2015. gada 7. janvāris

Christmas @ Львів

In Late 2104, a work assignment led me to Lviv. Where's the hell that! - many would inquire.
By no way the hell: Lviv (Lwów, LembergLeopolis) is an unknown self-contained marvel in western Ukraine. A city with glorious past, unluckily cut off Poland by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939. Had it been not, it would be in the league of Dresden, Brugge and Bilbao - visited, revered and adored. Highly fortunate to avoid any damage during the World War II and consequently nightmarish post-war additions.
Being around a thousand kilometres away from the war zone and with a huge majority (90%) of Ukrainians, absolutely safe. I happened to walk quite long distances well past midnight a few times: brightly lit streets, people walking their dogs and lone ladies making their way without casting nervous glances around. Cannot imagine a similar scene elsewhere save for the ever-dormant Scandinavia (no offense!).

A wonderfully kept opera house built in 1900, much like Semperoper. Anything but provincial. They (management and the audience alike) somehow do not fancy Wagner (or German opera in general), so I had to put up with L'elisir d'amore. The entirely local cast and orchestra were definitely not worse than in my native opera-house, which keeps boasting to be the greatest small opera house in Europe. I do wish they were. Amazingly, Great Operas tend to be located in places like Sarasota.
In terms of the outdated production the only match of the seen would be the Metropolitan Opera, New York: straw hats, pseudo-folk costumes, over-acting and as a cherry on the cake - an idyllic Tuscan landscape in the backdrop. Touching, indeed. I would advise Calixto Bieito fans keep well clear of the place.
Another night went to a concert at the Philharmonie, equally cared after Art Deco building. A student chamber orchestra played a Mozart and Haydn programme. Enthusiastic, lively and charming indeed (it was Christmas Eve).
I love cemeteries in late November when the smell of decaying leaves, greyness and drizzle all strive to remind whose realm the site actually is. It was exactly like that at Lychakiv Cemetery - a final resting place of the upper class, laid down in mid 19th century. The photos in this post are from there.
And when on Boxing Day a slender Tyrolean Fokker was about to take me to Vienna, temptation to stay behind was just overwhelming.
On another day, I had tossed a coin over my left shoulder into a dry fountain-well. Who knows...
I do love you, Lviv.

gustavs :'|

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