Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Hey everyone!

I'm sorry It's been decades since my last post.  It was pretty difficult to get internet in Assisi so I decided to make this more of a "post trip blog."

I left you in Zurich.  Next came Lugano!

Wow it was gorgeous!!

This beautiful lake town is in the Ticino, or italian speaking part of Switzerland.  Fun fact:  George Clooney lives one lake over, on Lake Como!!  Every single time my mother and I saw a nice car drive by, we wondered if it was him!

We spent our one day walking around, eating, and attending a beautiful mass at Santa Maria Degli Angeli.  Inside the church is a famous fresco by Bernardino Luini.

the crucifixion

Here are some more pictures from our lovely day in Lugano!

Next up, Milano!!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Zurich Part 2: La Comédie de Carmen

Our second day in Zurich was spent sightseeing, shopping, eating more delicious food, and watching a very interesting Carmen at the Zurich Opera House.

at breakfast in zurich

First thing that morning, we hit the flee market. After that, we had coffee at the oldest cafe in town and visited tons of other shops before the opera that evening.  I also got to meet Annemaries friend, Lilo.  They were roommates back in the 60's in San Francisco and have been friends for almost 50 years now!

a cake at the Cafe

As I have said many times, I just love Zurich.  It's such a beautiful, charming place.  The weather was amazing!  It felt like october in Charlotte.  I definitely preferred it to the sweltering heat and humidity we get in North Carolina during the summer.

what i would do to live in one of those apartments!

After spending yet another lovely day in this great city, we headed back to the hotel to get ready and head off to the show...

First of all, it was gorgeous inside the theater.  Zurich is considered to be one of the premier opera houses in Europe.  It was so exciting to just be there, all dressed up, to see one of the most popular and famous operas of all time!

Now, let's get down to it. Just so you know, my title is simply a "jeu de mots," for I am fully aware that Carmen is not intended to be a comedy .  However, I couldn't help but laugh at some points during this wild, abstract, and mediocre production.

with peter before we knew what we were in for

the chandelier in the opera house

It all started when we saw the pictures in the program of the set and costumes.  I am never a huge fan of modernized opera productions, and this was one of them.  However, I can always appreciate them if they are executed well.  The stage was bare, and none of us could tell what time period the costumes were eluding to.  I don't know if I considered the artistic vision to be one that could be easily understood (which is certainly a nice way of putting it.)  But, I got over it.  After all the big picture, when opera is concerned, all relies on the singing!

The show began with a wonderfully played overture.  The orchestra was phenomenal!  They really held the show together, in my opinion.  The chorus sounded great.  Morales sounded great.  Don Jose sounded... well... old.  Schicoff is in his late 60's, after al!  The cigarette girls sounded beautiful... and everything seemed to be going pretty well!  I nearly burst when Carmen made her grand entrance, as I always do.  I think Kasarova is so powerful and beautiful, when she wants to be.  Then she began to sing... and the laughter commenced.

I have never heard so many "mezzo scoops" in my life!  She practically lived down in the basement the entire time.  At one point, my mom asked if she was a man.  Thats not something that should be questioned of a carmen, who is supposed to be a seductive and stunningly attractive woman.  Because the stage was tilted, she also had to do strange, manly things with her body to be able to stand.  All of these things made her look and sound way older than she is or should have seemed in the role.

By the time her death came around, the audience was practically cheering.  It was pretty disappointing to hear someone who I know to be such a wonderful artist sound so rough (in a role I adore.)  Maybe it is time for her to retire... Carmen, at least.

After the show, my grandmother insisted we get drinks.  We deserved them!

celebrating Carmens death with a tutti frutti daiquiri 

Though I didn't care much for the show, it was wonderful to see Carmen at one of the premier Opera Houses of Europe.  It was inspiring on it's own!


Friday, July 1, 2011


Today, my mother, my grandmother, my brother and I took the train to Zurich Switzerland!  We spent the day here in this beautiful city shopping, sightseeing, and (of course) EATING!

The day started off at the beautiful Hotel Europe, where we are staying.  My Grandmother is a regular here when she comes to the opera.

I love how traditional it looks!  We are literally across the street from the opera house!

After settling in, we took off to see the sights of this historic city.  Our first stop was Grossmunster or "Great Church."  It is an extraordinary building outside yet very simple inside.  I loved the modern, abstract stained glass and the amazing architecture.  But what took the cake for me was the organ!  It was so beautiful and really stood out in such a bare bones setting.  Because pictures were not allowed inside, I took one of the model of the church that stood just outside.

(the spire isn't actually crooked... the model was just a little messed up!)

We ate dinner at a fabulous, very traditional swiss restaurant called Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten.  It was the medieval carpenters guild house.  The food was out of this world!!!!

Peter with our amuse-bouche.  that chip in the middle is made of a fish fin!

After dinner we enjoyed a walk around town.  Zurich is most beautiful at night, in my opinion.

with my grandmother, annemarie

We had such a lovely day in zurich.  I cannot wait for tomorrow... carmen starring Vesselina Kasarova at the famous Opernhaus Zürich!!!

until then...


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

as much as I love the stomach flu...

... It wasn't exactly on the agenda for my trip!!

I arrived here in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday and have spent most of my time in bed with a horrible stomach virus :(  The good news is that I am recovering quickly.  We didn't plan anything for the first 4 days and I have another full day to get better before Carmen in Zurich!!  So this is definitely the best timing.

I'm so looking forward to getting out of this stuffy hotel room and enjoying my vacation.  I know I'll have a lot more to share with you all very shortly.


With less than two months left...

... I can barely contain myself!  My mother (the greatest ever) has been working non stop on planning our fabulous European vacation.  So far, I am most looking forward to these soon-to-be highlights:

  • Carmen at the famous Opernhaus Zürich
  • A one day cooking class in Perugia, Italia (the Italian chocolate capital)
  • 6th row seats to both LItaliana in Algeri and Atila at La Scala
  • 2 weeks of singing beautiful music in Assisi
  • High tea at the Ritz in London
My mother is really awesome, right??  She planned all of that!!  I can't wait 2 more months!!  I want to leave now!!