Last weekend, I took an impromptu trip from Oslo to Stockholm to attend Kungliga Operan's premiere of Falstaff. Although Falstaff is probably the opera that I have seen live the most. I wouldn't consider it part of my all-time favourites. It just happened to be performed in Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto in the past few years, and I'm always up for some comic relief.
Stockholm is such a beautiful Nordic city, completely different from Oslo! Whereas Oslo has great sceneries and easy access to nature (seriously though, 20 minutes of public transit and you're either in the mountains, or in IKEA), Stockholm is incredibly rich in history. Since I was only there for a couple of days, I opted to walk around town with no specific destination, and just let the constant feeling of wonder and amazement take over me.
I'm seriously gonna miss these low fare flights throughout Europe!,
It made me wonder why there aren't more performances offered in the afternoon, a part from the Sunday matinees. Especially on days where people tend to go out, offering a performance earlier won't compete with those other plans, which could perhaps increase attendance. Plus, Falstaff is an appropriate opera for families, and this performance got you back home for bath time.
After getting my ticket at the box office, I head to my seat and instantly, mouth drop. Red velvet, gold sculptures, murals, and that chandelier tho. It contrasted greatly with Den Norske Opera' modern building or the performance halls in Canada, to which I am more accustomed to. In that moment, I most likely did look like a tourist. Especially, when I pulled out my camera to snap every possible angle.
The lights dim, and the performance is about to begin. I look for the subtitle screen on the seat in front, but it's not there. The curtain lifts on stage, and the supertitles appear. In Swedish only. Good thing I know the story pretty much by heart! It gave me a nice giggle.
The performance starts strong. As of the first scene, there's this complicity between the singers that you can feel in the audience. You know, when the whole is better than the sum of its parts? It's exactly like that. Special props to Daniel Ralpsson and John Erik Eleby, as Bardolfo and Pistola. Candidly funny, this pair truly set the comic tone brilliantly.
The four women of this opera also demonstrated the same energy in their conspiracy plans. Sara Olsson, Vivianne Holmberg, Marianne Eklof, and Susan Vegh make a convincing group of schemers and I'd recommend not to mess with this lot. It's Mean Girls, circa 1893. But less mean. Somewhat. They do throw Falstaff out of a hamper and into the river Thames...