Wednesday, March 22, 2017

231. A Weekend of Musical Treats ...



A wow of a weekend with two special classical treats for this tourist. 

Firstly, a trip to the beautiful Bucharest Opera House ( built in 1953 and home to the Romanian National Opera Company … ) to see a  performance of Mozart’s crazy opera “Cosi fan Tutte”.





Written by Mozart in 1790 and originally set in Naples ( and sung in Italian ), the story is about two young army officers, who boast about the beauty and virtue of their girlfriends ( sisters ). Their cynical older friend, however, declares that a woman’s constancy is like the phoenix - everyone talks about it but no one has ever seen it … !!! … ( Mozart’s words – not mine … ). Their friend proposes a decent wager if they’ll give him one day and do everything he asks, and he will prove to them that the sisters are unfaithful, like all other women. The young men agree … and so a couple of hours later and after much amusement and intrigue – well I wont tell you what the outcome is – other than to say there is a bit girlfriend / boyfriend swapping and lots of confusion - and in the end, the boys lose their wager but find true love - it's an opera after all




 




This excellent production of an old favourite was a lot of fun and set in “almost” modern day at a Romanian wedding reception …



My second treat was a night at the Romanian Athenaeum ( a concert hall in the centre of Bucharest – built in a very ornate neoclassical style and opened in 1888 ) ...




 




  


The concert was brilliant and featured the Camerata Regala orchestra with three piano concertos by Dinu Lipatti, Mozart and Chopin. The three piano soloists were Mihai Ungureanu, Dana Borsan – and the wonderful Russian pianist Nikolai Demidenko. The capacity audience wouldn't let him leave the stage and he did four encores before finally staggering off ...





A 75-sqm long and 3-m wide fresco by Costin Petrescu decorates the inside of the circular wall of the concert hall. Painted using the al fresco technique, the piece depicts the most important moments of Romanian history, starting with the conquest of Dacia by Roman emperor Trajan and ending with the realization of Greater Romania in 1918.



Sitting there in this extraordinary hall listening to Demidenko was one of the most exhilarating  experiences ... and another swoon time in wonderful Bucharest ...
  


I might add here that one of the many wonderful aspects of life in the Eastern European countries that I have visited, is the affordable cost of “culture” … my stall seats at the opera and the concert were just equiv. Aus$15 ( try seeing an opera in Australia or UK or US etc. for that …) … and entry to the wonderful art museums that I have been experiencing is as low as Aus$3 … and don’t let me start on the low cost of living – groceries about a third cheaper – coffees half the price and public transport and taxis and cinemas are all well below what I would expect to pay in the west … this all makes traveling around the Balkans so much more affordable than in those other hot spots …