Duke Bluebeard’s Castle and I pagliacci made a surprisingly good combination, although they were very different - so different in fact that the certain similarity in themes stressed by the director Vilppu Kiljunen in speech disappeared in deed, at least in my perception.

Duke Bluebeard's Castle was my first, and also my first opera in Hungarian. Opera in a completely strange language is always difficult, because the connection between music and meaning gets disrupted. I rather desperately listened for the dozen Hungarian words I know; I caught three: kéz, vér, köszönöm. The staging was quite good, simple but effective, thanks to new technology. Actually it got quite distressing at times. But of course music was the main thing, and it had an incredible pull. At times I thought I was getting bored, but when it was over I was astonished to discover it had lasted an hour when it had felt like a half.

The reception of I pagliacci in the reviews has been rather unenthousiastic, but I was positively surprised. Of course the comical effects were pretty dominating, from the Mikko Franck lookalike in the beginning - it is set in the opera - to the vulgar farce with the 'fat suits' at the end, but I in my naiveté found them genuinely amusing, and even moving.

Better this than I pagliacci and Cavalleria rusticana.


It's a pity the opera season is mostly in the dark half of the year. It is nice to be able to see out through the glass wall the Töölö Bay scenery with its joggers, dog-walkers, geese and trains passing. Now the bay was already completely free of ice, while only a week ago it was just as completely covered by it, and snow hid in only isolated crannies.