This Old House, Glaser Edition

Thursday, February 01, 2007

On Hiatus!

We put our blog on hiatus because it is hard to do a photo blog when the digital camera is being jostled about the streets of India and Vietnam. Steve spent eleven days on a whirlwind trip to Jaipur, India and Hanoi, Vietnam and returned home today, bring home one nasty cold and gifts to follow (thanks to DHL). Below is a shot of the city where Steve stayed, Jaipur, the pink city, one of India's many historical cities. Jaipur has many contrasts like the poverty and the extravagant palaces and amazing temples. Elephants and monkeys freely roam the streets (translation: be careful where you walk).
Steve took a tour of the Taj Mahal, which is in the city of Agra. The building, carved from beautiful white marble, has a palace on each side. Although the Taj Mahal is magnificent and worth the drive, getting there is another matter. The trip from Jaipur was six hours, one way. Transiting through Agra assaults the senses in every respect.
Far from the images one remembers from war movies, Vietnam is an emerging country, growing rapidly. Hanoi is clean, bustling, energetic, and promises to be a future business destination. Its people are welcoming. Steve enjoyed a performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute at the Hanoi Opera House, built by the French in 1901 and reopened in 1997.

This week it will be performed by top Vietnamese singers and musicians from the Hanoi National Conservatory of Music and the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra. Tenor Dang Duong will play the role of Prince Tamino, soprano Nguyen Bich Thuy the role of the Night Queen, and Vu Manh Dung the role of Papageno, the opera’s favorite character who raised a laugh every time he appeared.

Austrian conductor and art director Wolfgang Groehs, stage director and designer Manfred Waba, and makeup artist Wilhelm Galli, all from Vienna, will do the honors. The Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra will perform under the baton of Groehs. The show will also feature other works by leading composers – including Tosca by G.Puccini, The Bat by J.Strauss, Carmen by G.Bizet, and Egeni Onegin by P.Tchaikovsky.

This gala opera project was initiated by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem during a visit by Austrian Education Minister Elisabeth Gehrer in 2005. The Austrian government provided EUR80,000 (US$103,300) for an Austrian conductor, director, makeup artist and stage costumes, while Vietnam provided $70,000.

Compiled by Thu Thuy


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