It really has been a while since last I wrote. Yesterday I saw the ballet Carmen. The production is hired from the Norwegian National Ballet, and in the local newspaper the critic Jukka O. Miettinen asks why. Yesterday the answer was obvious: the house was full, the performance was good and entertaining, and the audience was enthusiastic.

The ballet is set in 1930's Spain before the civil war, but I don't find that it adds anything essential to the story. The choreographer Liam Scarlett wanted the audience to empathise with both Carmen (Rebecca King) and Don José (Jun Xia), which in my case failed. It contains all the familiar music of the Bizet opera plus some from L'Arlesienne reorganised in a way not possible in an opera.

As usual I attached my attention to inessentials: in the first act there is a strangely left-handed statue of a military person with his left hand raised and sword on the right side. It is somehow slightly off-balance, perhaps on purpose, but I kept wanting to fix it and had to tear my eyes away. Another memorable thing is in the second act Escamillo (Alfio Drago) doing his oily psychopat dance in black leather at the tavern, which is repeated in a more civilised fashion in the third act on the arena, which also got me wondering the islamic roots of Spanish culture.

At the end there were people whooping and clapping. I wonder if they were the Turku region waste disposal and Keep Archipelago Clean people I passed at the wine bar when entering? All in all a nice evening, but I missed the singing; dance always leaves me feeling slightly out of it.


I've been feeling a little out of sorts, but last December I saw the Pippi Longstocking ballet (chor. Pär Isberg, music by Stefan Nilsson and Greg Riedel): children loved it, I was slightly bored, although it did have its moments. This January I saw Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss, which was mercifully short, although it had its moments, too. Jorma Uotinen (retired ballet dancer) played the richest man in Vienna: I can't see that it being just him added anything, but these days he seems to be everywhere: in TV programmes, on stage, and now even advertised on trams as president Kekkonen.