding, the leading five roles are something extraordinary, and out of them Tristan and Isolde deserves experts in their repertoar. And specially in the demanding Wagner repertoar. To day in the world there are only a few.

The one who immediately was fitting in to the Wagner feeling, and who keeped it during the whole evening was  Brett Polegato as Kurvenal. He has the right voice, the right “flavour” for this demanding role, in which we have heard more or less all the leading ones. A good job.

I liked both King Marke: Matthew Best, deep floating beautiful sound and Brangäne: Christianne Stotijn, mezzosopranoI was feeling that her voice is perfect in this kind of repertoar, but I could have prefered even a stronger power during some parts.

Stephen Gould as Tristan ended very well, as it also shall. His third act was the best. It sounded to me like it took a time before he was feeling really warm. He has absolutely the power needed for a heroic tenor, he has a strong personality in his voice, and was allways shining on the top of the orchestra, impressing. In his pianissimo parts the voice is beautiful, but it is sometimes lacking beauty when it is very powerful, however, I do know, that it is not easy to do both things at the same time, and it is very important that we hear Tristan on the top of the orchestra in the powerful parts, which there are many of. But it was beautiful in his pianissimo parts, specially in the love duet with Isolde.

Lioba Braun, mezzosopran, as Isolde did a good job, her voice is beautiful all the way. she dont have so much power as tristan, but she has the beauty, and for her many difficult parts it worked very well, and also for her the last act was the best. But she had the beauty all the way. Isoldes Liebestod was a masterpiece. However. I prefer a dramatic soprano, and not a dramatic mezzosoprano as Isolde. I am grown up in the Scandinavian tradition with the Kirsten Flagstad, Aase Nordmo Løvberg, Ingrid Bjoner and Birgit Nilsson sound in my ears, with this background I feel that a dramatic soprano in this role is perfect. Specially as Brangäne is a mezzo, then in their duet part, it sounds a bit strange that it is two voices in the same sound feeling. Lioba Braun, must be carefully, because a few times i had the feeling that she was using the ascenseur technique, as for exempel in “Liebe”. It is more beautiful to go directly in on the tune, than lifting it up. – Well it is easy to sit and criticise and write about these details. But the result as Isolde was amazing.

Furthermore, visually,  Lioba Braun three outfits: Black long evening dress with lace arms in first act, Pink extra long evening dress with shawl in the lighter pink colour with lining in the same as the dress in the second act, – the love act, and in the last act a deliciouse light grey long evening dress with a slim coat in the same lenght in black laces,  was elegant and deliciouse. This lifted all the performance visually.

Musically Andris Nelsons gave it all he could, and he did a really good job. We could all hear that the orchestra has been working hard on the preparations, and it is so that “practice makes perfect”, and as I feel that the wish for Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is to be on the master level. They are on the very right way. – Unfortunately I have not had the possibility to listen to any of their records, but I hope i ill succeed with that in the future. To find out if they keep the same master level on CD. I have even not been informed from the orchestra on what label they are?


Tristan und Isolde (Tristan and Isolde, or Tristan and Isolda, or Tristran and Ysolt) is an opera, or music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner to a german libretto by the composer, based largely on the romance by Gottfried von strassburg. It was composed between 1857 and 1859 and premiered in Munich on 10 June 1865 with Hans vn Bülow conducting. Wagner referred to “Tristan und Isolde” not as an opera, but called it “Eine Handlung” (literally drama or plot), which was the equivalent of the term used by the Spanish playwright Calderón for his dramas.

Wagner’s composition of Tristan und Isolde was inspired by his affair with Mathilde Wesendonck and the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer. Widely acknowledged as one of the peaks of the operatic repertory, Tristan was notable for Wagner’s advanced use of chromaticism, tonality, orchestral colour and harmonic suspension.

Please enjoy our reviews from the new Tristan and Isolde production at the Nationalopera in Oslo, premiered Sunday March 4th:



From Tristan and Isolde in Oslo: Isolde: KAREN FOSTER; Tristan:ROBERT GAMBILL surrounded by poppies and an amazing young nude couple. Foto: Erik Berg by Claus Drecker. (in norwegian language)

and by Tomas Bagackas (in english language)

George Frideric Handel by Balthasar Denner

PARIS: Georg Frideric Handel´s oratorio Theodora was performed at Theatre des Champs Elysees, Paris in a great concert production with Le Concert Spirituel conducted by Hervé Niquet with the soloists:

Review by Henning Høholt

 Sandrine Piau in the titelrole Theodora. Lawrence Zazzo as Didymus. Patricia Bardon, Irene. James Gilchrist as Septimus. Nathan Berg as Valens.

Theodora (HWV 68) is an oratorio in three acts by Georg Frideric Handel, set to an English libretto by Thomas Morell. The oratorio concerns the Christian martyr Theodora and her Christian-converted Roman lover, Didymus.

Hérvé Niquet, arkivfoto by Henning Høholt

Handel wrote Theodora during his last period of composition, his Indian summer. He was sixty-four years old when he began working on it in June 1749. He had written the oratorios Solomon and Susanna the previous year. Theodora would be his second-to-last oratorio.

Theodora differs from the former two oratorios because it is a tragedy, ending in the death of the heroine and her converted lover. The music is much more direct than the earlier works, transcending the mediocrity of the libretto (which was true for several of Handel’s works) so that the characters and the drama are well-defined.

The oratorio has a good variety of arias and choruses. Most of the solo pieces are da capo arias. There are three duets, the last being a sublime piece in which Theodora and Didymus die.

How Niquet has placed the choir, with not the traditional sopranos, tenors, bases in the same groups, but as here a mix of the different voices with male and female voices split, in the way like tenor, base, soprano, tenor, base, soprano, and so on, he giving us another kind of sound by mixing the male and female singers. Of course, this is much more demanding for the choir singers, but it gives us a great sound. As usual, an outstanding event.

From last summers meeting with Hérvé Niquet and his ensemble Concert Spirituel, at Sinfonia en Perigord, we do know that he is choosing his soloists, his choir and his orchestra members carefully, to be sure of a goor result. It was the same for this performance.

Generally good distinction, but by the one singer, the base Nathan Berg as Valens it was outstanding, without loosing any of the musicality.

Sandrine Piau is a wonderful soprano, with great musicality. Forthermore closely followed up by the mezzosoprano Patricia Bardon, which presented a fantastic sound in her voice as Irene. The male singers. Lawrence Zazzo, a very good countertenor with many good details, and he sounded perfect together with Sandrine Plau and the very good tenor, James Gilchrist as Septimus.

Some noteworthy arias/duets/choruses

  • “Descend, kind Pity” (Septimius)
  • “Fond, flatt’ring World” (Theodora)
  • “As with rosy steps the Morn” (Irene)
  • “Wide Spread his Name” (Valens)
  • “To Thee, Thou glorious Son” (Theodora and Didymus)
  • “He saw the lovely Youth” (Chorus of the Christians)
  • “Lord to Thee” (Irene)
  • “How strange their ends” (Chorus of the Romans)
  • “Streams of Pleasure ever flowing/ Thither let our Hearts aspire” (Didymus, then with Theodora)
  • “O Love Divine” (Chorus with Irene)
  • “Go, gen’rous, pious Youth” (Chorus)
  • “Bane of Virtue (Irene)

Evgenij Kissin

PARIS: Evgenij Kissin celebrated his 40 years birthday in Salle Pleyel, Paris, Friday, 19th March. But atually his 40 years birthday was October 10th 2011,  by first playing Alexandre Scriabin´s Pianoconcert in F sharp minor, composed in 1896, when  Scriabin was 23 years old. And after the break Frédéric Chopin´s Piano concerto no 1, composed when Chopin was 20 years old.

Review by Henning Høholt

Opening with Scriabin´s Pianokonsert. As this concerto is composed very early in his composing carriere, when his early works, including his first few preludes and major works such as his piano concerto, exhibit strong tonal romanticism, even here Scriabin moves toward a progressively more modern sound.  But this early piece is romantic with a lot of interesting details.  And his building up the concert, spite n three “normal” parts, with notifications as 1. Allegro, 2. Andante, 3. Allegro moderato. It in the third act was including  Andante  passages, whic suiyed the concerto very well, before ending up brilliantly. Myung-Whun Chung had a good felling of the cooperation between the soloist and his part, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, which made a good cooperation between the soloparts and the orchestra and it´s brilliant soloists.

Applaus for Evgenij Kissin, Muyng-Whun Chung and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France at Salle Pleyel, Paris, March 9. 2012. Foto: Henning Høholt

Chopin´s 1 pianoconcert was the second in the concert. Iy is much more wellknown as the Scriabin concerto, and in addition double the lenght. It starts with a symphonc introduction of nearly five minutes lenght, In a way introducing some of the themes the piano will take up later. In addition giving the whole atmosphaere for the concert.

It is interesting that Chopin was only 20 years when he wrote this work. How good a symphonic feeling he had so early in his scomposer carriere. Becuase to write pieces for only one instrument, in Chopin´s  case piano is one thing,, and to write for a large orchestra and a soloist, as in this case a pianoconcerto of symphonic lenght is much more demanding. But Chopin managed that very well.

Evgenij Kissin and Muyng-Whun Chung receiving applaus. Foto: Henning Høholt

The concerto no 1. has very personal melodic themas and tunes, expressive of heart-felt emotion, and the music is penetrated by a poetic feeling that has an almost universal appeal. Evgenij Kissin made a brilliant introduction in the Allegro Maestoso opening part a total lenght of 20 minutes. The Romance, larghetto part is highlighted as a very beautiful and romantic part, where Chopin goes into the secret places of the heart and because of his awareness of the magical new sonorities to be drawn from the piano this part is a hit, particularly his use of rubato. The 3. part Rondo, Vivace was the brilliant and virtuos ending that the audience love, combining a unique rhythmic sense use of chromatism and counterpoint.

The applause wouldn´t stop so first we got a sonata part by Scriabin followed by one of Chopins most famouse and well known highlights, 10 minutes long. A wonderful evening with an outstanding pianist, Evgenij Kissin.

The concert will be send in France Music,  March 26th at 14.00 and through the EU European Radio and TV net.

Flying Dutchman is not only one of Richard Wagner‘s first operas, but indeed one of his most extraordinary. Its première was in Dresden in 1843, and many are  the peculiarities that make this work an absolute masterwork: the fact that it’s inspired to Nordic folkloristic legends, the eternal subtile fascination of the sea, its many facets and the anticipations of Wagner’s maturity, everything gives charm and a strong impact to this opera, one of my favourites among Wagner’s.

Marek Janowski  was appointed in 2002  “life conductor” of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, and with this opera he starts the project to perform live ten Wagner’s operas, which will all be released on SACD by Pentatone. The project will end in 2013, the 200th anniversary of Wagner’s birth.

Intents are praiseworthy, but with Wagner, references in recordings are so many. Almost all the historic conductors had to deal with his operas; nevertheless also new recordings must be considered, listened to and reviewed without prejudices.

Perhaps to discuss of a Janowski’s “Wagner concept” may be excessive. He is a skilled conductor, with good experience, efficient, but he doesn’t achieve a  personal reading of the score. He knows well when he must give fire to the orchestra, or when the spell of the different colours must come out, and  he knows how to set the best background to accompany the voices, but he doesn’t go much further. In the whole, he’s a good conductor but without a great personality.

German bass-baritone Albert Dohmen has built his career specially on Wagner; here, he’s the Dutchman. He’s young enough, being born in 1956: unfortunately his voice has lost in brilliance and overtones. He often encounters difficulties (which he tries to hide as best as he can), specially when he climbs on high notes or when he must hold long musical phrases. In the whole he depicts his character’s many facets, but it’s not a memorable performance. Being the protagonist, it was obvious for us to expect more either on vocal and in dramatic terms.

Senta is Ricarda Merbeth, a German soprano whose voice has no special charm, sometimes showing an annoying vibrato. She’s inconstant in her rendition, and we can say that unfortunately she doesn’t impress much.

At the time of the recording, Matti Salminen, bass, was 65 years old. His voice was certainly neither intact nor firm, but he gets off thanks to his experience, having sung Daland so many times. Here, from time to time, we find his emphasized, stressed phrasing, but the voice is too worn out, and vocal troubles emerge right from the first scene.

Wagner has entrusted Erik with some wonderful moments, and Robert Dean Smith sings the part bravely.  He has a firm voice but, with a certain monotony in his singing, he’s unable to give personality to the role.

With his fresh voice, the young tenor Steve Davislim is a perfect fit for the Steuermann, a small but highly demanding  part.  Silvia Hablowetz is an average Mary.

The Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin is not less excellent than the Rundfunkchor Berlin, which has a lot to do in this opera.

As said, all Wagner’s operas conducted by Janowski will be released on SACD through 2013. We consider this a challenging but insidious task.  As a matter of fact, to release on SACD a performance such as this one that took place at the Berlin Philharmonie on November 13th 2010, is both a merit and a risk: a merit because the spontanity and truthfulness of the performance should be out of discussion (even if it’s easy to think that in the editing work something may have been adjusted); a risk, or perhaps simply a limit, in as much it perpetuates a performance that has its raison d’être and a principal reason in its hic et nunc.  There cannot be further analysis, because the production is linked with a performance, with the cast available in that very moment, that very day; and – with all the due respect for the singers of this Pentatone release – without true “sacred monsters” justifying its existence.

In the whole among all  the Flying Dutchman‘s recordings, this one is a medium level one, considering how many (and which) great conductors in the past tackled this opera.

The sound of this SACD is definiitely wonderful, booklet and graphic are elegant and very rich in information, the libretto is in German/English, with essays in German, English and French.

Revieved by Fabio Bardelli

translation form italian to english Bruno Tredicine

Richard Wagner


Albert Dohmen, bass-baritone (Der Holländer)

Matti Salminen, bass (Daland)

Ricarda Merbeth, soprano (Senta)

Robert Dean Smith, tenor (Erik)

Silvia Hablowetz, mezzo-soprano (Mary)

Steve Davislim, tenor (Steuermann)

Rundfunkchor Berlin

Chorus Master: Eberhard Friedrich

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin

Conductor: Marek Janowski

2 SACD Pentatone

PTC 5186 400

DSD recorded

(live recording of the concert performance in the Berlin Philharmonie on 13 November, 2010)

PARIS: Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacob at Musee des Arts Decoratif, Paris. 9 March–16 september 2012.


A travelling bed from Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs

As we probobly all know. It started with the suitcases.

Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs:
This exhibition tells the stories of two men, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs (artistic director of LV), and will highlight their contributions to the fashion world.

How did they succeed in taking the pulse of their respective periods to innovate and take an entire industry forward?

How did these two personalities, each with their own language, appropriate cultural phenomena and codes to write the history of contemporary fashion?

An analysis rather than a retrospective, this parallel Vuitton-Jacobs comparison will provide new insight into the fashion system during its pivotal periods, beginning with its industrialisation of the late XIX th centuryand ending with its globalisation of the beginning of the XXI th century, focussing also on its artistic professions and crafts, technological advances, stylistic creations and artistic collaborations.

It will also be homecoming for Louis Vuitton, who set up shop only a stone’s throw from the Louvre, the home of his first great patron, Empress Eugénie.

This exhibition presents the story of two personalities, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs (creative director of Louis Vuitton), and highlights their contributions to the world of fashion. How did they know to register in their respective time to innovate and advance an entire industry? How these two men, with their own language did they appropriate the phenomena and cultural codes in order to write the history of fashion?

At the exibition  are discussed crafts, technical advances, the stylistic and creative artistic collaborations.

Deployed on two levels, each floor dedicated exposure to one of the creators in an elegant, exclusive staging of Sam Gainsbury and Joseph Bennett.

With Marc Jacobs the modern time entered the Louis Vuitton House. Foto: Tomas Bagackas.

The Louis Vuitton suitcases are presented in relation to the collections and fashion accessories of the XIX th century museum’s first floor, while a selection of the most iconic models designed by Marc Jacobs, for the last 15 years, is staging the second.

One of the fresh young renewed patterns of bags, designed by Marc Jacobs. But if we see closely, it is the old logo, but renewed with "modern" colours. Foto: Tomas Bagackas

Over a century separates Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs, but both come together in the excellence of their creativity.

As a spectator. We feel that the exhibiton is very informatiove, elegant presented and a bit exclusive, since a fortune is invested in developing and building up the exhibition.

Animal look and inspiration. Foto: Tomas Bagackas

Musée des Arts Decoratif are experts in this kind of work, and we observe it like there are no limits of what they can manage. Therefore also this echibition which shall be the sommer 2012 hit is made very well.

We also feell that they have succeeded in a good way of presentating the long periode, between when it all started in the behinning of 18++ and up to now soon 200 years later. Still managing to keep the label highly acclaimed n popular, and that they have managed to develope the line from bags and bagaes effects to all kinds of accessoires, and also with a kind of a fashion mode line, but without loosing their main product the bagages and bags of high quality.

Text: Henning Høholt

Foto: Tomas Bagackas

Young ideas

Nataliya Kovalova as Juliette and Steve Davislim as Michel. Foto: Yunus Durukan


GENEVE: the production of the opera Juliette, or the Key of Dreams, by Bohuslav Martinu at Grand Theatre de Genève is like a dream, – And that is what it is.

This is a coproduction, which earlier has been shown first at Opera  Garnier, in 2002, then at Opera Bastille 2006, and now at Grand Theatre in Genève. Originally staged by Richard Jones, but in this version by Philippe Giraudeau, assisted by Didier Kerstein. The very good, imaginative decoration by Antony McDonald who too is responsible for the well working and costumes giving the right atmosphere to the places and figures in this dream opera. Original great light by Matthew Richardson reprised by Marc Anrochte.

Musically the performance is in the very best hands by Jirí Bèlohlávek assisted by Robert Reiner. I do feel the inspiration from Debussy.

Steve Davislim as Michel and Emilio Pons as Le Commissarie. Foto: Yunus Durukan

Juliette or the Key of Dreams is a three act opera designed to make its audience dream with their eyes open. It was first performed at the National Theatre in Prague 193, March 16th.

Bohuslav Martinu composed both the music and the libretto, basing his text on Georges Neveux´1927 surrealist play of the same name,

The play´s surrealist ideas and exaltation of the feminine caused a certain degree of scandal at it’s the Paris premiere in 1930.

When Martinu read the play, he decided to adapt it into, although the rights for an adaption had already been given to Kurt Weill. However. This did not stop Martinu; he played a piano sketch of his first act to Neveux, who then arranged for the rights to be transferred to the Czech composer.

The first performance of Juliette was a huge success, thanks to its high production values and the flawless conductor of the composer friend Vaclav Talich, to whom he dedicated the score.

Juliette ou la clé des songes. Scenography: Antony McDonald. Foto: Yunus Durukan

The action takes place neither in the real world, nor in an imaginary one, but in an equivocal border zone, where reality becomes fiction and fiction appears real.  The opera gravitates around the two-fold search for things past and the self, which begins when the hero, Michel, brilliant sung and performed by Steve Davislim, a travelling salesman visits a small coastal town in the south of France, where he hears a young woman playing piano and singing a love song. The memory of this young woman, Juliette, brilliantly sung and performed by Nataliya Kovalova(that we a month ago were reviewing as La Cenerentola at Palais Garnier). This memory haunts Michel on his way back to Paris, and over the course of the following years, and he decides to return to this returns to a town where past and future have ceased to exist.

Bohuslav Martinu’s opera Juliette, or La Clé des Songes, which had its Swiss première February 24th at the Grand Théatre of Geneva. Rarely given since its first performance in Prague in 1938, this work blends reality and fiction, romance and comedy in an outstanding production inspired by the surrealist artists of the 1930s, and stars the world-class Australian tenor Steve Davislim in his Geneva debut. However this is a co production with Opera de Paris, where it was performed in two periods 2002 and 2006.

I was very pleased once again to notice the internationality of the Grand Theatre de Genève, where this opera in Czech language was translated not only to French but also to English. That is how the International opera houses works. (They have not yet learned it in Paris!!!)

Parsifal at Theatre des Champs Elysees. Orchestra National de France, Choire de Radio France. In front from left Detlef Roth (Amfortas), Kurt Rydl (Gurnemanz), Christopher Ventris (Parsifal). Foto Henning Høholt, from the applause.

PARIS. Orchestre National de France, conducted by Daniel Gatti with choire, and a long list of excellent solists presented a concert production of Richard Wagners opera Parsifal, in a way: “Wagner, when it´s at its best”.

Review by Henning Høholt

Without score Daniele Gatti conducted the 5 hour and 20 minutes long concert verion, inclusicve two breaks of at all one hour.

Daniele Gatti

The result is amazing and very representative for Radio France.

We specially enjoyed the orchestral sound, and the many very beautiful details in the performance, inclusive the many good soloparts in all the orners on the stage, and even of stage.. It all started with the great trumpet solo very early, and through that the niveau was placed very high up, and this was the way that the ensemble with orchestre, choir (choiremaster Matthias Brauer), and soloists followed.

In the first act we also enjoyed the childrens choir of stage, (Maitrise de Radio France), and noticed specially two very good sounding boy sopranos clear on the top of it all. Directed by Sofi Jeannin. 

Parsifal at Theatre des Champs Elysees. Orchestra National de France, Choire de Radio France. In front from left Detlef Roth (Amfortas), Kurt Rydl (Gurnemanz), Christopher Ventris (Parsifal). Foto Henning Høholt, from the applause.

The role list is long, very long,. honestly, i should wish that it has been possible to mention all of them but the the review will be to long. Parifal was taken good hands of by Christopher Ventris. Closely followed by his mother Kundry performed by Mihoko Fujimura.  Which showed a beautiful sounding voice, i specially enjoyed the beauty in and the extraordinary sound in the deeper part. Gurnemanz was Kurt Rydl he has the right type of voice for this role, he is playing an old priest, and therefore his too much vibrato in his long lines can be accepted, but it was only disturbing in the long lines, else perfect.  Amfortas, Detlef Roth, was wonderful, clear, direct, and his singing up to the developing of the Gral wass extraodrinay well made.  Good followed by the very relaxed part after. Klingsor, Lucio Gallo, was the magician he has to be, and did a great job. Andreas Hörl sung Titurell.

Parsifal is full of beatiful themes, like his later using of leding themes, and Daniele Gatti in a way underlined these themes, so it was clear for us all what and when we were where in the history. In addition I enjoyed the tempi that mr. Gatti gave his version of Parsifal, i had a good feeling all the evening.

The flover girls was refreshing sung by Julia Borchert, Martina Rüping, Carola Guber, Christiane Kohl, Jutta Maria Böhnert and Katharina Peetz. 

In fact, Tuesday night, it was good that this was not a stage performance, but a concert version. Then we could concentrate ton the music, and were not being disturbed by a regissørs strange ideas, some time to fill up the stage with effeccts. This was clear, and i had a feeling inside me, that Richard Wagner would have liked this performance, Only small details didn´t work perfect on tuesday, During the way two harps are articipating but in the very end two more are added, the were not together all the time, or even not so often. But this is a detail, and I am sure that this will be taken care of until the direct radio performance on friday evening from Theatre des Champs Elysées. The choir has an amazing sound.


Parsifal  is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. It is loosely based on Wolfram von Eschenbach\ s Parzival, the 13th century epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival (Percival) and his quest for the Holy Grail, and on Chrétien de Troyes´Perceval, the Story of the Grail.

Wagner first conceived the work in April 1857 but it was not finished until twenty-five years later. It was to be Wagner’s last completed opera and in composing it he took advantage of the particular acoustics of his Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Where Parsifal was first produced at the second in 1882. Which maintained a monopoly on Parsifal productions until 1903, when the opera was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Wagner preferred to describe Parsifal not as an opera, but as “ein Bühnenweihfestspiel” – “A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage”. At Bayreuth a tradition has arisen that there is no applaus after the first act of the opera.

Wagner’s spelling of Parsifal instead of the Parzival he had used up to 1877 is informed by an erroneous etymology of the name Percivalderiving it from a supposedly Arabic origin, Fal Parsi meaning “pure fool”.

Valery Gergiev

PARIS: Marinsky Theatre Orchestra is guesting at Theatre des Champs Élysées in Paris with two evenings with music by Stravinsky. We are through that getting effelings back to the periode when Stravinsky, him self conducted Oedipus Rex at Theatre Sarah Bernard /Now Teatre de la Ville) at Chatelet, with Jean Cocteau making the recitatives of the hstory in french language, but with Russian text forthe singers and choire.

Review by Henning Høholt


In this production Gerard Depardieu is telling the history, in a splendid way, underlined by music, such as a deep base tune in the one part and at a deep pauke in antoher part. done with great musicality.  So that the musicality in the history don´t stop. Valery Gergiev is at his homeland repertoire, and this is sounds very well.

On their tour this time The Marinsky orchestra is also visiting other places in Europe. for exempel the Grand Theatre Geneve, 13th March with The Firebird and also with Oedipus Rex and Gerard Depardieu.

Applaus after Oedipus Rex. In the center from left Valery gergiev, Gerard Depardieu, Sergei Semishkur, Yekaterina Semenchuk. Foto: Henning Høholt with Iphone.

The titelrole as Oedipus was in good hands by the tenor Sergei Semishkur. Jocasta, was beautiful sung by the  mezzosoprano Yekaterina Semenchuk. While Alexei Markov was great as Creon, a messager, , Mikhail Petrenko as Tiresias, and Alexander Timenko as un Berger.

Oedipus rex is an “Opera-oratorio after Sophocles” by Igor Stravinsky, scored for orchestra, speaker, soloists, and male chorus. The libretto, based on Sophocles’s tragedy, was written by Jean Cocteau in French and then translated by Abbé Jean Daniélou into Latin (the narration, however, is performed in the language of the audience).  The work is sometimes performed in the concert hall as an oratorio, as it was at its original performance in the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt, (Now Théâtre de la Ville) in Paris on May 30, 1927.

It was this version we enjoyed in Paris at this performance, where Gerard Depardieu was performing the text by Jean Cocteau.

Many insights to this opera are found in the famous Bernstein analysis of it in his sixth and last Norton lecture in 1973. Bernstein stated that Oedipus Rex is the most “awesome product” of Stravinsky’s neoclassical period. Much of the music borrows techniques from past classical styles and from popular styles of the day as well. However, Stravinsky purposely mismatches the text subjects (in Latin) with its corresponding musical accompaniment. Bernstein refers to this as a “black joke”, creating a chilling effect that is fully consistent with neoclassic musical style.

Nearly all of Oedipus’ arias liberally use appogiaturas, undoubtedly a stylistic homage to Italian opera. Bernstein even goes so far as to link the opening 4-note motif sung by the chorus to a specific sung quote in Verdi’s Aida. The idea parallel of “power and pity” reigns in both operas even though the specific subject matters are quite different.

Other musical works on the same subject:

  • Oedipus (Z.583) by Henry Purcell
  • Oedipe by George Enescu
  • Oedipus by Wolfgang Rihm
  • Greek by Mark-Anthony Turnage
  • Oedipus Rex by Tom Lehrer
  • Oedipus Tex by P.D.Back, –  A satirical Western-themed oratorio, released in 1990.


Before Oepidus Rex we enjoyed Les noces (English: The Wedding; Russian: СвадебкаSvadebka) by in origin it is a dance cantata, or ballet with vocalists. The verion we enjoyed is a version without ballet.  – Stravinsky first conceived of writing the ballet in 1913 and completed it in short score by October 1917.

During a long gestation period its orchestration changed dramatically. At first conceived for an expanded symphony orchestra similar to that of  The Rite of Spring. 

Stravinsky finally settled on the following scoring: soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, and bass soloists, mixed chorus, and two groups of percussion instruments – pitched percussion, including four pianos, and unpitched percussion. This orchestration exemplifies Stravinsky’s increasing proclivity towards stripped down, clear and mechanistic sound groups in the decade after The Rite, although he would never again produce such an extreme sonic effect solely with percussion.

It is was this work for 4 singing soloists, 4 grand pianos, 6 percussion, male choir (25 singers) and female choir (21 singers). And they are all playing and performing their different parts in the performance. When the male choir is singing a tune, probably based on a Russian folk tune, the female choir is chatting, and giggeling and making the most noice the can , both part leaded by each their two soloists, soprano, and mexxo, and tenor and base.  But at all, this became a special and wodnerful experience. As the Russian language is full of musicality, it is a pleasure to hear such a pice and aslo Oedipus Rex sung inrussian languag by rusian singers. In this it was not spoiled by letting french, or german singers, who don´t know the language try to get it to sound russian. Usualy this dont work well. So in the originality also in the language this St. Petersburg production is  a success.

Stravinsky wrote the libretto himself using Russian wedding lyrics taken primarily from Songs Collected by P.V.Kireevsky (1911). The work is usually performed in Russian or French. In this version it was performed in Russian.

Applaus Les Noces, to the left Valery Gergiev, together with the four pianists and the four singing soloists. Foto: Henning Høholt

In Les Noces the singing soloists were: Mlada Khudoley, soprano. Olga Savova, mezzosoprano, Aleksander Timchenko, tenor and Gennady Bezzubenkov, basse.

Thee four pianists, doing an outstanding job were: Sergeu Babayan, Stanislav Kristenko, Dmitri Levkovich, Marina Radiushina.

Radio France recorded this work on a SACD in 2011. The definitive 1923 version by Stravinsky, was with the difference being that the 4 pianos are replaced by 2 cimbaloms, a harmonium and a pianola, which was actually the choice of instruments in the “1918/19” version of Les Noces.

Josua Hoffalt new Danseur Etoile in Paris.

Josua Hoffalt, foto Agathe Poupeney

PARIS: Josua Hoffalt was appointed Danceur Etoile, (Star Dancer) at the balletcompany of Opera de Paris, Wednesday March 7th. It happend after his first performance of the role as the warrior Solor in La Bayadere, which revealed Rudolf Nureyev in the West.

Josua Hoffalt dans La Bayadere. foto: Agathe Poupeney, Opera national de Paris

Josua Hoffalt interpreted for the first time the role as the warrior Solor, lovers of sacred dancer Nikiya in India mysterious place where the plot of “La Bayadere” is placed.

Hoffault says, he was too young to have known Nureyev, except in videos, he will perform the Solor role again on 17, 20 and 22 March alongside the star Aurélie Dupont, who dances Nikiya and Dorothy Gilbertinterprets her rival Gamzatti.

Josua Hoffalt et Dorothée Gilbert, foto Agathe Poupeney

Nicolas Joel director of the Paris Opera , accompanied by the Director of Dance Brigitte Lefèvre, has made this appointment on the stage of the Opera Bastille, before an audience amazed and delighted.

It is thanks to Rudolf Nureyev, then aged 23,  that Western audiences dazzled by the young dancer had discovered the third act of “La Bayadere” at the Palais Garnier in Paris, during a tour of the company’s Kirov in 1961. Upon leaving Paris, Nureyev had requested political asylum.

He had ascended the ballet in its entirety shortly before his death, when he was Director of Dance at the Paris Opera. (1992)

La Bayadere is on the program from March 7 to April 15, “La Bayadere”, a ballet in three acts originally designed by the choreographer Marius Petipa, It will be broadcasted live on March 22 in a hundred cinémas in France and Europe, then deferred in over 300 theaters worldwide, under the partnership with video broadcasting satellite Pathé Live, a subsidiary of Gaumont-Pathé.

The music is composed by Ludvig Minkus, and the good arrangement for this production, and some of the other productions world wide (but not all) is by John Lanchberry.

Ezio Frigerio Décors
Franca Squarciapino Costumes
Vinicio Cheli Lumières

La Bayadere, foto Agathe Poupeney

Many international ballet companies around in the world are having La Bayadere on their repertoire for the time being.

By Henning Høholt.


Shoot the moon, in the photo Silas Kjølmoen Henriksen. Photo: Erik Berg

OSLO: Lightfoot and León’s strange and wonderful world. Full of captivatingly startling dance, light and dark, the humorous and the serious. Choreography duo Paul Lightfoot and Sol León are behind some of the Norwegian National Ballet’s greatest successes – and eminently worthy of devoting an entire evening to their creative genius.

Two of this evening’s ballets have never before been performed in Norway. In Same Difference we meet seven surreptitious characters who inhabit a dark, surrealistic world. The work reflects the tone of Phillip Glass’ insistent yet beautiful music.

The delectable and much lighter Safe as Houses is inspired by Norway’s winter landscape, which the duo experienced during a season with the Norwegian National Ballet in Oslo. The dancers perform to music by Bach, while a large rotating wall conjures ever-changing scenes and situations.

The evening’s final piece, Shoot the Moon, makes a popular return. A backdrop of changing images gives brief glimpses into a series of rooms and relationships. Following its Norwegian premier in 2010, the VG newspaper gave it top rating and wrote: “Shoot the Moon is yet another amazing work by Paul Lightfoot and Sol León.”

After his performances in Shoot the Moon, followed by review in,  The Norwegian dancer Silas Kjølmoen Henriksen (foto) (from Arendal), received the largest dance prize in Norway The Tom Wilhelmsen Award. Nkr. 500.000. He is now dancer in the world famouse Netherlands Dance Theatre. (The jury used a part of the review text, when they handed out the prize.)

Choreography, scenography and costumes: Paul Lightfoot and Sol León:


From Shoot the Moon. Photo: Erik BergChoreography, scenography and costumes: Paul Lightfoot and Sol LeónMusic: Johann Sebastian Bach

Music. Johann Sebastian Bach.

Lighting design: Tom Bevoort
Music: Philip Glass
Lighting design: Tom Bevoort
Music: Philip Glass
Lighting design: Tom Bevoort
Dancers from the Norwegian National Ballet
The Norwegian National Opera Orchestra
Musical direction: Per Kristian Skalstad


Premiere 17 March 2012 18.00
Also performed on 19, 20, 22, 23 and 29 March, 11, 15 and 20 April
See highlights in Saturday Dance Experience (Lørdans) at the National Gallery on 10 March at 15.00Duration
Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes
Free introduction to the work an hour before the performance.

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, foto: Henning Høholt,

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, honoured with the Grand Prix Antoine Livio 2011 from PMI, Press Musical International, Paris.

PMI is every year honouring an outstanding music capacity with their Grand Prix Antoine Livio, in 2010 the composer Bruno Mantovani received the prize and this year the classical pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. The prize was handed out at a lunch together with members of the PMI Monday 5 March 2012 in Paris.

The Prize speach was made by Didier van Moere, president of PMI and handed over by Michel le Naour, general secretary of the organisation.

Press Musical International web page:

PMI members together with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. Celebrating the Grand Prix.

Grand Prix Antoine Livio

2011 Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

  • 2009: Bruno Mantovani
  • 2008: Eva-Maria Westbroek
  • 2007: Louis Langrée
  • 2006: Peter Eötvös
  • 2005: Jean Nithart
  • 2004: Gidon Kremer
  • 2003: Laurence Equilbey
  • 2002: René Koering
  • 2001: Simon Rattle
  • 2000: Placido Domingo

    Jean-Efflam Bavouzet celebrating the prize with members of PMI, in Paris.

  • 1999: Henri Dutilleux

By Henning Høholt, member PMI

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's Biography

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet‘s busy career includes recent performances with the Boston Symphony, the Berliner Sinfonie Orchester, and the The London Philharmonic, with which he will perform Prokofiev in Royal Festival Hall in October 2004.

His recent CD releases include the complete keyboard works of Debussy, and the complete keyboard works of Ravel. Both of these CDs have been honored with the “Choc” award from Le Monde de la Musique. And the Ravel issue was just named “Best recording of the month” in Stereo.

Of his recent performances of the Messiaen Reveil des Oiseaux with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Globe wrote: “The young French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, made his debut. His imaginative, accurate, and beautiful playing honored his impressive pedigree…”

Indeed Bavouzet has been honored by distinguished juries and musicians of our time, from the Young Concert Artists award to the personal invitation of Sir Georg Solti to perform the Bartok Third Piano Concerto with L’Orchestre de Paris in Paris and on tour. These concerts were conducted by Pierre Boulez. Mr. Bavouzet has been re-engaged with the orchestra for an unprecedented project featuring all five Prokofief concerti in a three week program.

Characterized by critics and audiences as mercurial, elegant, dynamic and poetic, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet performs with leading international orchestras, among them the Gurzenich Orchestra of Cologne, the Bournemouth Symphony, Hallé Orchestra/Manchester, Weimar Staatskapelle, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Calgary Philharmonic, Utah Symphony, and Symphony National de Belgique. In February 2002 he made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Ingo Metzmacher. In April 2003 he appeared with the Berliner Sinfonie Orchester, under the baton of Jean-Claude Casadesus. He returned to the Orchestre de Paris to work again with Pierre Boulez in October 2003.

After hearing him, Sir George Solti invited Jean-Efflam Bavouzet to perform Bartok’s Third Concerto with him and the Orchestre de Paris in Paris/Salle Pleyel and Rome/Santa Cecilia in January 1998. After Solti’s death, Pierre Boulez conducted these concerts to exceptional critical acclaim. Bavouzet has appeared with the finest ensembles of his native France, including the Orchestre National de France with Charles Dutoit at the Stresa and Merano Festivals, Orchestre de Capitol de Toulouse, Orchestre de l’Ile-de-France, and the National Philharmonic Orchestras of Lyon, Metz and Nancy. Conductors with whom Mr. Bavouzet has collaborated include George A. Albrecht, Yutaka Sado, Marek Janowski, Armin Jordan, Leonid Grin, Jorge Mester, Kobayashi Ken-Ichiro, Emmanuel Krivine, Andrew Litton, Kent Nagano, Michel Plasson, Youri Simonov, David Atherton, Pavel Kogan, and Mark Ermler. He is frequent guest at European and American festivals including La Roque d’Anthéron, Théatre des Champs-Elysées Sunday Morning Series, La Folle journée/Nantes, Chopin Festival Paris, Piano aux Jacobins, Schleswig-Holstein, Ruhr Klavierfestival, Badenweiler Musiktage, Harrogate, Kalamazoo, American Spoleto, Mainly Mozart, Bard Festival, Yokohama, Sakharov, and Sarov.

He made his North American debut in 1986 under the auspices of Young Concert Artists, and has since been touring throughout the United States and Canada, including appearances at New York’s 92nd Street Y and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Among his many recordings are Haydn and Schumann recitals for Harmonic Records. The Haydn won the “Choc” Award by Le Monde de la Musique in 1992, and the Schumann CD was voted one of the Best Recordings of the Year by Le Monde in 1994. The world premiere of the complete Ohana Etudes was released by Harmonic Records in 1998, and received the Choc du Monde de la Musique in 1999. He has also recorded the Debussy Etudes and an all-Chopin CD for the Japanese label Pony Canyon Classics. His new collaboration with MDG (Germany) will begin with the complete solo piano works of Maurice Ravel, scheduled for release in 2003.

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, portrettfoto by Henning Høholt, copyright reserved

His musical tastes are eclectic and distinctive. His concerto repertoire includes all the concerti of Bartok, Beethoven and Prokofiev. In November 1999 he performed the complete Prokofiev piano concerti in two nights with the Nizhni Novgorod Philharmonic in Russia. This season he is touring with the complete solo works of Ravel in one recital, and is one of the featured artists in The 32 Beethoven Sonatas cycle being performed throughout France. His recitals often include contemporary repertoire by Boulez, Ligeti, Stockhausen and Ohana.

Renowned pianist Zoltan Kocsis recently joined Bavouzet for the premiere of Bavouzet’s own transcription of Debussy’s Jeux for two pianos; the two pianists played regularly in duo recitals throughout Europe between 1995 and 2000. Bavouzet’s transcription of Jeux is to be published by Durand.

In 1999 he was named Professor for Life in the Piano Department of the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany.