Bonn Opera's promo clip for Puccini's La Bohème (2016-17 season), starring Sumi Hwang as Mimi.
Ahem. We now (finally) return you to your schelduled reading ...
... who but Bonn Opera's very own Sumi Hwang got to perform the Olympic Hymn at today's opening ceremony in Pyong Chang?!
A short interview with her on the experience (in German) is here -- she talks about this being a once in a lifetime experience that she's now privileged to share with the likes of Luciano Pavarotti, Plaicido Domingo and Anna Netrebko, about how the freezing temperatures on the stadium's outdoor stage compelled her to wear heating pads all over her body underneath the traditional Korean dress in which she appeared, and about how her Greek colleague from Bonn Opera, baritone Giorgos Kanaris (alongside whom she is currently appearing, inter alia, in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro -- he's Count Almaviva, after having appeared as Figaro in Rossini's Barber of Seville a few years ago) helped her learn the words of the hymn in the original Greek, which was the language the Pyong Chang organizers insisted the performance to be in.
A few shots from Le Nozze di Figaro, ,which just opened a little less than 2 weeks ago (and yes, my mom and I were there) ...
Photos: Susanna (Sumi Hwang) with Figaro (Wilfried Zelinka), Count Almaviva (Giorgos Kanaris), Countess Almaviva (Anna Princeva), and with the Countess and young Cherubino (Kathrin Leidig)
The first performance in which I saw her in Bonn, and where she instantly blew the audience away, was as Almirena in Händel's Rinaldo, four years ago.
("Lascia ch'io piangia" -- the captive Almirena's aria)
I've been a fan of hers pretty much ever since -- so I was over the moon when she appeared on the Pyong Chang olympic stage today!
I managed to squeeze in a few hours on Saturday morning for a visit to Bonn's main Christmas market ... here are a few impressions:
The ice rink tent isn't actually part of the Christmas market but nearby.
(Bonn city hall is on a square to which the Christmas market doesn't extend,either, but just a few minutes away.)
In the Rhine Valley, where I live, November 11 has yet another meaning, in addition to (and even more so than) the two holidays we included in the "16 Festive Tasks":
11/11, 11:11 AM marks the opening of the carnival season, which ends roughly three months later on Ash Wednesday (this season: Feb. 14, 2018), which in turn marks the beginning of the six-week lent period leading up to Easter. While the Thursday and the weekend immediately preceding Ash Wednesday are the high points of the Rhineland carnival celebrations, the opening of what is known hereabouts as "the fifth season" on 11/11 at 11:11 AM is a major first highlight which essentially turns the complete centres of the area's cities -- and none more so than Cologne, the Rhine Valley's "carnival capital" -- into one big party zone, complete with people dressing up, the popular carnival music bands' first big stage appearances of the season, the first appearances of the "carnival princes" (three representatives of the major carnival clubs that preside over the whole season's events), and their honor guards (the members of the carnival clubs, dressed up in uniforms initially created to mock those of the Prussian militia -- e.g., see bottom row of photos from Bonn), etc. To wit (all pictures of today, chiefly taken from the website of our local TV station, WDR):
Bottom row: representatives of the "Bonn City Soldiers"
Addendum: It just occurs to me that this matches the requirements of the Tasks for Soyal: Like many Native American festivities, Soyal involves rituals such as dances. What local / religious / folk traditions or customs exist where you live? Tell us about one of them. (If you can, post pictures for illustration.)
(Hah. Talk about game hosts not knowing their own games ...)