Casa Mika has been a wonderful project and a lot of fun for us to follow so I wanted to do one more blog post related to the topic and list my favorite moments of the season. I added links to episodes with subtitles and to separate performances (sign in to watch).

1st episode

My biggest favorite during the first episode was the emotional performance for Any Other World including the introduction to the song. I’ve seen many Any Other World performances during years and this was a good one even from that point of view. It was emotional to hear Mika singing again – I hadn’t heard him the whole year – and it was touching to see the instant and very genuine response from the audience and his reaction to that as well.

As my second favorite I mention Mika’s visit to the shepherd’s farm in Sardinia. Not only because it was cute (even it was) but also because I generally like this part of the concept where Mika is visiting further parts of Italy meeting people who’s everyday life is so different compared to his, learning to know and understand their thoughts and kind of putting himself in their shoes. I loved watching the visit, extremely touching and funny at the same time.

I add the fiction part as my third favorite here even of course it was not only in the first episode but in all of them and I’m not only referring to the story or idea but especially the styling and the whole visual part, very well done.

2nd episode

Massimo Ranieri was my favorite guest of the whole season and his performance together with Mika, introducing Mariangela Melato and Mika interviewing Alessio Boni related to the subject was all together definitely my favorite part of the second episode. I got the instant feeling I was watching a star and it looked to me Mika felt the same way and even though the song they did together was originally done before I was born it still felt familiar from my childhood and took me quickly back to the 70’s and made me in a good mood.

The orchestra performance with Mickey Mouse was adorable and very special so I want it to be on my list. Mickey wasn’t an ordinary guest at all. I felt very lucky to be at the recordings to see him live.

Unfortunately I didn’t see Pick Up Off The Floor live (so I don’t have a personal memory of it and for that reason it’s not something I will watch over and over) but I saw the whole episode later and the performance was extremely elegant and the singing carefully done. Absolutely stunning.

3rd episode

The 3rd episode included my favorite parts of the season. I loved the performance for One Of Us (Uno di noi) and knew the moment Mika sat at his piano it will be my biggest favorite this year and immediately thought how grateful I was to be there to see it. Beautiful arrangement with violins and beautiful, beautiful performance and such a warm and important speech before the song about opening our homes and hearts to those who are in need of help.

In the end of the episode Mika did an amazing visit to Casa Verdi and met retired musicians living there. This little clip made me cry, I couldn’t help it, I was in tears while watching it at home. I could see the respect on Mika’s face and how special it was to him as well and all I could think was that this is why I love him. For things like this. Later I thought of the Italian television audience who (according to the numbers) didn’t seem to like the second season as much as the first one. Even he offered them moments like this? How shallow can they be?

4th episode

The last episode went from the colorful confetti party (which I loved) to the sadness of Happy Ending (which I loved as well but for different reasons). To choose something between them I link the Mademe Butterfly scene I found very impressive.

Can you choose your favorites? xxx

The second Casa Mika season is still continuing on television but the recordings are all done and for us who liked to be in the studio and watch everything live it’s practically over. Luckily there are still two episodes to watch via streaming. I’m afraid the ratings for the show haven’t been nearly as good as last year but that’s definitely not because of the quality of the show but for other reasons like the timing and also the fact the big audience in Italy simply don’t know to value high quality as much as we all had hoped. I’ve really enjoyed this season and I collected some of my favorite details below. The past four weeks have been a project for me as well and it had a personal meaning to be there for the last recording and I really appreciated that I was able to do it and I saw some performances that will always stay in my memories.

During the last recording we saw the party confetti version of It’s My House I had hoped for all these weeks. I love confetti. It makes a mess and I feel childish to admit it but I love it. Different theme versions of It’s My House have been one of my favorite parts of the season and I find it surprising. It’s not a song I love the same way I love his best songs and it’s not the kind of song where Mika can go deep inside of the song like he can do with his most stunning songs. It’s rather like one of those songs where he needs to built something around the song to make it work (the same way like Celebrate or Talk About You) but – or maybe for that reason – it fits perfectly for television and it could fit on his concert setlist as well. I loved the show elements for the aquaworld we saw last Sunday (probably aired during the third episode) and I loved the confetti party version from Wednesday. Every detail – the stage and even his suit – was matching with the colorful theme and the idea was cool and will surely look fantastic on television.

It’s not easy to make high energy songs work on television the same way as controlled, slower songs do without impressive show elements. Hearing stunning versions of songs like Any Other World, No Place In Heaven or Happy Ending or beautiful covers either in English or Italian where Mika is fully focused on the song is the biggest reason that makes me travel to Italy time after time instead of only watching the show on television. Mika is at his best when he’s doing strong songs sitting at his piano or otherwise purely focusing on his singing. Not only because his voice sounds better that way but also because he’s reached the point where his performing side is strong and describing enough to make those songs extremely stunning.

It’s good development, it means he’s maturing as an artist. Also, a television recording means different circumstances for high energy songs compared to a concert. In the studio there’s no (the same kind of) adrenalin or energy included. During a real concert both Mika and his band can listen to the audience and respond to the current energy, they can also make small changes and let the energetic songs evolve night after night and all that can’t happen during a controlled and considered one time only performance they do for a television show.

About the audience. Most of the time studio audiences don’t know what to do. People stand up and clap in a wrong rhythm when they should either sit and focus on a very special performance or dance and party. It would have been a good idea to have a person who guides the audience and clearly tells when to sit, when to stand and how to clap like many other big productions have (like it is at the Voice, can’t remember the guy’s name but everyone who’s been at the recordings knows who I mean). It might have been worth it especially nights when most people came to see their first recording like it looked on Wednesday.

One of my favorite details during this season was the fiction part, it was well done in every way including outfits, style and designs and there seemed to be a good story to follow all the way. I loved some collaboration ideas as well. I’m not an opera person, I don’t know much about it and in the beginning I thought it would make me bored but I loved watching especially the last one we saw. I loved some guests, some others not so much. Rita Pavone and Massimo Ranieri made me smile and enjoy the show because they are the kind of old stars Mika can have fun with on stage, he doesn’t need to take care of them, they take care of themselves. The level of guests varies and I understand it very well. Recordings are done in such a short time period and it must be difficult to fit everyone’s schedules together and must be a challenge to find interesting enough guests for every episode.

This year the production had chosen several a bit provocative details to show to the audience. We could see Mika taking off his clothes, we could see him in the bath tube with Fedez and we could see him giving a beautiful lady a long, long kiss. Some fans might think it was all done just to attract more viewers but it didn’t look to me Mika thought it that way. It looked to me he wanted to show he has no limits on stage. That he can do whatever it needs to be done for the show and I think he was quite brave doing it all, he’s sometimes very shy. Also, it was all genuinely quite funny. There were many funny details between music and more serious topics.

I would naturally like to see Mika in the main role all the time. On Wednesday he did several solo performances and I absolutely loved it and in the end of the session we all had the feeling he let his music talk and tell the message. He said good bye to the house and did the last song and I had tears in my eyes, partly because good byes are always sad but partly also because the performance was so incredibly beautiful. It’s not that I want Mika to be stuck in Italy doing Casa Mika for the rest of his life, there are many other options for him. He can take the concept to other countries or he can bring it on stage or he can just take some ideas and use them at gigs. I want him to make music one way or another, where ever it happens. There’s so much potential to use in numerous different ways.

After the recording the atmosphere was actually very happy. Italian fans had planned a wonderful after party and invited us all to be a part of it. It was raining but they still set a beautiful table with a white table cloth and real candles and fairy lights and beautiful glasses and serving dishes and it was all really Italian. Italian people love dressing up and making things fancy and beautiful. They had wines and pizza and even potato crisps (practically the only thing I can eat in situations like that and believe me I was hungry after not eating the whole day) and when Mika was ready with his own after recording duties the security invited us inside the Casa Mika gates and the table and everything else was brought with us and Mika came to see it and he saw the amazing house themed cakes and the fancy champagne bought him as a gift and I think he could understand the effort the girls had made because he showed a very sweet reaction. He opened one of the bottles and poured some sparkling wine to everyone and patiently cut and served the cake and was generally as kind and thoughtful as only he can be and it left a good, happy feeling to everyone. A very sweet thing from him to do.

Another Italian adventure behind, thanks everyone xxx

I haven’t posted any blogs after the past three recordings so I’m collecting a few thoughts here. I was at the studio a week ago on Sunday night after the mfc party and I really enjoyed watching the filming together with my friends but didn’t have any special thoughts to share afterwards and blogged only about the party (photo galleries here). I returned to Milan on Wednesday even I didn’t have a ticket (I still wanted to travel to keep my flights for this week, they were connected) and wasn’t lucky with overbooking. I stayed outside the studio the night because that’s the whole idea with overbooking, you might get in at any time during the recording in case there are free seats. However, no luck for me with that on Wednesday.

It was sad, to be honest, to listen to “my house is your house” outside in the cold knowing it’s just a song and that obviously that time his house wasn’t my house at all. It came to my mind maybe I shouldn’t be doing all this. Maybe I shouldn’t take risks all the time because it’s not possible to be lucky all the time (for any of us). I couldn’t wait to be back home and get some hugs from my family and also have a little rest. After a day off I went back to Milan, this time with a ticket and last night saw a beautiful, beautiful recording!

Suddenly occasional few hours outside like a few days earlier didn’t feel that bad anymore. It wasn’t the first time things don’t work out and it wasn’t the last time they don’t work out, sometimes it simply is like that. What’s important, most times everything works out like it did last night. Everything was beautiful. The whole session was absolutely beautiful from beginning to the end. As beautiful as it can be.

A few random thoughts about these recordings below.

It’s amazing to watch how confident Mika is compared to the first season. I’m sure he’s a bit stressed, the work is hectic and something unexpected is happening all the time but we can’t really much see his stress at all, he looks just very confident and relaxed and chats with the audience during breaks. He’s very focused and it’s easy to see how important it is for him to do things well, he looks determined and ambitious and that’s always attractive to watch, isn’t it. I find all that really charismatic in anyone and as you all know Mika can be charismatic just standing there. It’s impressive to watch him on stage and I’m sure the whole audience feels the same.

We haven’t seen any particularly interesting international guest this year – not as interesting as last year – but on the other hand there are some interesting collaborations and I’ve very much enjoyed seeing them. Also, I think the topics are more serious this year and that’s good development and something I had hoped for this season in advance. I’ve been surprised by the response Gregory is getting on twitter, people are really touched by this character and sharing their own experiences about depression, anxiety or other kind of darker emotions. In Finland people are naturally melancholic and for us sadness is a normal part of life and it’s natural to talk about it but I think Italians are not that direct or used to it and for them it can be easier to talk via Gregory. Maybe, not sure if that’s the explanation, in any case the idea works really well and I’m happy to watch the warm response the character is receiving. Unfortunately my Italian is not good enough to understand any monologues and I need to wait translations to properly understand everything.

Last night we saw performances with Fedez and I think that was a good thing as we had earlier already seen several older guests and this balanced the age structure (Fedez already posted about his visit so it’s not a surprise to anyone and not something to avoid mentioning). After Fedez some stunning solo performances from Mika. I felt extremely lucky to be in the studio last night and I know I will feel lucky to watch the performances again on television and also to have the clips to watch later. Everything was perfect, the voice, music, outfits, show elements. Now looking forward to the show on television on Tuesday and the last recording session on Wednesday. The season will be over before we properly realize it started xxx

Mika Fan Club is celebrating the 10th anniversary and organizing fan meetings in different countries and on Sunday the Italian crew hosted another great Italian Mika party in Milan and we gathered together before heading to the studio to follow Casa Mika recordings. What a fun party we had! A huge, huge thank you to everyone who was involved in the preparations and special thanks to Marina who – as always – was once again endlessly patient and helpful with everyone and answered all my questions and kindly made sure I had suitable food to eat at brunch. Below a group pic of the organizing team and a photo we took together with Marina (thanks to Roberto for taking the pic).

The venue/restaurant was reserved only to Mika fans and the place was absolutely wonderful, it really couldn’t have been more suitable in any way. I took a few pics so everyone can see what I mean, the place was exactly like a house! Kitchen, dining room, living room area, hobby space… So colorful and cozy and the best thing was the amazing, friendly staff taking care of us. I’m trying to visit some cafes and restaurants during my each Milan visit to learn to know the city and this was honestly my favorite place so far, I couldn’t feel a hint of the cold attitude I’ve felt in some of those otherwise so cool, trendy places I’ve visited during my trips lately. The atmosphere on Sunday was lovely and it seemed to me everyone at the party felt the same.

Ani had an idea of a big card/poster we could all make together during the meeting to give to Mika later in the evening so we all draw a little house and the result was a big poster full of different colorful houses to celebrate Mika’s new single It’s My House and of course also the beginning of the second season of Casa Mika. The idea worked very well, I think! Most of our houses looked like pre-school drawings (I know my butterfly house certainly did) but I think the result was still quite cute and we definitely had a lot of fun doing the project between eating, dancing and chatting. Maybe not art exactly but I hope it means something to Mika his fans come from many different countries to gather together and to do something as a community.

The highlight of the party was a giant cake with the MFC colors and anniversary logo and the cake looked absolutely fabulous (again, thanks to the organizing team for this amazing surprise!) and we took some group pics around it.

I tried to walk around and take photos of every table and people having fun but as people were moving and doing things in different parts of the ”house” I probably couldn’t catch everyone but still collected as many different pics I had and made a big photo gallery below. I know several fans were periscoping during the party and hope all you who couldn’t be there enjoyed watching those periscopes and felt you were with us in spirit. So good to see everyone, until next time. xxx

Back home from the third Casa Mika recording. I’m keeping my update short and try not to give any details in advance. We saw one international special guest – something different than I had expected – and would be difficult to describe the session without revealing too much. Also, we didn’t see any solo performance from Mika so I didn’t feel as excited and emotional as I did during the previous sessions even of course I enjoyed watching him with guests and appreciated the opportunity to follow the production work as much as I always do.

This time Mika was mostly in his role of the host of the evening and interviewed and entertained. He is good at that all and it was a pleasure to watch him but naturally, it didn’t give me the excitement and extreme happiness I usually get from his own music performances. He did some songs with his guests and with them he’s very much focused on them, making sure they get their share of the spotlight, trying not to draw too much attention to himself. All what we can expect from a good and generous host.

One of the songs he did on Sunday together with an Italian well-known guest was a particularly great performance and it seemed to me both the guest and the host had equally fun. The audience was very lucky and the performance had to be repeated (I think they made a mistake with their choreography) and even Mika seemed to enjoy doing everything all over again. My favorite kind of Casa Mika performance even this popular Italian song wasn’t familiar to me in advance.

In case someone thinks it looks too easy for people like me to be there and see everything I want to remind this is actually not that easy at all. Milan is far away from Helsinki and being there twice a week means spending two nights at recordings and four days and nights traveling between Helsinki and Milan leaving only two days to spend at home with my family. I can do all that only because my family is being endlessly patient with me and I try not to take it for granted. My husband takes care of everything at home while I travel and he does it because he knows how important this all is to me and how happy it makes me.

It does make me happy. It’s wonderful to see Mika on stage again and to hear him sing both alone and with guests. There’s a new tone in his voice compared to some old recordings I’ve been listening to at home during the gig break and I love hearing it. I don’t think things can stay exactly the same all the time and thinking of time passing by makes me aware of how precious everything is. When this moment is gone it will never come back. We need to enjoy everything as much as possible.

For many fans things happening purely in Italy seem like minor events on Mika’s career but a show of his own in general, especially a show of his own this big is a huge possibility and would be an amazing opportunity for any artist. It means also huge pressure. There’s a massive production and people who write and people who design and people who take care of every technical detail but it’s Mika’s name written on the wall with giant letters full of flowers and it’s him on stage in different glittery suits practically the whole two hours. It’s even his responsibility to make everyone else look good and whatever the result it will reflect back on him and the channel investing in him.

Italian television audience is not like us fans, it’s demanding in a different way. Luckily the studio is full of people who already love him and everyone’s attention is on him during the whole recording session and I’m happy it’s like that. I want him to feel the instant response from the audience so he can remember how it feels and how important his music is to people in case he has forgotten it.

The cutest thing actually happened after the third recording when I heard Mika talking about the special guest he had that night using words a child would use and being very serious in his excitement. I think he just used words he had in mind. In the middle of those crazy busy schedules and hard work and after being such a professional television host the whole evening he genuinely talked like an excited kid. I thought it was adorable. He’s very special that way. I often think there’s a part in him that’s not totally grown up, sometimes he makes me think of my 6 year old nephew. I’m happy to know the television world has not yet ruined him and hope it never will.

At the moment this show is as close to Mika making music as we can get and I’m looking forward to seeing many memorable performances before the season is over. I will be back in Milan on Saturday. There’s an MFC party on Sunday morning and I’m planning to take a lot of pics and will post them after the event. Can’t wait to meet everyone xxx

In the pic above is only a cardboard version of Mika but I thought it was funny they brought it outside next to the Casa Mika car so the audience could take selfies with it before going in. It’s not allowed to take any photos inside the studio so no pics of the setting to share but I wanted to write a small update in any case, otherwise seems impossible to keep my notes in time order.

I know my emotional response to the first recording (part 1 here) seemed silly but actually many people told me afterwards they felt exactly the same way and that it was lovely to tears to hear Mika’s voice and to watch him preparing his performances and to see only him on stage after such a long break in gigs lately. On Sunday during the first filming there were no tight schedules with guests and the atmosphere was warm and cosy, Mika was very casual with the audience and chatted and shared his slightly nervous feelings with people which added the emotional vibe.

On Wednesday the production went through the whole first episode and filmed all performances with guests. Mika was chatting as casually as he did on Sunday but he had to also stay extremely sharp because the schedule was long and full of different components: music performances, interviews, monologues, small fiction parts and other details like clips filmed in advance and showed on the screen. The whole session was really interesting to watch and follow on many levels, not just Mika’s part and the guests but everything what was happening in the studio. The production group is big and I could recognize many faces from the last season.

I was seated a barrier located directly in front of my face and the lady from production responsible of the audience kindly offered us a couple of places with no barriers and further away (she saw them after everyone had arrived) but as soon as I stood up my view was stunning so I preferred to stay at my barrier seat and had really a brilliant view during the parts where the audience could stand or dance and saw actually very well between the barriers everything else as well and I told the lady after the session how perfect it all was. The production for a show this big is like a huge machine and I feel we fans are extremely lucky to have our opportunities to watch everything this closely and I hope people working for the audience know how grateful we are.

I’m trying not to give any spoilers about the upcoming episodes but as Rai has already announced some of the guests it doesn’t matter I mention them here too. Most songs would be better performed by Mika alone (my honest opinion), I’ve never been keen to hear duets for that particular reason. However, of course the whole idea of the show is Mika opening his house and welcoming people into his world so letting his guest to take their time and space is quite essential to the concept no matter how much we all would prefer listening only to him.

And I do love watching him with people and I admire his sensitivity and ability to face people as persons and everyone as they are and have always thought what a complex person he must be on the other hand giving such a private impression and on the other hand being so patient and generous with his attention to people around him. He’s got a lot of practice in that and he’s very professional but I still find it astonishing to watch every single time.

The most interesting guests are always those who impress Mika as much as they impress the audience and I love watching his gestures and how much he seems to respect people’s experience and long careers they’ve built. On Wednesday my favorite guest was singer Rita Pavone who had an incredible energy and who totally rocked the whole studio. She and Mika did a performance together and people in the audience had a blast dancing and partying.

Because the show is Italian I’m naturally not always familiar in advance with the guests and think they’ve been selected partly because of timing like always with different television shows – there are always singers and actors willing to promote their latest projects – and whether I like these guests or not usually depends on their performance that night. International guests are artists suitably visiting Italy or people Mika somehow personally knows and this time we saw Dita von Teese who’s performance I didn’t know to look forward to in advance but which I eventually found very impressive.

Her figure looks absolutely stunning, I must say. I was wondering how it even can be that stunning but as she told herself, she was born a blond-haired Midwest girl and has probably worked hard both for the character/role and the figure. I would have loved to hear her talking longer to learn to know how she is as a person but at least we heard a small interview between her burlesque performances. I’ve always thought burlesque means a certain style and certain type of show elements but I guess the main point is still to take clothes off. Anyway, I found her performances exciting and her as a guest very interesting. Also, her part in the show was entertaining many ways and I’m sure people will love it.

I really love the small time traveling idea located between guests as it seems to give rhythm to the show and connects the studio space and beforehand recorded clips together and it works well and I can follow it (and also the taxi parts familiar from the last year) quite well despite of my weak language skills. However, Luciana Littizzetto who joins Mika several times during the episodes speaks incredibly fast and understanding her with my practically non-existing Italian is impossible and from my point of view those parts feel long but the Italian audience seems to think she’s very funny.

The highlight for the season start is the performance for It’s My House, an obvious choice for the first episode. It’s My House was filmed again on Wednesday and the performance was full of energy and show elements and seeing it now twice is not enough for me and would love to see it again and again and hope Mika will do it at least one more time maybe in the end of the season with lots and lots of confetti. Also, I loved the old-fashioned Italian song we heard both on Sunday and Wednesday, his voice sounds extreme pleasant in a song that style and I could have listened to it for hours.

One of the performances Mika did on Sunday was so stunning they didn’t film it again on Wednesday at all but we saw the recording on the screen and it was as breathtaking as I could remember it being. The second recording ended around 2 am. Even all the performances gave me a lot of energy I was still very sleepy in the end of the session and could only imagine how exhausted Mika must have felt after focusing so hard for so many hours without any breaks but I hope the joy and pride of having his own show we could see on his face and even in his moves and gestures made him forget the tiredness.

I met some new and many familiar faces on Wednesday and had a lovely time, thanks everyone xxx

Recordings for the second Casa Mika season started on Sunday and I travelled to Milan on Saturday to have a possibility to spend a few hours both days learning to know Milan before going to the studio on Sunday night. I’ve visited the city many times for gigs and different events and recordings and even spent there time with my family but never really learnt to like the place. I’m sure there are many hidden treasures for those who know Milan well but for an average traveller it’s a distant place. I’ve always thought it’s expensive and a bit too fancy for my taste and I didn’t feel any different this time either. I’ve travelled in Italy a lot and seen many places much more suitable for me than Milan is.

I visited a couple of cafes I had seen mentioned in articles and a bookstore I had hoped to see for a long time but mostly just enjoyed walking around. The weather was beautiful both days, almost like in summer even it’s October, and loved being in the sun and watching dogs, saw many of them. An elderly very elegant gentleman dressed in a carefully chosen suit walked his likewise elegant elderly dog and I couldn’t stop admiring this amazingly stylish couple. I randomly discovered a small bakery near my hotel and it looked like a small family business with mother and daughter and grandmother and I visited the place twice and bought coffee and gluten-free little biscuits and almost felt I have a nice new routine and I like having small routines like that when I travel abroad.

I couldn’t wait to see the first recording but also knew that this time it would be quite short and that Mika would even leave the studio to go to another one in a different building to perform his new song and I had prepared myself to a possibility we wouldn’t hear him singing at all not to be too disappointed if that really happens. As soon as he came on stage he confirmed to the audience he needs to do another recording in the middle of our session but also explained he would sing both before and after that and that while he’s gone the girls would film their part and we could watch that.

Knowing we could finally hear his singing made me incredibly happy and was so unexpected that I actually started to cry the moment he started to sing. That was weirdly emotional even from me and quite embarrassing and Ani gave me a surprised ”woman are you serious” look but I really couldn’t help it, I felt overwhelmingly happy. My eyes became horribly red of course. You know all pretty young girls who get teary eyes and become even more beautiful than they already are like real life princesses? I cry and I become one of those new species scientists have been discovering from the bottom of the oceans. No one even knew those creatures exist and now there’s a possibility I was filmed for Italian television looking like one and I don’t even care. I was so happy Mika is singing again and thought I now have everything I can possibly hope for.

He did a couple of songs and the version of one his most impressive live songs was absolutely beautiful and the audience went wild and people were standing and clapping and screaming and making noise with their shoes – obviously I wasn’t the only one who had missed his singing – and he looked a bit touched of this spontaneous reaction and after seeing that I cried even more of course.

Then there was a break while Mika did his performance in the studio next door and to be honest it wasn’t as disappointing as I had thought in advance at all because his family took over the stage and we could watch the girls and I love watching them. Those dogs are adorable! I can’t tell how long it took and suddenly Mika was back and promised to sing us a couple of more songs and we watched some clips and filmed some introductions for Rai 2 to be broadcasted in the near future.

Everyone was super excited to hear the new song and the performance was really good and energetic and I was once again surprised how different a song becomes when it’s performed live. I had heard a clip and thought My House is extremely catchy and perfect to use as a tune for his show but maybe not as suitable to play at gigs as his other songs but he did it in front of us and it was just like any other energetic song he performs regularly and will surely work well also outside the television show (and it has been playing in my head non-stop since we heard it). Then one more Italian song as a surprise and it fitted his voice perfectly and I very much enjoyed listening to it.

Mika’s singing was beautiful even he hasn’t been performing much lately. There was a warm tone in his voice slightly hinting he had a flu but it didn’t make his singing any less lovely and I only hoped singing wouldn’t hurt him and that way disturb the upcoming recordings. We didn’t see any guests during the first recording (a dream recording for fans) but as I can’t give any spoilers I couldn’t mention them any way and just wanted to write a small post to describe how the atmosphere felt in the beginning of the filming and will probably blog more detailed after the first episodes are out. We got little sneak peeks to the fiction parts Mika has mentioned in interviews and after seeing them I expect people to love them and feel very curious about them myself as well. There will be a lot of new details in the concept!

Now back home for one and a half day (to hug my kids and my dog and of course my husband who has a birthday today) and back to Milan on Wednesday. Keeping my fingers crossed for tickets and hoping everything goes well. It was lovely to be back in Italy and to see everyone again xxx

florence_menu

It’s been more than two weeks since our New Year’s Eve in Florence and I still almost can’t believe we could experience it all nor imagine any better atmosphere or better way to spend that special day. The opera in Florence offered pre-sale packages for the New Year including the symphony concert and a dinner at the opera afterwards and to confirm our seats many of us bought those packages months in advance.

I didn’t give the dinner much thought beforehand, I just wanted to have my concert ticket as early as possible and intentionally avoided having any expectations regarding to the dinner. In my experience things in Italy can be either absolutely amazing (I could give many, many examples) or go terribly wrong in which case people just say “oh well we’re in Italy” like those words simply explained it all (and I’m starting to understand they do, lol!).

This time everything went very well and the evening was really nicely organized. The dinner was served smoothly, the food was delicious, we got wines, a dj, an open bar and impressive fireworks exactly at midnight and it seemed everyone was in a good mood, eating, chatting, dancing and generally having a wonderful time. The Italian girls had helped the opera to organize our tables (for around 100 fans from all over the world) and named every table according to different Mika songs. Ours was called Dr John (such a cute detail wasn’t it).

The concert on New Year’s Eve was extremely intense and transferred us to another world and the best thing with the dinner was that it didn’t remove us from our magical atmosphere. We were quietly guided to our tables and given a glass of wine. The music started (mostly Mika and older party hits) and several waiters started to carry first starters and then other courses. It was all smooth and gradually more and more cheerful and somehow quite surreal.

The tables and food looked festive with many different glasses and fancy details. Not sure what the starter was, maybe chestnut, but my pasta after that as a second course was delicious! Weird to be this excited about food but I rarely get really tasty gluten-free pasta… The main course seemed good but was brought to tables at midnight and suddenly everyone run outside to see the fireworks and I left my food just like the others which was okay as I was full after the pasta anyway.

After celebrating the midnight we all came back to our tables and had a wonderful dessert (mine was a small gluten-free chocolate cake) and some sparkling wine and people danced or just sat and had coffee until the staff said it’s time to go and we started – very gently – to prepare our return back to the reality and a bit reluctantly left our fairytale party, feeling ourselves like real life Cinderellas, literally looking for our shoes (mine were under the table, my feet were hurting so much) and trying to find a taxi to take us back to our hotels.

It was a lovely day, first the stunning concert and then this dinner party with so many familiar faces. Definitely something to remember years to come. See our international table below. Front from right: Renate and her husband, Marion and Miri from Germany, Becks from Spain and Rose from the UK. Behind: me and my husband from Finland and Christina and her husband from Romania (her son took the pic).

Thanks everyone for that special evening and night, I felt lucky to spend the New Year with you! Last but not least, a huge thank you to the Italian fans for their preparations and of course to the opera for organizing everything so well! X

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My husband and I spent a long weekend in Florence for these two symphony concerts and had two and a half days to walk around in this beautiful city. We arrived from Helsinki on Thursday and had no plans for the evening and decided to walk to the hill to see the city view and have a quiet, cozy meal after that.

We wanted to visit both the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries during the weekend but didn’t bought tickets in advance and were not sure if we are willing to queue long enough to see them both. Eventually we went to Uffizi early Friday morning just before the opening time, got in after a half an hour of waiting and had a peaceful experience in the museum, luckily only a decent number of people were let in at a time.

I love museums for their atmosphere… I love beauty and aesthetics in general but I guess I’m more interested in the artist life and those brilliant personalities behind the master pieces and the historical spirit living in old buildings than any form of art itself.

Botticelli’s Primavera must be the most famous piece in Uffizi and as it’s surprisingly positive compared to everything else it was my favorite as well and I especially loved it how Flora and her dress immediately brought my mind Ida and her lovely flower dress in Montreal! Uffizi art was full of mothers with their giant, fat, even muscled children and I couldn’t stop staring at them in all their fascinating weirdness. The colors of the round painting below made me think of this autumn colored sweater I had seen on a fashion catalogue. Everything modern designers do comes from history, doesn’t it.

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On Saturday we headed to the Accademia Gallery a little bit later than planned and the weather was chilly and the queue long already so we took a guided tour starting in a few minutes which turned out to be a good solution as we didn’t have to queue and got a nice history lecture before having time to walk around in the museum on our own.

Michelangelo’s David was absolutely breath-taking! This was my first visit in Florence so I had no idea how stunning, impressive and huge it is in reality. The amount of love and admiration for the male body put in this sculpture is simply astonishing. The body and muscles in all their perfection combined to the giant hands and clumsy ankles and even lovely natural light coming from above, loved it all.

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After visiting the gallery we had a plenty of time to walk around before it was time to get ready for the New Year’s Eve concert and we had a small rest in a cozy, colorful book cafe we bumped into on our way to the river. It was perfect for us, we both love books and as it wasn’t mainly for tourists it wasn’t crowded at all and we could have a calm and relaxed moment before walking to the Boboli gardens.

The gardens – actually a large park – must be my favorite of all the places I saw in Florence. It was big enough not to feel too busy and crowded (people were mainly gathered in certain spots to take photos) and we could have walked there for hours, I would love to go back there in spring time.

I took a lot of pictures of the beautiful small green observatory because it was exactly the kind of a building where I would love to live but I guess a historical observatory with an access to a huge, private park in the heart of the most important renaissance city in the world can be too much to ask. What a lovely and pleasant long weekend in Florence and as always, the anticipation of these two symphony concerts made my mood even better than it already was. The experience would have been different without them, it wouldn’t have felt complete like this.

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Finally back home from my trip to Italy and trying to collect my thoughts about these two amazing symphony concerts I just saw in Florence. I was traveling with my husband and we had a lovely short holiday, Florence is a beautiful city full of art and history and this was our first visit there. Also, I met many friends from all over Europe and Asia and we had a wonderful party together. Twice, actually. First MFC 10th anniversary party on Friday before the first concert (I will blog about that later) and then Opera di Firenze gala dinner on New Year’s Eve after the second concert (and will write a separate post about that one too).

Symphony concerts make me so emotional it’s always hard to find words, they are my very favorites of everything Mika does. The arrangements by Simon Leclerc are out of this world and I love being able to hear Mika’as voice so clearly and without too much distraction. I always enjoy the gig or festival atmosphere, being in the audience and experiencing music together with people I like but what makes me travel this much is the thought of seeing Mika on stage and hearing his singing. There’s nothing better than being able to totally focus on his performance and the symphony environment is the best way to do it. I love the drama and intensity he adds to the songs and how tangible every emotion becomes. I can feel transferred to another place – whatever it is in the song – and it’s the weirdest feeling ever, like everything in the story is suddenly happening for real.

I’ve seen all the six symphony concerts so far and noticed every concert is different, special and magical in their own way and I enjoy this fact they are all different. Just the venue itself has its own effect, the modern music halls in Montreal or Florence can’t compete with the breath-takingly beautiful old theatre we saw in Como, a piece of art itself. The Canadian audience was calm and that way exactly my taste but on the other hand the organization at the opera in Florence could control the audience surprisingly well. The crowd was restless and a bit distracting but at least people stayed still until the last song which, believe me, was well done and organized.

In addition to that there are technical elements. I couldn’t hear Max properly during the first Florence concert, not the way I heard during the second one and I enjoy hearing him well because I like his voice. Then there’s Ida and don’t even know where to start with her. I like Ida a lot and I missed her in Como and now really enjoyed having her back and think her pure voice added something special to many songs, not only to Happy Ending or OMS but to many other songs as well. Gives me a warm feeling to see Mika and Ida together on stage because these two know each other well and I feel Mika is better when he has loving people he knows and trusts around him on stage. To be honest I don’t know if it’s true or if I simply like Ida being there because I’m used to hear her there since the beginning and like stability like that myself. Either way, she sounded stunning, they had a lovely chemistry and I was happy she was in Florence.

Every symphony concert depends naturally mainly on Mika and how he feels and where he wants to focus on that particular night just like it is at regular gigs. If he is calm and careful he pays more attention to every nuance and I think he did that more on the second night compared to the first one even he still was very expressive as well. And I literally can’t breath when he performs like that, the experience is incredibly beautiful. I almost can’t believe I’m there to whitness it all and try very hard to catch everything and always wish my musical ear was better so I could remember every detail afterwards but of course I can’t. I can only remember how amazingly wonderful it was when it happened.

If he is excited to tell the story and focusing on the meaning of the song he adds theater in it and while doing it seems to suddenly get even more excited,  just for the childlike joy of performing and being on stage and it makes my heart burst. First there’s the emotion of the song. In seconds I’m transferred to another emotional state and to a new imaginary environment, always very intense. Then there’s the feeling of having so much love in my heart because I love watching him on stage. For some reason my mind automatically pictures him as a child. Dressing up in costumes, singing, acting, perfoming and wanting to tell a story after story forcing his family to gather around him to watch and to be his audience, like children do. The next moment I remember his family sitting in the current audience and I can’t help but smiling. Such a sweet and funny thought (said in a very loving, tender way).

The first Florence night was extremely emotional to me. I had looked forward to this night for a long time and had almost forgotten how well these symphony versions work, how real they feel. Mika was very theatrical since the beginning. He started with Toyboy and suddenly I was in a nursery, I had hardly time to understand the transition. I could see the colors and textures and all the toys, the toyboy, even needles in the eyes, and started to think how confusing it must be to grow up having all kind of feelings people have when they grow up and not always be sure if it’s right and acceptable. So touching. I never think anything like that at usual gigs, now it just happened. After Toyboy he changed quickly to Underwater and made it extremely dramatic, the water was everywhere and it was stormy and green. He has really found his acting side lately (maybe due to Casa Mika) and he made the song even more emotional and powerful than usual.

Boum Boum Boum was intense compared to the gentle gig version I got so used to last year, Rain emotional as well and then it was Last Party already and I tried really hard to keep up and jump from one song and emotion to another one, very quickly not to miss any of the songs, something that I’ve found difficult during the earlier symphony concerts but gradually learnt to do. I feel every emotion with my whole body and every muscle and it’s hard to relax and feel “nothing” between the songs and get ready to another one, there’s very little time. Last Party was as lovely as it always is and the version from second night somehow amazingly carefully done, beautiful and detailed. Next on the setlist Overrated and Any Other World (both wonderful symphony songs) and then Love You When I’m Drunk so cheerfully I had to wonder what is so funny in it, maybe an inside joke or a meaning I can’t find or fully understand.

Then Ordinary Man. I’ve learnt to love this song at gigs, it sounds different and more vulnerable without an orchestra and done in a smaller way. I’ve always thought the symphony version has a massive self-pity in it simply because it’s hard to see Mika ordinary with a formal symphony orchestra behind him. This man is not ordinary in the usual sense of the word, even the sweat he shakes over people after an energetic show is seen as a treat. He started the song and for some reason I decided to jump along with the whole self-pity thought and wow it worked well and the song was my biggest favorite during the first night and one of the favorites second night as well! I was immediately swelling in my misery. I could feel how dirty and disgusting my hair is in the darkest moments when I can’t bother taking a shower because no one really cares, when there’s no point to bother anything in this world. Loved it unexpectedly much, a wonderful experience. Then Heroes, one of the very best symphony songs so quickly over my pity party and focusing on it.

After the break Grace Kelly, partly sacrificed because it took time to adjust after the pause and I was grateful it was GK and not Over My Shoulder yet. I love OMS in every possible versions but especially symphonic and with Ida it’s even better than it usually is. It’s a dark but still calm and peaceful song and l loved how Ida’s voice gave it a tiny bit hope. Songs like this can take over my mood for a long time period and a little bit of hope makes everything easier to handle. Lovely Good Guys (so good with an orchestra) and then Make You Happy and surprisingly my another big favorite both nights but especially on the first night. He kept repeating the line and suddenly I started to believe him, it was very convincing. I had totally forgotten how much I like this song. Happy Ending is always stunning but on the second night it was extraordinary, maybe my all time favorite version. I’m sure time stopped for a tiny moment, it really did.

Origin was powerful with the big choir. I loved the choir in many other songs as well, it had an impressive effect and it added a lot of extra. Then Relax, one the most important songs for me personally and lovely, gentle and natural both nights but particularly on the second one. EMD and Love Today are not my orchestra favorites because the audience can’t stay still and there’s too much distraction (which always shifts my mood) but Stardust after them was still lovely of course, even the audience was too restless at the time. There was an extra song both nights, Grace Kelly on the first and Underwater on the second. The crowd was in chaos in front, everyone taking pics and vids but I didn’t care, just felt happy and thankful, overwhelmed and exhausted.

Such a wonderful, once in a lifetime experience for fans, these two concerts with a fun pre-party on Friday and a nicely organized dinner-party on Saturday. Stunning work from both Mika and Simon Leclerc and of course also from Ida, Max, the orchestra and everyone involved. More reports to come. Monta suukkoa.

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Happy New Year from Florence with a couple of quick photos I took in the end of the second sinfonia pop concert (cameras were not otherwise allowed of course). The second night was even better than the first one. Mika was more focused on his singing so we got many especially stunning versions. He was very careful with some important songs but still managed to create a lot of drama around every song so there was a good balance and I really enjoyed the whole night, very special. The fireworks were crazy and the dinner organized by the opera and included in the concert tickets nicely organized and it was good to spend time with so many familiar people from all over the world. A longer report later. xxx

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The first of the two sinfonia pop concerts at Opera di Firenze was so, so emotional my heart could only barely handle it all. Mika sounded absolutely beautiful, he wasn’t controlling himself a bit but instead threw himself into every possible emotion, mood and tone and seemed to enjoy it a lot, his stubborn curl (you know which one I mean) kept flying left and right, he couldn’t stay still for a moment but danced, waved his hands here and there, even jumped (yes he even jumped). Ida was stunning. Her part in these concerts is so essential, she really made many songs as they should be. Simon Leclerc wasn’t being strict at all. I was almost disappointed that he wasn’t until he went wild and started to guide even the audience! Too funny and somehow so sympathetic. The big choir was strong and powerful and had an impressive effect in many songs.

The orchestra made me feel very emotional but as this was already my fifth symphony gig I already knew that I can’t stay in one emotion no matter how strong it is, I have to move on to the next one in the next song and the one after that and I managed to do that and could focus almost every song and saw colors and images and stories I haven’t even noticed before and really can’t wait to write a long report about the set list and different songs. Last Party and Over My Shoulder were both as fantastic as I expected and definitely my usual favorites but the biggest one was surprisingly Ordinary Man, didn’t expect that at all. I jumped into the self-pity feeling in it, couldn’t help it and it was simply wonderful, I really loved the version and very convincing Make You Happy as well just to name a few songs.

Wonderful, almost overwhelming night that made me totally exhausted – in a good way – like these symphony concerts always do. Can’t believe there is another one tomorrow, we are extremely lucky. The MFC party before the concert was so much fun. A huge thank you to the Italian fans for organizing, everyone seemed to have such a good time. I took a lot of pics, will blog about the party when back home.

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It has never been only about music, we have always had a whole Mika universe. A surreal place full of colors, imagination, energy, love, joy and especially tolerance. His world has always had enough space for everyone and for every emotion, a happy mix of smile and tears.

We have learnt to know his cartoonlike, half-fictional characters and along with his music – which has become more direct lately – also the world around him has evolved and become more realistic. Casa Mika looks like a description of his real life, dreams and personality different rooms representing different parts of it all.

Living area represents music of course. It’s for making music, singing, playing piano, dancing, entertaining and creating a show. Kitchen is for people. For being alone or for personal and serious conversations with friends. Well that’s what I do in my kitchen while cooking; either think my own thoughts or enjoy chatting with a friend.

Art studio (there must be one even if we haven’t seen it) is for design projects. His study is for writing, literature and culture. The garden is kind of an extension of the living area and a suitable place to do musical collaborations. I like to imagine the symphony orchestra was in the garden, I’m sure I could see stars. You saw them?

Bedroom is where to start a new day or to end one before having rest. To be hopeful (in the morning) or grateful (before going to bed). The small clips filmed around Italy are about the world around Mika, around us all, and from his trips.

The show is meant to be entertainment and it’s a compromise between what people want to see and what he wants to show. It’s interesting to see how his life is. He can’t spend much time in London so I guess doing things he loves and being surrounded by people he cares needs to be enough to make him feel home.

Usually when we visit someone’s house we first spent time in the living area. It can be formal but it doesn’t have to, a living room can be relaxed as well, mine is. If I know the owner of the house I often walk directly into the kitchen and always, always check the library. It’s the most interesting part of the house whether I know the person well or not and especially if not.

Music is my favorite part of Casa Mika, I love everything in it. Choirs, orchestras, cabaret style dance performances and Mika singing alone on his couch the girls next to him. I’ve enjoyed his music guests and find some of them a true discovery and will definitely watch my favorite duets later which is actually quite rare, I usually avoid duets.

The living room seems to be in the centre of the house and the music played in it can probably be heard everywhere in the house. He can quite easily just run up the stairs or dance from one room to another but sometimes he might want to go for example to his study, close the door, sit down and spend a moment there, maybe writing his book. And he should be able to do it.

Asking him to focus on only his music and nothing else is a little bit like telling him he is not allowed to leave his living room. “What a beautiful, beautiful house you have, unfortunately you are not allowed to enter any other room than your living room.” And that’s not something we can say to an adult person, not in their own house. It doesn’t work that way.

I’ve enjoyed being in the audience, first (and especially) in the studio and then again at home, doing this small house tour in Casa Mika and watching him with his guests. He is so warm with people, so lovable when talking – very passionately – about things he finds important, things we all should find important. No wonder Italy seems to like him so much.

I can’t understand Italian well enough so I’ve missed a lot of details but luckily some nice people are subtitling all the episodes so now also foreigners can watch and understand everything interviews included (see here).

My favorite performance was the symphonic Last Party from the end of the last episode of Casa Mika. So incredibly gentle and comforting, I loved it and had never thought he could make this song this comforting. Like all the sad news were somewhere far, far away.

I will post more next week, have a good weekend xxx