Ode to lakritsi

Marie and I have developed a love for Finnish liquorice: lakritsi.
The best word ever by the way. Finnish is wonderful!
It comes in two variants – sweet (what every one else than Scandinavians and Finns would call normal liquorice) and the salty version loved by all north of Germany and Danes in particular I am sure (since we take the no. 1 world prize in candy eating. Is that good?!).

lakritsi 

We became so enthusiastic about this product that we decided to become the little stereotyped black person on the wrapping. We tried hard and I think we succeeded fairly well. I have the mouth and Marie has the happy face that used to characterise commercials before the world went to pieces. As such she is in accordance with the very old fashioned style of Fazer’s design. Nice!

love of lakritsi 

All that we need now is to eat enough liquorice to become black. That should be no problem as we are already quite black on the inside. And besides…we need some substitute now that the Ring is definitely over and the theatre has decided to burn the sets. We just KNOW that they do it to look like Brünnhilde. Poor men…it wont do the trick.
/anna

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May 29, 2006. Odes, Photos. 2 comments.

Birthday joy

Thank you for all your nice wishes and sentimentality, Marie! Love you too.
I had a wonderful day with my family and I got some really nice presents (ok, ok, I’m a child when it comes to presents…just love them). One of them was special. Not only did it come all the way from Italy it also includes the possibility of (as the kind and beloved donator put it) mixing bodily fluids with…well have a look for your self:
leccone papa 
And a close up:
ratzinger 
Mr Ratzinger! On a lollypop! Waving happily as we lick him on his face! And on his hand! And on his body!
On the back it says “leccone papa” or “pope lollypop”. Isn’t that wonderful? And if I tell you that the word leccone is etymologically connected with the verb “to lick”: leccare. And add that the ending “-one” magnifies a word. Like a trombone is a big tromba… So I like to think of this as my “lick-the-pope-big-time-lollypop”. I am fascinated and very happy to be the owner of that. It just makes a birthday, if not life itself, so much more beautiful. Mille grazie, caro Francisco, m’hai fatta ridere massivamente. Come sai;-)
/anna

May 22, 2006. Photos. 2 comments.

Happy Birthday!

Today is Anna’s birthday! Yay! I’d write here how old she is today, but that would be dating her, and, frankly, she can do a lot better than me. *Ba-dum-DUM*

(…)

It is grey and rainy and dull outside today, but I know that you could not possibly have had anything to do with that, my dear Ansan, because you’ve been a perfectly good child this year – I can vouch for that.

I hope you’re having a great time with your family as I’m typing this. Not to get all sentimental – oh, heck: yes, totally to get all sentimental – I want to take this opportunity to thank you for always being such a great friend and for being such a blissfully inspiring and wonderful person. You never cease to amaze me with your intelligence, your radience, your wit and empathy. My life has certainly become a lot richer since that humid Spring day three years ago of promenading aimlessly about in Kongens Have with you and experiencing the immense pleasure of your friendship for the first time.

The happiest of birthdays to you and many more to come!

 /marie

birthday pie

Birthday pie.

May 21, 2006. Letters, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Spring. Lenz. Primavera. Vår. FORÅR!!!

Even though it has been somewhat grey the last week I am still in a spring frenzy. Maybe it can be ascribed to the very rough winter we had this year that I have been ecstatic about all the green and all the flowers.
I have been walking a lot in my local park trying to merge my inner excitement with the miracle of everything turning green. Sometimes I almost succeeded in a kind of spiritual osmosis, often helped by listening to spring songs by Carl Nielsen on my iPod. My park is actually two parks. One is a romantic palace garden with a combination of orderly flower beds and large wild growing trees. The other part is more like a wood with occasional lawns betraying the wilderness and reminding the visitor that we are still in a park. Back in the orderly part I took this photograph. I love the combination of colours – so strange and yet so right. Look at those tulips!
Frederiksberg Have
My spring joy has also manifested it self in a need to perform Ronja Robber’s Daughter’s spring scream every time I have been outdoors. You know Astrid Lindgren’s little heroine screaming out of joy each spring. I tried to locate an audio file of that. Without any luck. Instead I was taken to a Swedish publisher’s web page where I found audio files of Astrid Lindgren herself reading her own books aloud. How amazing it must be to be a Swedish kid and having Ronja Robber’s Daughter or The Brothers Lionheart or Pippi Longstocking read to you by THE children’s author over them all. Marvellous. Here are some of the opening sentences of The Brothers Lionheart. And it just gave me a lump in my throat.
Life is beautiful.
/anna

May 20, 2006. Photos, The course of the year. 1 comment.

SO not in my safe place

Just stopping by to post this picture from the Ring (no, we’re still not over the Ring. And so what? There’s nothing pathological about our Ring-tendencies. Shut up.) that both Anna and I love:

sonotinmysafeplace

It’s a picture Anna and I like to refer to as the “so-not-in-my-safe-place” picture, and one that I suspect I shall remember every time I’m feeling distraught in the future. I work for this charity organisation that made me take a shift of face-to-face contact with potential new members for the organisation last Friday, making me stand around in a very crowded street, begging people for money, and I identified very much with Brünnhilde as shown above in that situation, what with the so-not-in-my-safe-place sentiment and all. The picture shows Brünnhilde (Irene Theorin) as she finds herself at the mercy of Gunther and his polyester-clad kinsmen.

Aww, Brünnie. Hang in there, sweetie. And see if you can avoid associating with Hagen too much. Then everything may still turn out ok.

/marie

May 16, 2006. Opera. Leave a comment.

Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Copenhagen Opera 2006 – the review

As you already know; we are the Rhinemaidens and we want the ring back. We absolutely loved the staging of Wagner’s Ring cycle at the Copenhagen Opera.

Basically we had already seen all the different parts of the Ring – they have been staged one by one over these past three years – but this was special to us, because we were told the stories in the right order and pace. So intellectually there were no surprises, it was more of an emotional need; like being a little child again and being told one’s favourite story one more time, as if you’d never heard it before. And then it wasn’t just oneself being the enthusiastic little child, the whole audience was the little children, which just added to the enjoyment of it…
…ok, so this prose-thing? Not working. We are sitting here together, trying to express in elegant prose how we feel about the Ring, and it’s just not possible. We have to turn to the power of The List, once again:

Great things – chronologically:

Rheingold
-The doings of the Rhinemaidens; their bubbling babbling (Weia! Wage! Wage, du Welle, walle zur Wiege etc.) and their Charleston outfits.
Rhinemaidens

– The image of untameable Nature illustrated by the empty pool with all the water outside of it.

– The Gold represented by a naked swimming young man (for the artistic value of it – get your minds out of the gutter, people!).

To jætter? (two giants, Fafner and Fasolt), made out as a profiteer and a construction worker, particularly the depiction of Fasolt’s naïve sensitivity amidst all his coarseness – his humbly offering Freia flowers.
F&F

– Endlich Loge! And they made him a journalist… yay! With a 1920-style camera! Snapping pictures! And he is constantly in need of a lighter (the god of fire!).
F&F

– Loge getting surprised by Alberich as a monster.

– The screaming little nibelungs acted by little boys. Boys as dwarves. Love it.

– Alberich as toad. Caught in the attaché (!) case by Loge.

– The torture chamber scene with pants-wetting Alberich, Wotan who ruthlessly cuts off Alberich’s arm while a trembling, shocked Loge watches. It’s unbearable, but it’s brilliantly effective.
Loge

– Back in Valhalla, Freia, having been reduced to a commodity, breaks down and cries and lets herself be comforted by Fasolt in a very touching and tender scene.
Freia & Fasolt

– The crackling recording of the Rhinemaidens’ lament. The image of everything being out dated and too late.

Die Walküre
– The beautiful first meeting between Siegmund and Sieglinde – such a display of affection!

– Hunding, portrayed by Stephen Milling who also portrayed Fasolt. This was one of the instances where it was amazing to see the two operas in a row: Stephen Milling as the soft Fasolt in Rheingold and then only one day later as the callous Hunding. In theory it should be problematic having one actor for two so different parts but when this actor is Stephen Milling we think it’s just jolly good.
Fasolt Before

Hundingen After

– Teenage Brünnhilde jumping joyously like a carefree rubber ball greeting her idol father. She is so cute.
Far og datter

– The Ride of the Valkyries – the winged valkyries – black winged, that is. As genies of war they make a splendid sight that just gets better as they multiply. And they are champagne drunken teenagers too.
Valkyries

– The entire finale with Wotan ripping off Brünnhilde’s wings as the marvelous climax.

Siegfried
– The doll’s house where Siegfried and Mime lives. It is so ironic that the great hero Siegfried has to live in Mime’s tiny lodgings.

– Mime’s yellow turtleneck.

– Mime typing on his old typewriter joining the orchestra at the Nibelungen leitmotiv.

– Mime. In general.
Mime & Alberich (To the left)

– Siegfried playing the recorder (badly) to imitate the wood pigeon.

– The booty call in the boudoir (Wotan waking up Erda).
Erda & Wotan

– Contrasted by the swift change of scene to the no-man’s land where Siegfried and drunken grandpa Wotan meet, prompting Wotan to realize that he has to let things move on.
Wotan

– The final scene with the fire-ice stage setting moving towards us while turning without making a sound. Pure beauty matching the gorgeous music. And the confused, tentative, insecure, adolescent meeting between Siegfried and Brünnhilde and the final sex scene.
Siegried & Brünnhilde

Götterdämmerung

– The Balkan theme in stage setting of Gunther’s home with Gutrune as a cheap blonde. Excellently portrayed by Ylva Kihlberg.
Gunther & Gutrune

– Siegfried tasting alcohol for the first time, getting wonderfully drunk with Gunther.
Gunther & Siegfried

– The Waltraute scene
Brünnhilde & Waltraude
particularly because of the visual resemblance it bears to this drawing from 1799 by N.A. Abildgaard:
Nemesis

– The cruel father/son scene between Alberich/Hagen where Hagen receives the last information he needs from his father and then proceeds to kill him since he no longer has any value to him. We have been chanting “schläfst du, Hagen, mein Sohn?” (“are you sleeping, Hagen, my son?” ) a lot lately.

– The liquidation of innocent civilians – brutal, but effective in the same way as the torture chamber scene from Rheingold. Particularly nasty detail with the captured women getting forced to watch the deed.

– The purposely cheap-looking costumes for the wedding scene. All that polyester just adds to the nightmare that the event must be to Brünnhilde.

– A worried Gutrune waiting for Siegfried to come home, and learning that he is dead and breaking down in her brother’s arms.
Sad Gutrune

– The moment of sympathetic bonding between Gutrune and Brünnhilde – the two women joining hands in comfort and understanding.
Gutrune & Brünnhilde

– Brünnhilde crying out in despair by Siegfried’s dead body.

– Brünnhilde setting the old world, represented by papers and books and souvenirs, on fire.
Fire

– Hagen having his arm set on fire as he tries to get hold of the ring: Burn, motherfucker. Burn.
Hagen (no picture of that particular scene so instead a portrait of the motherfucker before he burns)

– Brünnhilde resurrecting below a beautiful white, calm moon, contrasting the wild fire, carrying her newborn baby as a symbol of the new world rising. We cried and cried.
Brünnhilde & Daughter

So we loved this Ring. Only once during the about 15 hours of music did we frown: the prologue of Götterdämmerung with the norns was just too subtle, too meta and too stupid. Norns as annoying conservative audience was a disappointing and meaningless use of these marvelous characters. And the references to Patrice Chereau’s 1976 Bayeruth Ring seemed quite stupid as that particular Ring went against the very same type of conservative audience.
Norns
A part from that…not much to dislike. The concept of the staging worked throughout the cycle. The performances, both musical and dramatic, were outstanding and the orchestra played well.
The performance was recorded and filmed and we pray fervently that some production company will be interested in putting out this great Ring on dvd. We would certainly buy it. And tie down all our friends to watch it over and over.
/marie and anna

All pictures are taken from the homepage of The Royal Theatre, Copenhagen (photographer Martin Mydtskov Rønne). Except from Abildgaard which belongs to Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen.

May 12, 2006. Opera, Reviews. 11 comments.

Lost hammershark found

Oh, I hear you, Anna! With the praise-thing! In fact, I ought to post a little something in here about my own 13-year-old, immature tendencies towards praise-cravings… I will get down to that soon.

In the meantime, please give a warm welcome to a newly found hammershark: Terry O’Quinn!

Terry O'Quinn 

The island wants you to join the Hammershark Society, Terry…

/marie

PS: I am insanely jealous that Anna got to see Siegfried again last night. Damn my wretched poverty!

May 6, 2006. Hammersharks. Leave a comment.

How to Fight off Abstinence

Ah, I feel gooooood. Relaxed. Happy. Lightfooted. I have found the perfect solution for my previous, now almost forgotten, abstinence. If I miss the Ring what do I have to do to soothe that? Well, I just buy another ticket!
Ok, ok, ok. Maybe it’s not the right way to bury an addiction. But at least I was enjoying my dope.
Siegfried yesterday…PIE!
/anna

siegfried

May 6, 2006. Opera, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Freezing turkey

You know, John Lennon wrote his song “Cold Turkey” after having attended Wagner’s Ring cycle for a week, and experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms afterwards.

Ok, so he didn’t. But wouldn’t that have made a much better song?

I’m having the same symptoms as Anna. We need another Ring cycle. Immediately.

/marie

May 2, 2006. Opera, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Cold turkey

I don’t know if I have the guts for this cold turkey. All day I have been moving more than I should and having an extraordinarily high energy level. I have been laughing too much and talking way too much with my poor colleagues as more or less willing audience. It’s not good at all. I want another go. I want one more Ring cycle. Now. Or tomorrow when it starts all over.
It was that good.
For the last two acts of Götterdämmerung (and of the Ring as such) I got the perfect seat. 1st row, seat no. 1. Which means just behind the conductor. I was in heaven. I saw every little expression on the singers’ faces and I could follow the orchestra and conductor closely. The sound was perfect.
Marie and I will write a review of the whole thing. Until then…it was marvelous!
/anna

May 1, 2006. Opera, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.