Sunday, February 26, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside: -30 Degree Music Festival in Sweden

Soprano Avemo sings to keep warm at Vinterfest
"As concert venues go, this one is perfect – a barn-like structure, whose pine timbers emit a fragrance not unlike that of a sauna, whose long glass windows look out across oxon-red wooden Swedish farmsteads and the frozen expanse of Lake Orsasjön. The Vattnäs Konsertlada is the labour of love of local girl, the international opera singer Pers Anna Larsson, and is being used at Sweden's by now best-known music festival, Vinterfest, for the first time. Guests are streaming into the barn, stepping on pine branches strewn across the entrance to stop them sliding on the ice. Meanwhile the artists for the lunchtime concert whose eclectic offerings range from Ophelia's madness scene from Ambroise Thomas' 1868 Hamlet, to Robert Schumann's Piano Quartet in E flat major have taken pre-concert refuge down the road in this hamlet in central Sweden at the house of local silversmith Bernd Janusch who has given them use of his artist's studio, his bedroom and the baby grand in his living room, to warm up. Kerstin Avemo, the Swedish soprano probably best known for her portrayal of Lucia in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at the Gothenburg Opera last year, about which critics raved, is the first to arrive in the Konsertlada, in a car whose winter tires grip the icy sloped road between Janusch's cosy [sic] blue and white bungalow and the barn. If she possessed any diva-like qualities she has been forced to leave them at the door along with her fur-trimmed winter coat and knee-high snow boots which she replaces with a pair of dainty pale pink heels, sniggering along with the audience as she slips them on before taking up her position on the stage." [Source]

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