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The Ring, Or Wagner as Scam Artist

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 17 June 2018 | 7:24:00 pm

The world of Wagner criticism is a strange place. At the periphery of the media, and the internet, it's an even stranger place. Indeed a dangerous place, in some respects, for the unprepared traveler. But that's partly what we are here for. We dive into the places many a saner Wagnerian would not dare or, indeed, would not even know to exist. As the present "leader of the free world" might say, "Your welcome"

The following is, ostensibly, a review of San Francisco Opera's Rheingold. But don't let that stop our intrepid reviewer, James Roy MacBean, having read a bit of basic Wagner criticism (one senses pre "The Laughing Wagner: his Wit, Puns, Pranks & Dare-Devil Stunts", Joachim Köhler is at the forefront of Mr. 
Macbean's reading) from critiquing the entire Ring in his own idiosyncratic manner.

The Ring, Or Wagner as Scam Artist

James Roy MacBean

Saturday June 16, 2018 - 09:52:00 AM

Ernest Newman famously wrote of Wagner that “The ‘problems’ of his operas are generally problems of his own personality and circumstances. His art, like his life, is all unconscious egoism.” Discussing both Verdi and Wagner, Peter Conrad wrote that “For Verdi there is no god, so music must fill up the absence; for Wagner there is no god, so he must personally assume the role.” Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, currently mounted by San Francisco Opera in all its 17-hour glory mixed with tedium, (or is it tedium mixed with occasional glory?), is Richard Wagner’s arrogant attempt to rewrite the history of the world and cast it in his own image. Opening night of the first Ring cycle was Tuesday, June 12, for Das Rheingold. Two more complete Ring cycles will continue through July 1.


The Ring begins with an act of greed, a grasping for wealth and power as a substitute for lack of sex. In Das Rheingold, the Nibelung Alberich, a mean-spirited, misshapen individual, fails to entice the frolicsome Rhinemaidens to have sex with him, but he learns from the Rhinemaidens that only by renouncing love might someone have a chance to win the submerged gold in the river. So Alberich renounces love and brazenly steals the gold. His stolen wealth gives him power over all the other Nibelungs, whom he makes his slaves. Whipping them to work ever harder for his own personal aggrandizement, Alberich becomes the ultimate robber baron, the arch capitalist who enslaves his workers. His appetite for wealth and power is insatiable. Though he has renounced love, he has not renounced lust. He plans first to subjugate all men, then to force himself on their women who have shunned him in the past, making them slaves to his sexual desires.


Thus Wagner begins what is a long, tortuous tale about his own gripes with modern society. Where greed rules and money is the measure of all things, what role is left for art, for the art of music? Where Wagner’s gripes are concerned, they are legion. But among his many gripes, the Jews hold a special place. In his anti-Semitic screed “Das Judenthum in der Musik/Judaism in Music,” Wagner writes, “According to the present constitution of this world, the Jew in truth is already more than emancipated: he rules, and will rule, so long as money remains the power before which we and all our doings and dealings lose their force.”


It has been noted that in the Ring cycle, two characters have a peculiarly distinctive style of musical speech: these are the brothers Alberich and Mime. They and they alone, in recitative after recitative, sing in hissing, squealingl (sic) voices. Wagner, as we know from his essay on “Judaism in Music,” found the Jews’ way of speaking extremely repugnant. “Who has not been seized,” he writes, “with a feeling of the greatest revulsion, of horror mixed with the absurd, at hearing that sense-and-sound confounding gurgle, yodel, and cackle….?” Many commentators on Wagner’s Ring have speculatively identified Alberich and Mime as Jews. Alberich, as we have seen, sets the plot of the Ring in motion with a criminal act of greed when he steals the gold from the Rhinemaidens when they won’t have sex with him. Now possessing this wealth and power, Alberich enslaves his fellow Nibelungs. Even Mime, his brother, is physically and mentally abused by Alberich. Forced to work at his forge for Alberich’s accumulation of ever more wealth, Mime whines incessantly in his hissing, squealing caricature of a voice. We’ll hear far too much of that whining voice in the five and-a-half hours of Siegfried, the third of Wagner’s tetralogy.


Where the current San Francisco Opera production of the Ring is concerned, director Francesca Zambello has updated her original 2011 staging, introducing more projections of water and nature imagery. Seeing the Ring as apocalyptic, Zambello notes that “we tried to incorporate more nature so that as the universe is destroyed, we see the annihilation of the natural world in sharper contrast.” So, yes, there is assuredly a dynamic of nature versus culture in the Ring. Wagner, as usual, sees things in terms of good versus evil. Nature is good; Culture, especially this money-grubbing culture, is evil. Zambello also seems to understand that the notion of a “twilight of the Gods” might not be about gods per se, but rather about the human gods of industry and commerce who rule our current world.  

Continue Reading at  Berkeley Daily Planet
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New Issue Of The Wagner Journal Available

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 30 April 2018 | 11:55:00 pm

 
‘Kindred Spirits of Meiningen and Bayreuth‘ by Edward A. Bortnichak and Paula M. Bortnichak

• ‘Turning the Telescope Round‘ [article about Ernest Newman] by David Cormack

• ‘Wagner and the Boryspil Pogrom: A Reply to Barry Emslie‘ by Derek Hughes

•‘ “Music Made Visible“: Sergei Eisenstein's Die Walküre and the Birth of Vertical Montage‘ by Hilan Warshaw

• ‘Deluded Neurotic or Visionary Woman of the Future?: Senta Revalued‘ by Kate Hopkins

plus reviews of:
Achim Freyer‘s Parsifal in Hamburg and Tobias Kratzer‘s Götterdämmerung in Karlsruhe

DVD of Christian Thielemann‘s homage to Herbert von Karajan's 1967 Salzburg Ring

CDs of the Naxos Siegfried under Jaap van Zweden, Mark Elder‘s Parsifal with the Hallé, and Wagner concert overtures under Jun Märkl

More at: The Wagner Journal
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RIP: Professor Stephen Hawking: Physicist & Wagnerian

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 15 March 2018 | 5:48:00 am


In one of his final interviews, Professor Hawking was asked how he would like to spend his last days, he replied:

Oh my last day, it would be being with my family and listening to Wagner,’ Hawking told him. ‘While sipping champagne in the summer sun.’

You can hear this part of the interview here. Ignore Morgan's comments about who Wagner is - one should expect no less in this days, sadly



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Watch Now: Die Walküre” (Act I). NYP. Jaap van Zweden. Jan 15

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 18 February 2018 | 1:56:00 am


Some of us here believe that van Zweden may become the best Wagner conductor of this generation. Although, it is very hard to beat Barenboim. The following was recorded in New York, 15 February 2018. This recording also includes John Luther Adams’s “Dark Waves"

Jaap van Zweden, conductor 
Heidi Melton, soprano 
Simon O’Neill, tenor
 John Relyea, bass


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A Very Special Offer For Readers Of The Wagnerian: Wagner Books

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 16 February 2018 | 1:54:00 pm

Apologies for the title; sadly could not think of a better way of putting it.

You might recall a few weeks ago we noted two Wagner related books that we felt might be of interest. These were: Ernest Newman A Critical Biography By Paul Watt and Granville Bantock Letters to William Wallace and Ernest Newman.  You might also recall, that we noted, while well worth your attention, they were rather expensive. Well, the publisher, Boydell & Brewer has kindly got in touch and offers readers of the Wagnerian a very generous 35 percent discount on either one or both books.  Should you have been discouraged by the Amazon, etc, prices before, hopefully this might help.Full details below.

Although the prices and discounts are quoted in sterling I have been assured that they will apply internationally. Any difficulties, please contact the publisher using the contact details below.

And to reassure long-term readers: this is neither some form of an advert and we, here, are not being paid or, will we make any form of profit.

Offer finishes on the 30 April 2018. Details and discount code to be used below.

Offer to the readers of The Wagnerian

Boydell & Brewer, the book publisher, is pleased to offer readers of The Wagnerian a 35% discount of two of their recent books. The first, Ernest Newman, A Critical Biography by Paul Watt, examines works of Wagner's most detailed biographer in their historical context. The 35% discount would make the price £29.25, instead of £45.00 RRP. You can view the full details by clicking here:



The second book, Granville Bantock Letters to William Wallace and Ernest Newman edited by Michael Allis, provides a fascinating window into British music and musical life in the early twentieth century and the 'dawn' of musical modernism. The 35% discount would make the price £48.75, instead of £75.00 RRP. You can read more about the book by clicking here:


To redeem the discount simply quote the code BB542 when prompted at the checkout at www.boydellandbrewer.com or via telephone when calling 01243 843291 or emailing customer@wiley.com. Offer ends 30 April 2018.

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Quote Of The Month: Charlie Chaplin Upon Hearing Tannhauser For The First Time

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 5 January 2018 | 8:37:00 pm


Taken from Christopher Lawrence's book, "Swooning: A Classical Music Guide to Life, Love, Lust and Other Follies"

"In Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography there is a story of an early dramatic encounter with classical music.

In 1913, while still an unknown stage comedian touring the United States with an English vaudeville troupe, the 24-year-old took a few days off from the grind of provincial shows to make a solo trip to New York. This oasis of comparative luxury included a good hotel, half a bottle of champagne and a first time visit to the opera, Wagner’s Tannhäuser (1845) at the Metropolitan. Chaplin knew neither German nor anything about the opera’s plot, yet when the Pilgrim’s Chorus began in Act Three, the future Little Tramp found himself weeping uncontrollably. ‘What people sitting next to me must have thought I don’t know,’ he wrote. ‘The music seemed to sum up all the travail of my life.’

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An Invitation To Parsifal. Bayreuth. August 15. 1892

Researching something else, we came across this full page ad for Parsifal in 1892. Thought we would share. A sort of Wagner Tardis. You will need to click on to be able to read it.



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Wagner, Williams, Star Wars and Alex Ross: The perfect combination?

One of our often featured Wagnerian commentators, Alex Ross, discusses the use of "wagnerian" leitmotifs, in John Williams's scores for the Star Wars films.  Highly interesting. It's published over at the New Yorker, but don't let that put you off.

By the way, and before continuing, when Mr Ross notes, "Wagner had spoken of “melodic moments” and “ground-motifs” in his work, but he criticized his acolyte for treating such motifs purely as dramatic devices, neglecting their internal musical logic." he is referring to Wagner's essay, "Uber Die Anwendung Der Musik Auf Das Drama (On The Application Of Music To Drama). In this Wagner wrote, "...one of my younger friends has devoted much attention, to the characteristics of what he calls, the Leitmotives. However, he has treated them from the point of view of dramatic importance and effect rather than as elements of the musical structure". Should you want, you can read this essay in full (in Ellis's idiosyncratic translation) by clicking here


The film-music scholar Frank Lehman, an assistant professor at Tufts University, works fast: within a day of the opening of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” he had updated his “Complete Catalogue of the Motivic Material in ‘Star Wars,’ Episodes I-VIII,” which can be found online. The catalogue now includes fifty-five distinct leitmotifs—thematic ideas that point toward characters, objects, ideas, and relationships—and forty-three so-called incidental motifs, which, Lehman says, “do not meet criteria for proper leitmotifs” but nonetheless possess dramatic significance. Such beloved tunes as “The Force,” “Han and Leia,” and the dastardly “Imperial March” are here, along with more esoteric items like “Planetary Descent Figure,” “Ominous Neighbor Figure,” and “Apocalyptic Repeated Minor Triads.”

All this refers, of course, to the eight scores that John Williams has composed for the “Star Wars” cycle, with a ninth in the works. In decades past, it was fashionable for self-styled serious music types to look down on Williams, but the “Star Wars” corpus has increasingly attracted scholarly scrutiny: Lehman’s catalogue will be published in “John Williams: Music for Films, Television, and the Concert Stage,” a volume forthcoming from the Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini. This attention has come about not only because of the mythic weight that George Lucas’s space operas have acquired in the contemporary imagination; the music is also superbly crafted and rewards close analysis. Williams’s latest score is one the most compelling in his forty-year “Star Wars” career: Rian Johnson’s film complicates and enriches the familiar template, and Williams responds with intricate, ambiguous variations on his canon of themes.

The word “leitmotif,” like much else emanating from the gaseous Planet Wagner, has caused considerable confusion over the years. The term was coined by Hans von Wolzogen, one of a coterie of intellectual sycophants who surrounded the composer in the years before his death, in 1883. Wagner had spoken of “melodic moments” and “ground-motifs” in his work, but he criticized his acolyte for treating such motifs purely as dramatic devices, neglecting their internal musical logic. As happened so often, Wagner’s idea took on a life of its own. Wolzogen lived long enough to hail Hitler in the pages of the Bayreuther Blätter, the dismal Wagner fanzine that he edited for decades.

Continue Reading At The New Yorker

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New Wagner Related Book: Granville Bantock Letters to William Wallace and Ernest Newman

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 1 January 2018 | 9:37:00 pm

Fascinating, if horrendously expensive, book edited by Michael Allis. Details from the publisher, below 

Granville Bantock's letters to the Scottish composer William Wallace and the music critic Ernest Newman provide a fascinating window into British music and musical life in the early twentieth century and the 'dawn' of musical modernism.

British music and musical life before the Great War have been relatively neglected in discussions of the idea of the 'modern' in the early twentieth century. This collection of almost three hundred letters, written by Granville Bantock (1868-1946) to the Scottish composer William Wallace (1860-1940) and the music critic Ernest Newman (1868-1959) places Bantock and his circle at the heart of this debate. The letters highlight Bantock's and Wallace's development of the modern British symphonic poem, their contribution (with Newman) to music criticism and journalism, and their attempts to promote a young generation of British composers - revealing an early frustration with the musical establishment.

Confirming the impact of visits to Britain by Richard Strauss and Sibelius, Bantock offers opinions on a range of composers active around the turn of the twentieth century, identifying Elgar and Delius as the future for English music. Along with references to conductors, entertainers and contemporary writers (Maeterlinck, Conrad), there are fascinating details of the musical culture of London, Liverpool and Birmingham - including programming strategies at the Tower, New Brighton, and abortive plans to relaunch the New Quarterly Musical Review. Fully annotated, the letters provide a fascinating window into British music and musical life in the early twentieth century and the 'dawn' of musical modernism

DETAILS
8 black and white, 17 line illustrations
310 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Hardback, 9781783272334, December 2017
eBook, 9781787441569, December 2017
BIC BJ, 1DBK, 2AB, 3JJ
BISAC MUS006000


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Wiener Staatsoper To Stream Full Ring Cycle April 2018. Full Details

As part of Wiener Staatsoper's live streaming program, they will be streaming Sven-Eric Bechtolf's production of  Der Ring des Nibelungen, in April 2018. "Tickets" for individual parts of the cycle can be bought for 14 Euros or $16.79. However, as they will be all broadcast in the same month - and should you want to watch the entire cycle - then a monthly subscription, which you can cancel at any time, might be your best option: 16 euros per month or $20. 

Full details below. We include some production pictures and videos to help you decide if Sven-Eric Bechtolf's interpretation of the Ring "is for you". 

Full pricing and to book tickets - closer to the time - please click here
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International Wagner Performances January 2018

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 28 December 2017 | 1:20:00 am

We are trying something new this month; a full, or nearly full, list of Wagner performances world wide. Not just full operas but concert performances or concerts with a significant amount of Wagner's work. Whether we continue will depend on how popular this proves. At the very lest we hope that this month will be useful to some of you.

All information is subject to change or correction. Please click on more or contact the venue for full, up to date information and tickets before making any travel arrangements.

If, you are a concert hall, performer, etc and we have excluded your performance, please get in touch with full details and we will include.


Jan 14, Feb 10

Staatstheater Darmstadt, Darmstadt

The Flying Dutchman

Will Humburg ,Conductor
Dietrich Hilsdorf ,Director
Dieter Richter ,set designer
Renate Schmitzer ,Costume Designer
Krzystof Szumanski ,Dutchman
Astrid Weber ,Senta
Seokhoon Moon ,Daland
Marco Jentzsch ,Erik
Elisabeth Hornung ,Mary
Michael Pegher ,The Steersman
Orchestra of the Staatstheater Darmstadt


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Jan 05, 07 Mat

Concertgebouw: Main Hall , Amsterdam


Wagner ,Parsifal: Prelude
Wagner , Parsifal: Good Friday Music
Bruckner ,Symphony no. 9 in D minor, WAB 109
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Daniele Gatti ,Conductor


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Jan 07, 14, 20

State Opera, Hamburg

Walkure


Kent Nagano ,Conductor
Claus Guth ,Director
Christian Schmidt ,Set Designer, Costume Designer
Robert Dean Smith ,Siegmund
Liang Li ,Hunding
Matthias Goerne ,Wotan
Jennifer Holloway ,Sieglinde
Lise Lindstrom ,Brünnhilde
Mihoko Fujimura ,Fricka
Iulia Maria Dan ,Helmwige
Bright Kwon ,Gerhilde
Gabriele Rossmanith ,Ortlinde
Nadezhda Karyazina ,Waltraute
Katja Pieweck ,Siegrune
Dorottya Láng ,Rossweisse
Ann-Beth Solvang ,Grimgerde
Marta Swiderska ,Schwertleite
Hamburg Philharmonic
Michael Bauer ,Lighting Designer
Hella Bartnig ,dramaturgy


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Tue 9 Jan 2018 at 19:30

National Concert Hall, Dublin

Irish National Opera:

Wagner ,Lohengrin: prelude to Act 3
Catalani ,La Wally: Ebben, ne andrò lontana
Korngold ,The Dead City: Pierrot's Song
Saint-Saëns ,Samson and Dalila (Samson and Delilah): Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix
Verdi ,Aida: O patria mia
Gluck ,Orfeo ed Euridice: Addio, addio, o miei sospiri
Wallace ,Maritana: The Marriner in his Bark
Gounod ,Romeo et Juliette: Amour, ranime mon courage
Tchaikovsky ,Eugene Onegin: final scene
Giordano ,Andrea Chenier: La mamma morta
Rossini ,La cenerentola: Là del ciel nell'arcano profondo
Verdi , La traviata: Semper libera
Verdi , Falstaff: Tutto nel mondo è burla
Claudia Boyle ,Soprano
Orla Boylan ,Soprano
Anna Devin ,Soprano
Jennifer Davis ,soprano
Máire Flavin ,Soprano
Sharon Carty ,Mezzo-soprano
Imelda Drumm ,Mezzo-soprano
Miriam Murphy ,Soprano
Gavan Ring ,Baritone
Ben McAteer ,Baritone
Padraic Rowan ,Baritone
John Molloy ,bass baritone
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
Fergus Sheil ,Conductor


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2018 Jan 11, 13

National Theater, Munich

Das Rheingold

Bavarian State Opera
Kirill Petrenko ,Conductor
Andreas Kriegenburg ,Director
Harald Thor ,set designer
Andrea Schraad ,Costume Designer
Wolfgang Koch ,Wotan
Norbert Ernst ,Loge
John Lundgren , Alberich
Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke ,Mime
Alexander Tsymbalyuk ,Fasolt
Ain Anger ,Fafner
Ekaterina Gubanova ,Fricka
Golda Schultz ,Freia
Okka from the Damerau ,Erda
Elsa Benoit ,Woglinde
Rachael Wilson ,Wellgunde
Jennifer Johnston ,Flosshilde
Bavarian State Orchestra
Choir of the Bavarian State Opera


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Jan 13, 29

Semperoper, Dresden

Das Rheingold


Dresden State Opera
Christian Thielemann ,Conductor
Willy Decker ,Director
Wolfgang Gussmann ,Set Designer
Frauke Schernau ,Costume Designer
Vitaly Kovalev ,Wotan
Kurt Streit ,lodge
Albert Dohmen ,Alberich
Gerhard Siegel ,Mime
Georg Zeppenfeld ,Fasolt
Karl-Heinz Lehner ,Fafner
Christa Mayer ,Fricka
Regine Hangler ,Freia
Janina Baechle ,Erda
Christiane Kohl ,Woglinde
Sabrina Kögel ,Wellgunde
Simone Schröder ,Flosshilde
Staatskapelle Dresden


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Jan 14, 30

Semperoper, Dresden

Walkure


Dresden State Opera
Christian Thielemann ,Conductor
Willy Decker ,Director
Wolfgang Gussmann ,Set Designer
Frauke Schernau ,Costume Designer
Peter Seiffert ,Siegmund
Georg Zeppenfeld ,Hunding
Vitaly Kovalev ,Wotan
TBC ,Sieglinde
Petra Lang ,Brünnhilde
Christa Mayer ,Fricka
Christiane Kohl ,Helmwige
Johanna Winkel ,Gerhilde
Brit-Tone Mullertz ,Ortlinde
Irmgard Vilsmaier ,Waltraute
Julia Rutigliano ,Siegrune
Simone Schröder ,Rossweisse
Sabrina Kögel ,Grimgerde
Katharina Magiera ,Schwertleite
Staatskapelle Dresden



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17 Jan 2018 at 20:00

Carnegie Hall, New York City

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Wagner ,Parsifal: Prelude to Act III
Wagner , Parsifal: Good Friday Music
Bruckner ,Symphony no. 9 in D minor, WAB 109
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Daniele Gatti ,Conductor


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Jan 18, 22, 25, 30, Feb 04 mat, 07, 10, 14

Dutch National Opera and Ballet , Amsterdam

Tristan and Isolde
New Production


Dutch National Opera
Marc Albrecht ,Conductor
Pierre Audi ,Director
Christof Hetzer ,Set Designer, Costume Designer
Stephen Gould ,Tristan
Günther Groissböck ,King Marke
Ricarda Merbeth ,Isolde
Iain Paterson ,Kurwenal
Michelle Breedt ,Brangäne
Andrew Rees ,Melot
Roger Smeets ,Young seaman
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Chorus of Dutch National Opera


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Jan 18, 21 mat

Hong Kong Cultural Center: Concert Hall, Hong Kong

Götterdämmerung


Jaap van Zweden ,Conductor
Daniel Brenna ,Siegfried
Gun-Brit Barkmin ,Brünnhilde
Shen Yang ,Gunther
Amanda Majeski ,Gutrune
Mikhail Petrenko ,Hagen
Peter Kálmán ,Alberich
Michelle DeYoung ,Waltraute
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra


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18 Jan 2018 at 19:30

Barbican Hall, London

Behzod Abduraimov


Wagner ,Tristan and Isolde: love death
Liszt ,Piano Sonata in B minor, S 178
Prokofiev ,Romeo and Juliet - Ten Pieces for Piano, Op.75
Behzod Abduraimov ,piano


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Jan 18, Feb 01

Semperoper, Dresden


Siegfried


Dresden State Opera
Christian Thielemann ,Conductor
Willy Decker ,Director
Wolfgang Gussmann ,Set Designer
Frauke Schernau ,Costume Designer
Andreas Schager ,Siegfried
Gerhard Siegel ,Mime
Vitaly Kovalev ,The Wanderer
Albert Dohmen ,Alberich
Georg Zeppenfeld ,Fafner
Christa Mayer ,Erda
Petra Lang ,Brünnhilde
Tuuli Takala ,forest bird
Staatskapelle Dresden


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Jan 19, 22

National Theater, Munich

Walkure


Bavarian State Opera
Kirill Petrenko ,Conductor
Andreas Kriegenburg ,Director
Harald Thor ,set designer
Andrea Schraad ,Costume Designer
Simon O'Neill ,Siegmund
Ain Anger ,Hunding
Wolfgang Koch ,Wotan
Anja Kampe ,Sieglinde
Nina Stemme ,Brünnhilde
Ekaterina Gubanova ,Fricka
Daniela Köhler ,Helmwige
Karen Foster ,Gerhilde
Anna Gabler ,Ortlinde
Heike Grötzinger ,Waltraute
Helena Zubanovich ,Siegrune
Jennifer Johnston ,Rossweisse
Okka from the Damerau ,Grimgerde
Rachael Wilson ,Schwertleite
Bavarian State Orchestra
Choir of the Bavarian State Opera


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Jan 20, Feb 04

Semperoper, Dresden

Götterdämmerung


Dresden State Opera
Christian Thielemann ,Conductor
Willy Decker ,Director
Wolfgang Gussmann ,Set Designer, Costume Designer
Andreas Schager ,Siegfried
Nina Stemme ,Brünnhilde
Edith Haller ,Gutrune
Falk Struckmann ,Hagen
Iain Paterson ,Gunther
Albert Dohmen ,Alberich
Christa Mayer ,Waltraute
Christiane Kohl ,Third Norn, Woglinde
Sabrina Kögel ,Wellgunde
Simone Schröder ,Flosshilde, Second Norn
Okka from the Damerau ,First Norn
Saxon State Opera Choir Dresden
Staatskapelle Dresden


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Sat 20 Jan 19:00

Philharmonic Hall in Gasteig, Munich


Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Brahms


Tchaikovsky ,Francesca da Rimini, Symphonic Fantasia in E Minor, Op.32
Wagner ,Wesendonck Lieder
Brahms ,Symphony no. 3 in F major, Op.90
Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
Valery Gergiev ,Conductor
Anja Harteros ,Soprano


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21 Jan 2018 at 19:00

Barbican Hall, London

The Young Debussy


Wagner ,Tannhäuser: Overture
Lalo ,cello concerto in D minor
Debussy ,Première Suite d'orchester
Massenet ,Le Cid: ballet suite
François-Xavier Roth ,Conductor
Edgar Moreau ,cello
London Symphony Orchestra


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25 Jan 2018 at 19:30

Grieg Hall, Bergen

Wagner, Gardner and Sibelius


Wigglesworth ,A Winter's Tale: clocks (Norwegian Première)
Wagner ,Wesendonck songs
Sibelius ,Luonnotar, symphonic poem for soprano and orchestra, op. 70
Sibelius , Symphony no. 5 in E flat major, Op.82
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Edward Gardner ,Conductor
Lise Davidsen ,soprano


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Sat 27 Jan 2018 at 18:00

Royal Festival Hall, London



London Philharmonic Orchestra: 

Das Rheingold

Vladimir Jurowski ,Conductor
Matthias Goerne ,Wotan
Maxim Paster ,Lodge
Robert Hayward ,Alberich
Adrian Thompson ,Mime
Michelle DeYoung ,Fricka
Lyubov Petrova ,Freia
Matthew Rose ,Fasolt
Brindley Sherratt ,Fafner
Rowan Hellier ,Wellgunde
Sofia Fomina ,Woglinde
Lucie Spickova ,Flosshilde
Anna Larsson ,Erda
London Philharmonic Orchestra


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Sun 28 Jan 2018 at 15:00

Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

The Hallé and Hallé Youth Orchestra


Wagner ,Götterdämmerung: Funeral March
Berlioz ,The Trojans
The Hallé
The Hallé Youth Orchestra
Sir Mark Elder ,Conductor
Jonathon Heyward ,Conductor


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Jan 28, Feb 17, Mar 04 mat, 11, 25, 31

Opera House, Dusseldorf

Walkure
New Production

Axel Kober ,Conductor
Dietrich Hilsdorf ,Director
Dieter Richter ,set designer
Renate Schmitzer ,Costume Designer
Corby Welch ,Siegmund
Sami Luttinen ,Hunding
Simon Neal ,Wotan
Elisabeth Strid ,Sieglinde
Linda Watson ,Brünnhilde
Renée Morloc ,Fricka
Josefine Weber ,Helmwige
Jessica Stavros ,Gerhilde
Katja Levin ,Ortlinde
Katarzyna Kuncio ,Waltraute
Zuzana Sveda ,Siegrune
Maria Hilmes ,Rossweisse
Katharina von Bülow ,Grimgerde
Evelyn Krahe ,Schwertleite

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Jan 30, Feb 02, 06, 09, 11

Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse

Walkure

Théâtre du Capitole
Claus Peter Flor ,Conductor
Nicolas Joël ,Director
Ezio Frigerio ,set designer
Franca Squarciapino ,Costume Designer
Michael King ,Siegmund
Dimitry Ivashchenko ,Hunding
Tomasz Konieczny ,Wotan
Daniela Sindram ,Sieglinde
Anna Smirnova ,Brünnhilde
Elena Zhidkova ,Fricka
Sonja Mühleck ,Helmwige
Elena Guseva ,Gerhilde
Oksana Sekerina ,Ortlinde
Pilar Vázquez ,Waltraute
Mareike Morr ,Siegrune
Ekaterina Egorova ,Rossweisse
Karin Lovelius ,Grimgerde
Daryl Freedman ,Schwertleite
Orchester National du Capitole de Toulouse


---------------------------------------------------------

Jan 31, Feb 03

National Theater, Munich

Siegfried

Bavarian State Opera
Kirill Petrenko ,Conductor
Harald Thor ,set designer
Andrea Schraad ,Costume Designer
Stefan Vinke ,Siegfried
Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke ,Mime
Wolfgang Koch ,The Wanderer
John Lundgren ,Alberich
Ain Anger ,Fafner
Okka from the Damerau ,Erda
Nina Stemme ,Brünnhilde
Elsa Benoit ,forest bird 
Bavarian State Orchestra
Choir of the Bavarian State Opera

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Complete Ring Cycles: 2018. Full Listing

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 27 December 2017 | 10:06:00 pm


What follows is a list of full Ring cycles in 2018. As always details may change, or we may have made an error. Please check with each houses website or box office before booking or making arrangements. Contact details are given for each in the listing. If we have missed a full cycle somewhere please let us know providing full details

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Opera in Depth with David Nice. Rheingold. London. Starting January 8


David tells us the part of the series that concentrates on Rheingold will run for 5 weeks and should you wish to sign-up just for this then you can do so. Although to be honest, the entire lecture series looks more than worth attending. Full details from David below. 

Opera in Depth with David Nice.

Das Rheingold and From the House of the Dead Mondays 2.30-4.30pm, starting 8 January 2018 

This January, the great Vladimir Jurowski embarks on concert stagings of Wagner's Ring operas by beginning where the composer does, in the depths of the Rhine. He plans to perform one opera a year, and we'll follow his journey with Die Walküre in 2019, Siegfried in 2020 and Götterdämmerung in 2021, with plentiful classes on each epic. Expect special visits from Wagnerian singers, conductors and directors. 

My long-term survey of all the major Janáček operas over the years comes to a conclusion with his last, and weirdest, masterpiece, based on Dostoyevsky's Siberian prison-camp memoirs. I'm delighted to report that Mark Wigglesworth has taken over conducting the first ever production at the Royal Opera from Teodor Currentzis, and he will return to the class to report about his work. 

As we move through the operas scene by scene, there will be plentiful music examples on CD and DVD, engaging the Frontline Club's excellent facilities to the full. You are also entitled to use the club room for refreshments, or simply meeting and chatting, before and after each class. 

Venue: Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2 1QJ Paddington, Edgware Road, Lancaster Gate 

Fee: £200 for the whole term of ten two-hour classes

Email: david.nice@usa.net ASAP to confirm a place
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Parsifal. New Production Munich 2018. Kaufmann, Stemme, Pape, Audi & Petrenko. Video Preview



Pierre Audi's new "all star cast" production of Parsifal will premiere at Bayerische Staatsoper on 28 June, 2018. It will also be broadcast live on BR-KLASSIK. the same day. We will provide a link at the time. Full details of the production below. Includes video "preview"

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Calixto Bieito's Latest Tannhauser: Restrained, Out of Ideas Or Just A Guardian Reader?

Whatever you might think of Calixto Bieito's opera productions understated is not a word one would commonly use. Yet, that is certainly one adjective one could use for his production of Tannhauser for La Fenice in Venice last February. In one of the few English language reviews for this production, Keris Nine at the Opera Journal says basically this. Describing the production as a "...minimalist expression of this Tannhäuser ... [suggesting].. that he (Bieito) is seeking to strip back the work to its fundamental essence to see whether there's a deeper emotional truth to be found..." Certainly not something Bieitio is known for. Of course, there is another alternative, as Nine wittily, if rather cruelly, puts it "...or else he is just lazy and running out of ideas."

The colour palate certainly identifies it as Bieito - as too does its inherent "bourgeoisness". Although, this production might be better described as Petite bourgeoisie. So much so, that one feels that at any moment it will take out a subscription to the Guardian, prepare some avocado toast and drink a glass of some "craft gin".

The Venusberg is the most interesting part of the production, just sadly, not greatly interesting. No ballet in the opening, but just Venus "moping" around in what might be a grove (there are some trademark Bieto bushes) at midnight. Pagan it certainly is, but the restrained, "harmless" paganism of the urban fantasy reader who has watched the "Witches Of Eastwick" read Starhawk's famous, feminist, Wiccan book "The Spiral Dance" and burned a few candles. This is not the wild, if Christian influenced, portrayal of paganism as written by Wagner. Contemporary Paganism is a highly interesting area and if Bieito is trying to include it here then good. However, like Tannhauser, it deserves something more interesting than this.

However, it is not a "bad" production, it is just very "inoffensive", There are certainly much worse productions available. And vocally one could do much, much, worse.

Should you want to watch the production it has been made freely available by "Culturebox" and can be found below. Should you decide to risk a look, we would be curious to hear what you think, either by mail, Twitter or Facebook.

TW

Production

Omer Meir Wellber
Calixto Bieito.
Paul McNamara
Liene Kinča
Ausrine Stundyte
Christoph Pohl
Pavlo Balakin
Cameron Becker
Alessio Cacciamani
Paolo Antognetti
Mattia Denti
Chiara Cattelan
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Recommendation: Tannhauser: Barenboim, Pape, Seiffert, Petersen, Prudenskaya, Waltz

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 26 December 2017 | 5:44:00 pm

I find it difficult to enjoy productions of Tannhauser on DVD, or indeed on the stage. Not because of the score, obviously, or performers, orchestra or conductors. No, the problem is directing what I consider to be one of Wagner's most difficult works to stage. It shouldn't be of course. There is "plenty going on". Yet, I find so many directors struggle to make a production visual engaging - at least to me. Despite its critics - and there are a few - I rather like Sasha Waltz's production at the Staatskapelle Berlin. Yes, perhaps a dancer and choreographer was an unusual choice, even one as esteemed as Waltz, as director for an opera - especially one of Wagner's works. Although, given the famous opening ballet perhaps less so. But it is not just in the Venusberg that her production shines. Wagner's music has a fluidity (those endless melodies- remember?) often found in the best dance or ballet music. Waltz taps (forgive the unitended pun) into this for the entirety of the production in a way I think no one else has. This is something, I feel missed by so many negative reviews. Although, this seems less so in the case of Mark Berry, who has a better understanding of Wagner than most, in his review for Seen And Heard International. (Well worth reading and to be found by clicking here as a counter to my praise)

Of course, you could also do much worse than this conductor, cast, orchestra, chorus and dancers. I know, that in the main, I enjoyed this enough to listen more than once - doing so again as I write this.  And Barenboim is one of the greatest interpreters of Wagner living today.

Have a look below and if it seems to be something you might enjoy please do go out and buy it.

Highly recommended.

TW


Cast:
Hermann, Landgrave of Thuringia – René Pape
Tannhäuser – Peter Seiffert
Wolfram von Eschenbach – Peter Mattei
Walther von der Wogelweide – Peter Soon
Biterolf – Tobias Schabel
Heinrich der Schreiber – Jürgen Sacher
Reinmar von Zweter – Jan Martiník
Elisabeth – Ann Petersen
Venus – Marina Prudenskaya
Young Shepherd – Sónia Grané
Four Pages – Julia Mencke, Konstanze Löwe, Hannah Wighardt, Anna Charin



Production
Sasha Waltz (director, choreography, designs)
Pia-Maier-Schreier (designs)
Bernd Skodzig (costumes)
David Finn (lighting)
Jens Schroth, Jochen Sandig (dramaturgy)

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Free Digital Magazine. Gramophone: Recordings of the Year 1977-2017

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Gramophone Awards this year, Gramophone have produced a very special free digital magazine: 'Recordings of the Year 1977-2017'. The magazine features full reviews of each of the albums to have won Gramophone's top Award, the coveted Recording of the Year, since 1977. There is Wagner - if not enough for our liking of course

Says Gramophone: "We’re often asked which recordings are ‘essential’, those which should be part of any classical record collection. With the extraordinary wealth of great recordings produced over the last century, it’s almost an impossible question to answer, but the recordings in this digital magazine would form a collection that would provide several years of compelling listening. From Karajan, Rattle and Abbado in astonishing accounts of Mahler’s symphonies, to the wondrous pianism of Igor Levit, Paul Lewis, Nelson Freire and Krystian Zimerman, and exquisite chamber music from the Beaux Arts Trio and the Emerson, Pavel Haas and Ébène string quartets, Gramophone’s reviewers give deep insights and colourful descriptions of each of the albums to guide you to your next favourite recording."

Follow the link below to enjoy the digital magazine:

'Recordings of the Year 1977-2017'
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New Books: Ernest Newman A Critical Biography By Paul Watt

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 25 December 2017 | 1:25:00 pm

Wagner's most detailed biographer - despite its age, his four-volume "Life Of Richard Wagner" remains indispensable - finds himself and his work treated to an equally fine biography. Well worth your attention. 

Ernest Newman (1868-1959) left an indelible mark on British musical criticism in a career spanning more than seventy years. His magisterial Life of Richard Wagner, published in four volumes between 1933 and 1946, is regarded as his crowning achievement, but Newman wrote many other influential books and essays on a variety of subjects ranging from early music to Schoenberg. In this book, the geneses of Newman's major publications are examined in the context of prevailing intellectual trends in history, criticism and biography. Newman's career as a writer is traced across a wide range of subjects including English and French literature, evolutionary theory and biographical method, and French, German and Russian music. Underpinning many of these works is Newman's preoccupation with rationalism and historical method. By examining particular sets of writings such as composer-biographies and essays from leading newspapers such as the Manchester Guardian and the Sunday Times, this book illustrates the ways in which Newman's work was grounded in late nineteenth-century intellectual paradigms that made him a unique and at times controversial figure.

PAUL WATT is Senior Lecturer in Musicology in the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University.

See below for a preview - sadly, may not work on all smartphones. If its not working click this link


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Wagner and Paris: The Case of Rienzi (1869). Mark Everist

Abstract

The French reception of Wagner is often based on the two pillars of the 1861 Tannhäuser production and that of Lohengrin in 1891. Sufficient is now known about he composer’s earliest attempt to engage with Parisian music drama around 1840 to be able to understand his work on Das Liebesverbot, Rienzi, Der fliegende Holländer, his editorial and journalistic work for Schlesinger, and his emerging relationship with key figures in Parisian musical life, Meyerbeer most notably. A clearer picture is also beginning to emerge of Wagner’s position in French cultural life and letters in the 1850s.

Wagner’s position in Paris during the 1860s, culminating in the production of Rienzi at the Théâtre-Lyrique in 1869, is however complex, multifaceted and little understood. Although there were no staged versions of his operas between 1861 and 1869, the very existence of a successful Parisian premiere for an opera by Wagner in 1869 – given that there would be almost nothing for two decades after 1870 – is remarkable in itself. The 1860s furthermore saw the emergence of a coherent voice of Wagnérisme, the presence of French Wagnéristes at the composer’s premieres all over Europe and a developing discourse in French around them. This may be set against a continuing tradition of performing extracts of Wagner’s operas throughout the 1860s, largely through the energies of Jules Pasdeloup, who – as director of the Théâtre-Lyrique – was responsible for the 1869 Rienzi as well.
These competing threads in the skein of Wagner-reception in the 1860s are tangled in a narrative of increasingly tense Franco-German cultural and political relationships in which Wagner, his works and his writings, played a key role. The performance of Rienzi in 1869 is embedded in responses to the Prussian-Austrian war of 1866, the republication of Das Judenthum in der Musik in 1869 and the beginnings of the Franco-Prussian war.


Wagner and Paris: The Case of Rienzi (1869) Mark Everist


Any search for operatic crosscurrents in the second half of the nineteenth century eventually leads to a consideration of the relationship between Wagner and Paris.  Not only does this relationship problematize the questions of institution, genre and cultural transfer that characterises any import of foreign opera into the capital, but it is overlaid with polemic, scandal, individual amour propre competing with national pride, and music reflecting events on the larger world stage. It comes as no surprise that this is a subject that has been generously treated in accounts of nineteenth-century opera, at the expense – it could be argued – of the study of indigenous French products. 2 From the earliest French texts responding to Wagner’s Eine Mitteilung an meine Freunde and his Oper und Drama in the early 1850s3 to the systematic engagement of some French composers with Wagnerian stylistic techniques in the 1890s and 1900s, 4 there is now a sufficient understanding of the subject, it might be thought, to be able to assemble a very clear idea of how the capital of the nineteenth century assimilated the composer. There seem to be two key points in the story of Wagner and Paris: the disastrous 1861 production of Tannhäuser at the Paris Opéra, and – thirty years later – the first successful production of the composer’s work there: Lohengrin in 1891.5 These two dates apparently bookend thirty years of Wagnerian silence in Paris, broken only occasionally by literary debates between Wagnéristes and less enthusiastic critics. But this received view of the Parisian reception of Wagner is marked by the almost complete absence of any account of an equally-important moment in Wagner-reception in Paris: the production of Rienzi that ran from 1869 to 1870. 6 Indeed, in the popular mythology that surrounds the understanding of the subject, the event has been ignored in favour of the production of Tannhäuser at the Paris Opéra in 1861.7 It is not hard to see why: twentieth-century German scholars were quick to identify the 1861 disaster as a Tannhäuser-Skandal as a way of explaining away the event as a largely Parisian aberration in a world in which the Wagner juggernaut had crushed most opposition. 8 And a really rather successful production of another opera by Wagner in 1869 that permitted a cooler, more sober, view of the composer in Paris, simply did not fit this historiographical trajectory

To read in full visit here. Direct Download here but please read the license notice here
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Watch Now: Waltraud Meier: I follow a voice within me (Documentary, 2008)

A portrait of the mezzo-soprano singer Waltraud Meier Presenting her on stage and in rehearsal as Didon, Ortrud, Leonore, Amneris, Sieglinde, Kundry, Marie, Komponist, Venus, Isolde, and as a Mahler lieder singer. Featuring interviews with Daniel Barenboim, Plácido Domingo, Hans Sotin, Angela Zabrsa, Jürgen Flimm, Ioan Holender, Stephan Suschke and Siegfried Jerusalem. Ever since her acclaimed début in the role of Kundry at Bayreuth in 1984 at the very latest, Waltraud Meier has been one of the top-flight Wagner performers of our time, and setting standards in the meantime in the Italian and French repertoire, too. Not only does this film document present her in a wide variety of roles but we also experience her in conversation backstage, a fascinating personality who enjoys her professional life and takes an active part in planning it. This portrait of outstanding singer is then rounded off by an enthralling live recording of Mahler's Lied von der Erde from the Cologne Philharmonie directed by Semyon Bychkow.


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Watch Now: Carlos Kleiber: Traces to Nowhere.

Carlos Kleiber was one of the legendary conductors of his time, famous for his infrequent, but supreme interpretations. He had an unusual small repertoire for a major conductor, focusing on only a few symphonies, piano concertos and operas, and demanded unusually long rehearsals. Yet he managed to pull the finest efforts from his musicians because he made them believe in the music as much as he did.
On the 11th July 2004 Carlos Kleiber got into his car and drove from Munich, via the Alps, to his holiday home in the remote Slovenian village of Konjsica. There he wrote a final letter to a friend in which he bid farewell to the world. A short time later the conductor, increasingly plagued by illness and suffering, was found dead. 

The documentary ‘Traces to Nowhere – The conductor Carlos Kleiber’, represents the first film dedicated to the enigmatic personality of the conductor. The film follows in the traces of Kleiber’s final journey and, by means of the recollections of friends and others who knew Kleiber – including the first and only interview with his sister Veronika Kleiber – portrays a conductor as renowned for his difficult personality as his brilliant work. Eric Schulz’ film contains not only impressive shots of Kleiber himself but also most illuminative statements of the said friends and companions. Featuring Veronika Kleiber, Michael Gielen, Plácido Domingo, Brigitte Fassbaender, Otto Schenk, Alexander Werner, Manfred Honeck, Otto Staindl, Klaus König, Karl Friedrich Mess, Anne Kirchbach, Martha Scherer a.o.


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Watch Now: Sir Georg Solti Great Conductors In Rehearsal. Tannhauser


Rehearsing and conducting the Overture to Tannhäuser by Richard Wagner with the Süddeutsche Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra 

Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
0:00 1st Rehearsal 
30:31 2nd Rehearsal 
43:36 Performance 

This video recording provides us with a portrait of a man whose conducting technique contrasts fascinatingly with that of other conductors in the series. Sir Georg Solti's rehearsal and performance of Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture with the Süddeutsche Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra is a fine illustration of this conductor's insistence on absolute precision, his energetic style and his close familiarity with the score.
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Lecture: Reinventing Wagner After Hitler. London. Feb 2018



REINVENTING WAGNER AFTER HITLER
A lecture by Dr. Patrick Carnegy
German Historical Institute, 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJ
6:30pm for 7pm, Thursday 15th February 2018

Dr Patrick Carnegy will argue that the significant German stage productions in the critical period from 1951 until 1982 were responses to the appropriations of Wagner for demonic ends by Hitler and the Nazis. West and East Germany, then divided, found markedly different ways for exorcizing the terrible ghosts. The common goal was to cleanse the inheritance and to build bridges between the concerns of our modern world and those of Wagner in his own time. Dr Carnegy believes these are still the driving forces behind many of the best productions of the past 30 years.

Patrick Carnegy was dramaturg of the Royal Opera House, 1988-92. Since he first visited Bayreuth in 1967 as critic for The Times, his principal research interest has been the stage history of Wagner’s works. He has contributed chapters to the ENO Opera Guides and to the Cambridge Opera Handbooks. His books include Faust as Musician: A Study of Thomas Mann’s Novel ‘Doctor Faustus’ (1973) and Wagner and the Art of the Theatre (2006, Royal Philharmonic Society Award; Special Jury Prize, George Freedley Memorial Award).


Tickets £20 including refreshments. (Limited free admission to Students, YPIA and under 30s who can join the Wagner Society (Click this link) for free and will be admitted to this event for free on proof of membership and if they have previously provided proof of status.)

Tickets are available on Wagner Society website by clicking the link above. You can pay with a credit or debit card or by PayPal. You can also register for the event and then send a cheque or bank transfer to the Society.

Location
Venue: German Historical Institute

Address:
17 Bloomsbury Square, Holborn, London, WC1A 2NJ, United Kingdom

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A Happy, Wagnerian Christmas - Despite Much To Make It Seem Otherwise

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 24 December 2017 | 1:54:00 pm


Its been a very odd year and possibly not the best for many, Politics have split many people in at least two very large economies: the UK and USA. The result of which will have some impact on other parts of the world. In the UK's example, the rest of Europe and in the case of the USA's, the world - especially the Middle East. Although one suspects that this influence may have an even greater, much wider, effect as the next three years roll on. And this ignores the large domestic upheaval in both countries. Events in both countries - whether directly or not I shall leave to the reader - have emboldened far-right elements in both countries and indeed elsewhere. Racism, xenophobia, misogyny and the worst traits of nationalism (not everything about liking one's country is wrong of course) are once again on the rise. Not that any of these have ever gone away. For whatever reason, those that hold such views feel more comfortable to express them - and in the worst cases act upon them. 

Senior, highly prominent, politicians seem to have been grasped by a form of irrationality not seen since the 30's and 40's where "expert opinion" is not only ignored but openly derided. I think it's been a long time since I had previously heard any politician cheerfully admit to not listening to experts in an area.  And never have I seen the leader of the largest economy and military in the world have a close - and continuing - adviser who has stated he wishes to see the destruction of government. It's an odd time when the advisor to the president makes a statement that sounds like it could have been written by Wagner during the writing of the Ring: 

“Lenin, wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Steve Bannon 2016.

Or what about the following? Wagner or the president of the USA 2014:

“You know what solves it? When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell, and everything is a disaster, then you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be, when we were great.”

Poverty is on the rise. The state and many of its people seem pleased to pull the limited safety nets that exist to help the most vulnerable and poor. At the same time, a tiny percentage of cowardly terrorists seem to have proven quite successful in their aims: producing fear (at least two car accidents this year have thrown populations in Isreal and London into panic and fear of terrorism) and discord in all its manifestations.

So, it's not been an especially good year - for a lot of us. But that does not mean we should give up hope or indeed that things cannot, and will, change for the better. Politicians come and go, political movements the same.  National psyches can often spin in a new direction with extraordinary speed. And all countries have survived the most determined efforts by previous leaders to destroy those countries the rule. Empires less so but countries and people, yes. There are, should you feel the desire, little things one can do - rational argument will eventually win and public mood will grow more receptive to it. 

However, despite this, we still have things to cheer the soul on those long nights when all can seem bleak: family, friends, music, art, literature, poetry and of course WAGNER!

And so, with this in mind, we wish all of our readers a happy Christmas with, in a world of rampant commercialism and where profit rules all, a series of video concerts made freely available by the
hr-Sinfonieorchester.

TW

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Study Weekend, University Of Oxford: Wagner & Philosophy. Oct 2017

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 10 September 2017 | 6:04:00 am

Looks rather interesting. Some impressive tutors. Places still available. And only £77 for the full weekend

Wagner and Philosophy

Overview

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) has long been considered one of the most obviously philosophical of the great artists in the European tradition. This is in recognition both of the way in which his work was particularly open to philosophical influences and of the extent to which it has, in turn, stimulated significant philosophical responses. We will start by evaluating the importance of Schopenhauer’s philosophy for Wagner, before considering the extent to which the music dramas can be understood as presenting their own distinctive philosophical ideas. There will then be two different takes on philosophical approaches to Wagner, focusing on the most important and sustained instance of this in the work of Wagner’s one-time friend and colleague, Nietzsche, but also taking in twentieth-century responses from Adorno and others.


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RingQuest: Tolkien, A Ring, Heavy Metal & Paul Raymond Gregory

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 11 August 2017 | 6:52:00 pm


We are often surprised by how many people with an interest in Wagner - and the Ring cycle in particular - also have an interest in Tolkien and the Lord Of The Rings. At the same time, we find a greater than expected number with an interest in heavy metal music (but then a number of metal legends have cited Wagner as an influence - even if "traditional metal" has structurally closer links to baroque).
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Bayreuth Parsifal (2016) Now On DVD & Blu-ray

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 8 August 2017 | 11:26:00 pm


At least this production has actually made it to DVD. Be warned, there are people this will offend, although probably not as much as good old Monty Pythons excellent, Life Of Brian did to others once upon a time or the equally superb The Last Temptation of Christ

Deutsche Grammophonhas Uwe Eric Laufenberg’s acclaimed production of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal in time for the Festival season. This musical masterpiece was staged for the first time under the direction of Hartmut Haenchen in Bayreuth on 25 July 2016 and will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray from 21 July 2017. Cast: Klaus Florian Vogt as Parsifal, Georg Zeppenfeld as Gurnemanz, Elena Pankratova as Kundry and Ryan McKinny as Amfortas excelled in their roles.

Deutsche Grammophon established a multi-year, exclusive partnership with the Bayreuth Festival in 2016 with Tristan and Isolde: from now on, every new production will be released on DVD/Blu-ray.
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Listen To Bayreuth Festival 2017 - On Demand

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 2 August 2017 | 8:28:00 pm


First, apologies: the schedule and where to listen to this year's festival should have been auto upload prior to the first performance on the 25th July. It seems that did not happen.  Blame poor programming on our part. Blame the fact we did not check on summer holidays. Even we sneak off occasionally.  To rectify things to some degree, we have posted official links below to where you can still listen to the performances already broadcast. Clicking each link will cause the relevant pop-up player from Bartok Radio.  If you have a pop-up blocker installed you might want to disable it on this occasion. Some of the recordings do not start at the beginning of the performance. If this is the case you can simply forward through a little. There can be a significant amount of forwarding in the case of second and subsequent acts.

Götterdämmerung, of course, will not be broadcast till tomorrow, 3 August. The link will thus not become active till then.



DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG

Conductor Philippe Jordan 
Director Barrie Kosky 
Stage design Rebecca Ringst 
Costumes Klaus Bruns 
Choral Conducting Eberhard Friedrich 
Dramaturgy Ulrich Lenz 
Lighting Franck Evin

Hans Sachs, Schuster Michael Volle 
Veit Pogner, Goldschmied Günther Groissböck 
Kunz Vogelgesang, Kürschner Tansel Akzeybek 
Konrad Nachtigal, Spengler Armin Kolarczyk 
Sixtus Beckmesser, Stadtschreiber Johannes Martin Kränzle
Fritz Kothner, Bäcker Daniel Schmutzhard 
Balthasar Zorn, Zinngießer Paul Kaufmann 
Ulrich Eisslinger, Würzkrämer Christopher Kaplan 
Augustin Moser, Schneider Stefan Heibach 
Hermann Ortel, Seifensieder Raimund Nolte 
Hans Schwarz, Strumpfwirker Andreas Hörl 
Hans Foltz, Kupferschmied Timo Riihonen 
Walther von Stolzing Klaus Florian Vogt 
David, Sachsens Lehrbube Daniel Behle
Eva, Pogners Tochter Anne Schwanewilms 
Magdalene, Evas Amme Wiebke Lehmkuhl 
Ein Nachtwächter Georg Zeppenfeld







TRISTAN UND ISOLDE

Conductor Christian Thielemann 
Director Katharina Wagner 
Stage design Frank Philipp / Schlößmann Matthias Lippert 
Costumes Thomas Kaiser 
Dramaturgy Daniel Weber 
Lighting Reinhard Traub 
Choral Conducting Eberhard Friedrich 


Tristan Stephen Gould 
Marke René Pape 
Isolde Petra Lang 
Kurwenal Iain Paterson 
Melot Raimund Nolte 
Brangäne Christa Mayer 
Ein Hirt Tansel Akzeybek 
Ein Steuermann Kay Stiefermann 
Junger Seemann Tansel Akzeybek






PARSIFAL

Conductor Hartmut Haenchen 
Director Uwe Eric Laufenberg 
Stage design Gisbert Jäkel 
Costumes Jessica Karge 
Lighting Reinhard Traub 
Video Gérard Naziri 
Dramaturgy Richard Lorber 
Choral Conducting Eberhard Friedrich

Amfortas Ryan McKinny 
Titurel Günther Groissböck 
Gurnemanz Georg Zeppenfeld 
Parsifal Andreas Schager 
Klingsor Derek Welton 
Kundry Elena Pankratova 
1. Gralsritter Tansel Akzeybek 
2. Gralsritter Timo Riihonen 
1. Knappe Alexandra Steiner 
2. Knappe Mareike Morr 
3. Knappe Paul Kaufmann 
4. Knappe Stefan Heibach 
Klingsors Zaubermädchen Netta Or, Katharina Persicke , Mareike Morr, Alexandra Steiner, 
Bele Kumberger, Sophie Rennert 
Altsolo Wiebke Lehmkuhl







DAS RHEINGOLD

Conductor Marek Janowski
Director Frank Castorf 
Stage design Aleksandar Denić 
Costumes Adriana Braga Peretzki 
Lighting Rainer Casper 
Video Andreas Deinert, Jens Crull 
Technische Einrichtung 2013-2014 Karl-Heinz Matitschka


Wotan Iain Paterson 
Donner Markus Eiche 
Froh Daniel Behle 
Loge Roberto Saccà 
Fricka Tanja Ariane Baumgartner 
Freia Caroline Wenborne 
Erda Nadine Weissmann 
Alberich Albert Dohmen 
Mime Andreas Conrad 
Fasolt Günther Groissböck 
Fafner Karl-Heinz Lehner 
Woglinde Alexandra Steiner 
Wellgunde Stephanie Houtzeel 
Floßhilde Wiebke Lehmkuhl




DIE WALKÜRE 

Conductor Marek Janowski
Director Frank Castorf 
Stage design Aleksandar Denić 
Costumes Adriana Braga Peretzki 
Lighting Rainer Casper 
Video Andreas Deinert, Jens Crull 
Technische Einrichtung 2013-2014 Karl-Heinz Matitschka

Siegmund Christopher Ventris 
Hunding Georg Zeppenfeld 
Wotan John Lundgren 
Sieglinde Camilla Nylund 
Brünnhilde Catherine Foster 
Fricka Tanja Ariane Baumgartner
Gerhilde Caroline Wenborne 
Ortlinde Dara Hobbs 
Waltraute Stephanie Houtzeel 
Schwertleite Nadine Weissmann 
Helmwige Christiane Kohl
Siegrune Mareike Morr 
Grimgerde Simone Schröder 
Rossweisse Alexandra Petersamer






SIEGFRIED

Conductor Marek Janowski
Director Frank Castorf 
Stage Design Aleksandar Denić 
Costumes Adriana Braga Peretzki 
Lighting Rainer Casper 
Video Andreas Deinert, Jens Crull 
Technische Einrichtung 2013-2014 Karl-Heinz Matitschka

Siegfried Stefan Vinke 
Mime Andreas Conrad 
Der Wanderer Thomas J. Mayer 
Alberich Albert Dohmen 
Fafner Karl-Heinz Lehner 
Erda Nadine Weissmann 
Brünnhilde Catherine Foster 
Waldvogel Ana Durlovsk



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