For those who have not yet seen it, or want to see it again, LA Opera proudly presents The Anonymous Lover (L’Amant Anonyme), an unjustly neglected 1780 chamber opera by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a pioneering Black composer who was a contemporary of Mozart. His comic romance tells the story of Léontine, a beautiful young widow who has become disillusioned with love. Much to her surprise, she receives a steady stream of letters and gifts from an unknown man professing his undying passion. Her friend Valcour tells her he has no interest in romance. But now, after hiding his true feelings for years, Valcour has the courage to reveal that he himself is her devoted secret admirer. Will his confession sway a woman sworn to resist all affairs of the heart?
https://www.laopera.org/performances/updated-2021-season/the-anonymous-lover/. Available only through November 29, 2020.
Leaving Los Angeles late in the afternoon, we land in Northern California’s Gnoss Field with barely enough time to eat quick but tasty sandwiches at the War Memorial Opera House’s café before taking our seats for the performance. San Francisco Opera is showing some of the wonderful performances it had the good sense to film for the future. For the weekend of November 28-29, the selection is Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love).
Returning to the Magic Opera Flying Carpet, we break out our rainy weather gear so it will be ready for our morning arrival in Cambridge, England. Manon has a new toy consisting of feathers attached to a wand by means of a long string and she is having a wonderful time chasing it around the cabin. Actually, she has entangled both her back feet in the string and is meowing for help. Of course she could bite the string and free herself, but why should she? Humans are great servants when cats need them.
Arriving in the general aviation field outside of Cambridge, we locate a restaurant that serves a full English breakfast and sells us an assortment of meat pies to stock up the Carpet’s galley for later use. We also take on a quantity of English draft ale for after-the-opera nightcaps. The Thanksgiving holiday is over and we begin the Christmas season with Handel’s oratorio, Messiah.
VOCES8 Artistic Director, Barnaby Smith conducts the VOCES8 Scholars, Apollo5, and the Academy of Ancient Music in a performance of Messiah recorded and broadcast from Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, on December 5, 2018.
After a quiet night and a full brunch, the Magic Opera Flying Carpet departs for Helsinki, Finland, and a passionate rendition of Il Trovatore.
Fish is hugely popular in Finland, as the huge amount of lakes and proximity to the Baltic Sea offer a diverse range. Arguably, the most well regarded locally caught fish in Helsinki is the Baltic herring. The best place to find freshly caught herring is at the market hall (kauppahalli) on the south harbor where there are fishmongers and restaurants. Some of the most popular variations include pickled fish with raw onion rings and/or new potatoes.
Finnish National Opera performed this “Stage 24” rendition of Verdi’s Il Trovatore on September 24, 2020. Patrick Fournillier conducts and Joan Anton Rechi directs. The cast includes Veronika Dzhioeva, Monika-Evelin Liiv, Mika Pohjonen, Claudio Otelli, and Heikki Aalto. The video will be available worldwide until 23 March 2021.
We serve hot chocolate to returning patrons and get ready for an early morning takeoff for Munich.
Roast duck is a meat dish frequently listed on Bavarian menus. We ordered the two-course roast duck at Käfer-Schänke. The first course is duck breast with caramelized cabbage, potato dumplings and apple sauce, and the second is duck ragout on lettuce with malted bread croutons and sauce. We were fully stuffed for the evening.
Falstaff is a new production at Bavarian State Opera. Michele Mariotti conducts and Mateja Koležnik directs a cast that includes Ailyn Pérez, Galeano Salas, and Wolfgang Koch.
As usual, our pilot will only attempt a landing in Salzburg during daylight, but we leave Munich as soon as the sun is up. Our tour members enjoy an elaborate breakfast buffet while aloft. The flight to Salzburg is short and we arrive in time for a noon trek in the Salzkammergut. A few gentlemen have brought fishing gear and hope to add to the food supply by evening. Manon wants to help fish, but is rightly afraid of the briskly flowing Salzach River that cuts through the center of the city. I keep her harnessed and leashed because she is a member of our family with whom we take no chances.
Our onboard chef does not trust the fishing ability of our volunteers and secures enough trout for all. We enjoy it poached “blau” with French fries and paprika salad before our bus ride to the grosses festspielhaus.
We see Verdi’s Don Carlo in a 1986 production led by Herbert von Karajan starring Agnes Baltsa, Jose Carreras, Fiamma Izzo D’Amico, Piero Cappuccilli, and Matti Salminen.
We arrive back at the Magic Opera Flying Carpet to find Mozartkugel at each seat. No one should leave Salzburg without it. We fly to France in the morning.
We arrive at Versailles outside of Paris and grab breakfast buns from the palace cafe. We will spend the day on the palace grounds relaxing and drifting along the Grand Canal in rented rowboats. Dinner is at Piccolo Venezia, an Italian restaurant located between the Apollo Fountain and the Grand Canal. In the evening, we attend a concert that includes J. S. Bach’s Magnificat BWV243 at the Chateau.
Jordi Savall conducts Hanna Bayodi-Hirt, Johannette Zomer, Damien Guillon, David Munderloh, and Stephan MacLeod in the 2013 performance.
Having had a wonderful time in sunny weather in France, we return to LA with happy memories and a purring kitty.
Photos courtesy of LA Opera.