Rockin’ and rollin’ with Beethoven

Beethoven - the giant of German music. Courtesy Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Sammlung H.C. Bodmer
Beethoven – the giant of German music. Courtesy Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Sammlung H.C. Bodmer

Who was the first woman to take me to a classical concert? My mother was. I must have been 12 or 13 years old when she took me to informal concerts of Luxembourg’s Radiosymphony Orchestra, that became the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg in 1996. And since today we celebrate Mother’s Day in Luxembourg, I would like to pay tribute to my mother. Merci, Mama! Thank you, mom, for encouraging me to pursue my interest in classical music! I owe you many things and I have been an ungrateful child.

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Two masters create the Sleeping Beauty

 This beauty is not asleep! © Elizabeth Wohlgenannt
This beauty is not asleep! © Elisabeth Wohlgenannt

Shaken by Reimann? So am I. Longing for something with beautiful melodies? Here we go. When it comes to beautiful melodies, there is no one like Tchaikovsky. And where are we going to find the most charming of all beautiful melodies that Tchaikovsky has written? Right, in his ballets. I have rhapsodized already about the beauty of “Swan Lake“, but there is another one that you should not miss: “The Sleeping Beauty”, Op. 66.

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Lear – You are men of stone

Lear - solitude, madness. © Elisa Haberer/Opéra National de Paris
Lear – solitude, madness. © Elisa Haberer/Opéra National de Paris

The partition of a kingdom, jealousy leading two sisters to orchestrate the death of a third, a cold-hearted father, a conspiration of an illegitimate son against his brother, another father losing his eyesight, blinded by his foes – those are the ingredients of William Shakespeare’s play “King Lear”. Those are the building blocks of Aribert Reimann’s opera “Lear”, that I saw two days ago in Paris at the Opéra Garnier. I finally made it into that prestigious opera house and I saw and heard an utterly stunning performance.

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Butterflies fluttering out of the piano

Fragile life. © Charles Thibo
Fragile life. © Charles Thibo

Right behind my house, there is a butterfly bush, a Buddleja. It is huge. And in a few weeks, it will be full of butterflies, like last year. I can sit there for hours and do nothing but watch the sky and the butterflies. There are about eight or nine different types: small tortoiseshells, peacocks, emperor moths, small whites etc. They flutter from blossom to blossom and live a happy, albeit short life. Robert Schumann’s Opus 2 is a lovely cycle of poems called “Papillons” (butterflies). When the sun shines upon my face, and when I listen to these pieces with my eyes closed, I can see the butterflies dance in the air. So nice.

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