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Opera Today

Megadeth's Dave Mustaine 10, Wagner 0

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 | 7:07:00 pm

Don't tell anyone but we like a bit of Megadeth - honest. However, we do feel that no matter how much Wagner/Mahler/Strauss influenced a fair bit of "heavy metal" when the genre attempts to interpret its "classical" German sources directly there is only ever one winner and in that fight to the death it is rarely Wagner.

And as if to prove it you can hear a snip-it of Mustaine - along with the San DiegoSymphony - slaughtering Wagner below.

All part of a "Symphony Interrupted", which saw Mustaine perform Richard Wagner's "Ride Of The Valkyries" with the orchestra, as well as solos of Vivaldi's concertos from "The Four Seasons", plus Bach's classic "Air".
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New Book: Absolute Music: The History of an Idea - Mark Evan Bonds

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 | 11:08:00 pm

Extensive Preview Below

What is music, and why does it move us? From Pythagoras to the present, writers have struggled to isolate the essence of "pure" or "absolute" music in ways that also account for its profound effect. In Absolute Music: The History of an Idea, Mark Evan Bonds traces the history of these efforts across more than two millennia, paying special attention to the relationship between music's essence and its qualities of form, expression, beauty, autonomy, as well as its perceived capacity to disclose philosophical truths.

The core of this book focuses on the period between 1850 and 1945. Although the idea of pure music is as old as antiquity, the term "absolute music" is itself relatively recent. It was Richard Wagner who coined the term, in 1846, and he used it as a pejorative in his efforts to expose the limitations of purely instrumental music. For Wagner, music that was "absolute" was isolated, detached from the world, sterile. His contemporary, the Viennese critic Eduard Hanslick, embraced this quality of isolation as a guarantor of purity. Only pure, absolute music, he argued, could realize the highest potential of the art.

Bonds reveals how and why perceptions of absolute music changed so radically between the 1850s and 1920s. When it first appeared, "absolute music" was a new term applied to old music, but by the early decades of the twentieth century, it had become-paradoxically—an old term associated with the new music of modernists like Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Bonds argues that the key developments in this shift lay not in discourse about music but rather the visual arts. The growing prestige of abstraction and form in painting at the turn of the twentieth century-line and color, as opposed to object-helped move the idea of purely abstract, absolute music to the cutting edge of musical modernism.
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New Translation Of Richard Wagner's "Beethoven" - Roger Allen

Available October 2014.

Despite the enormous and accelerating worldwide interest in Wagner leading to the bicentenary of his birth in 2013, his prose writings have received scant scholarly attention. Wagner's book-length essay on Beethoven, written to celebrate the centenary of Beethoven's birth in 1870, is really about Wagner himself rather than Beethoven.

It is generally regarded as the principal aesthetic statement of the composer's later years, representing a reassessment of the ideas of the earlier Zurich writings, especially Oper und Drama, in the light of the experience gained through the composition of Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and the greater part of Der Ring des Nibelungen.

 It contains Wagner's most complete exegesis of his understanding of Schopenhauer's philosophy and its perceived influence on the compositional practice of his later works. The essay also influenced the young Nietzsche. It is an essential text in the teaching of not only Wagnerian thought but also late nineteenth-century musical aesthetics in general.

 Until now the English reader with no access to the German original has been obliged to work from two Victorian translations. This brand new edition gives the German original and the newly translated English text on facing pages. It comes along with a substantial introduction placing the essay not only within the wider historical and intellectual context of Wagner's later thought but also in the political context of the establishment of the German Empire in the 1870s

The translation is annotated throughout with a full bibliography. Richard Wagner's Beethoven will be indispensable reading for historians and musicologists as well as those interested in Wagner's philosophy and the aesthetics of music. ROGER ALLEN is Fellow and Tutor in Music at St Peter's College, Oxford.


First Published: 16 Oct 2014
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843839583
Pages: 256
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press
Subject: Music
BIC Class: AV

1 Introduction
2 Richard Wagner's Beethoven[German text and English translation]
3 Appendix: 'Beethoven u[nd] d[ie] deutsche Nation [German Text]
4 Select Bibliography
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Alex Ross On Interpreting Wagner

The always worth reading Alex Ross in discussion with Todd Morman at the Indy Week.

Ross has been exploring Wagner's deep, broad cultural influence—he pays close attention, for instance, to what he calls "Black Wagnerism," the affinity felt by people like W.E.B. Du Bois for Wagner's work. The INDY spoke with Ross about Wagner, race and modern opera; an edited transcript is below.

TODD MORMAN: Let’s start with this: What exactly is Wagnerian about W.E.B. Du Bois? 

ALEX ROSS: Well, Du Bois was fascinated by Wagner, going back to his period when he was studying in Berlin in the 1890s ... He also went to Bayreuth in the year 1936, the summer of the Nazi Olympics. He spent several months in Germany undertaking a complicated project which ostensibly has something to do with industrial education methods, but the rationale for the grant he received from a German-American foundation was for studying racism in Germany and racial attitudes in Germany.

He was horrified by anti-Semitism but said that he himself was treated respectfully when he traveled and did not experience racism firsthand. You can take that at face value or not. But Du Bois said, going back to those days in the 1890s, when he came to Germany this was the first time in his life that he felt that he was being treated respectfully as a black man, and that he felt more or less on equal terms with those around him. The point is that Du Bois had this great veneration for German culture, German philosophy and literature and music. He detected in it this powerful idealistic energy that he felt could be translated into any context. He felt that it could in fact have great meaning for African-Americans, and that African-Americans specifically have something to learn from Wagner.

Again, we think of Wagner as this completely nauseatingly racist man and thinker, but it’s a little more complicated than that. He was unquestionably an anti-Semite. In terms of his attitudes toward people of color, there’s much less evidence. It just wasn’t something he spent a lot of time thinking about and being concerned with. You actually find a mix of opinions in his second wife’s diaries, which record everything that came out of his mouth in the last year of his life. But Du Bois himself found Wagner inspiring; In this remarkable story, “The Coming of John,” the music of Lohengrin is this gleaming, distant image of beauty and freedom and possibility, sort of a mirage of a perfect world.

Given a few more fascinating stories like that, I can see how the idea of a book about Wagner popped into your head.

Really, the core of the book is to describe this phenomena that many people may have forgotten about or not been aware of: how widespread Wagner’s influence was on the arts and on literature. It was absolutely enormous. He influenced this really endless list of major writers and thinkers—Nietzsche and Baudelaire and Mallarme and Proust and a very long list of French writers. You have Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Willa Cather, Thomas Mann … in a lot of these writers very often you find there was ambivalence, or early infatuation followed by later rejection; Joyce I think falls into that category. Even that is an important influence, the overcoming of an early infatuation with Wagner. 

For the Modernist generation, Wagner was associated with this very heavy, foggy, sort of perfumed fin de siècle aesthetic, he was associated with Impressionism to some extent, symbolism and decadence. So the next step was to banish the murk and then present something much sharper and more objective, or more harshly realistic—the whole gamut of ideas associated with modernism.

The question of Wagner’s personality, his personal traits, his beliefs: In that period there wasn’t so much focus on that, I don’t think it was until later in the 20th Century that we came so consumed with the issues of Wagner’s biography and his influence on Nazism was something that really came to the fore after World War II. That has come to almost dominate the picture of Wagner.

You yourself say he made “a number of absurd and repulsive pronouncements on all matter of topics,” right? It’s an obvious question, how do you separate that out from the positive influences? What would you consider the negative influences?

I don’t consider “are these positive or negative?” but as a historian I want to describe this phenomenon year by year and let the reader decide. 

[Laughs] Good luck with that. Everyone’s gonna want to know your opinion. 

I know. But what I really want to do is simply show the breadth of the influence. I do think it’s very important to establish Wagner’s quite powerful influence on the anti-Semitic movement. For a long time in the Wagner world there were attempts to sort of brush that under the rug. In the ’50s and ‘60s, when the Bayreuth festival got going again, there was this attitude of ‘let’s not concern ourselves with politics, we’re talking about music here.’ 

There’s kind of a deep politicization that has happened there. A lot of very good scholarship has been done on Wagner’s influence and the quite crucial role that his ideas played. His family was increasingly snarled in these movements and eventually formed a relationship with Hitler himself. So yeah, this has been established and it’s very important. There will be what I anticipate will be a quite frightening chapter at the heart of the book where I confront all of that. But what concerns me is when the focus on the Nazi Wagner excludes the rest of the picture. If the average person was asked, ‘who was Wagner?’ you get, ‘Hitler’s favorite composer.’ For me, that’s a very dissatisfying answer, and I’m afraid that it actually gives a little too much credit to Hitler. It’s a minor victory for Hitler, I’m afraid, if we let his taste for Wagner become and remain the defining one. And there’s simply a very big loss that happens if you look at Wagner that way, because you are ignoring the side of Wagner that was some sort of anarchist who was a determined opponent, most of the time if not all of the time, of state power, a man who hated authority. He had this capacity, despite all of his horrible beliefs, to explore compassion, pity, a sense of identification with the downtrodden. With this book I just wanted to show everything—the whole political spectrum, the whole intellectual spectrum, this mastery of artists—and just set it out there. We’ll see what people make of it.

In terms of breadth and depth of his influence, pre-internet age, on both sides of the Atlantic, can you think of anyone in modern times he’s comparable to?

I think Wagner is a singular phenomenon in music. I don’t think there has been any other figure in the entire history of music who has had an influence of this nature; musical aesthetic across many cultural fields, intellectual, philosophical and political.

So it’s more than enormous fame.

It’s a pretty singular phenomenon, and I don’t know if in other fields, in literature or in painting, it’s also difficult to identify a figure who has had quite this effect. And I don’t mean that purely in a positive sense. Part of what staggers us about the phenomenon of Wagner is the evil that was attached to his name and the negative side of the influence. But, you know, that really adds to the breadth of the phenomenon and makes it something we need to come to terms with.

Two quick questions about modern, director-driven productions: There have been unusual, often-controversial productions—set in concentration camps or the gold mines of California—that put Wagner in odd settings. Have they been successful in helping modern audiences connect with Wagner, or do you prefer more traditional productions? Can you name a production that took some chances that you thought was particularly successful?

I’ve sort of gone through an evolution with these more adventurous styles of opera production. I think earlier I had a more conservative attitude about these productions. But yeah, as I’ve seen more I’ve really come to appreciate the limitation of that more conservative style. I’ve seen some really extraordinary and successful attempts along these lines. I think fundamentally it’s healthy, it’s inevitable; The world that we live in is going to employ directors to direct the operas, we need to give them liberty as artists to express their ideas.

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New Issue Of The Wagner Journal Now Available

Current issue

The March 2014 issue (vol.8, no.1), now available, contains the following feature articles:
• 'Transformation at Tribschen: How a French Literary Trio Became a Wagnerian Musical Trio' by Heath Lees, describing the visits of Judith Gautier and friends to the Wagners in 1869/70
• 'Tracking Träume: The Sources and Sounds of Wagner's Wesendonck Lied' by Peter Bloom on the interlocking of the Wesendonck Lieder and Tristan und Isolde
• 'Wagner Tenors and the Quest for the "Ideal" ' by David Breckbill
• 'Strange and Forbidden Fruits: A report on the conference at Leeds University' by Tash Siddiqui

Plus reviews of:
Parsifal at Covent Garden and the Lyric Opera, Chicago, the Ring in Melbourne and a gruelling Wagnerian extravaganza in Lille
the Ring recorded under Franz Konwitschny at Covent Garden in 1959 and at the Metropolitan, New York, under Erich Leinsdorf in 1961–2
The Rienzi directed by Jorge Lavelli in Toulouse
Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer and Dietsch's Le Vaisseau fantôme conducted by Marc Minkowski; Gergiev's Das Rheingold with René Pape as Wotan; CDs of Wagnerian piano arrangements
new books on Wagner by Martin Geck, Paul Dawson-Bowling and Raymond Furness, and a compilation of Walter Widdop material edited by Michael Letchford

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ROH 2014/15 Season. Verdi V Wagner, The Results: Verdi 50, Wagner 11

Should you have missed it, the ROH ("...under the direction of Antonio Pappano,  one of the world’s leading opera companies" - according to its own description) has announced its 2014-2015 season. Alas very little of surprise from the UK's largest single recipient of Arts Council Funding: A few interesting productions of "lesser known work" tucked away at the tiny Linbury Studio Theatre and then lots and lots - and indeed lots more - of Verdi, Puccini and Rossini. As expected, we are again treated to much Traviata (rather like the ROH's version of "Billy Elliot perhaps?). Indeed, the poor, consumptive lass is being resurrected - Lazarus like - a total of 16 times.

But we do get a little Wagner at lest, with Tim Albery's rather wet and soggy Der fliegende Holländer getting a quick drying out while Christof Loy's land locked "80's chic" Tristan und Isolde is being rolled out like Sade's Smooth Operator for former 80's "yuppies" - the Krug Clos du Mesnil 2000 will be a popping those nights.

Last year Stephen Fry held a Verdi V Wagner debate at the ROH. The results of that was that Wagner "won". However, looking at the number of nights given to each composer's work (Verdi 50 nights v Wagner's 11)  we see a very different result. Oh well, perhaps the next season might see Meistersinger at the Linbury? 

Full details of all of Wagner's 11 nights in London's Royal Traviata House - sorry I mean Royal Opera House,  during the next two years, can be found below.
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Listen Now: Nina Stemme - Wesendonck Lieder

First broadcast on BBC Radio 3, you have exactly 15 days from today to listen to this on demand. Click the link below.

Wagner: Wesendonck-Lieder

Swedish soprano Nina Stemme and pianist Matti Hirvonen perform Wagner's Wesendonck-Lieder live at the Wigmore Hall, London.

Inspired by the wife of one of Wagner's sponsors, Wesendonck-Lieder is said to employ musical material which was later to be fully realised in his opera Tristan und Isolde.

Presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch.

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Wagner Festival - Norfolk

Epic Operas Come To Norfolk as Dynamic Company Makes Theatre Royal Debut


The scale, dynamic vision and sheer grandeur of two of Wagner’s epic works are set to provide a summer treat in rural Norfolk as one of Europe’s most highly-regarded opera companies leave their German base for some major UK dates.

Theater Freiburg will swap the German city where they have been presenting opera for over 100 years for a temporary summer home at Norwich Theatre Royal to present both Parsifal and Tannhäuser.

Peter Wilson, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that Theater Freiburg have agreed to come here for what will be an undoubted cultural success.”

The short season will open with Wagner’s final opera Parsifal on Wednesday July 23 with a second performance on Friday July 25.

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LFO Ring Cycle Nominated For RPS Music Award

Longborough Festival Opera announces that its 2013 Ring Cycle has been shortlisted in the Opera and Music Theatre category of the RPS (Royal Philharmonic Society) Music Awards.

The RPS Music Awards presented in association with BBC Radio 3, are the highest recognition for live classical music and musical excellence in the UK.  Awards, in thirteen categories, are decided by independent panels consisting of some of the music industry’s most distinguished practitioners.  The awards honour musicians, composers, writers, broadcasters and inspirational arts organisations.  The list of previous winners reads like a Who’s Who of classical music.  This year’s RPS Music Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in 2013. 
Awards in 13 categories are chosen by eminent independent juries from the music profession and are unique in the breadth of musical achievement they span, from performers, composers and inspirational arts organisation to learning, participation and engagement.  The list of winners since 1989 reads as a roll call of the finest living musicians.  This year’s awards are for achievement in the UK during 2013.  Winners will be announced at the RPS Music Awards ceremony on Tuesday 13 May, with a special RPS Music Awards programme broadcast on the BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 18 May at 10 pm. 

The Opera and Music Theatre award is sponsored by the Incorporated Society of Musicians.

Longborough’s 2013 Ring Cycle
Conductor:  Anthony Negus
Director: Alan Privett
Designer: Kjell Torriset
Lighting Designer: Ben Ormerod

If each of the British country house opera companies has its speciality, Longborough’s has to be its commitment to Wagner.  LFO is the first privately owned opera house to have staged a full-length production  of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.  A new production of Tristan und Isolde in 2015 will be followed by Tannhaüser, Lohengrin and Parsifal  in future years. 
Since 1998, alongside core repertoire, Longborough Festival Opera has steadily built its commitment to the works of Richard Wagner, starting with the CBTO Vick/Dove arrangement of Der Ring des Nibelungen.

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Video: Arturo Toscanini conducts Wagner live on March 3th 1948

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 27 March 2014 | 4:08:00 pm

Arturo Toscanini conducts Richard Wagner live on March 3th 1948
Lohengrin, Prelude 0:00
Tannhäuser, Overture & Bacchanale 3:10
Siegfried, forest murmurs 26:32
Götterdämmerung, Dawn & Siegfried Rhine Journey 35:14
Die Walküre, the Ride of the Walkyries 46:26
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Interview: Nike Wagner. Why Beethoven Is Better

And she doesn't like been named after a pair of trainers. 

Nike Wagner, the great granddaughter of Richard Wagner, became the new director of the Beethoven Festival in Bonn this year. Before that, the 68-year-old spent 10 years heading up the Weimar Art Festival. On Talking Germany, she tells us about her plans for the Beethoven Festival, and why Beethoven is a better ambassador for Germany than her famous relative Richard Wagner.

Nike Wagner was born in 1945 in Überlingen on Lake Constance. She was the third of four children born to opera director Wieland Wagner. One year after the end of the Second World War, the family moved to Bayreuth, where her father took over directing the famous Bayreuth Festival originally set up by Richard Wagner. The family lived in Richard Wagner's villa, "Wahnfried". Nike Wagner went on to study literature, music and theatre in Berlin, Paris, Chicago and Vienna. She did her doctorate in the United States, studying Austrian cultural critic Karl Kraus and Vienna Modernism around 1900. While working as an author and teaching in various countries, she applied repeatedly to take over as director of the Bayreuth Festival, but without success. Instead, she became director of the Weimar Art Festival in 2004, a position in which she continued for ten years before moving on this year to the Beethoven Festival in Bonn. Nike Wagner has a daughter from her first marriage to French director Jean Launay. She is now married to musicologist Jürg Stenzl and lives in Vienna.

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The Best Ring Cycle Of All Time: The Winners

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 16 March 2014 | 3:20:00 pm

What would a Wagner related awards ceremony be without a significant prelude? This year will see the first of what will be an annual "Wagnerian Readers Awards" (affectionately - and henceforth known - as the Erdas - the reasons for which shall become apparent later in the month) but first, we asked readers to chose the "greatest" recorded Ring cycle in four different categories:

On CD - Overall Winner?
Which Is The Greatest Furtwangler Ring?
On CD Which Is The Greatest Studio Ring?
Which Is The Greatest Bayreuth Ring On CD - the one Ring to rile them all?

The response was overwhelming and we offer our sincere thanks to everyone that took part  and made some very difficult choices. After all, many readers here are people with vast experience of Wagner and his work and there are few people who take Wagner "seriously" who tend to have only one Ring cycle - or at least have listened to only one. The truth is that many people are like us; they have different Rings for different moods. And is any recording truly "perfect? Indeed this - and peoples differing tastes - seemed to be reflected in voting where people, in perhaps everything but the overall category winner, where clearly divided.

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Nike Wagner On Why Beethoven is a Better Ambassador For Germany than Wagner

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 10 March 2014 | 6:00:00 pm

Bid to Run Bayreuth? I don't remember that. 

On Sunday on On Talking Germany, Nike Wagner, the new director of the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, tells DW about her plans for the Beethoven Festival, and why Beethoven is a better ambassador for Germany than her famous relative Richard Wagner.

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Giacinto Palmieri: Ride of the Wagnerian

Ride of the Wagnerian
A romp through Richard Wagner's"Ring" cycle... and a comedian's obsession with it
At the Brighton Fringe 2014
The Hobgoblin, 31 York Pl, Brighton, BN1 4GU
3-4,10-11,17-18 May, 5.30pm, FREE

What is it like to be obsessed with a15 hours long cycle of late Romantic operas sung in German?

Giacinto Palmieri loves Richard Wagner's"Ring of the Nibelung" so much that he told its plot to all his ex girlfriends(note the"ex"). Now he wants to do the same with his audience.

Hear all about dwarfs, giants, Walkyries, magic helms, love potions... and their connection with office parties, IKEA, Facebook and modern dating rituals.

A show for those who love Wagner, those who hate Wagner and those for whom he's just an X-Factor contestant.

People have said of Giacinto’s previous shows:

“Giacinto has charm as Tuscany has wine. [..] Mama would be proud of him here. It is just a half-hour show, but it is lovely and it is free. A charming, entertaining Fringe experience” (Kate Copstick, The Scotsman)

“Witty, urbane but with an agreeable touch of gormlessness– hilarious.” (Arthur Smith after MC-ing the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year 2010  edition, in which Palmieri was a finalist)

“Giacinto has an ear and an eye for what is funny” (Chortle)

More Details:

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Der Ring des Nibelungen: The Lego Movie

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 9 March 2014 | 1:14:00 am

While waiting for the results of the "Greatest Ring Cycle" of all time. We thought you might find this of passing interest. Stay tuned.

An abridged Lego version of the operas "Siegfried" and "Gotterdammerung
1:14:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Help Needed: Design An Award

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 4 March 2014 | 5:31:00 am

Any graphic designers reading? With our up and coming Wagnerian Readers Choice Award: One Ring To Rule Them All awards ceremony quickly approaching - and the start of our Awards of 2014 just around the corner - we need your help. Despite many late and sleepless nights, our "virtual" statue designs for award winners are rather pathetic to put it mildly. We are thus asking any designers that might be reading to submit your "Wagner" related designs (don't worry they only have to be in graphic form not physical awards).

And your remuneration? Alas nothing more than our undying thanks and your name and website being mentioned.

If you should be interested, please send your designs (no "sticky back plastic" used please) to our deputy editor: Or alternatively via twitter or Facebook.

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The Best Ring Cycle Of All Time?

The UKs 1st "provincial " Ring Cycle. Leeds 1911

Edit: Due to a number of requests, voting will stay open until Saturday 8 March at 12 Midnight (GMT)

Only two more days left before polling closes. Some very surprising results so far;  more so in regard to what people would not include rather then what they would. Vote in 4 categories. Results to be announced in a star studied award ceremony - well we are publishing it at night so there will be some "stars" present.

To vote either click HERE or use the form below. It should only take a minute or so. All voting is anonymous and no user identification  data is collected by us.
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Complete:The Tale Of Lohengrin. Rolleston & Pogány

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 | 7:37:00 pm

This is extraordinary book but you really need to use the "fullscreen" button to truly enjoy it. 

Pogány, Willy (illustrator). E W Rolleston, Richard. The Tale of Lohengrin, Knight of the Swan after the Drama of Richard Wagner by T.W. Rolleston. Presented by Willy Pogany. London: G.G. Harrap, n .d. [1913].

William Andrew ("Willy") Pogany (born Vilmos Andreas Pogány) (August 1882 died 30 July 1955) was a prolific Hungarian illustrator of children's and other books. Pogany's best known works consist of illustrations of classic myths and legends done in the Art Nouveau style. He also worked as an art director on several Hollywood films, including Fashions of 1934 and Dames.

The publication of Pogány's Lohengrin was the final act in his trilogy of masterworks focused on Wagner's Germanic tales, and one of the quintet that is considered his finest work

If you would like to download the full book, freely,  as a PDF please CLICK THIS LINK
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Parsifal: Illustrated By Willy Pogany

Willy Pogány's illustrations for  E W Rolleston retelling of Parsifal.Co-produced by G G Harrap and Co. (London) and Thomas Y Crowell & Co. (New York) in 1912.

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A Wagner Poem By Charles Bukowski. Illustrated by Pat Moriarity

This was brought to our attention by a very kind reader. My German Buddy is a poem by Charles Bukowski illustrated by Pat Moriarity and is centered around listening to Wagner. As Moriarity explains:

 "During the last two years of his life, Charles Bukowski allowed me to create comics out of a few of his poems. I drew four or five of them, mostly for Big Mouth but also for Zero Zero. The deal was this — to send him the finished comic book plus a check for 25 bucks, for each story he wrote. So now I have several cashed checks with Bukowski’s signature on the back! I originally got in touch with Bukowski through Dennis Eichhorn. Buk was reading Eichhorn’s comic book Real Stuff, (with some of my comics work therein) around the time I started drawing Big Mouth. This is the first Bukowski adaptation I did, called "My German Buddy," about the composer Wagner. Charles liked the results, and even wrote a letter with one of his own cartoons, which appeared in the letters pages of Big Mouth."

To Read Fully Please Click Here - Recommended
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Wagnerians Readers Choice Awards: One Ring To Rule Them All

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 23 February 2014 | 1:15:00 am

“One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Edit: For those accessing only the Newsletter: Please click this Link to vote. Not: No personal data is collected and there is no need to register.

In the next few weeks we will be running our Wagnerian Readers Choice Awards of 2014 (and thank you to the many, many people who took part in the nomination stages early this year. Sorry for the delay in the "finals" but it is taking longer than we thought it might). However, in the mean time we would like you to help us answer a rather vexing question: What is the greatest Ring cycle on Cd - of all time? Normally when this question is asked one or two experts are brought in and they ultimately just list their favourite. Alas, it is much rarer for a greater number of people to be asked - or indeed anonymously. Time to change that a little

To make things a little "easier" we have broken things down into categories. This are:

Which Is The "Greatest" Ring Cycle On CD - Overall Winner?
Which Is The Greatest Furtwangler Ring? On CD
Which Is The Greatest Studio Ring?
Which Is The Greatest Bayreuth Ring On CD?

There will be recordings missing. For this we apologise but only included those we thought the most people would have listened to. So, and we apologise to all concerned, no Young, Bodanzky, etc, etc. This is partly for logistical purposes but we shall look at it again in the next year or two.

It should take you less then a minute to complete and a special surprise will greet everyone who completes it. Winners to be announced within two weeks
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Eva Wagner-Pasquier To Leave Bayreuth

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 21 February 2014 | 11:29:00 pm

Parting is such sweet...

Reports are coming out of Germany that Eva Wagner-Pasquier has decided that she does not want to continue as co-director of the Festival from 2015. She does however, want to stay on as some form of "adviser" concentrating mainly on the Wagner Societies.

This would mean that if successful in her contract negotiations, her sister Katharina Wagner, would stay on as sole director of the festival.This would perhaps allow her greater freedom to commission more highly successful, critically acclaimed, audience favorites  such as the Castorf Ring, Baumgarten Tannhauser and we are sure to be as equally successful Jonathan Meese, Parsifal coming in 2016.

Eva Wagner-Pasquier has not as yet given any reasons for standing down

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Is This The Nibelung Hoard?

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 20 February 2014 | 2:36:00 am

If it is, lets hope they haven't found the Ring...

Update: Alas, it would seem not. See this update from Adrian Murdoch. You might also want to check out his book "The Last Pagan" 

A hobby archaeologist with a metal detector has discovered a trove of gold and silver in a German forest dating back to late Roman times, fuelling speculation that it could be the legendary Nibelung treasure?

The haul from the western state of Rhineland Palatinate, which is worth about €1m, includes silver bowls, brooches and other jewellery from ceremonial robes, as well as small statues that would have adorned a grand chair, archaeologists say.

“In terms of timing and geography, the find fits in with the epoch of the Nibelung legend,” Axel von Berg, the state’s chief archaeologist was quoted by German media as saying.

“But we cannot say whether it actually belongs to the Nibelung treasure,” he said, adding that whoever owned it had “lived well” and could have been a prince.

The haul, which was found near Ruelzheim in the southern part of the state, is now at the state cultural department in Mainz, but officials suspect they may not have all of it.

Prosecutors have begun an inquiry into the hobbyist who discovered the treasure because they suspect he may have sold some of it, possibly to a buyer abroad, the department said.

“The spot where the find was made was completely destroyed by the improper course of action,” it said in a statement.

Whether the treasure is the famous “Rhinegold” or not, it seems to have been buried in haste by its owner or by robbers in around 406-407 AD, when the Roman Empire was crumbling in the area along the Rhine, Mr von Berg said in a statement.

According to Nibelung legend, the warrior Hagen killed the dragon-slayer Siegfried and sank his treasure in the Rhine river. The Rhine has shifted its course many times over the centuries, so the treasure need no longer necessarily be hidden under water.

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Will The Return Of Levine & Meistersinger Revive MET's Declining Audience?

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 16 February 2014 | 1:41:00 pm

The MET has announced its 2014-15 season with sadly on one Wagner production, another revival of Otto Schenk's “Meistersinger von Nürnberg (a surprising move given that there had been rumors it would never see the light of day again after its last outing). The production will also make-up part of the MET in HD series being broadcast in cinemas world wide on December 13, 2014

The cast will consist of Johan Reuter as Hans Sachs, with Johan Botha as Walther, Annette Dasch as Eva, Karen Cargill as Magdalene, Paul Appleby as David, Johannes Martin Kränzle in his Met debut as Beckmesser, and Hans-Peter König as Pogner.

This season - and this production -  will also see the return of James Levine. Whether that and Wagner, will see an upturn in MET audience figures next season (21% of seats were left unfilled this season) will prove interesting to observe
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LFO Receive Opera Award Nomination. Wagner Well Represented

The finalists for the 2014 The International Opera Awards have been announced with Wagner appearing extensively. At the same time Longborough Festival Opera - who last year staged their first entire Ring cycle were nominated as a finalist in Festival category. A full list of nominations can be found below.

Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe
Opera Australia—Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour
Ruhr Triennale
Scottish Opera
Teatro Sociale di Como

Anniversary Production


Peter Grimes on the beach (Aldeburgh Festival)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro)
Gloriana (Hamburg Staatsoper/Royal Opera)

La forza del destino (Bayerische Staatsoper)
La traviata (La Scala)
Les Vêpres siciliennes (Royal Opera)
Verdi trilogy (Hamburg Staatsoper)

The Melbourne Ring (Opera Australia)
Parsifal (Metropolitan Opera)
Parsifal (Vlaamse Opera)
Das Rheingold (Grand Théâtre de Genève)

CD (Complete Opera)
Belisario (Donizetti), c. Mark Elder (Opera Rara)
Der fliegende Holländer/Le Vaisseau fantôme (Wagner/Dietsch), c. Marc Minkowski (Naïve)
Königskinder (Humperdinck), c. Sebastian Weigle (Oehms Classics)
Otello (Verdi), c. Riccardo Muti (CSO Resound)
The Rape of Lucretia (Britten), c. Oliver Knussen (Erato/Warner Classics)
Serse (Handel), c. Christian Curnyn (Chandos)
Written on Skin (Benjamin), c. George Benjamin (Nimbus)

CD (Operatic Recital)
Andrzej Dobber: Arias (DUX)
Ann Hallenberg: Hidden Handel (Naïve)
Bejun Mehta: Che puro ciel (Harmonia Mundi)
Xavier Sabata: Bad Guys (Aparte)

Bayreuth Festival
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Metropolitan Opera
MusicAeterna—Perm State Opera
Welsh National Opera
Wexford Festival

Teodor Currentzis
Mark Elder
Andris Nelsons
Gianandrea Noseda
Kirill Petrenko
Simone Young

Paul Brown
Aleksandar Denić
Robert Jones
Brigitte Reiffenstuel
Leslie Travers

Calixto Bieito
Tatjana Gürbaca
Barrie Kosky
Martin Kušej
Dmitri Tcherniakov
Graham Vick

David et Jonathas (Charpentier), c. William Christie, p. Andreas Homoki (Bel Air Classiques)
The Gambler (Prokofiev), c. Valery Gergiev, p. Temur Chkheidze (Mariinsky)
Médée (Cherubini), c. Christophe Rousset, p. Krzysztof Warlikowski (Bel Air Classiques)
Moby-Dick (Heggie), c. Patrick Summers, p. Leonard Foglia (Euroarts)
Pelléas et Mélisande (Debussy), c. Stefan Soltesz, p. Nikolaus Lehnhoff (Arthaus)
The Rape of Lucretia (Britten), c. Paul Daniel, p. David McVicar (Opus Arte)
The Tempest (Adès), c. Thomas Adès, p. Robert Lepage (DG)

Female Singer
Diana Damrau
Christine Goerke
Anja Harteros
Christiane Karg
Petra Lang
Adrianne Pieczonka
Krassimira Stoyanova


Male Singer
Stéphane Degout
Bryan Hymel
Peter Mattei
Luca Pisaroni
Stuart Skelton
Michael Volle
Ludovic Tézier

New Production
Die Frau ohne Schatten, Bayerische Staatsoper
Guillaume Tell, Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro
Lulu, Welsh National Opera
Norma, Salzburg Festival
Die Soldaten, Oper Zurich
Les Vêpres siciliennes, Royal Opera
Wozzeck, ENO

Opera Company
Bayerische Staatsoper
Komische Oper, Berlin
Metropolitan Opera
Royal Opera, Covent Garden
Vlaamse Opera
Oper Zurich

Edgar Foster Daniels
Alan and Jette Parker
Club des Mécènes
The Neubauer Family Foundation

Readers’ Award
Piotr Beczała
Joseph Calleja
Joyce DiDonato
Renée Fleming
Juan Diego Flórez
Anna Netrebko
Bryn Terfel

Rediscovered Work
Cristina, regina di Svezia (Foroni), Wexford
Elena (Cavalli), Aix-en-Provence
L’Olympiade (Myslivešek), Dijon-Caen-Luxembourg-Prague
Oresteia (Taneyev), Bard SummerScape

World Premiere
Champion (Terence Blanchard), Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
The Merchant of Venice (André Tchaikowsky), Bregenz Festival
Oscar (Theodore Morrison), Santa Fe Opera
Qudsja Zaher (Paweł Szymański), Polish National Opera
Spuren der Verirrten (Philip Glass), Landestheater Linz

Young Singer
Emöke Baráth
Jamie Barton
Helena Dix
Joyce El-Khoury
Joélle Harvey
Duncan Rock
Corinne Winters
Pretty Yende
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Richard Wagner & The Case Of The Missing Boarding House

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 13 February 2014 | 11:46:00 pm

Wagner as he looked at the time of his London stay
Our editor pops on a Deerstalker (a rather daft looking hat by the way) and becomes lost in Soho. 

Arriving in London on August 12,  1839, on the run, again, from debtors - this time from those in Riga - Wagner,  Minna and Newfoundland dog Robber needed a place to stay. Wagner tells us that after disembarking the Thetis (the small 7 man schooner on which they had made their troubled voyage) they ".. soon sought safety in a cab, which took us, on our captain's recommendation, to the Horseshoe Tavern [Ed: Hoop and Horseshoe, 10 Queen Street, Tower Hill], near the Tower, and here we had to make our plans for the conquest of this giant metropolis."

However, it quickly became apparent that "...the neighbourhood in which we found ourselves was such that we decided to leave it with all possible haste. A very friendly little hunchbacked Jew from Hamburg suggested better quarters in the West End, and I remember vividly our drive there, in one of the tiny narrow cabs then in use, the journey lasting fully an hour. They were built to carry two people, who had to sit facing each other, and we therefore had to lay our big dog crosswise from window to window. The sights we saw from our whimsical nook surpassed anything we had imagined, and we arrived at our boarding-house in Old Compton Street".

But what was the address of this boarding house. Luckily, Wagner goes on, "...Although at the age of twelve I had made what I supposed to be a translation of a monologue from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, I found my knowledge of English quite inadequate when it came to conversing with the landlady of the King's Arms. But the good dame's social condition as a sea-captain's widow led her to think she could talk French to me, and her attempts made me wonder which of us knew least of that language". With this, numerous biographers - and Wagner - confirmed that this is where they stayed for Wagner's first stay in London 1;. And it is here that the case of the missing Kings Arms begins.

Returning to London for the third and last time in 1877, Wagner spent much time with members of what would be the first London Wagner Society: Edward Dannreuther and Julius Cyriax. As one might expect, they were as curious about his first stay in London as they were about much else. So much so that Edward Dannreuther took Wagner to Old Compton Street to point out the famous "Kings Arms" But somehow, neither Wagner or Edward Dannreuther where able to locate it. In volume one of Glasenapp's 6 volume Life Of Richard Wagner Glasenapp explains this by referring to Julius Cyriax of whom he claims checked and believed that Wagner could not find it because it had been pulled down. And this is a story continued by a number of more detailed Wagner biographers,. Although in volume one one of his Wagner biography,  Ernst Newman is less positive saying the site of the King Arms "...cannot now be determined".

However, travel writer Ed Glinert in: "London Walks - London Stories" confounds every Wagner specialist since the 19th century According to Glinert the Kings Arms was located at 23-25 Old Compton Street, now the site of Soho Bar. However, as the only individual to make this connection I was lead to research further (This is especially so as he states with much certainty that Wagner began writing the Dutchman at this address!) and this is when things become complicated.

No 7, Old Compton Street
Researching  the postal records,  business directories,  Freemasonry records (The Kings Arms, Old Compton St was the meeting place of at least three separate, if consecutive, Lodges over two centuries), court records (there had been a prominent burglary there in 1846)  it quickly became apparent that there had only ever been one Kings Arms on Old Compton Street during the 19th century. Indeed so easy is it to find I was left wondering why so many, highly respected, early, Wagner biographers claimed that either it had been demolished or that, following Wagner, they could not find it. But this is not the end of the story, for historical records do not place the Kings Arms at 23-25 Old Compton Street, as Glinert maintains,  but at no 7! The mystery deepens. Not only does the Kings Arms become invisible when Wagner and his biographers go looking for it but, if we accept Glinert's assertion, it appears that on occasion it gets up and moves around.

However, looking a little deeper it appears that this is exactly what happened - in a sense. By accident I found records that stated that "The Kings Arms - although by then it had another name (more of this shortly) did indeed seem to relocate sometime after 1898; from No 5-7 (more of this latter) to no 23-25 Old Compton Street.

The mystery, at least this part, seems resolved. Wagner stayed at the "original"  Kings Arms and Glinert was unaware that it had moved. And indeed, the original no 7 Old Compton Street does still exist (although 1-3 were demolished and then rebuilt in 1907). But the more I looked at this building the more I thought it simply did not look like a "tavern" - less so where a Freemasonry Lodge would meet2. And then we have the fact that according to records sometime in the 1850s it expanded and became 5-7 Old Compton Street and yet looking at both buildings they look both much different and unlikely to have ever been modified into one building.. It was then that two accidental findings led to a possible answer. The Coach & Horses  Old Compton Street has a long history for various reasons yet strangely around 1900 it too relocated!

A possible answer then presented itself: the Coach and Horses was formerly listed at  the no longer existing 17 Little Compton Street. This is a possible reason for it moving of course - if the street was demolished there was little other alternative.  However, while it is true that part of Little Compton Street was demolished (it used to link Old with New Compton Street) much of it still exists but was simply "added" (and thus renamed)  to Old Compton Street (Little Compton Street used to start at the junction of Greek street yet this section is now renamed Old Compton St - as can be clearly seen by comparing old and new maps of the area). The answer thus becomes clear: neither the Coach and Horses or more importantly the Kings Arms were relocated, they were simply renumbered - as all of of Old Compton St must have been  after it was "expanded". This might, at least in part, explain where the misconception about the boarding house being demolished originated.

The "real" Kings Arms?
But this still does not explain why Wagner was unable to find the Kings Arms in 1877 - before any renumbering or merging of the street had accorded. Again , however, the answer maybe very simple. At this stage Wagner had not been back to Old Compton Street in  28 years and even then he had only been there for 12 days - and his autobiography admits he spent very little time there and much more "sight-seeing" (using various justifications to do so). Perhaps he had simply forgotten exactly what the building looked like? This would not have been helped by the fact that the Kings Arms had been renamed around 29 years earlier to "The Hibernian Stores 3  - with no-doubt accompanying "face-lift" (it should also be noted that around this time the post office seemed to change the address of this rather large building giving it an extra house number (from no 7 to no 5-7 Or did it "expand" gaining a side property? There is certainly no record of the site being rebuilt. And site plans prior to that time to seem to show one large building, much like it is today - if clearly altered.). That Wagner was unable to find it may have simply been the result of poor memory of a building now altered and renamed.

So, the "missing" Kings Arms seems to have been found - even if it is in a form that Wagner would not recognise today. Or at least this is the case unless any reader can suggest otherwise. Indeed the help of anyone who can check, as whether the building was or was not,  demolished and rebuilt sometime in 1860 would be appreciated.

 Now if only we could find Robber too....



1 The only exception is Wilhelm Praeger in his book "Wagner as I Knew Him". In this he states that Wagner did not stay at the Kings Arms but at  a boarding house across the street. As he says, "He recommended Wagner to a small, uninviting hotel in Old Compton Street, Soho, much resorted to by needy travellers from the continent. The hotel, considerably improved, still exists. It is situated a dozen doors or so from Wardour Street, and is opposite to a public house known then, as now, as the “King’s Arms.” While Praeger's account is not totally unreasonable - it it might be possible to read Wagner's description as such,  it seems unlikely for two reasons: By the time Praeger wrote those words the Kings Arms had changed name yet again becoming the Helvetia and secondly his description places the building on the wrong end of Old Compton Street.

Balans. Opposite the "Kings Arms". The Buliding 
identified only by Praeger as Wagner's first London Residence

2 It should also be noted while not impossible, the building seems hardly large enough to accommodate boarders, and the occasional business that seems to have operated from it during this time. Of particular interest here is that during Wagner's time the "The German Society Of Benevolence And Concord". was based above the Kings Arms. This was a charity that specialized in providing financial help to poor Germans abroad - even providing then with money to return to German. One can't but help think that someone like Wagner would have made use of its services - perhaps explaining why his intended "short stop-over" lasted much longer then was intended? He certainly noted that he and Minna had little money - not even enough to visit the opera.

3 Under this name, it has yet another claim to fame, for in 1872 Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud attended Communist/Anarchist lectures here after they had fled Paris. Of further interest, in the next century it became the Helvetia, famous for - among other things - being the pub where the missing manuscript of Dylan Thomas Under Milk Wood was found by BBC producer Douglas Cleverdon
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In Chicago? Course: The Ring Cycle - Wagner's Mythic Sources

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 10 February 2014 | 1:09:00 pm

Illustration Franz Stassen

Taught by Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried of The Norse Mythology Blog

This course is open to the public. No previous study is necessary.

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Free Kindle Book: "Wagner as I knew him" - Praeger

A Wagner biography written by some one who knew him and the book H.S. Chamberlain tried to ban. There is a wonderful overview of this over at Monsalvat which I repeat below, in part  and is much better than anything I could attempt. If you have not visited Monsalvat than I seriously recommend you should..

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Wagner Madness Repeats Itself In London: 1839 & 2014

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 9 February 2014 | 6:35:00 pm

London Docks: 1839
"We were on board a merchant vessel of the smallest type. She was called the Thetis; a bust of the nymph was erected in the bows, and she carried a crew of seven men, including the captain. With good weather, such as was to be expected in summer, the journey to London was estimated to take eight days.

Our desire for a complete release from our detested confinement led us, after we had sailed a little way up, to hasten our arrival in London by going on board a passing steamer at Gravesend. As we neared the capital, our astonishment steadily increased at the number of ships of all sorts that filled the river, the houses, the streets, the famous docks, and other maritime constructions which lined the banks. When at last we reached London Bridge, this incredibly crowded centre of the greatest city in the world, and set foot on land after our terrible three weeks' voyage, a pleasurable sensation of giddiness overcame us as our legs carried us staggering through the deafening uproar. Robber seemed to be similarly affected, for he whisked round the corners like a mad thing, and threatened to get lost every other minute. But we soon sought safety in a cab, which took us, on our captain's recommendation, to the Horseshoe Tavern [Ed: Hoop and Horseshoe, Queen Street, Tower Hill], near the Tower, and here we had to make our plans for the conquest of this giant metropolis.
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Beardsley’s The Wagnerites & Shaw’s The Perfect Wagnerite

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday, 8 February 2014 | 4:19:00 am

"Shaw does mention the fact that the leitmotif which accompanies Brünnhilde’s renunciation of the ring and her glorification of Siegfried’s love during the apocalyptic ending of the opera is the same as that which we hear when Siegfried’s birth is predicted in Die Walküre, he sees no particular sense in this. It was no coincidence, however, that Wagner, a composer renowned for his masterful use of the leitmotif technique, linked Shaw’s anarchic liberator and the revelatory power of love (which leads to the renunciation of worldly power and capitalism, symbolised by the ring) in this way. The strength that was able to break Wotan’s spear and reject Alberich’s riches is incomplete without the wisdom of love." 

Face(t)s of British Wagnerism: Aubrey Beardsley’s drawing The Wagnerites (1894) and George Bernard Shaw’s essay The Perfect Wagnerite (1898), Siri Kohl

In the 1890s British Wagnerism was at its height. The works of Richard Wagner were admired and condemned equally for their daring musical innovations and unusual subject matter; namely, the artist’s precarious position in society in Tannhäuser, eternal love against all conventions in Tristan und Isolde, the end of divine rule and man’s ascent in the Ring of the Nibelung tetralogy. The Decadent movement reacted strongly to Wagner’s portrayals of eroticism, morbidity and suffering, as apparent in Aubrey Beardsley’s oeuvre (1872-98). Other artists, such as George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), rejected these aspects in favour of socio-political readings of the operas. Through their works, this essay will explore some of the debates about Wagnerism and the implications of being a ‘Wagnerite’ in late 19th-century Britain.
G. B. Shaw
When Richard Wagner’s operas were performed in England from the 1870s onwards, many heard in them ‘the voice of the future, especially as it announced itself as such’. What came to be known as ‘Wagnerism’ did not only denote enthusiasm for Wagner’s musical innovations but also for his theoretical writings, which aimed at opera as a Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art) in which poetry and music no longer competed for attention but formed an organic whole. The realisation of these ideas in Wagner’s music dramas seemed artificial and tedious to many who believed that Wagner the artist stifled his creativity by trying to make 
his works conform to the preconceived ideology of Wagner the thinker. It was, however,precisely this artificiality that appealed to those who, like Oscar Wilde, believed that ‘to be natural … is such a very difficult pose to keep up’and that personality, like an artwork, was actively constructed by each individual. In this essay I explore the discussions Wagnerism triggered in fin-de-siècle Britain and how these were reflected in two works by major artists of the period: Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98) and George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950).

When Beardsley published his drawing The Wagnerites in 1894, he had already become a leading figure of the British Aesthetic (or ‘Decadent’) movement, whose members reacted to the perceived ‘philistine hypocrisy’of the Victorian era by works that valued the artificial instead of the naïve, emphasising poses and mannerisms and drawing attention to issues outside the mainstream, such as gender and (deviant) sexuality. Simultaneously, the term ‘decadent’ was used in morally charged discourses to denote degeneration,
homosexuality , and ‘effete’ aesthetic sensitivity. Many British Decadents were Wagnerites, such as Wilde, Beardsley and the poet John Gray, who was considered by contemporaries to have been the inspiration for Wilde’s character Dorian Gray (himself a Wagnerite). Their enthusiasm for Wagner’s music and writings contributed to Wagnerism being identified with and suspected of causing ‘degeneration’ by scientists such as Max Nordau, who in his magnum opus Entartung (Degeneration, 1892), accused Wagner of ‘megalomania and mysticism; … anarchism, a craving for revolt and contradiction’.
Aubrey Beardsley

It was in this socio-cultural climate that Aubrey Beardsley, in 1894, co-founded the quarterly periodical The Yellow Book, featuring contemporary literature (e.g. stories by Henry James) and art (e.g. Beardsley’s own works). The title left no doubt about the magazine’s intended audience and programme as ‘yellow was … the decor … of the allegedly wicked and decadent French novel’.The Wagnerites (fig. 1) was part of a group of four works by Beardsley (Portrait of Himself, Lady Gold’s Escort, The Wagnerites, and La Dame aux Camélias) which appeared in The Yellow Book’s third volume in October 1894.

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Video: Aubrey Beardsley's Siegfried

The V&A's 'Cult of Beauty' exhibition curator Stephen Calloway discusses one of Aubrey Beardsley’s great early masterpieces, Siegfried, and takes a look at Beardsley’s short but extraordinary life as one of the most important and distinctive artists of the late 19th-century Aesthetic movement.

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Audio:Wagner And Turn-of-the-century British Culture,

Aubrey Beardsley: The Wagnerians

Simon Russell Beale explores the impact of Wagner on turn-of-the-century British culture, from the works of Aubrey Beardsley and George Bernard Shaw to Elgar, Bantock and Rutland Boughton. He talks to Emma Sutton and David Huckvale.

First Broadcast: BBC Radio 3, 8:10PM Sun, 28 Jul 2013

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Watch Now: The Marriage of Figaro - Wichita Grand Opera

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 6 February 2014 | 9:06:00 pm

There are of course many opera productions available on youtube but this is one of the few made available by a company itself. For that reason alone it merits more than passing attention. Its also a most enjoyable performance and production. More about the company bu clicking: Wichita Grand Opera

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO"
Wichita Grand Opera
March 16, 2013

Executive Producer: Parvan Bakardiev
Production Concept: Margaret Ann Pent
Conductor: Dean Williamson
Director: Stanley M. Garner

FIGARO - Patrick Carfizzi
COUNT ALMAVIVA - Jason Detwiler
COUNTESS ALMAVIVA - Zvetelina Vassileva
SUSANNA - Ava Pine
CHERUBINO - Kaitlyn Costello
MARCELLINA - Erin Mundus
DR. BARTOLO - Charles Turley
DON BASILIO - Brian Frutiger
DON CURZIO - Brian Frutiger
ANTONIO - John Stephens
BARBARINA - Alyssa Nance

Set Designer - Stefan Pavlov
Lighting Design - Tyler Lessin
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Finally Available: The Life of Richard Wagner - Ernest Newman

Newman's masterful 4 volume Wagner biography The Life of Richard Wagner is, at last, finally available once more. Although, we originally mentioned this reprint nearly two years ago, various issues meant that its publication was delayed. However, it is now finally available to buy; either as an entire set or as a more affordable four separate volumes. Whichever way. we can only recommend that you buy or at least lend this set. Despite its age, Newman's scholarship and research - conducted over  2673 pages - make this the greatest and most detailed biography of Wagner ever printed - in any language (the footnotes alone are worth the entry price). There has been - and probably never will be - a Wagner biography that not only references Newman's work but is deeply indebted to it.

It may seem pointless for such a well known set of volumes but we shall carry a review of it shortly.

Although the publisher states it is available from February 24 Amazon UK state they have copies available now.

For those that have never had a chance to read this work,  a very generous sample of volume 2 is included below to give you some flavor of what you might expect.
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New CD: Schubert’s Winterreise: Jonas Kaufmann

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 5 February 2014 | 8:38:00 am

To be released 25 February 2014. Below is the official release information from Kaufmann's website. 

However much he loves opera, Kaufmann (says) he cannot live without lieder. For the German tenor, interpreting the classical lieder repertory is “the haute école of singing”. It demands far more detailed work than any other vocal discipline, more colour, more nuances, a greater range of dynamics and a more subtle approach to the music and words.

And if there is an acid test for any lieder singer, it is undoubtedly Schubert’s Winterreise, a cycle of twenty-four settings of poems by Wilhelm Müller that is generally regarded as the pinnacle of lieder singing, a sequence of songs as thrilling for listeners as it is for the performer. “

Against the background of all the horror stories that bombard us today, we are undoubtedly rather more hardened than Schubert’s contemporaries, and yet even today’s listeners can still find this cycle affecting,” Kaufmann describes his experience of the work. “Even as interpreters we always find ourselves sucked into the emotional undertow of these songs, although we know perfectly well what to expect. I think that Winterreise has the same sort of cathartic effect as a Greek drama: the emotional experience purges the soul. On me, the work has an almost meditative effect because Schubert expressed these emotional depths with clarity and simplicity that I ultimately find consoling and that allows me to regain my own inner balance.”

After working together closely for many years and giving a number of recitals of Schubert’s great song cycles, Jonas Kaufmann and Helmut Deutsch have now made their first recording of Winterreise. The recording was made in October last year in the August Everding Hall in Grünwald in Munich and documents the current state of a very special partnership that began many years ago at the Munich Academy of Music and Theatre. Over the years the initial teacher-pupil relationship has been transformed into a wonderful example of artistic communication that has found expression not only in the recording studio but also at countless song recitals, most notably at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on 30 October 2011, the first solo recital heard at the Met since Luciano Pavarotti’s recital in 1994. The performance was greeted with the sort of acclaim that is normally reserved for a major operatic concert.

Jonas Kaufmann and Helmut Deutsch will make their Carnegie Hall recital début on 20 February, before going on tour with Winterreise, starting on 28 March. Their journey will take them from the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona to Geneva, Berlin, Graz, London, Paris, Prague and Moscow, ending at La Scala, Milan, on 14 April 2014.
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Audio Book & Text: A Wagner Matinée. Willa Cather

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 4 February 2014 | 9:51:00 am

"The first number was the Tannhäuser overture. When the violins drew out the first strain of the Pilgrim's chorus, my Aunt Georgiana clutched my coat-sleeve. Then it was that I first realized that for her this singing of basses and stinging frenzy of lighter strings broke a silence of thirty years, the inconceivable silence of the plains. With the battle between the two motifs, with the bitter frenzy of the Venusberg theme and its ripping of strings, came to me an overwhelming sense of the waste and wear we are so powerless to combat."

The audio book can be found after the text - scroll to the bottom of the page. It is in a short story collection and is the last story listed.

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