ROH Tannhauser Wins RPS Music Awards For Opera & Theatre. WNO: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg shortlisted

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 | 12:42:00 am

A few days late (it's difficult to keep up) but  the awards ceremony can be heard, for the next few days, on BBC Radio 3 website - click here.

Anyway, well done to ROH, WNO and  of course Wagner

The RPS Music Awards are the highest recognition for live classical music-making in the United Kingdom. These independent awards were set up in 1989 to celebrate the outstanding musical achievements of both young and established, British and International, musicians.

Nearly four hundred guests from the music profession attended the ceremony which was hosted by BBC Radio 3's Katie Derham and Andrew McGregor and presented by past RPS Award winner pianist Imogen Cooper CBE . The keynote speech was given by playright Mark Ravenhill.
The RPS Music Awards are presented in association with BBC Radio 3 who broadcast a programmed dedicated to the Awards Winners on ‘Sunday Concert’ at 14:00 on Sunday 15 May 2011. It will then be available on ‘Listen Again’ for seven days
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Tannhäuser opened in December 2010 at the Royal Opera House, directed by Tim Albery, Conducted by Semyon Bychko and Choreographed by Jasmin Vardimon.

And why the  ROH Tannhauser? From the RPS:

"In a year of Wagnerian excellence, the jury chose the Royal Opera's Tannhäuser for its outstanding musical calibre. Under Semyon Bychkov's inspired conducting, a superb cast and chorus led by Johan Botha in radiant vocal form, delivered a production of exceptional originality."


From The Press:


 Edward Seckerson, The Independent:

 "To ravish the senses or feed the soul? That is the question. And although Wagner posed it knowing full well that its significance would resonate through the ages – and no more so than now – he also knew, as a man of the theatre, that in the right hands we his audiences might have it both ways.
Tim Albery, the director of this powerful new staging, even begins by illuminating Covent Garden’s gilded proscenium arch, presenting it as the portal through which we might gain access to both empires of the senses, the sensuous and the soulful, whilst at the same time gently wagging the finger at all us opera-loving hedonists out there in the dark."  

Andrew Clements, The Guardian:

Different aspects of the plot could be seen as prototypes for both Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger, all overlaid with the noxious mix of sexual guilt and religion that fuels Parsifal, too. Tim Albery's production plays it pretty straight, though, and after some terrifically sexy choreography of the opening Venusberg scene by Jasmin Vardimon, presents the opera in a rubble-strewn contemporary setting (by Michael Levine) that more than anything else recalls the house style of English National Opera during the Powerhouse era of the 1980s, even down to the greatcoats and Kalashnikovs. It could be the Balkans in the present day, although the opening image is a replica of the Royal Opera House's own proscenium arch and red velvet curtains, through which Johan Botha's Tannhäuser, right, watches the entertainment provided by Venus's retinue.

Rupert Christiansen: The Telegraph 

"...at Covent Garden, thanks to the magic wrought by conductor Semyon Bychkov, the opera for once seemed like an integrated dramatic whole.
Weighty, measured, slow-burning, and lit from within by superb orchestral playing, Bychkov’s interpretation has a sense of gravity that pays long-term dividends and makes even the mismanaged climax of Act 2 seem purposeful." 



Shortlisted: WNO: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg




From the press:


Andrew Clements: The Guardian:

Before a note of Welsh National Opera's new Die Meistersinger has been heard, Richard Jones's production makes its first statement. The front cloth is a giant, Sgt Pepper-style collage showing mugshots of four centuries of German artists, from Bach and Handel to Beuys and Fassbinder. The "holy German art" that Hans Sachs defends in his final, reproving monologue in Wagner's epic is something to be celebrated, the image suggests, and here are some of the men and women responsible for those achievements

Rupert Christiansen: The Telegraph:



 I realise that I have awarded five stars three times in recent weeks, and here is another performance that indisputably merits the same rating.

Whatever else is broken about Britain, it’s not opera: penny for penny, I guess we do it better than anyone in the world. 
A final word of praise for WNO’s peerless chorus, which brought tears to my eyes in Wach auf. Yes, it was Hitler’s favourite too, but as this glorious production reminds us, that doesn’t mean it’s not great music.

Christopher Gray, Oxford Times

It was said that in Verdi’s Falstaff Bryn Terfel had found the role he was born to play; in Sachs, surely, he is inhabiting one even better suited to his exuberant skills as a singer and actor. This wise and wonderful man — who is willing to renounce his claim on the lovely Eva (Amanda Roocroft) to secure the happiness of her eager young wooer Walther (Raymond Very) — can hardly have been better portrayed.