Det Kongelige Teater

Det Kongelige Teater's 2009-2010 Season

September 6- October 28 2009: Eugene Onegin
September 6-26 2009: El Cimarron
October 7 - November 12 2009: Lucia di Lammermoor
October 21-22 2009: La Traviata (Den Jyske Opera)
November 8 2009 - June 12 2010: Carmen
November 15- December 11 2009: Ariadne auf Naxos
December 20- February 1 2010: Tannhäuser
January 18- March 28 2010: Die Zauberflöte
January 9 - February 7 2010: Pelléas et Mélisande
February 9- April 12 2010: The Rake's Progress
February 17-18 2010: Idomeneo (Den Jyske Opera)
March 20- April 17 2010: Jephtha
March 26- May 1 2010: Elektra
April 23- May 19 2010: Skin Deep
April 30- June 5 2010: My Fair Lady (Concert Version)
May 4- June 7 1010: Waiting in Nowhere

2009-2010 Season | Official Site

Partenope at Det Kongelige Teater

Here is the promised review from the Opernphrenologe. I must say that I'm quite jealous that she got to attend a performance of this production. However, I hear there is to be a DVD release, so at least there is that to look forward to.

   * Notes *
The recent production of Händel's Partenope at Copenhagen's Royal Theatre was wonderful! No, really! It was really that good! I traveled all the way to Copenhagen for this one measly opera, and it was worth it.

Andreas Scholl as Arsace was so exceedingly funny! He had these marvelous comic facial expressions as he vacillated between two women. At one point, he crawls after the queen on his knees, then on his stomach, then he lifts his leg as if urinating. It was so silly! He made grunting sounds when the women abused him, and they were so utterly absurd that I kept on laughing aloud.

Then there was the Barbie doll of the queen. Armindo first fondles the Barbie doll as he sings about his true love for the queen. Later, Arsace got into what appeared to be a fist fight with the queen Barbie, and it seemed as if the Barbie was winning.

During the "fight scene", the two sides first played musical chairs, then rock-paper-scissors. Fight scenes are usually dumb in the opera, and I enjoyed how this one poked fun at itself!

As for the singing, Andreas Scholl (Arsace) was a bit weak at first but then sang beautifully. Inger Dam-Jensen (Partenope) and Christophe Dumaux (Armindo) were spectacularly good. Only Tuva Semmingsen (Rosmira) was not too good, but considering that she was too sick to sing and that some mysterious woman in black was singing for her in the orchestra pit, it is not that surprising. On the other hand, her acting was good.

Indeed, the opera cast has been plagued with the cold since opening night. When I saw it, Andreas Scholl had recovered but poor Tuva Semmingsen was in no shape to sing. According to some others, the opera director Francisco Negrin was the origin of the cold (according to himself in an interview). Very naughty, Mr. Negrin!

The stage was a simple rotating stage with what appeared to be tilework. I found it quite dull, until it rotated and exposed an octopus and seven fish, all done up in fake tilework. It was lovely! But that was it, it became boring after that.

During a discussion with some people with a Scholl Problem (tm), it was noted that Negrin made some hefty changes to Acts 2 and 3. The Arsace-Rosmira duet "E vuoi con dure tempre" from the 4th scene in Act 2 is missing, perhaps because Rosmira couldn't sing. Ormonte sings "La gloria in nobil alma" at the beginning of Act 3, which was originally sung by Emilio earlier in Act 2. When Arsace dreams, he is not awakened by Rosmira (this has been cut) but instead sings the terzetto in his sleep. It may be possible that Arsace's aria "Fatto è Amor un dio d'inferno" in Act 3 was also cut.

* Tattling * 
The audience was reasonably well-behaved. In fact, they would probably tattle on me, since I kept on cackling with laughter (though I tried to be quiet, but is quiet shaking from laughter much better?). I suspect that there were a lot of nutty opera people there. The woman on my left talked about how she was going to travel to London to see Partenope performed there (with mezzo-sopranos, though, she discovered that I was a Scholl fan and looked down upon me I think). The woman on my right kept on clicking her eyeglasses and sighing. Perhaps she was bored. She also dropped things twice, with a loud clang.

La Traviata at Det Kongelige Teater

Some months ago I learned that Andreas Scholl was to sing Partenope at the Royal Danish Theatre, and pestered my friend whom we'll call the Opernphrenologe into going, as she is rather closer to Copenhagen than I am. The Opernphrenologe also went to a performance of La Traviata, and what follows are her (edited) observations. The Partenope review is forthcoming.

   * Notes *
"Sehmbreh leebherha deggaoo
Follehggyar dee geeoiha in geeoiha..."

La Traviata at the Copenhagen Opera House was decent. I liked how all of the opera singers were at around the same level, nobody stood out to make the rest sound horrible. Both Violetta (Anne Margrethe Dahl) and Alfredo (Niels Jorgen Riis) started out too quietly, but they gained in strength halfway through the first act. Giorgio Germont (Jorn Pedersen) reminded me more of an automaton rather than an opera singer. He couldn't act and there was almost no emotion in his voice. I kept on seeing a wind-up key in his back every time he sang. On the other hand, everyone was on pitch most of the time, which shocked me!

Violetta, sung by Anne Margrethe Dahl, had extremely poor enunciation. At first, I thought about how much I enjoyed her warm round tone. Considering that I normally hate sopranos, this was surprising! Then I noticed that she was slurring. She couldn't act and her pitch went slightly off somewhere in the middle of the second act, but on the plus side she was hot and she had nice legs.

The staging was absurd. During Act II, they put piles of dirt in the bedroom to show how poor they were. One pile of dirt had some pretty green weeds growing on it, which I thought was a charming touch. During Act III, they made a hole in the floor. That was profound.

Act III was by far my favorite. Shortly after curtain rise, a woman pretending to be drunk threw off her cape and collapsed to the ground. Naked. Her quivering pallid flesh lay on the stage floor until some other extras carried the mound off. Then some man took his shirt off! I don't know why he did that, but he did! Then the de-shirted man pretended to have anal sex with another man who was previously dressed up as a woman. Finally, when Alfredo denounced Violetta, he ripped her dress off so she had to lay on the stage in her underwear. But they weren't any normal underwear. They were so exceedingly cootish that I was jealous.

The Danish people do not seem to cherish their opera singers very much. The program does not contain artist biographies, but instead has a page of all of the opera singers' names with tiny little pictures. It was more like a police line-up than an opera cast list.

* Tattling * 
The audience talked quite a bit. When Violetta had consumption, someone else in the audience joined her. There was lots of rustling. The people in front of me talked to me during the break and seemed surprised when I told them that I always stand at the opera if I have a choice.

There was some high-pitched feedback during the first act on the left side of the opera house. Fortunately, it disappeared by the second act.

The opera house supplied little cups in the bathrooms so that it was easy to get water. I appreciated that very much!

Det Kongelige Teater's 2008-2009 Opera Season

September 6- October 8 2008: Der Rosenkavalier
September 20- November 2 2008: Don Carlo
October 3 2008- January 15 2009: La Traviata
October 4-27 2008: Partenope
October 6-23 2008: Opera - ind til benet
October 18-19 2009: Die Zauberflöte
November 13-15 2009: Phaedra
December 7 2008- January 21 2009: Wozzeck
January 10- February 14 2009: Brødrene Løvehjerte
February 11- May 14 2009: Die lustige Witwe
February 11-15 2009: Boris Barnemorder
February 12- March 30 2009: Le nozze di Figaro
February 18-19 2009: L'Elisir d'Amore
February 21-22 2009: Dead Man Walking
February 24- March 20 2009: The Rape of Lucretia
March 28- May 17 2009: Livlægens besøg
April 23-27 2009: Ezra
May 10- June 14 2009: Tristan und Isolde
May 20- June 13 2009: Il Turco en Italia

As rumored, Andreas Scholl is singing Arsace in Partenope at the Royal Danish Opera. (Thank you to Mostly Opera... for tipping me off on the new season.)

2008-2009 Season | Official Site