Opera Orlando Paladino

Sunday evening, I attended the exciting premier of the opera Orlando Paladino at the gorgeous Drottningholm’s Palace Theatre. It was a dazzling event that drew quite a crowd, including some of Sweden’s best-known celebrities seated in the audience, including me and my darling sister who’s arrived fresh from touring Napa Valley, California.

The dramma eroicomico, created by Joseph Haydn in 1782, was directed by Sigrid T’Hooft. Playing the lead role of Orlando was Sweden’s darling rock star equivalent opera tenor Rickard Söderberg.

The opera performed in Italian was presented in three acts. The plot is both comic and heroic and in short revolves around the knight Orlando who loses his mind when Queen Angelica, the love of his life, goes off with another man known as Mendoro. In the end, it is a sorceress who helps restore his sanity and there is a happy ever after. I thought the sets, performances and overall theatre was absolutely a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

Me and a member of the stylish orchestra which was conducted by Mark Tatlow.

Why not enjoy a boat ride from Stockholm over to the Drottningholm Palace where you can tour both the palace interiors and the park as well as taking a guided tour of the Palace’s darling Theatre.

It’s always interesting to hear the stories behind the making of the Theatre, which involved the house arrest of the Parisian ballet director for 10 years against his will in order to train new protégés.

Ulriksdal Palace – Ulriksdals Slott

Stopped by Ulriksdal Palace to enjoy the lovely regal view but also to take a wander in their fabulously symmetrical palace garden. The bosque was designed by famous Hårleman and makes a big change from the free flowing nature mess that I’m dealing with in my personal garden. I’m tempted to get one of these stylish iron gates to shut my garden behind and just let the wild flow at its own free will. It would be preferable if all of the bugs and insects would stay behind the iron gate as well, I’m not a big fan of the creepy crawlers that I’ve recently met.

Ulriksdal Palace was originally known as Jakobsdal after its owner Jacob De la Gardie, who commissioned the architect Hans Jacob Kristler in 1643-1645 to build a country retreat in the Renaissance style. It wasn’t until Queen Dowager Hedvig Eleonora purchased the Palace in 1669 that the palace began to take its current form. In 1684, she gave the palace to her newborn grandson Prince Ulrik, and it was thereafter known as Ulriksdal.

Could gardening get any better than this? Beautifully cut green grass, tightly trimmed hedges in sharp squares and straight lines, a fountain and wild boar statues as that extra fierce detail. Such a triumph to see!

The garden also showed examples of how they were traditional used for the very practical reason of providing food for the dashing people living in the palace. Talk about sustainable living, who needs an organic supermarket when you can instead take a short walk into your garden and pick up whatever you fancy. My garden would be filled with darling berries such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, grapes and other delicious finger foods that I could casually snack on while reclining on my stylishly draped chaise longue. What would be in your garden?

I bravely decided to give nature another go by smelling some of the beautiful flowers found in the garden.

This lovely building seen in the distance is the orangery museum which houses not only plants, but also an exhibition of Swedish sculptures from the 1700s-1900s from the Swedish National Museum’s collection.

My favorite flower/plant from the otherwise vast collection.

The Palace Chapel, executed in a Dutch neo-Renaissance style, with inspiration from Venice was designed by architect Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander. It was inaugurated by Queen Lovisa on her name day, August 25, 1865.

By a small body of water on the property of Ulriksdal Palace stand a duo of statues called “Blackamoors Pulling Net”. They were executed by artist Pehr Henrik Lundgren in 1845 for Haga Park. Now the statues stand here, by Igelbäcken. The statues stand on both sides of the water that is connected by a bridge and the two men are seen gathering fish with their nets cast out into the canal.

If you’re wondering why I enjoy visiting palaces so much, the answer is simple. It’s because it’s like time travel, visiting another century only has to be a short car ride away. It’s also extremely fascinating learning about what life would have been like in the 18th century for example. I think I would have fit in perfectly with a powdered wig and a darling wide gown. But then again, I’m romanticizing the time, imagine living without electricity, heating, and so many other luxuries that we enjoy regularly. What century would you choose to travel to?

Safari in My Backyard

Stayed home today and I’d like to say that I was just relaxing and taking it easy but instead, I decided to get down and dirty by working the afternoon in the garden. Drama, it really is a jungle out there! Felt like I had gone rogue and was on an episode of Man vs. Wild as seen on the Discovery Channel. Quite a humbling experience and a change from city life, as I’ve had several nervous breakdowns today after a single afternoon of interaction. The images might look serene and peaceful but don’t kid yourselves as danger lurks in the grass. Previous encounters prove otherwise.

Enjoyed a glass of Äppelmust from the gardens of Drottningholm and Tullgarn Palace. The glass, a stylish statement piece that I recently acquired, is called “Sugar Dandy” and was designed by Åsa Jungnelius for Kosta Boda.

Watching the deadly lion ready to pounce from its natural habitat. I can’t help but think of the song In the Jungle from The Lion King.

The Chinese Pavilion – Kina Slott

As I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to take an inspired visit to the Chinese Pavilion located in the surrounding park of the larger Drottningholm Palace. Just because I was born in Stockholm, Sweden doesn’t mean that I’m not a tourist who tends to keep my eyes wide open and camera in hand while marching onwards to the beautiful sites.

This darling mini palace, in a Chinoiserie and Rococo style, was given as a surprise birthday present to Queen Lovisa Ulrika in 1753 from her husband, King Adolf Fredrik. I thought it would be fun to see not only due to it’s lovely decor, but also as I feel I have a personal connection to the Chinese and Japanese styles after having lived there most of my life. It’s also part of UNESCO’s World Heritage program.

I keenly signed up for a guided tour of the charming palace that revealed facts and drew my eyes and ears to areas that otherwise might have been overlooked. An example of this was the whispering wall where the acoustics in the room would lead vicious gossip right into the ears of fellow courtiers standing on the opposite side of the room. Drama!

I’m ready to ditch my current abodes and move in permanently into this darling palace. However, there is no electricity, plumbing, heating, water, kitchen facilities or bathroom, dear me!

Oscar & Clothilde

Went lifestyle shopping at the darling Oscar & Clothilde boutique on Styrmansgatan 12 here in Stockholm, Sweden.

The boutique features a charming selection of “gatherings and scatterlings” from various cultures, time periods and styles. I think I’m ready to move into the boutique and create my own little palace.

If you’re lost on how to decorate your own darling mansion, then ask the duo Malin and Martina in the boutique for help.

To see more from the Oscar & Clothilde assortment you can view their online boutique on the following link.

The store was filled with lots of lovely porcelain that reminded me of dining at my favorite French tea salon Ladurée. Pastel pinks and greens with a bit of white and gold and you know I’m in love.

Picked up this fabulous throw pillow depicting Kina slott, The Chinese Pavilion, an 18th century mini palace on the grounds of Drottningholms slott. I’m planning on stopping by the Chinese/Japanese themed mini palace later this week. Stay tuned for more.

Louis Vuitton + Yayoi Kusama

Similar to Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with Japanese otaku/poku (pop+otaku) artist 村上 隆 (Takashi Murakami) back in 2003, it is now time for another Japanese collaboration with one of my favorite artists, 草間 弥生 (Yayoi Kusama).

Kusama was born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan. Just like Takashi Murakami, she started out in nihonga, Japanese style painting. She became frustrated with the strict Japanese style and prefered to experiment with American and European avant-garde. This lead her to venture out and move to New York in 1957, where she continued to work with pattern, repitition and the psychedelic colors that she’s so well known for. Much like other greats as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg, Kusama was a precursor of the pop art movement.

Lady bug meets Minnie Mouse with the brightly colored prints in yellow and red polka dots as seen in Denmark’s July issue no.123 of Costume magazine.

I fell for Kusama’s fabulous work after seeing her exhibition Kusamatrix at Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum in 2004. Everything featured was designed especially for the museum and showed a series of environmental installations, developed out of her auditory hallucinations, dot and net filled visual fantasies. Needless to say, I was mesmerized.

Then, a leap in time and Britain’s Tate Modern, supported by Louis Vuitton, hosted an exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s work that ran from February 9th – June 5 2012. The exhibition showed a range of Kusama’s work, which included a variety of media such as drawings, paintings, film, and installations. There was a large emphasis on her work with penises, showing an obsessive atmosphere that hints at a desire to escape from her own psychological trauma. Personally, I prefer her colorful and fun polka dot installations and sculptures. They never seize to amuse, entertain, and make me smile.

Will you be picking up your own Louis Vuitton, Kusama accessories? What do you think, fabulous or faux pas?

Sushi すし and Other Delicacies

The truth is that creating your very own sushi meal from scratch doesn’t have to be all that difficult. However, if you’re craving simplicity, the best bet is heading out to your nearest sushi joint. In the land of sushi (Tokyo, Japan), getting your hands on delicious おにぎりonigiri (rice ball) is as easy as finding your closest 7/11 or family mart and there are entire sections dedicated to stocking a selection of authentic rice and seaweed meals.  

An example of an obento box that can be found at the local supermarket. Includes crab meat, caviar, rice, whipped egg, fried in the shape of tagliatelli, seaweed and algae.

Pickled ginger, which is typically found on the side with wasabi and soy sauce. Ps. I’m not a fan but I do love my soy sauce.

Grilled chicken skewers with leek.

A classic, which also happens to be my favorite, kapamaki. Ingredients include sea weed, Japanese sushi rice and cucumber.

How to steps:

1. boil Japanese sushi rice according to instructions on box

2. take a sheet of sea weed and place it on a sushi mat made out of bamboo (could use a kitchen towel instead for improv)

3. spread an even layer of boiled rice onto the sheet of sea weed according to your taste (0.5 – 1 cm)

4. add your own topping as a strip in the middle, could include anything from vegetables to fish

5. roll the bamboo mat with sea weed including rice and topping into a tight roll

6. slice into even sushi bits and serve on a fabulous plate with iced green tea, wasabi, soy sauce, and gari, pickled ginger

7. いただきます itadakimasu or bon appétit!

CA4LA – ハット

With stores in both Tokyo’s Omotesando and London’s Pitfield Street, this hip boutique stocks some of the most fierce hats for both men and women.

This is only a small selection of the many options you have to choose from in their Omotesando boutique.

My own darling CA4LA (Cashira) hat as seen above. Received as a gift and in a fabulous old fashioned hat box, I can’t help but feel super glamorous when I put it on for these warm summer months. It’s brim and flower accessory are in a deliciously soft velvet that I can’t seem to keep my fingers off of. I’m thinking this hat paired with a long, loose paisley bohemian skirt and a basic t-shirt and I’m ready to hit the town. Très chic!

An Object of Beauty

Craving some salacious gossip? If yes, then this is definitely the book for you. Written by Hollywood’s darling funny man actor Steve Martin, it is a compelling story about the scandalous journey of a young, ambitious woman struggling to make a name for herself in a world of multimillion dollar art auctions, flirty liaisons, and shady dealings. An easy but very entertaining read that I simply couldn’t put down until I finished it. Unlike the book Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton, this fictitious novel reads more like a season of the popular television series Sex and The City. Glitz and drama indeed!