UK Premiere of Jonathan Harvey's Opera around the last few moments of Wagner's death: "Wagner Dream" Sunday 29 Jan 2012

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 25 December 2011 | 9:15:00 am

Premiered at the Grand Theatre Luxembourg on April 28, 2007, Jonathan Harvey's "Wagner Dream" (with a libretto by Jean-Claude Carrière)  will receive its UK premiere, in a semi-staged production, at  Barbican Hall, 29 January 2012 . Cast details below.

The opera, takes Wagner's never, as I am sure you are aware,  completed Buddhist opera Die Sieger (The Victors) as its starting point, with the dying Wagner seeing it complete in his last few moments. Into this mix enters Cosima and Carrie Pringle.  The video below is the trailer of the Luxemberg production in 2007 and will provide a taster of the opera for those unfamiliar (it will not be the same production).

Synopsis: from Faber Music

TW Edit: Can I point out where it states: "Buddhism teaches that the state of mind at the moment of death is crucial to one’s future incarnation ‘the most important mind of one’s whole life’ that this is not the case in all schools of Buddhism, or is of equal importance
One morning after an unusually angry altercation with his wife, Wagner suffers a heart attack and passes away.  Buddhism teaches that the state of mind at the moment of death is crucial to one’s future incarnation ‘the most important mind of one’s whole life’.  It also teaches that one experiences a sequence of encounters in which choices are offered.  Vairochana, a buddha, is Wagner’s ‘guide’ who clarifies the choices and Wagner eventually decides that his failure to compose the noble Die Sieger must be remedied.  He therefore ‘creates’ the opera – and it happens.  From time to time Wagner intervenes and reacts to this show, which only he can see.
The opera Wagner creates in his dying dream features Prakriti, a barmaid in an untouchable's tavern, who falls in love with Ananda, a young monk.  Prakriti’s mother encourages her daughter’s desires and Prakriti and Ananda fall increasingly under love’s spell.  Prakriti approaches the Buddha and asks him directly if she can be with Ananda, and though sympathetic to her desires, he informs her that this is not permitted. After a heart-rending crisis Prakriti decides to join the Order as a sister and is welcomed by Ananda and Buddha.  The crowd celebrates the miraculous moment.  Out of his dream, Wagner is reconciled with Cosima and asks for her forgiveness.  Under Vairochana’s guidance, Wagner peacefully passes away.

Trailer of the DNO production of 2007

Barbican Hall Cast - 29 Jan 2012

BBC Symphony Orchestra
Martyn Brabbins
Orpha Phelan director

Claire Booth Prakriti
Richard Angas Old Brahmin
Roderick Williams Buddha
Nicholas Le Prevost Richard Wagner
Ruth Lass Cosima Wagner
Julia Innocenti Carrie Pringle
Richard Jackson Dr Keppler
Sally Brooks Betty/Vajrayogni

Gilbert Nouno IRCAM computer music designer
Charlie Cridlan Designer
 When, where and how much?

29 January 2012 / 19:30
Barbican Hall

Tickets: £10 / 17.50 / 25

More information plus booking: Barbican UK

What the press have said:
Wagner Dream must count as one of this British composer’s most self-defining works.’ The Sunday Telegraph

‘A fascinating idea realised with great skill, Wagner Dream joins the lengthening list of opera by British composers that urgently need staging here.’ The Guardian

Wagner Dream by Jonathan Harvey has everything: sex, violence, death, passion, philosophy, anguish, beauty, sensuality, spirituality, and it is a Buddhist opera -- or is it? Music and Vision