Roland Garros in the spring

Roland Garros welcomed us with thunder and rain but the weather cleared up quickly and the men’s semi finals were on, just 60 minutes delayed.
The match between Swiss Roger Federer and Spanish Raphael Nadal was touted as the “battle of the giants” and it really was. A truly spectacular game with the French audience adding extra spice by cheering on the players both in well and awkwardly chosen moments.
Nadal won 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 which took him to the finals against the Argentine Puerta. A nice touch was the fact that it was Raphael’s 19th birthday. He could not have wished for a better birthday present.
Nadal went on to win the French Open last Sunday by beating Puerta 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, 7-5.

La Boheme – Royal Albert Hall, London

La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini is (once again) a story about love and despair; life and death.
The opera is set in Paris, circa 1840. Central characters are the four struggling artists painter Marcello, poet Rodolfo, Colline the philosopher and the musician Schaunard. Marcello has a jealous relationship with the popular cabaret singer Musetta while Rodolfo falls in love with the already dying Mimi.
Royal Albert Hall offers a big area for the stage and it was used well. The stage had a circular composition where sometimes the action was focused to the middle and other times things were happening in various parts of the stage. Something that would not have been possible at a traditional opera stage, e.g. at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.
The biggest downfall of the performance is that it is sung in English. While I don’t speak much Italian, an opera is always much more powerful in the original language. Especially such beautiful language as Italian. Further more, when an opera is sung in a foreign language, there are always subtitles that let one follow the dialog if necessary.