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Listen for free: Homage to Mussorgsky - Vladimir Jurowski - LPO

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 28 September 2011 | 11:09:00 pm

I was off to bed when I received the following from the LPO and as it is only available till 12 October I thought I would get it out to you first.


The first concert in this season's free online performances from the London Philharmonic Orchestra is now live. You can listen until 12 October 2011 via the Instant Encore website or the LPO's mobile app.

Click Here To Listen (Total Running Time: 1 hour 21 minutes

This Homage to Mussorgsky was created by the LPO's Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski. Alongside Mussorgsky's orginal score for 'Night on a Bare Mountain' you can hear Mussorgsky as arranged by Bernd Alois Zimmerman and Alexander Raskatov. The programme is completed by Zimmerman's rarely performed masterpiece 'Stille und Umkehr' and the world premiere of Raskatov's 'A White Night's Dream (Homage to Mussorgsky)'.
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Harry Kupfer/Barenboim Bayreuth Ring: re-released and remastered Oct 2011

Bayreuth Festival Production of Harry Kupfer’s The Complete Cycle of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

Newly Re-mastered 11-DVD Box Set available on October 25th.

Kultur is pleased to announce its release of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, filmed at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus in June & July 1991 and 1992. This historic Ring Cycle, under the musical direction of Daniel Barenboim, will be available on October 25, for a suggested retail price of $99.99.


In going back to the original high definition video master tapes and using cutting-edge encoding technology, Kultur was able to maximize the video quality of this new presentation of this historic Ring. Along with the 11-disc transfer, this allowed Kultur to exploit the DVD standard to its fullest and including three audio streams, LPCM, Dolby 5.1 and DTS 5.1.

(Isn't this the greatest entrance in opera history?)

The production of Wagner's Ring at the Bayreuth Festival is an event that takes place every six years. Bayreuth recordings of the complete cycle are rare; this is the second filmed version. The Kupfer/Barenboim Ring was performed over a five-year period and recorded at the conclusion when the "Bayreuth Workshop" had raised "the quality of the performance to an almost unsurpassable level" (Der Tagesspiegel).

The Cast Includes:

Das Rheingold
John Tomlinson Wotan · Bodo Brinkmann Donner
Kurt Schreibmayer Froh · Graham Clark Loge
Günter von Kannen Alberich · Helmut Pampuch Mime
Matthias Hölle Fasolt · Philip Kang Fafner
Linda Finnie Fricka · Eva Johansson Freia
Birgitta Svendén Erda · Hilde Leidland Woglinde
Annette Küttenbaum Wellgunde · Jane Turner Flosshilde

(And isn't this the greatest "exit"?)
Die Walküre
Poul Elming Siegmund · Nadine Secunde Sieglinde
Matthias Hölle Hunding · John Tomlinson Wotan
Anne Evans Brünnhilde · Linda Finnie Fricka/Siegrune
Eva Johansson Gerhilde · Ruth Floeren Ortlinde
Shirley Close Waltraute · Hitomi Katagiri Schwertleite
Eva-Maria Bundschuh Helmwige
Birgitta Svendén Grimgerde · Hebe Dijkstra Roßweiße

Siegfried
Siegfried Jerusalem Siegfried
John Tomlinson Der Wanderer
Günter von Kannen Alberich · Philip Kang Fafner
Graham Clark Mime · Anne Evans Brünnhilde
Birgitta Svendén Erda · Hilde Leidland Waldvogel

Götterdämmerung
Siegfried Jerusalem Siegfried
Bodo Brinkmann Gunther · Philip Kang Hagen
Günter von Kannen Alberich · Anne Evans Brünnhilde
Eva-Maria Bundschuh Gutrune
Waltraud Meier Waltraute · Birgitta Svendén 1. Norn
Linda Finnie 2. Norn · Uta Priew 3. Norn
Hilde Leidland Woglinde
Annette Küttenbaum Wellgunde
Jane Turner Flosshilde

Bonus Feature
Daniel Barenboim and John Tomlinson talk about the Harry Kupfer production of the "Ring" at Bayreuth in 1991 and 1992

Credits
Daniel Barenboim, Music Director
Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele
Staged and directed by Harry Kupfer
Stage design Hans Schavernoch
Costume design Reinhard Heinrich
Video director Horant H. Hohlfeld
Artistic supervision Wolfgang Wagner
A production of Unitel GmbH & Co., KG, Munich
© 1992, 1993 Unitel. Licensed to Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Music Group Company. Distributed in North America by Kultur International Films, Ltd., Inc.

Der Ring des Nibelungen
Street Date: October 25, 2011
SRP: $99.99
SKU: D4755
Run Time: 917 minutes
UPC: 032031475595
ISBN: 978-0-7697-9134-0
Territory: U.S. and Canada--Region 1
10:44:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Ferdinand Frantz "Wotan´s Farewell" - Moralt's Ring Cycle, 1949

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 | 8:22:00 pm

Perhaps one of the most underrated - or at least, least heard historic ring cycles of all time. I intend in the next few weeks - time permitting - to put a podcast together about this cycle. Keep an eye out.




Conductor: Rudolf Moralt,  Wiener Symphoniker
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The MET's Fabio Luisi - exactly who does he think he is?

Or at least who is he? A little background from the Wall Street Journal. As always, media added by the TW

By HEIDI WALESON

On Sept. 15, Fabio Luisi, 52, newly appointed principal conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, had his first meeting with the orchestra to read through a new work by John Harbison for their Oct. 16 Carnegie Hall concert. Wearing a polo shirt and jeans, Mr. Luisi, slim and bespectacled, politely prefaced corrections with "I suggest" and "May I ask a favor, please?" But he made sure to get the changes that he wanted, even if they required several repetitions. After 90 minutes of efficient but painstaking rehearsal, he let the musicians go—an hour early.

James Levine, the Met's music director, was originally scheduled to conduct, but his new back injury, sustained two weeks earlier, had the Met scrambling to replace him for the concert and, even more critically, for the new productions of "Don Giovanni" (opening Oct. 13) and "Siegfried" (Oct. 27). Mr. Luisi, already principal guest conductor, who stepped in for Mr. Levine several times in the past two seasons, was the obvious solution for "musical continuity going forward," says Peter Gelb, general manager of the Met. "Having Fabio available to do these productions provides a good and strong hand with the orchestra at a time when we need one."

Mr. Gelb characterizes the appointment as long term, with the new title symbolic of Mr. Luisi's more constant role in the house. He will also be sitting in on auditions and consulting on casting, guest conductors and repertoire. "He is very interested in everything that goes on here, and eager to be a bigger part of it," Mr. Gelb says. The conductor was already slated for several productions in each of the next few seasons (including "Manon" and "La Traviata" this spring); the Met is now trying to find still more time in his schedule. And should Mr. Levine be ultimately unable to continue in his role as music director, Mr. Gelb says, "we would be happy to have Fabio as the leading musician at the Met, with whatever title is appropriate at that time."

Mr. Luisi is used to packed opera-house schedules: He was general music director of the Dresden State Opera and its orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, from 2007 to 2010, and assumes that post at the Zurich Opera next fall. In Dresden, he relished the role, developing the profile of that German house through the setting of musical standards, repertoire choice, the introduction of contemporary music and the appointment of a composer in residence to help "establish a relationship between a composer and the audience." Mr. Luisi's standard repertoire interests are wide—Mozart, Strauss, Verdi and Wagner (he has conducted half a dozen "Ring" cycles); he also loves Massenet ("so warm-hearted"), Bellini and Handel. He doesn't conduct operas in languages that he does not understand, such as Russian, "because the words are as important as the music, and if I don't understand the words, it's like not being able to read notes. It's just sound without any meaning." With some Janáček projects on the horizon, he is now learning Czech
.
Overture The Marriage of Figaro Fabio Luisi Wiener Symphoniker

Mr. Luisi cares deeply about what happens on the stage as well as in the pit. His first week at the Met included staging rehearsals for "Don Giovanni" with director Michael Grandage. "The work together with the director that I am doing now is so beautiful, because you can really see it happening from tabula rasa, from nothing," he says. Together is the key word. "I can say, 'here the music says something differently,' or 'here the music gives you time to do something, and we have to see it, not only to hear it.' Like Strauss, Mozart gives a microcosm of life—joy, drama, reflection, anger, tragedy—in the music and the words, and these should be connected from the first bar. It's about going through the piece, bar by bar, scene by scene, and doing it together, helping each other to find the right character."

With his long career in Austrian and German opera houses, Mr. Luisi is experienced in the ways of director-driven theater. In his view, "a story needs to be told. You can tell a story in many different ways, but it should be that story, not a completely different one." When he found out that Hans Neunfels, a director whose aesthetic is antithetical to his, would be directing the 2010 "Lohengrin" in Bayreuth, he withdrew from the production.

Born in Genoa, Italy, and trained as a pianist, Mr. Luisi was at first oriented toward French repertoire. While studying in Paris, he began to work with singers, and decided to become a conductor. At 21, he went to Graz, Austria, to study with the conductor Milan Horvat. Mr. Luisi had scant knowledge of Mahler, Strauss, Bruckner and Wagner, since those great Austrian and German symphonists and opera composers wrote little or nothing for piano, and he spoke no German. He learned. "I could not have conducted such composers without living there and speaking the language." Mr. Luisi has held top posts at various European orchestras; he is currently chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony, with which he will tour the U.S. in November.

The clarity and vigor of Mr. Luisi's conducting were much in evidence in a fierce "Tosca" and an eloquent "Ariadne auf Naxos" in recent seasons at the Met. "I want to show the structure of the composition," he says. "Even if the score is complicated, like Strauss or Wagner, every line is a thought of the composer, and it's my job to make these thoughts understandable. Of course, everything comes together, and the result is structure, sound, and power sometimes, but what some people call 'the German Romantic sound,' because it is full and heavy, for me, this is just very bad tradition."

He also stresses the importance of being "a partner of the singers." "They have really a very hard job—standing there, singing everything by heart, in front of 3,000 people. I'm happy I don't see the people when I conduct. I think they need and deserve all the help we can give them." Leadership is not dictating, "but making them comfortable with my ideas."

Mr. Luisi has moved with his Bavarian wife and youngest son, 13, from Vienna to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and is delighted with the energy he feels in New York. "You can really smell and breathe it all the time, even when I take our dogs to the park at midnight. There's a feeling of wanting to be alive and be productive for oneself, family, neighbors and society. In Europe, the growing tendency is, 'I don't care, someone will provide.' Here, I feel the taking of responsibility. It's quite amazing for me—as an Italian, especially."
7:09:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

The Wagnerian at Twylah - help needed

As more observant readers may have noticed I am interested in the use of "social media" as a way of spreading Wagner related media. And with this aim I use a variety of said media - even when I am not that keen with all of it - such as Facebook and Google plus. However, I do like twitter, because it is quick, information can be spread easily and quickly and accommodates so called "media rich" content easily. The problem with Twitter however, is that not everyone is comfortable using it or even grasp how it works well enough to invest time in getting to know its intricacies. I have tried to address some of this using Ipaper, and while I think this has been somewhat successful, by its nature - and my time restrictions - it cannot cover every item of useful information to be found on Twitter.

With this in mind I was actually somewhat pleased to be invited to a beta test of Twylah. This is a short of twitter aggregater - come twitter homepage - of ones twitter account and tweets and retweets that is a lot more "user friendly" than twitter itself - especially for none twitter users. It also, organisies ones tweets by subject matter. Mine for example include: OPERA, WAGNER, PARSIFAL, BAYREUTH, TRISTAN, ETC.

Anyway, I am still testing it out at the moment but would be keen for feedback - especially as to whether it is of any use or not. 

If you get the time, please have a look by clicking below and letting me know:


    6:49:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

    The Lord of the Rings Music Video, Wagner's Ring Cycle

    The creator of this video has kindly contact me and pointed out this is part 1 of six. There is also a post on how and why he made it. For more go to Musings on humanity and existence

    I  found this on youtube and thought it odd enough to sit somewhere in this eclectic attic:


    Performance is by James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
    6:02:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

    Susan Graham: on leaving the Rodeo for Strauss and flirting with Kundry

    Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday, 24 September 2011 | 3:35:00 am

    Susan Graham grew up in New Mexico and Texas, in an extended family of ranchers, stunt pilots and rodeo-riders. One uncle, who pioneered the use of small planes in ranching, taught her his rule of life from the day she was able to walk.

    “I remember when I was three years old, he would stand me up on his lap, and hold me by the shoulders, and look right in my face and say, ‘You can do anything you set your mind to! Anything!’ ” she says, her relatively placeless American accent veering into a southwestern twang. “He told me that over and over again. It was typical of that whole culture I grew up in.”

    His advice, and her own talent and effort, have taken her to the world’s major opera houses, as one of the leading mezzo-sopranos of our time. For the next three weeks she stars as a confused priestess in a Canadian Opera Company production of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, but Graham has no doubt about how she came to be what she is.

    “New Mexico and Texas have almost everything to do with who I am and the kind of artist I am. There’s something about them that instilled in me a feeling of limitlessness, and the encouragement to aim high,” she says, referring both to the wide horizon and the region’s mixed culture. “The reason I went into opera in the first place was that it seemed impossible to me. You have to learn languages, master 400 years of musical style, create characters who may have lived hundreds of years ago. How could anybody do all that, and memorize all that, and sing for three hours and not collapse?”

    Those were her thoughts, more or less, as she sat in her high-school auditorium in Midland, Tex., absorbing the first opera she had ever seen: a touring production of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. She was 17, and had just landed the leading role in a high-school production of The Sound of Music.

    “Despina [in Cosi] captured my imagination, because she was funny, she got to sing Mozart, and she got to drink hot chocolate,” Graham said, letting out a big gurgling laugh. “Before that day, I didn’t know this kind of opera life existed.”

    Susan Graham - Thomas Hampson - Renée Fleming - Chat About Auditions

    Three decades later, she’s intimately acquainted with it, and with a variety of roles that include a few upon which she has made a mark like no one else alive. One of those is Octavian, in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier; another is Iphigénie. She has sung the latter in four different incarnations, including a realistic Stephen Wadsworth production at the Met last winter. Conceptually and visually, she says, that successful show was far from Canadian Robert Carsen’s stripped-down, open-ended production at the COC.

    “In this show, the dancers shoulder a lot of the storytelling,” Graham says. “The singers, in my feeling, enter the psychological world.”

    Gluck leaves ample room for both. The opera tells what happens after the title character is spirited away from her father Agamemnon’s sacrificial altar by the goddess Diana, who installs her on an island as a priestess in charge of sacrificing all outsiders. One of these is Iphigénie’s brother Oreste.

    “I’ve talked with Robert [Carsen] a lot about this” – this is their fourth revival together since the production debuted in Chicago in 2006 – “and our assumption is that Iphigénie is a classic case of arrested development,” Graham says. “She was ripped from her father, from her mother and brother, and there’s a certain amount of naïveté and trauma there. Many years later, she’s a grown woman, but with the sheltered sensibility of a young girl.”

    It’s an unstable state of mind, presented through music that Graham finds “very gratifying to sing. It feels like talking, sometimes, because the stories are so vivid. It’s like telling a very big story and speaking with grand emotions. And singing French is very comfortable for me; it feels good on the palate.”

    At 51, Graham is thinking carefully about her next moves in opera and as a concert singer, but says she’s far from scaling back. She has a challenging thematic recital program on the horizon (which she’ll sing at Toronto’s Koerner Hall on Jan. 28) and has taken a good look at the roles of the Marschallin (in Der Rosenkavalier) and even Kundry (in Wagner’s Parsifal).

    “I’ve flirted with the idea of Kundry, but I would have to do some very serious dating before I could commit,” she says. Serious dating would be several concert performances of those roles with an orchestra. She’d also like to work up a cabaret program, and do more operetta and musicals, including Kiss Me, Kate.

    Graham has a work home in New York, a partner in Los Angeles and a refuge in Santa Fe. She likes to hike in the hills there, eat the New Mexican take on Mexican cuisine, and play Debussy on her grand piano.

    “My scores and my gowns live in New York, and my heart and my peace live in New Mexico,” she says. Her uncle, the flying rancher, would have understood.

    3:35:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

    Deborah Voigt goes all Wagner: 2011

    Deborah Voigt launches her 2011-12 season on September 21 when she joins the New York Philharmonic in its season-opening gala in a performance to be broadcast live on public television's Live From Lincoln Center. Soon after, she makes much-anticipated role debuts as Brünnhilde in Wagner's Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, the final two installments of the Metropolitan Opera's new "Ring" cycle, directed by Robert Lepage. In spring 2012 Voigt will also sing Brünnhilde in performances of three complete Ring cycles at the Met. Among Voigt's other new season highlights are a Broadway concert at Washington National Opera; solo recitals in Mexico City, Fort Worth, TX, and Sydney, Australia; and concerts with the Montreal Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Throughout the season, Voigt will make further appearances as both performer and host in the "Met: Live in HD" series, including hosting duties at the Met's gala season-opening performance on September 26, which will be telecast live onto the Lincoln Center Plaza and in Times Square.

    Voigt's opening-night program with the New York Philharmonic features a signature aria, "Dich teure Halle," from Wagner's Tannhäuser, Barber's Andromache's Farewell, and the final scene from Richard Strauss's Salome. Voigt's recent performance with the orchestra featured what Concertonet.com described as an "absolutely frightening" performance of Schoenberg's Erwartung, noting that she sang "with strength, power, and an honest blatant truth. She could take the most arduous passages, crescendoing from lowest to highest notes with laughable ease. (Grisly laughable ease.) This Erwartung was neither monodrama nor short opera. It was an arousing experience in hysteria and delusions."

    Voigt introduced the role of Brünnhilde to her repertoire last season when she took on the title role in Wagner's Die Walküre at the Met. Reviewing for the New York Times, Anthony Tommasini wrote, "I have seldom heard the role sung with such rhythmic accuracy and verbal clarity. From the start, with those go-for-broke cries of ‘Hojotoho,' she sang every note honestly. She invested energy, feeling and character in every phrase." In New York Magazine, Justin Davidson noted, "Voigt gives Brünnhilde a steely joy." In addition to her staged Wagner performances this year, Voigt will also sing Brünnhilde's music, the famous "Immolation Scene" from the last act of Wagner's Götterdämmerung, in a winter concert with the Hamburg Symphony.




    Deborah Voigt's writing - both in 140 characters (or less) and in considerably longer form - has been acknowledged recently in the media. Known to Twitter fans as a "dramatic soprano and down-to-earth diva," Voigt was named "one of the top 25 cultural tweeters to follow" by the Los Angeles Times. In the spring, Harper Collins announced that Voigt is writing a memoir, which is scheduled for publication in 2013.

    Continue Reading

    Deborah Voigt: 2011-12 season

    Sep 21, 2011
    New York, NY
    Avery Fisher Hall
    New York Philharmonic opening-night gala
    Wagner: "Dich, teure Halle" from Tannhäuser
    Barber: Andromache's Farewell
    Strauss: Intermezzo, dance, and final scene from Salome

    Oct 27 & Nov 1, 5
    New York, NY
    Metropolitan Opera
    Wagner: Siegfried (new production; role debut: Brünnhilde)

    Jan 27, 31 & Feb 7, 11

    Continue Reading
    3:28:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

    Clifton Forbis: Tristan Teaches Dallas a thing or two

    Clifton Forbis, a world-renowned operatic tenor, has been appointed chair of the voice department in the Division of Music at Southern Methodist University’sMeadows School of the Arts, as of August 15, 2011. Forbis succeeds Joan Heller, who is retiring after 12 years at SMU.

    “Clifton Forbis has an international reputation in the opera field, and we are thrilled to have someone of his caliber and accomplishments as our new head of voice,” said José Bowen, dean of the Meadows School. “The fact that he is an alumnus of our program, having earned a master’s degree in vocal performance at Meadows in 1990, will make him even more of an inspiration to our students.”

    “The search that resulted in Clif Forbis attracted a large number of outstanding and highly qualified candidates from all over the U.S.,” said Sam Holland, director of the Meadows Division of Music. “But the stars seemed to align at his audition. He will maintain an active performance career under New York management and will carry the reputation of SMU with him throughout the world. This winter Dallas will hear Mr. Forbis as Tristan in the Dallas Opera’s February production of Wagner’s masterpieceTristan und Isolde. We’re delighted to welcome him to the Division of Music at SMU and back to Dallas.”


    A dramatic tenor, Forbis is internationally known as a performer of some of the most demanding tenor repertoire in opera and is a leading artist with the world’s major companies. He has performed the role of Siegmund in Wagner’s Die Walküre with the Metropolitan Opera, Canadian Opera Company, National Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Dallas Opera, among others; the role of Tristan in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at Opera Geneva, L’Opera Bastille in Paris, the Tokyo Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Samson in Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Dalila at the Metropolitan Opera, Bilbao Opera and San Francisco Opera; and the lead role in Verdi’s Otello with the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna Staatsoper, Chicago Symphony and Dallas Opera, to name just a few.

    In addition, Forbis has given numerous recitals and concerts throughout the U.S. and Europe. Highlights include a concert with Denyce Graves and the Fort Worth Symphony for the opening of the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, and performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Chicago Symphony and Boston Symphony, Stravinsky’s Les Noces with the San Francisco Symphony, and Britten’s War Requiem with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, among others. He has worked with dozens of the world’s best known conductors, including James Levine, Daniel Barenboim, Seiji Ozawa, James Conlon, Claudio Abbado and Sir Simon Rattle.

    Forbis attended William Jewell College in Missouri and earned his B.A. in vocal performance from Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., where he studied with Ted Wylie. He later attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, studying with Jack Coldiron, and then transferred to SMU to complete his Master of Music degree in vocal performance in 1990 as a student of Thomas Hayward. Two years later he completed the post-graduate program at the Juilliard School of Music Opera Center in New York, where his principal teacher was Marlena Malas. Since then his primary teachers have been Bill and Dixie Neill in New York; other coaches and teachers have included Nico Castel at the Metropolitan Opera, Ricardo Muti at Teatro alla Scala and Janine Rice at L’Opera Bastille.
    3:23:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

    Listen Now: The very first Parsifal, Hermann Winkelmann - Tannhauser - Stets soll nur dir (1905)!

    Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 | 4:08:00 am

    For those unfamiliar Winkelmann not only worked directly with Wagner but was Parsifal at its premiere. And, for anyone interested, I will have more of Winklemann, as Parsifal, in a future podcast

    4:08:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

    EMMY DESTINN / ERNST KRAUS - 1906 - Das süsse Lied verhallt - Lohengrin


    One of the wonders of Wagner recordings is to think that this was recorded so relatively soon after Wagner's death and that both of these artist retired just after the conclusion of the first world war.
    3:46:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

    Hermann Levi's Shame and Parsifal's Guilt - Laurence Dreyfus

    Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 20 September 2011 | 2:38:00 am

    Hermann Levi
    The following is the first few paragraphs of Laurence Dreyfus counter argument to the oft held revisionist notions that Parsifal  is really (and most importantly only) about Aryan supremacy and in essence highly antisemitic,  while Levi - as Wagner's friend and conductor of Pasifal's premier - should be seen as a "self hating Jew". Not only does he argue that these are over simplistic arguments but are essentialist to the extreme (I simplify highly and the argument is far more complex than this would suggest but I hope you get the gist). And don't worry, the title is ironic. The rest of this paper can be found by following the link below. There are five reasons for brining this to your attention:


    1 - It's well argued
    2 - It examines an argument one has been  heard far to often (e prominently in the work of Peter Gay and  Paul Lawrence
    Rose) with little coherent counterargument. It is also an argument highly insulting to Levi who rather than being a "self-hating Jew" is shown by Dreyfus to have "gained strength" from his Jewish heritage and been both proud of, and closely associated with, it.
    3 - The argument that Dreyfus counters is one that has begun to dominate new stage productions of Wagner's work - alas, especially at Bayreuth of late.
    4 - It is well written.
    5 - It is such a fine piece of Wagnerian research it would be a shame for it to remain "obscure"


    Before starting, it is worth noting that Dreyfus is at his academic "worse" and that this is an academic paper. Thus, he writes in that particular style so loved by academics - he will use six obscure sentences where one would have done (see Wagner for an example of this taken to its ultimate conclusion - and as an unintentional parody perhaps). However, this is prominent only in the opening few paragraphs. Stick with it if you not familiar with this style - it gets better and becomes wonderfully well written  - it is well worth the initial, but thankfully brief, effort. It should also be noted that Dreyfus is more that capable of writing highly engaging material for the general reader


    Hermann Levi's Shame and "Parsifal'"s Guilt - Laurence Dreyfus
    Originally published: Cambridge Opera Journal, Vol. 6, No. 2. (Jul., 1994), pp. 125-145.



    Two dissimilar subjects - Hermann Levi (1839-1900), a Jewish Wagnerian who conducted the Bayreuth premier of Parsifal, and Parsifal itself - can be seen in a critical discourse that binds them together in a paradoxical relationship. In accounts of both Levi and the opera he conducted, certain historians and critics
    have made a point of stripping away a supposed veneer of aesthetic deception in order to expose the raw underbelly of historical truth. In these revisionist readings, Levi's enthusiasm for Wagner and his music amounts to a shameful form of Jewish 'self-hatred', while Parsifal, far from espousing a message of
    compassion and redemption, propagates ideas of Aryan solidarity and racial supremacy. To advance these arguments is tantamount to claiming that moral and psychological categories such as shame and g d t are appropriate ways to describe a musician's life or the historical legacy of an opera; and these are views
    I find difficult to share. The slogan in my title should thus be understood as an ironic commentary, as well as a call to formulate the questions in a new way.Although I can only sketch the outlines of an alternative approach, I will suggest that critical accounts shaming Hermann Levi for his Wagnerism, and damning
    Parsifal for its anti-Semitism, are cut from the same cloth; they need to be revalued by a musicology that traffics in both an aesthetic understanding of art works and a critical assessment of the cultural framework in which this understanding is produced. What is remarkable in the accounts with which I take issue is the sneering tone with which writers often censure - from dubious moral high ground -what they take to be objectionable. Their basic flaw is essentialism, by which I mean the tendency to reduce and confine cultural and aesthetic representations to manifestations of a single identification, to one stylised essence. In the first case, the Munich court conductor Hermann Levi, son of the chief rabbi of Gienen and the conductor
    of Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival from 1882 to 1894, is filtered exclusively through the prism of his Jewish identity and then judged a shameful self-hater for having capitulated to one of Europe's most vocal anti-Semites. In the second case, the  opera Parsifal is reduced to a shadow-play for Wagner's racialist theories of
    regeneration, in which a de-Judaised Christian Brotherhood is called upon to cleanse its blood and to celebrate the symbolic annihilation of the Jews. The essence in this reading of Parsifal is ideology, a category understood as lying at the deepest layer of the work, assumed to provide the props and pull the strings. In both cases, a naive essentialism causes partial truths to eclipse the larger picture. Levi's life, in fact, was far too varied and productive to be reduced to whatever ambivalence he felt as a Jew, just as Parsifal is far too complex an opera to be whittled down to its putative political essence.

    The chief irony of this essentialism - quite apart from its suspicion of musical experience and its misunderstanding of what draws people to music - is that it mimics Richard Wagner's own, noxious essentialising of 'Jewish-ness' and  'German-ness'. Instead of repudiating a vulgar nineteenth-century anthropology in which political or social identities provide the key to the 'true story' or 'deep structure' of human experience, our neo-essentialists reinvent it. So, instead of  Wagner the ideologue holding forth on what is morally objectionable in the Jewish  influence on art, historians and critics in the late twentieth century pronounce on the morally objectionable in Wagner and his music. What is curiously covered up in this

    I am certainly not suggesting that issues of ideology or cultural identity need to be in any way neglected: they are far too important. But if one begins with an aesthetic sympathy for great works of art -rather than with a moralising ideological agenda - one can live both with plumbing their musical depths and with taking
    stock of their inevitable cultural and psychological baggage. Taking Hermann Levi and Wagner's P a r s e as a paired case study, I mean to suggest that biography and  criticism stand to gain when they weave together a number of narrative threads - even ideologically incompatible ones - without necessarily producing a unified
    fabric. Among the writers I am grouping together are Hartmut Zelinsky and Rolf Schneider in Germany, Peter Gay in the United States and Paul Lawrence Rose in Israel.' By and large these are historians and critics rather than musicologists; but their views have a certain resonance within musical scholarship today

    I begin with Herrnann Levi, about whom one story in particular figures in every account of the conductor's relationship with Wagner. Despite the importance of the event and its consequences, it is interesting to see how the story is used again and again as an emblem that collapses a complex human relationship into an exaggerated portrayal of Wagner's proto-fascistic sadism as well as Levi's ultimate capitulation
    to 'service and self-hatred'.

    The incident took place on 29 June 1881, the summer before the premiere of  Parsifal, when a letter arrived at Wahnfried demanding that Wagner 'keep his work pure and not allow a Jew to conduct it'. According to Levi's personal notes, as well as Cosima Wagner's diaries and correspondence, the letter -which does not survive - also raised suspicions of an amorous relationship between Levi and Cosima. Wagner asked Levi to read the letter, and queried him insensitively  about his silence; Levi left Bayreuth for Bamberg, apparently both insulted by Wagner's behaviour and troubled that the issue of his directorship should be questioned. In a note sent from Bamberg, Levi asked Wagner to relieve him of his conducting assignment. There followed a telegram from Wahnfried in which Wagner, without really apologising for his behaviour, assured Levi that 'you are my Parsifal conductor' while at the same time alluding obliquely to his hope that Levi might still want to
    consider converting to Christianity,that Parsifal, as Wagner put it, might 'perhaps . . . be a great turning point in your life'. Levi gives his own account of the story in a notebook he provided to the editor of the Bayretltber Bliitter shortly before his death, in connection with a planned publication of the Wagner-Levi correspondence. A copy (not in Levi's hand) of these notes is in the manuscript collection of the Nationalarchiv der Richard-
    Wagner-Stiftung at Bayre~th.~The editor of the correspondence, perhaps Hans von Wolzogen or possibly even Cosima Wagner herself, excised a number of important passages from the letters and printed only those remarks by Levi that were relevant to the printed passages in the letters. The editor also took the opportunity to contradict certain of Levi's reminiscences that he or she found inconvenient or implausible. For example, Levi's account of the Bayreuth episode ends with Wagner saying, When you return to Munich, give Herr . . . a slap in the face and tell him it comes from me. And thereafter the matter will be settled once and for all.' (Wenn Sie nach Miinchen zuriickkommen, geben Sie Herrn . . . eine Ohrfeige und sagen ihm sie komme von rnir. Und danach sei die Sache ein fiir alle Male abgethan.') 

    From this it seems that, even though the letter was not signed and hence was correctly termed 'anonymous', both Wagner and Levi guessed the identity of a man in Munich who had sent it. Neither Cosima nor Richard Wagner seem to have believed that the letter would make such a disturbing impression on Levi, and
    completely missed the fact that it was largely Wagner's humiliating behaviour in showing Levi the letter and connecting it with his intimations of disloyalty that so disconcerted the Capellmeister.
    Cosima's diaries report the incident in this way: Around lunchtime Richard] comes to me in a state of some excitement: 'Here's a nice letter.' I: 'Something bad?' 'Ph, you'll see.' I read it, am at first astonished, but then join in R.'s lively merriment. But when the letter is shown to the poor conductor, he cannot master
    his feelings, it seems that such instances of baseness are something new to him!

    The next day's entries mention 'poor friend Levi - who cannot recover his composure' and the fact that Wagner had sent the telegram to 'friend Levi', after which Cosima comments: 'Life, and people who expect something from it!' O n 2 July, following Levi's return to Wahnfried, everyone is seemingly restored to good
    spirits, and when Levi recounted his inspirational visit to the Bamberg Cathedral, Wagner, according to Cosima, 'indicates to Levi that he has been thinking of having him baptised and of accompanying him to Holy C~mmunion'.~I might also note that an added appeal in this story of humiliation was that Wagner is quoted as having used an obscenity which - despite the fact that it seemed to indicate he was on Levi's side -added yet another distasteful element to the narrative. However, whereas all references in the literature quote Wagner as
    saying that 'we are entirely at one in thinking that the whole world must be told about this shit', everyone had merely guessed that the German abbreviation 'Sch. . .'found in the edited letters printed in the Bqretltber Bliiter referred to 'S~heiCie'.~In fact, Wagner had written 'Schweinerei', which the priggish editor had struck out with an ellipsis. 'Schweinerei' in this context means something akin to a colloquial form of 'gross insult', an elocution by which Wagner meant to assure Levi that he (Wagner) gave no serious thought either to the rumour of Cosima's sexual impropriety with Levi or to the objection that Parsifal should not be conducted by a Jew. Whereas the former was true, we know that Wagner in fact took the second 'insult' seriously, as evidenced not only by his writings on the Jewish question but by his numerous attempts to persuade Levi to give up his Jewishness by a conversion of some kind. 

    2:38:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

    Tiroler Festspiele Erl, 2011: Mona Somm - "Geliebter komm"

    Tiroler Festspiele Erl, 2011
    Mona Somm - Venus
    Luis Chapa - Tannhäuser
    Gustav Kuhn - musikalische Leitung und Regie
    Lenka Radecky - Kostüme
    12:42:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

    Toscanini: Tristan und Isolde - Vorspiel

    NBC Symphony Orchestra
    12:29:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

    MET Ring 2011: Siegfried Meets Fritz Lang

    Peter Doig
    Leading contemporary artist Peter Doig will open Siegfried + Poster Project, a new exhibition inspired by Wagner's epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, at the Arnold & Marie Schwartz Gallery Met on September 27. The Scottish-born Doig is the third artist to create a Gallery Met show in conjunction with the Met's Robert Lepage-directed new production of the Ring cycle. Lepage's staging of Siegfried, in which the hero battles treacherous dwarves, a mysterious Wanderer, and the dragon Fafner to win the hand of the warrior maiden Brünnhilde, will premiere on October 27.

    Doig's work is celebrated for its vivid combinations of colors and gentle abstraction, which many critics and art lovers admire for its ability to idealize otherwise prosaic subjects. His best-known works are multi-layered landscapes, often depicting nostalgic scenes from unusual perspectives. He has been nominated for the Turner Prize, won the John Moores Foundation Prize, and has had solo exhibitions in New York, London, and throughout Europe.

    Siegfried + Poster Project contains four large-scale distemper posters with images of the opera's hero. One of Doig's sources of inspiration for these posters was the 1924 Fritz Lang film Die Nibelungen, a German Expressionist adaptation of the same source legends Wagner used as the foundation for the Ring. The style of the posters is similar to the weekly advertisements Doig paints for his studiofilmclub, a screening series the artist co-created to bring international cinema to his hometown of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

    In addition, one large-scale painting, Siegfried & Brünnhilde, will hang inside the opera house, at the top of the stairs to the Grand Tier. The painting depicts the climax of the opera, when the hero walks through a circle of fire to awaken the sleeping warrior maiden he is destined to love.
    "I was going to avoid the literal but in the end succumbed to Siegfried awakening Brünnhilde with a kiss. Listening to the music, which is so visual in so many ways, inspired me in this direction, and of course it is such a passionate scene," said Doig, who is well aware of the passionate attachment Ring lovers have to Wagner's masterwork. "I'm not by any means a Wagner person, so it's a real challenge to take it in and give it an interpretation. The Ring has got such a mystique about it, and history, and people become obsessed with it. Having listened so much recently whilst painting, I am beginning to understand why."

    Doig is the third contemporary artist Gallery Met Director Dodie Kazanjian has asked to create a Ring-themed exhibition. Last season, Gallery Met presented Julie Mehretu's Notations After the Ring and Elizabeth Peyton's Wagner.

    "What's so great when you get artists of this caliber-young, but also in their prime-is you see where their minds go in tackling a subject that maybe they haven't thought about before," Kazanjian said. "I've always admired Peter's work-his unique ability to convey a vivid narrative in such richly satisfying visual terms. It also interested me that he is so involved with film and film history, with his studiofilmclub."

    Gallery Met, located in the south lobby of the opera house, is open to the public Mondays through Fridays from 6 p.m. to the end of the last intermission and Saturdays from noon to the end of the evening performance's last intermission. Admission is free and no appointments are required. Gallery Met is closed on Sundays.

     For more infomation on the Met's contemporary visual arts initiatives, which are curated by Dodie Kazanjian, please visit www.metopera.org/gallerymet.

    Read more: Broadway World
    12:20:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

    80 members of the Bayerische Staatsoper say NO to Japan. The rest have their water airlrfted from Germany

    Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 19 September 2011 | 11:46:00 pm

    Berlin — Some 80 members of the Bavarian State Opera have refused to join its tour of Japan next Friday because of radiation concerns posed by the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, sources close to the Munich-based opera company said Saturday.

    The 400-member group, will replace the nonparticipating members with auxiliary members and other artists.

    Those who refuse to travel to Japan will be taking nonpaid holidays during the tour period, they said.

    The company,, will airlift drinking water from Germany to Japan, while radiation experts in Germany will accompany it on the Japanese tour to gauge radiation levels in the members' meals, they said.

    The planned opera tour is one of the events being organized to mark the 150th anniversary of the start of exchanges between Japan and Germany. The performances on the 18-day tour through Oct. 10 will include "Lohengrin" and "Ariadne auf Naxos"

    11:46:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

    The Wagnerian Podcast No 1: Siegfried Wagner & Richard Strauss conduct Tristan

    Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 18 September 2011 | 1:58:00 am

    "At lunch a dismal occurrence; Fidi (Siegfried) behaves badly toward his father; the dreadful thought that he might prove unworthy of him takes possession of me, and this thought, instead of being turned against myself in resigned acknowledgement of original sin, turns inside me against my child, and I hit him, so violently that it causes bruises." Cosima Wagner's Diaries: 22 July 1878

    Siegfried & Richard
    There is much, now public domain/copyright free, Wagner performances out there, yet oddly it is very difficult to hear much of it. The aim of these podcasts is an attempt to make some of this available. I might also include the odd interview or review - time and interest permitting.

    So with that in mind I thought the following might be of interest. In podcast one I include two historic recordings of the Vorspiel from Tristan und Isolde. First, you will hear Siegfried Wagner's recording of both the Vorspiel & Liebestod from 1926 (probably slightly less "lyrical" than many of Siegfrieds performances of his father's works). This is then followed by Richard Strauss conducting the Vorspiel alone in Berlin two years later in 1928. Given their ages, the recordings are of course well below modern recording standards but are, I think, "passable" nevertheless - but for Wagner "enthusiasts only.

    Wagnerian Podcast 1


    Siegfried Wagner: 

    The following description of Richard Strauss early complex relationship with Wagner is taken from Richard Strauss net and can be read in full there:


    “Lohengrin is a sweetish inanity“ … “the horn parts in Die Meistersinger are actually parts for the clarinet“ – Franz Joseph Strauss, Richard’s father and first hornist of the Munich Court Orchestra, scarcely missed an opportunity to inveigh against Richard Wagner’s music. His artistic creed centred on the “trinity of Mozart (above all), Haydn and Beethoven“. On the day after Wagner’s death he was the only member of the orchestra who refused to rise in commemoration of the deceased.

    Richard Strauss
    It is all the more surprising how soon Richard Strauss shook off the hatred of Wagner he had inherited from his father. Statements like the following one, after a performance of Siegfried, were rapidly to become a thing of the past: “The introductory passage is a long-drawn-out drum-roll with the bass tuba and bassoons roaring out deep notes so stupidly that I couldn’t help laughing … not a trace of coherent melody … and again the initial roar … utter chaos, I would say.”

    Strauss eagerly imbibed the “poison”, as his father used to call it, clandestinely at first in order to avoid scandal in the family, then quite openly, particularly when voicing his enthusiasm about Tristan, the “most splendorous belcanto opera” (Strauss in 1886 after a rehearsal in Bologna). 

    As early as 1882, his father most reluctantly decided to reward Richard for having successfully completed grammar school by taking him along to Bayreuth for a performance of Parsifal. When he encountered Maestro Wagner in person, however, Richard simply dared not address him – a missed opportunity.

    Strauss’ early compositions clearly show how much he was already under Wagner’s spell. His actual
    involvement with Bayreuth, however, only came about at a later date: Hans von Bülow, a disciple of
    Liszt’s and Cosima Wagner’s first husband, mediated Strauss’ appointment as musical director at Meiningen. Bülow’s later dictum, “Wagner is Richard I, there is no Richard II, so Strauss is Richard III”, was soon to become legend.

    1:58:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

    Listen now: John Caird discusses WNO new Don Giovanni plus production images

    Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday, 17 September 2011 | 9:59:00 pm

    John Caird, Director of WNO's Don Giovanni appeared on In Tune on Radio 3 on the 14. You can still listen to this for the next few days on demand. Plus, I thought I might add a few production photos. Click below to listen to the In tune Program. For more details on this production (and the Dons fascination for Wagner) click here



    All images: Richard H Smith/WNO














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    A Q&A with Sir John Tomlinson

    The Arts Desk publishes the first part of an interview with John Tomlinson today - part of which can be found below.


    Q&A Special: Bass Sir John Tomlinson, Pt 1Servants and gods, priests and cobblers - all are grist to the mega-bass's mill

    Next week Sir John Tomlinson (b 1946), renowned mega-bass and routine frequenter of the Covent Garden stage, appears in concert at the Windsor Festival. It is a picturesque halt on a career that sees him circling the world's greatest opera houses in the most epic roles in opera. As is typical of this far from typical singer, the concert is huge in its range, encompassing Mozart, Verdi and Wagner, its lyrical portrayals ranging from servants to gods, from priests to cobblers, human conditions of every shade from ruthless to kind.

    In the first of two interview features this weekend – and fresh from a Roman holiday - the legendary voice (and lungs) behind such roles as Wotan, King Philip and Sarastro talks to theartsdesk about performing sleaze in the Chapel Royal, the ecstatic misery of old men, and why the Ring cycle is just like real life.

    ASH SMYTH: Sir John, tell us about the programme for the Windsor concert.

    SIR JOHN TOMLINSON: Well, it’s a selection of arias from major works, all very familiar, by Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, and Wagner, along with the overtures to those operas. I’ll be doing arias sung by Sarastro, Banco [Banquo], Wotan, Hans Sachs, Don Basilio and Leporello.

    That’s an eclectic list: Don Giovanni’s list of conquests next to Wotan’s farewell.

    Yes! When the programme was decided I had no idea that the concert was going to be in a chapel. This is one of three concerts, you see. We’re doing it in Leicester, and we’re also doing it to open the new theatre in Canterbury. It never occurred to me it would be in a chapel… I’m only just thinking about it as we speak! We’ll just have to do Leporello’s aria in an ecclesiastical kind of way.

    The thousand-and-three women?

    Ha. Yeah. I’m sure it’ll be fine… It’s a religious setting, but it’s not a religious event.

    And it’s an entirely secular repertoire, isn’t it?

    That’s right. I mean, “La Calunnia” from The Barber of Seville is also an aria about sleaze, basically. It’s all the stuff that’s happening in the newspapers, all this sordid stuff. [He gestures across the table at his paper.] Today it’s Osborne’s relationship with a dominatrix – and this is the Independent! I’m sure it’s a load of nonsense. It happened 20 years ago, and it’s completely irrelevant; but the papers, of course, make an incredible meal of these things: and that’s what the aria is about. Calumny, slander: the best way to destroy someone is to get a little rumour going… Some things never change, do they? And sleaze never changes.

    So here’s Basilio explaining to Dr Bartolo how to destroy Count Almaviva, his rival in love. You start with these little rumours, and then it builds up into this torrent of sleaze, in which he’s completely drowned, and then you trample all over him and he gets hounded out of town.

    Is this just Rossini enjoying the excuse to chuck in all the smutty references?

    Yes. But also, of course, it’s a perfect vehicle for the “Rossini crescendo”. It starts off with these little whispers in the bushes and grows into this great tempest at the end.

    What else?

    Well, we have Sarastro’s aria, “In diesen heil’gen Hallen” – that’s very straightforward. And then there’s Banco, from Verdi’s Macbeth, a wonderful flowing aria. That’s a scene that’s not in the Shakespeare play: the scene of the murder itself. There’s the murderers’ chorus, and there’s Banco, sensing his final moments. And the witches’ tunes from Act III. I love that opera.

    And then we get stuck into the Wagner?

    Yes, then we have Hans Sachs, from Meistersinger. He’s a shoemaker, in 1542 in Nuremberg – he actually existed, he was a poet and a composer, and his poetry still exists. A young musician has come along, and so Sachs is feeling his age: this new music he’s hearing is making his music sound tired and old. There’s a young woman involved, with whom Sachs is basically in love, and she loves him, too; but this young guy comes along and Sachs resolves to help the two young people get together, at his own cost. Because, y’know, it’s far better for the next generation to do things and for him to just abdicate than for him to press his claim to her. He’s accepting his own age, but he’s not giving up: he’s saying I’m going to make it work for those two.

    Wotan’s a very creative, calculating, political figure, in a sense. And he’s incredibly emotional, too

    Which just leaves Wotan.

    Wotan’s farewell, a very famous scene. In a curious way, it’s similar, actually, to Hans Sachs. It’s Wotan saying farewell to his daughter Brünnhilde. He’s putting her on a mountaintop, surrounded by fire, so that she can only be discovered by a great hero, who happens to be Wotan’s grandson, Siegfried. It’s a very clever plot. Wotan’s a very creative, calculating, political figure, in a sense. And he’s incredibly emotional, too: he goes from the depths of depression to the heights of ecstasy, and this is a mixture of the two.

    He’s ecstatic because his plans are working out, he’s created these free people, of whom Siegfried will be the ultimate one, people who are against himself. Wotan’s a god, and the gods represent rules and ethics and morals, structures, disciplines: how to organise society, basically, how the world is organised. He binds himself in with all these rules and then finds he cannot actually do anything. So he creates these completely free anarchists on earth, people who hate the gods, who are just natural creatures, who live totally naturally without any rules at all – and they are going to be able to do the thing which he cannot do, because of his contracts and agreements, which is to get the ring back to the Rhine, where it needs to be. And it so happens that Siegfried will be the only one who can penetrate this fire and get through to Brünnhilde, and together they will basically rescue the world from the ring.

    So this is his fantastic plan, but at the same time Wotan will never see her again, because she’s no longer a god, she’s become mortal. He’s finished, he’s basically dead, because the young Siegfried is gonna finish him off. So, it’s to do with his own end, his dying, his farewell from his daughter. Wotan can never become a real human, and enjoy human life: he’s going to die up in Valhalla, in this castle, locked away and burned to death with all the other gods. So it’s this wonderful mixture of ecstasy and acceptance of death, really.

    7:36:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

    Listen Now: Tristan und Isolde, Bayreuth 1928

    Not complete but there is over two hours here.

    Act 1


    Act 2

    Act 3

    Cast:




    Gunnar Graarud -- Tristan

    Ivar Andresen -- Marke

    Nanny Larsén-Todsen -- Isolde
    Rudolf Bockelmann -- Kurwenal
    Joachim Sattler -- Melot
    Anny Helm -- Brangäne
    Ivar Andresen -- Marke
    Gustav Rödin -- Junger Seemann
    Hans Beer -- Ein Hirt
    Franz Meyer -- Ein Steuermann
    Karl Elmendorff Chor & Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele1928
    12:20:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

    ROH Ring Cycle 2012: Full Cast

    Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 16 September 2011 | 8:42:00 pm

    Sorry, been meaning to update this since last week.  But then, little I didn't already tell you about months ago. By the way, should you be interested in going, the seats to the entire cycle well set you back around £1000 per cycle for a decent view.

    Das Rheingold



    Conductor -Antonio Pappano

    Wotan - Bryn Terfel

    Donner - Peter Coleman-Wright

    Froh - Andrew Rees

    Loge - Stig Andersen

    Fasolt - Iain Paterson

    Fafner - Eric Halfvarson

    Alberich - Wolfgang Koch

    Mime - Gerhard Siegel

    Fricka -Sarah Connolly

     Freia - Ann Petersen

    Erda - Maria Radner

    Woglinde - Nadine Livingstone

    Wellgunde - Kai Rüütel§

    Flosshilde - Harriet Williams


    Die Walküre



    Conductor - Antonio Pappano

    Siegmund - Simon O'Neill

    Sieglinde - Eva-Maria Westbroek

    Hunding - John Tomlinson

    Wotan - Bryn Terfel

    Brünnhilde - Susan Bullock

    Fricka - Sarah Connolly

    Gerhilde - Alwyn Mellor

    Ortlinde - Katherine Broderick

    Waltraute - Karen Cargill

    Schwertleite - Anna Burford

    Helmwige - Elisabeth Meister§

    Siegrune - Sarah Castle

    Grimgerde- Clare Shearer

    Rossweisse - Madeleine Shaw

    Siegfried



    Conductor- Antonio Pappano

    Siegfried - Stefan Vinke

    Mime - Gerhard Siegel
    Wanderer (Wotan) - Bryn Terfel

    Alberich - Wolfgang Koch

    Fafner - Eric Halfvarson

    Woodbird - Sophie Bevan

    Erda - Maria Radner

    Brünnhilde - Susan Bullock



    Götterdämmerung


    Conductor- Antonio Pappano


    First Norn  - Maria Radner

    Second Norn - Karen Cargill

    Third Norn -Elisabeth Meister

    Brünnhilde - Susan Bullock

    Siegfried - Stefan Vinke
    Gunther - Peter Coleman-Wright

    Hagen - John Tomlinson

    Gutrune - Rachel Willis-Sørensen

    Waltraute - Mihoko Fujimura

    Alberich - Wolfgang Koch

    Woglinde - Nadine Livingstone

    Wellgunde - Kai Rüütel§

    Flosshilde - Harriet Williams

    8:42:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

    Another Wagner Book: Richard Wagner's Women

    Yes, I know, thee are a lot of books on Wagner. Whether this will be as interesting and as well written as Jane Glover's Mozart's Women remains to be seen - although given the centrality of women in both Wagner's life and work it should at least prove interesting. When I get round to reading it I will try and let you know.


    From the Publisher:

    Richard Wagner's music contains some of the most powerful portrayals of emotions in all opera, particularly love. Eva Rieger presents a new picture of the composer, showing how the women at his side inspired him and how closely his life and art intertwined.

    We follow Wagner's restless hunt for the 'ideal woman', her appointed task being to give him shelter, warmth, inspiration, adventure and redemption, all in one. He could hardly have desired anything more contradictory, and this is reflected in the female characters of his operas. They are all in some way torn, faltering between their own desire for self-realization and the societal constraints that impel them to sacrifice themselves for their men.

    Rieger bids farewell to essentialist, naturalized notions of femininity and masculinity. Her investigations are both comprehensive and convincing, for she avoids the pitfalls of imposing extraneous interpretation, instead focussing keenly on the music itself.

    EVA RIEGER is Professor Emeritus in Historical Musicology at the University of Bremen and lives in the principality of Liechtenstein.

    Details

    13 Digit ISBN: 9781843836858Pages: 248
    Size: 23.4 x 15.6
    Binding: Hardback
    Imprint: Boydell Press
    Subject: Music
    BIC Class: AV

    Contents
    1 Prelude
    2 '...the world as yet has no notion of it': Wagner's Musical Language
    3 From Rienzi to Der fliegende Holländer
    4 'The glitter of a high-class brothel': Tannhäuser
    5 'Take all that I am!':Lohengrin
    6 Sexual Promise and the Womanly Redeemer:Tristan und Isolde
    7 Mathilde, the 'dear muse': Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
    8 The Ring of the Nibelung: Genesis and Prelude - The Ring I
    9 Wotan and the Valkyrie -The Ring II
    10 Siegfried and Women -The Ring III
    11 Götterdämmerung -The Ring IV
    12 Between Eva and Kundry: '...no woman at my side!'
    13 '...the suffering of love's seduction': Kundry and Parsifal
    14 Postlude
    7:40:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

    Zubin Mehta receives Furtwängler Prize

    Mehta is interviewed by Anastassia Boutsko over at dw-world.de

    Zubin Mehta has joined the ranks of Kurt Masur and Kent Nagano in receiving the coveted Furtwängler Prize at Bonn's prestigious Beethovenfest.

    Zubin Mehta is considered one of the world's leading musicians. Originally from Mumbai, India, the conductor has led orchestras and opera houses around the world since the 1960s - from Tel Aviv to Munich to Los Angeles. Mehta has a particular connection with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which has made him "conductor for life."

    But despite all his success, Mehta has never lost track of his commitment to social issues. He is involved in music education for children in India and Israel and gives benefit concerts - most recently for victims of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. Mehta has thus received the Furtwängler Prize "due to dedication both to music and social issues," said Beethovenfest director Ilona Schmiel.

    On Sunday, Deutsche Welle spoke with the conductor about his choice of home in Israel, his affinity to German composer Wilhelm Furtwängler and recent events in London, where pro-Palestinian demonstrations disrupted his concert.

    Deutsche Welle: Today is September 11 - a day which one hopes will remain peaceful and free of catastrophe.

    Zubin Mehta: I am not a fatalist. I think positively. Nothing will happen. Thousands of concerts will take place around the world. Peace will reign during this time, and all that peace counts a great deal. One must never underestimate the power of music.

    You are receiving the Furtwängler prize today.

    That is a huge honor. I don't think it's necessary to give me a special award, however. I am a musician, I make music with my favorite orchestra, and that's enough for me. Each concert is an award and a gift to me. That's enough.

    Conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1948

    What does Furtwängler mean to you as an artist?

    I grew up with Furtwängler and his albums in India. My father - who was a violinist and founded the orchestra in Mumbai - rented a hall in 1953 and invited a group of people to get together. No one knew why. And then we listened to a recording of "Tristan und Isolde," conducted by Furtwängler. We had no idea what "Tristan und Isolde" was; we did not have the score, nor the text. But we listened and were swept away - by the music alone, since we couldn't understand the rest. And we did not understand, but felt the Wagner Revolution.

    You have chosen Israel as your home. There, whole generations have grown up knowing Wagner only from listening to recordings…

    That's not quite correct. Israeli radio - and that is public radio - has always played Wagner. Wagner is also taught at music conservatories. That all began when I dared to perform Wagner in 1981 - as an encore after a concert. But it wasn't a success back then. I played it through - the orchestra went along with me, but the following day, all the opponents came at me in full force.

    Another Israeli orchestra recently played Wagner in Bayreuth. But the musicians hadn't even rehearsed the music on Israeli territory - the rehearsals took place in Bayreuth.

    I don't agree with that. I told the conductor, my friend Roberto Paternostro: "If you really want to play Wagner now at long last, which I wholeheartedly support, then play him in Israel. Don't do it secretly abroad." That seems sanctimonious to me.

    You have called the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra your "favorite orchestra." You have been working with it for an unbelievable 50 years - first as a musician, through to being named "principal conductor for life." How has such huge love developed?

    I'm a kind of father figure, both musically and outside of music. Also because I have meanwhile selected all of the musicians (democratically, of course, with the orchestra council). Speaking egotistically: the orchestra carries my signature, whether one loves that or not.

    You were born in Mumbai, trained in Vienna, you live at times in Los Angeles and Florence, and you say you've been adopted by Israel. Where is your true home?

    Somehow, everywhere. But no, India is home, no doubt about it. When I land in Mumbai, I feel like I'm coming home. But I also feel at home in Tel Aviv and Los Angeles, in the United States in general, where I have played music for the past 30 years and have learned a lot.

    Florence also adopted me over 25 years ago, and now I have a festival in Valencia each summer. So it's a triangle between Los Angeles, Israel and Florence.

    You have called the Israel Philharmonic a "brave orchestra." And the orchestra's courage is repeatedly put to the test, such as recently at the Proms in London, where your concert was disrupted by demonstrating pro-Palestinian groups and the broadcast at the BBC had to be interrupted.

    Yes, that was pretty shocking. But we remained dignified and silent on stage. We played the entire first piece - Anton Webern's "Passacaglia," which is hard to concentrate on, but we did not relent. The piece lasts 10 to 12 minutes. But when the first group had been thrown out, the next groups were right there and they disrupted things four times after that! They had bought all the tickets and, from their point of view, had organized it all very well. But the audience in Royal Albert Hall - and that's 6,000 people! - they yelled back. Even if I personally feel a Palestine should exist: that's not the way to demand it. It's self-defeating and counter-productive.

    You visited Israel in 1961 and conducted the orchestra. When you look back over the years - a half century, one must stress - and compare things, are you now more hopeful for a peaceful solution than back then, or less so?

    Back then, Israel was in a stronger position both psychologically and morally around the world. Also after the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War - during these wars, Israel was attacked from all sides! A kind of "status quo" mentality now reigns in Israel these days; each side - the Palestinian and the Israeli - waits for the other to give in first. That's a "macho" stance that has a lot to do with vanity. People have to just sit down and really talk, without placing demands. Just sit down at the table and talk until a solution is found.

    Do you think women could be better negotiators in that regard?
    Why not? You have a wonderful woman here leading the nation in Germany. We had Ms. Ghandi in India. That's not a bad idea!


    You were general music director of the Bavarian State Opera for eight years, from 1998 to 2006. You left your post to have more spare time, you said. Do you have more leisure time now?

    Ask my wife that question! No, I don't. But I spent eight very happy years at the Bavarian State Opera, and the year after next, a dream will come true for me: I will go to Munich for three weeks and conduct all the orchestras there - the Bavarian State Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. I'm really looking forward to it because I love the city.

    Source and more here
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    It never rains but it pours: Bayreuth loses $1.4 million sponsorship deal

    Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 12 September 2011 | 6:35:00 pm

    Lets be honest, things have not been going well up at the Green Hill of late:


    State arts sponsor's critical reports on how tickets are distributed, possible legal investigations into alleged ticket fraud, truly terrible reviews for the new Tannhäuser  (with seats remaining empty) and now to add insult to injury Bayreuth loses its major commercial sponsor. What would Richard say? Answers on a twitter to: @TheWagnerian

    Siemens ends Bayreuth Festival sponsorship

    German engineering giant Siemens said Wednesday it was ending its partnership with the Bayreuth Festival of which it was one of the main sponsors.

    The prestigious festival dedicated to the works of Richard Wagner takes place in the southern town of Bayreuth, the composer's spiritual home, each year.

    Siemens became involved four years ago hosting public screenings of performances which were also broadcast on the Internet on "Siemens Festival Night".

    A company spokesman said the events had enjoyed success but "the baby has grown up and learned to walk on its own, and now we wish to pursue other projects".

    The contribution of Siemens, the festival's main financial sponsor along with German car maker Audi, stands at just less than one million euros ($1.4 million) a year.

    Festival directors, Wagner's great-granddaughters Katharina Wagner, 32, and her half-sister Eva Wagner-Pasquier, 65, "were informed of our decision several months ago", the spokesman said.

    The organisers could not be contacted for comment.

    6:35:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More