Saturday, April 28, 2012

Utan Dej är jag en spillra på ett mörkt och stormigt hav

Kristina från Duvemåla at Svenska Teatern

I'll tell first a little story about dreams which came true.

Maria Ylipää and Robert Noack Photo: Cata Portin
The story of Kristina från Duvemåla follows the life of Kristina and her husband Karl-Oskar all the way from their marriage to America. They see death among their loved ones and life is not easy in Sweden nor in America.

The role of Kristina is played by Maria Ylipää in this production. Maria - who? She has previously done roles of Evita in Evita and Elphaba in Wicked for example. I've been a fan of hers since I saw Wicked for the first time. I was really looking for to see her as Kristina after hearing so much good things about her in that role.
Usually the role of Karl-Oskar is played by Robert Noack. And now it's important that you don't get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against him.
But I didn't want to see him as Karl-Oskar.
Why? Because the understudy for the role is Glenn Daniel Nilsson. Who? Remember the ÅST production of Les Mis? He was Marius during the first seasons (2010-2011). No, I never did see him. But I wanted, I really wanted. So, I was so happy to know that he is in the ensemble of Kristina från Duvemåla and an understudy for the role of Karl-Oskar.
Well dreams do come true sometimes. When we (me with my Swedish group) arrived to the theatre I saw papers on doors and walls telling that "Glen Daniel Nilsson does the role of Karl-Oskar tonight".
Is it that hard to write his name right?
But well, I was so happy that "my dream cast" of Kristina was on stage the day I saw it.

And while talking about the cast, let's just tell how they was when I saw them.

Robert Noack and Maria Ylipää with ensemble Photo: Cata Portin
Maria Ylipää never fails to amaze me. Her voice is gorgeous and her acting is great. And after hearing how she was praised about her role as Kristina, my hopes were high. Yes, she did good. But I guess she wasn't at her best when I saw her. I actually enjoyed her more as Elphaba than as Kristina. But I'm sure can do better with that role. She just didn't make Kristina so real to me. Maybe I should see her again as Kristina so I could tell how she really is in the role.

Lately I've seen many understudies, all of them has been at least as good as principals. I can't say how Robert Noack does the role of Karl-Oskar, but oh yes, Glenn Daniel Nilsson did the role so well. I couldn't have asked more of the role. He was really lovable towards Kristina, he had his mad moments... He was realistic. And his voice, it sounded great! I started to cry for the first time during the show when he sang Stanna. It was so beautiful. As I told, I don't know how Robert Noack is in the role, but I wish Glenn would be a principal Karl-Oskar in the future.

Oskar Nilsson, Maria Ylipää and child actors Photo: Cata Portin

Other mainroles: Oskar Nilsson did very well as Karl-Oskar's brother Robert. He was the most reliable character for me in the musical. And his voice wasn't bad, he sang Guldet Blev till Sand so beautifully.
Birthe Wingren was powerful as Ulrika from Västerghöl. Loved how she danced during Löss and how strong her voice was.
The ensemble was great too, even thoug it was sometimes hard for a Finnish-speaking-girl to understand what they were singing.

Maria Ylipää, Birthe Wingren and ensemble Photo: Cata Portin

About the musical itself. The story is beautiful and I love the score. The set was beautiful, after seeing it I don't even think why did it cost so much. Costumes were also good.
But then there is something that started to bother me right after the end. I don't know if it depends on my skills wth Swedish, but the story was hard to follow in some parts. And the most important thing that bothered me.
The musical didn't move me like I wished it would.

I heard everyone who had seen it, to tell how great it was. Actually I didn't find it that amusing. It's good musical but maybe I should see it again to enjoy every part of it. As on of my friends once said, you can tell something about how good musical is by how much do I cry.
I cried during Kristina. Only few parts including Stanna and Du måste finnas. But when someone died, it didn't move me so much. Only once during the musical I felt really bad when someone died. Only once.
I take one of my favourite musicals, Les Misérables, to an example. I really cry during it. It feels bad in my heart when people die. Kristina didn't make me feel same way.
And other thing still. That musical could be little bit shorther. It takes over 3 and half hours. It's long time. I would have made it little shorter. But this is thing that the creators of this musical have decided. And I must deal with it.

Maria Ylipää Photo: Cata Portin
After all the good reviews and everyone telling how good it is and how you should see it, I think the musical isn't that special. But still I recommend to see it, to see if it's your thing or not. The cast is amazing, music is gorgeous and the story is beautiful.

For those who don't understand Swedish, you can get one of those little maschines with texts if you want to. I didn't take one, so I could just watch the musical. But maybe it would have been great help with understanding some parts.

Maria Ylipää, Robert Noack, child actors and ensemble Photo: Cata Portin
Another tip! They're selling the complete cast recording from the Malmö production at the theatre. It's worth buying, the cast is almost as good as the on in Svenska Teatern. It gives more time to go through the musical in your mind.

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  1. I'm seeing this on my trip to Finland in September and I actually can't wait. It has been praised so much everywhere that my expectations are very high. I know that tends not to be a very good thing but I suppose I can't help it.

    In a way I find it hard to imagine Maria's voice (with its clear, sharp, twangy quality) to be suitable for the part of Kristina after having heard recordings of Helen Sjöholm singing some of the songs in her deep, dark mezzo-soprano (not to mention hearing Kerry Ellis do an absolutely incredible job of 'You Have To Be There'). But of course she needs to be given a chance, I'm sure she does a great job by making the part her own.

    It'll be great to be back at Svenska teatern as well. I used to go there a lot as a child and I saw my very first musical there ('Robin Hood', I was 5 years old) but it's been something like 8 years since I've been there last.

    1. Well I think my expectations were too hig when talking about this production. But after listening the Malmö version, I think I should give this another chance. Too bad that tickets cost so much.

      Maria's Kristina is different from Helen Sjöholm's. But as I said, I think Maria wasn't as good as she could be when I saw her, but I still think her voice did justice to the character. If you have seen the little video of "Du måste finnas" by Maria, it tells much. She wasn't that good when I saw her, but that video is great. She did great but I expected something even better.

      One of my first theatre experiences was at Svenska Teatern when I was little. I don't remember so much about it but I didn't understand a thing. Svenska Teatern looks pretty good now after the renovation.