Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More from Amsterdam...

OK the city of Rembrandt is the city of everything you could dream to see/experience when you're very young -- Sigh! :) When you're a bit older you either become freaky or you observe it for a couple of days and say -- not for me any more... Besides the Opera house, you can visit its 2 art museums, or simply walk along the canals and enjoy its very charming architecture...
Only two sets of pics:

The symbol of Amsterdam "xxx" and the numerous Coffee Shops which always make me laugh: through the windows you can always see the teenagers intensively high and happy! ;) The pic of one beautiful canal (next to the flower market which is understandably not impressive in February); and then a pic of the Rijksmuseum which is a bit disappointing right now. Very many of their paintings are traveling around the world and their permanent collection is far from what you might expect. You only find 3 Vermeer paintings - for example. The collection of Rembrandt is also a lot less impressive than the ones in Bruxelles, in Paris, or in New York. The lower left pic is the City Theater (not the Opera House!) where --if you click on the pic-- you can see that they advertise "La voix humaine" :) 
If you plan to go - it may be useful to know that it is (in average) as expensive as Paris. 


De Nederlandse Opera is in the city center (view during the day/evening), and it looks like an approximation of a smaller copy of the Opéra Bastille [without the pieces falling off the façade though ;)]. The hall is beautiful with all the red velvety seats, everything is very clean and there are no seats from where you can't see the stage. The size of the theater is "human" [it's not too big like the Met, Bastille, or even Liceu!] which helps the singers to cope reasonably well with its not-so-great acoustics. Many bars and an OKish shop help you feel relax. There are many tables too so you can sit and eat your cake, sandwich. On the 2nd floor you can have a dinner (it's a self service, and not very expensive). The operagoers I could see that night were not very young in average -- I'd dare to say they are a bit older than in Paris, somewhere close to what you see at the Staatsoper in Berlin.

OK, I close this entry with two more warm velvety pics from the DNO hall - and I hope to be back there for Les Troyens...



  1. If you feel let down by the Rijksmuseum, you might want to check out Niet Normaal/Difference on Display at the Beurs van Berlage (right next to Amsterdam Central Station), which runs until March 7 of this year. Very contemporary, but very accessible and heaps of fun.

    As for the average age of Muziektheater crowds, they try, they really do, what with their Opera Flirt programme for the under-30s and everything. For my part, it really helped when they introduced €15 student standby tickets in (I believe) 2007.

    When comparing Amsterdam's Muziektheater to, say, the Opéra Bastille or the Berliner Staatsoper, it bears keeping in mind that this plucky Dutch venue is actually the only opera house in the entire country. Part of it isn't even a theatre, as it shares its premises with Amsterdam's City Council. I imagine local administrators felt the need to put part of the building to proper bureaucratic use, so that it wouldn't be wasted on art entirely.

    Under the circumstances, I'm amazed DNO's programming manages to be as adventurous as it is, with largely unfamiliar pieces by Dallapiccola, Saariaho, Raskatov and Conti scheduled for the remainder of this season.

  2. HI Blue! Thanks for the tips. And extra-thanks for that explanation about the Opera House being attached to the City Council. That was a clever solution actually :)

    Regarding the program of DNO, it is WONDERFUL. If you get to see Dellapiccola, please do let us know about how it went. It is a smashing piece of work (very depressing too ;)) Plus, I see it's combined with the Bluebeard's Castle -- which is one of my favorite operas.

    I will hopefully come back to Amsterdam to see Les Troyens, but all the DNO shows look super-appealing on the paper [well, ahem, except that Turandot; in spite of the maHArvelous Lise Lindstrom ;)]