For all my followers who know me and those who have just found me, I am a city girl turned country gal, living in the Swedish countryside. It has been some time since I have had an opera evening to share with you. My business Li’l Sis Goat Milk Soap is keeping me quite busy. As much as I love my farm and life in the countryside, I still miss and enjoy when I can, city delights. One such delight is being able to watch live HD transmissions of opera direct from The Metropolitan Opera in New York. Yes, I can attend and enjoy world class opera just 20 minutes from Gullringstorp! Yesterday I had the pleasure of viewing an opera that sat unfinished for many years. Prince Igor, by composer Alexander Borodin. In true Metropolitan Opera fashion, this Russian epic required and received a stage that was filled with the most wonderful chorus and the costumes and sets that transported you to the towns in Russia that were depicted in the opera. It was a story of power, protest, loss and recovery. Sound familiar? I could not help but think of the present day struggles that are now going on around the globe , most especially the struggle in Kiev, Ukraine. It was very beautiful and moving with a musical score with vocals sung by some of the finest opera voices from Russia, Ukraine and Georgia. The orchestration and vocals along with the world class Metropolitan opera chorus, were magnificent and really touched my heart. Here are reviews from The Metropolitan Opera site:
Approximate running time 4 hrs. 15 min. Borodin’s defining Russian epic, famous for its Polovtsian Dances, comes to the Met for the first time in nearly 100 years. Dmitri Tcherniakov’s new production is a brilliant psychological journey through the mind of its conflicted hero, with the founding of the Russian nation as the backdrop.
Star bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov takes on the monumental title role, with Gianandrea Noseda conducting. Dmitri Tcherniakov’s “wonderful staging is dreamlike, wrenchingly human and viscerally theatrical. The impressive cast, with many Russian singers, is headed by the compelling bass Ildar Abdrazakov in the title role… His Igor has moments of Italianate lyrical refinement. He brings passion, even a touch of neediness, to his exchanges with his devoted wife, Yaroslavna, the Ukrainian soprano Oksana Dyka in her Met debut. She is a classic Russian soprano with a cool, penetrating intensity, fearless high notes, and a glint of steel in her sound.” (New York Times)
“The charismatic Georgian mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili brings her plush, big voice and a sultry physicality to the role of Konchakovna.” (New York Times) Gianandrea Noseda “led a vibrant and textured performance… [conveying] the Russian character of the music, while conducting it with clarity and precision. The Met chorus is at its glorious best.” (New York Times)
“Prince Igor’s triumphant return: the Met makes a masterpiece of an unlikely opera. [A performance that] would be the jewel of any opera company in any golden age.” (New York Observer)
“The Met has returned a long-absent marvel to its rightful place in the repertoire.” (New York Magazine)
“The hugely talented Tcherniakov [is] a director who also designs his own sets. These were terrific: neither abstract nor period medieval, they took us into more universal realms of fear, longing and despair.” (Bloomberg) “Ildar Abdrazakov masterfully probed Igor’s guilt and regret.” (Wall Street Journal)
There was much to understand and comprehend in this opera. As with any war or civil unrest, like a chess game, there are many moving pieces. to understand exactly what the opera was about, I have included, from the Metropolitan Opera website,the SYNOPSIS
Prologue The city-state of Putivl. Together with his son, Vladimir, Prince Igor gathers his army for a military campaign against the Polovtsians. A sudden solar eclipse frightens everybody. The people and Igor’s inner circle of boyars (nobles) take this as a bad omen and plead with Igor to postpone the campaign. Unnoticed by the army, two soldiers—Skula and Yeroshka—decide to desert: they do not want to risk their lives and are determined to stay behind in Putivl. Igor’s wife, Yaroslavna, pleads with Igor to remain at home, but he cannot be persuaded. The Prince bids farewell to her and leaves her in the care of her brother, Prince Vladimir Galitsky. The army of Igor and Vladimir sets out on their campaign.
Act I The Polovtsian steppes. The battle is lost. Igor’s army is destroyed, and he is taken prisoner by Khan Konchak, the chief of the Polovtsians. In his mind, the tormented Igor replays over and over everything that has happened. The beautiful Konchakovna, who is in love with Vladimir, appears to him. Then Yaroslavna appears. Then Ovlur appears, urging him to flee his captivity. Then Khan Konchak appears and offers his friendship as his guest of honor. Igor has a vision of the overwhelming joy of living life to its fullest.
Act II In Yaroslavna’s palace. Terrible nightmares and dark premonitions haunt Yaroslavna. There has not been any news from Igor for a long time. Young maidens come to Yaroslavna accusing Galitsky of going on a wild rampage in Putivl. They complain that Galitsky has abducted one of their friends and ask Yaroslavna to step in and demand that the girl be returned to them. Yaroslavna doesn’t have the power to deal with her brother. Galitsky behaves impertinently with his sister and threatens both her and Igor. In the court of Prince Galitsky, the men are having a drunken feast. Seeking still more power, Galitsky would like to exile Yaroslavna to a nunnery as part of his plan to replace Igor as the new Prince of Putivl. Skula and Yeroshka now support Galitsky’s claims. The young maidens come directly to Galitsky in a desperate attempt to save their friend, but the mob laughs at them, chasing them away. The drunken brawl reaches its climax; everyone prepares for revolt. Yaroslavna’s palace. The boyars bring Yaroslavna the tragic news of the army’s destruction and of Igor’s captivity, sending her into turmoil. In the meantime, Galitsky and his followers take advantage of the moment and revolt. Alarm bells announce imminent danger: the enemy advances on Putivl and in the ensuing panic Galitsky is killed.
Act III Putivl is destroyed and left in ruins. Yaroslavna has lost all hope for Igor’s return and weeps over her husband’s loss. Igor, who has in fact escaped from captivity, suddenly returns to destroyed Putivl. Torturous visions continue to haunt him. The tipsy Skula and Yeroshka discover Igor. In order to escape deserved punishment for treason, the cunning Skula suggests to Yeroshka that they be the first to summon the people to share the joyous news with them. Igor interrupts the crowd’s jubilation and addresses the people with words of repentance. He blames himself for all that has happened and calls upon everybody to unite and rebuild their destroyed lives.
Here is a video:
I may be a little goat herder in the Swedish countryside, but I step out of my world to enjoy wonderful culture whenever I can. As soon as I can get the score on my iPhone, my goats will have a real treat in the stable.
Thank you for a wonderful and moving experience spent with the Metropolitan Opera of New York.
Good evening from Gullringstorp!
As the sun set, our gang were so ready to come inside. They ran like the wind to the stable. Even my ladies in heat who normally try to stay by the boy’s fence.
Once inside, everyone quickly ran home to their boxes. In addition to the regular dinner of fresh water, hay and grain, each box received a fresh layer of straw! Yummy!!
What a great day for our goats to be outside.
So, they are !
What fun they are having and what fun I’m having watching them.
It is with sadness in our hearts I inform my followers and kind supporters, that this morning our Rosie could fight no more. Leif and I decided that we would take her in to the vet this morning because her struggle to survive was becoming too tough for her.As I lay in bed this morning, I had already let her go. I felt her spirit leave but I felt like a boulder on my chest pinning me to that bed. Indeed she had left us just within the hour I could not get out of my bed.
As I walked into what is usually a din of goat chatter from every corner of the stable, it was deathly silent. I knew. Each and every goat looked as though time had stopped and they had turned to stone. All I could see was the knowledge that they all had lost Rosie. I saw it in their eyes. I have never seen anything like it before. The sadness in that stable was absolutely palpable. Still is.
In time I let everyone out of their boxes. They comforted each other and found their way to her box, to sniff and stand in silence. I went in to comfort each of the bucks who looked shell shocked at me through the bars. Each one wanted and expected to be held close and kissed.
We will have her body shipped to the north for autopsy to determine exactly what caused her to become so ill that nothing we did could save her. We just need answers.
We will all miss our little Rosie. Farewell Rosie.
Thank you, everyone who gave your loving support to both myself and Rosie. Your kindness will never be forgotten.
You can read about Rosie and her illness on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/gullringstorpgoatgal.gullringstorp
Finally, a day without rain, snow or crazy wind.
There’s just nothing that makes me happier than to watch my goats run and jump from the sheer joy of being outside! They just couldn’t be happier.
Pip and our iguana Little Lady are best pals!
After a day of rain and snow yesterday, we have a day of winds. Cold winds blow through Gullringstorp.
The snow is melting but unfortunately, not enough for our goats to be out in the enclosures.
The chickens, on the other hand, are enjoying being out.
Our day started with a cold humidity that eventually brought rain. As the day progressed, new snow fell.
Our herd remained indoors yet another day. That didn’t stop them from having fun!
Our Pygmy ladies and babies had a ball!
The big melt continues at Gullringstorp.
We are busy today preparing the enclosure for our goats to go out tomorrow. Weather permitting, of course.
Fingers crossed and Swedish thumbs held.
With +4.7 c temperatures, the big melt begins here at Gullringstorp.
Last evening we spent a fun time with dear friend Bosse and our neighbors here in the Swedish countryside. We celebrated Bosse’s 60th! What fun we all had. Fun conversation, food, drink , games and music. We had a few neighbors who were unable to attend but sent their wishes and hugs to Bosse through iPhone posts to me. All those who were unable to attend were sorely missed.
We all had a wonderful time. Gifts were not expected because of the request for each of us to send a contribution to the Swedish Children’s Cancer Fund. Many of the guests really couldn’t resist to bring another gift for Bosse. I was one. We brought a lovely Li’l Sis Goat Milk Soap and a pack of Marilyn Monroe napkins for the pub.
Wishing you a wonderful Happy Birthday and a fantastic year Bosse!!!
We have two does in heat tonight. We let the ladies out of their boxes to try and relieve some of the pressure. They meet each other, eat hay from the big bale and get their mind off their condition. Our bucks get quite upset with all those hormones wafting through the stable.
Our poor Balder was the most upset. He just wanted to get out to meet the ladies.
Just as our ladies have quite individual voiced when in heat, so do our bucks when they are “bucky “.
The banging you hear is Nanna in the next box wanting to come out to play. And play she did, hop scotching the full length of the stable. You didn’t even need to watch her to know she was having so much fun.
Balder, on the other hand, was not.
Today we have sunshine, wind, snow drifts and hare tracks all over Gullringstorp. 9
Colorful blooms in the middle of winter:
Snow in all its beauty and silence:
It has been a very cold night here at Gullringstorp. The sun came up to a chilly -17C this morning.
We have a heater on one end if our stable to keep the pipes from freezing. We used to carry buckets of hot water to the stable during winter months. This tiny heater keeps everything from freezing so we have water on hand for the goats and the chickens.
With the body heat of our 25 strong herd, the temperature today is just above 0C. We are careful not to open any doors unnecessarily that would let the cold in. Everyone has, by now a nice warm bed of straw and hay built up over the recent months. This makes a nice warm bed for them.This also means that in addition to their warm thick winter coats, they are cozy, not crazy warm, but very comfortable.
Outside my dinning room window I can see our covered pond is buried under fluffy snow. I know our koi are in their hibernation state and we will see them in the spring.
I can also see our garden birds enjoying their meal here at Gullringstorp. There’s seed in the many containers as well as seed spilled to the ground. Soon it will be time to refill the seeds and lard balls that sustain them during the bleak cold winter months.
Just a tiny look into winter here at Gullringstorp.
It’s a brisk -6 this morning and the snow continues to fall. They are big fluffy flakes.
They fall softly and quietly.
There is a protocol when it comes to shoveling snow here in Sweden. You can’t let it build up too much or you will have big problems. So, the shoveling is an ongoing endeavor.
It’s all about getting too packed down and ice.
I took many if these photos from various windows while still indoors.
Phillip slept most of the 3 hr journey to his new home. I consider that a good sign that he felt safe and comfortable to not just lay down but to sleep.
Once there, they put him on a lead and walked him around the property to meet everyone. He met chickens, a pig, a dog and of course his new herd two ladies. He was even out together with them in the enclosure.
Phillip seems to be settling in and the ladies are the boss. That’s ok, the herd dynamics are sorted out by the strongest or most dominate goat. He will be at the bottom until he proves himself and they will become his harem.
I’m very happy for everyone but most of all for Phillip,
Normally, this time of year we are buried in snow, here at Gullringstorp in Sweden. Our snow
seems to have gone on vacation to the US and Canada. Every winter
we make sure the beautiful birds on our property, are well
nourished during the cold months. It’s a cold and wet winter and we
still take care if our birds.
I spoke about what he is used to. I made sure they understood that as an adult buck he can no longer have grain and that he needs to have hay. The spoke about ensilage but I let them know it was not good for goats and that he could die from bloat, too much gas in the stomach. Larger animals like horses and cows can eat ensilage with no problems, but goats are a bit different.
Well I had held up fairly well until I watched Phillip’s new daddy place the hay in the truck. I just had to walk away as the tears began to fall.
I am still sad that our Phillip has left us , but I am so happy that Phillip’s new parents will love him. they have lots of animals: 2 does, a mini pig, cats, a dog and hens. Now they have a buck.
I hope that Phillip doesn’t have a hard time settling in to his new environment. I hope he settles in real fast. I hope he doesn’t miss his pals too much. It will be all new for him but I am sure he will be happy and cared for with love.
Goodbye my sweet little Phillip!
We at Li’l Sis Goat Milk Soap have an announcement for 2014:
We are introducing a Mobile website for Li’l Sis Goat Milk Soap.
At the present time we are unable to access our website via your smart phones. This is because my website is built on an Adobe Flash platform which is not supported by most smart phones.
Once you have searched for Lil Sis Goat Milk Soap through your search engine on your smart phone, just click on any of my website listings.
You will be automatically, directed to our Mobile site.
Once you arrive to our new Mobile site, you will be able to see much of the website but not all. If you are curious to see everything offered or would like to place an order, please go to our website via your computer.
I hope you enjoy our new Mobile site and look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.
From all of us at Gullringstorp and Li’l Sis Goat Milk Soap, come wishes for a most wonderful and healthy New Year.
It was a dark and cold day for the first day of the New Year. Because of that, only our boys were allowed out in the enclosure. Our girls remained inside for fun running from box to box exploring and having a great time.
We had very successful selling day while not only making new customers, but new friends. There were lots of rooms open and lots of handcrafts from the region. I wish I could have been a guest there as well as a participant.
I met a Swedish woman who lives in Japan who owns a European breed goat as well as a Japanese breed goat. We will be exchanging “goat info”.
Li’l Sis Goat Milk Soap also secured a new wholesale account. Li’l Sis Goat Milk Soap will be on one more shop in Sweden.
Yesterday was the Saint Lucia celebration in Sweden. A beautiful tradition that dates back to St. Lucia who died a martyr in the year 304.
The first video shows Swedish people celebrating this special day in other countries.
Please click on the second to view a video that tells a lot of the history and meaning behind this day for Sweden.