A Night at the Opera

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA.

We’ve had our Wagner experience in the1475 Olavinlinna Castle reached by pontoon walking bridge. There were tears. The soprano playing Senta cried during the curtain calls; her name is Amber Wagner, so perhaps melodrama is in the blood. The B reserve 126 euro tickets were close to the stage and orchestra. The sound was powerful, particularly the male chorus.

Earlier, we took the 8 euro tour of the castle and our guide was a very blonde Finn trainee elementary teacher- who is really a Hare Krishna and about to go back to India to study the Vedas for five months. There’s no furniture in the castle, apart from some vinyl chairs, but the walls and windows and ‘thick bastions’ were impressive. The castle was built by Danes and conquered by Sweden and Russia before Finland came into existence in 1917.

Savonlinna is a classy beautiful lakeside town, full of beautiful people here for the opera festival and taking the waters- in yachts and lake steamers – or just drinking it straight from the tap. We got to bus into town and looked through market square by the harbour. We booked our post opera taxi- which cost 57 euros back to Kerimaa. Sat in the sunshine for a snack, walked along the harbour front and had our castle tour.

I’d been looking forward to the opera since January and it was worth it. Juha Uusitalo has been ill, but he promised to sing last night. There were one or two cracks in his voice, but it had such drama and the cursed, pallid Flying Dutchman. He will be Wotan in Melbourne next year. The fabulously experienced Wagnerian bass, Matti Salminen, sang the Norwegian sailor. What a treat to hear him live after seeing him on DVD.  I didn’t know the French conductor. It’s quite a small space- the courtyard of the castle is roofed with a circus style tent roof for the festival and the acousitcs are wonderful.

We have now just had our last Kerimaa breakfast, included in the place, in their pine log restaurant, which would be great in winter. They specialise in ice fishing here. Golf in summer. We’ve eaten porridge, fresh bread, salami, ham, tiny Finnish sausages, lettuce, tomato, cheese, cucumber, pickled cucumber, eggs with dill, Finnish coffee with tiny profiteroles.

We are leaving today to go further west into the Lake District to Jyvaskyla.

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