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Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 30 May 2012 | 10:08:00 pm

As regular readers will be aware, I have a weakness  for social media and with that in mind have created a linkedin profile. Should you be a user you can find me by clicking the link below.

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Wagner Society of Israel to break 74 year boycott against Wagner's works.

For those that don't follow The Wagnerian on Twitter or Facebook: the Wagner Society of Israel (yes, there is such a thing although only founded two years or so ago ) will break the boycott of Wagner's music that has been in place in Israel since 1938, when the Eretz Yisrael Symphony Orchestra stopped performing his music. They will circumnavigate the boycott (which is not an official ban)  by the use of a private orchestra put together especially for the event

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Opera Australia's Don Giovanni, La Traviata, Turandot in cinemas UK & Ireland. 2012-2013

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 28 May 2012 | 2:08:00 pm

“Is it possible to find anything more perfect than every piece in ‘Don Giovanni’? Richard Wagner: Oper und Drama

"Oh, how doubly dear and above all honour is Mozart to me that it was not possible for him to invent music for ‘Tito’ like that of ‘Don Giovanni,’ for ‘Cosi fan tutte’ like that of ‘Figaro’! How shamefully would it have desecrated music!" Richard Wagner: Oper und Drama

This year, Opera Australia will broadcast, for the first time, their CinemaLive opera relay in cinemas in  the UK and Ireland. Included will be their rather fine production of Don Giovanni. Below, is a full list of all operas in the season, the release from Opera Australia plus participating cinemas. I will attempt to provide international dates shortly. Alas, as yet, no news as to whether the Melbourne Ring will be broadcast next year.
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Jonas Kaufmann: First ROH now Wigmore Hall and Royal Albert Hall concerts canceled

Which might explain his need to clarify that he was lip syncing last week. 

While the Wigmore Hall appearance is simply canceled, the Royal Albert Hall concert will still go ahead but now only with Anna Netrebko and Erwin Schrott.

Alas, no updates from Kaufmann himself but as this has now gone on for a little while we wish him a speedy recovery.

This of course is further to his announcement that he has withdrawn from  Les Troyens for the ROH where Bryan Hymel steps in.

It should be noted, that when this was canceled two days ago Kaufmann said:

“I am deeply sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment caused to my audience, and to The Royal Opera House. I hope my decision will be respected as an act of responsibility towards myself and the audience. I am particularly sad to not be able to participate in the new production of Les Troyens, a project I have been looking forward to for many years”.

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Jonas Kaufmann : Lip Syncgate - the truth

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 27 May 2012 | 5:38:00 pm

Jonas Kaufmann has had, for some reason or other, to clarify that he was lip syncing at the Allianz Arena on Saturday. He said afterwards:

Tape shown not used by Jonas K
"To avoid any further misunderstandings: I did not sing, but rather lip-synched to a prerecorded tape.Had the promoters insisted on my singing live there, of course I would have cancelled that appearance as well. At the CLF I just had to stand there and mime for five minutes."

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Jonas Kaufmann's first performance since pulling from the MET - listen here

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday 24 May 2012 | 1:05:00 pm

As we received a lot of emails concerned about his health we thought we might put your worries to rest. Recorded 19th may 2012, it premieres his performance of the new UEFA Champions League Anthem. Alas, it is neither Wagner, Verdi or for that matter Baddiel, Skinner & The Lightning Seeds's "Three Lions". But in its defense it is at least not Fat Les' "Vindaloo" .

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NZSO Concert peformance of Walkure: July 2012.

Press release as received although unsure why anyone would want to translate the name:

Never before has the momentous Wagner opera The Valkyrie (Die Walküre) been performed in concert with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
An international stellar cast of singers and full symphony orchestra, featuring more than 100 musicians, will join forces this July to bring you the ground-breaking music of Richard Wagner’s epic music drama – The Valkyrie (Die Walküre). 
Full of love, abandonment, infidelity, and incest, The Valkyrie is the second of four operas that form the cycle The Ring of the Nibelung (Der Ring des Nibelungen).

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Melba Recordings release 2 disc highlight set of the Adelaide 2004 Ring Cycle

Available as an MP3 or Flac download (other formats available)  but to be followed by a full 2 SACD set in June. It might provide a good, and inexpensive,  taster to what is still a very expensive full Ring Cycle (£50 per drama) - especially with the entire Bohm Ring now available at less than half that or the  Solti now selling at around £79. It is however, a full SACD release and it is  also pleasing to see a company release downloads in better formats than MP3.  Cast below, more details and samples available by visiting their site.

More information:  Melba Recordings
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Scottish Opera announce new production of The Flying Dutchman.

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 23 May 2012 | 4:19:00 pm

Scottish Opera is to mark its 50th anniversary season with four full operas in a programme consisting of 11 productions, playing 133 performances in 63 venues. More details below. 

But of special interest to us, is the announcement that they will be marking Wagner's bicentennial year with their first Wagner opera since 2003. 2013 will see them premiere a new production of Der fliegende Holländer directed by Harry Fehr, conducted by Francesco Corti and featuring Peteris Eglitis as the Dutchman and Rachel Nicholls as Senta (full cast list below) Peteris Eglitis is no doubt familiar to regular readers while Rachel may be less so. For those unaware, Rachel has a long established career in the baroque repertoire but this year marks her first major Wagner role when she makes her debut in Longborough Opera's new production of Gotterdammerung - as Brunnhilde. The Wagnerian interviewed Rachel earlier this year and this can be found here.

Official announcement from Scottish opera:

We’re marking our 50th anniversary season with eleven major shows, including eight new productions, four world premieres, five collaborations and 133 performances in 63 venues.

General Director Alex Reedijk said, ‘This is a momentous year for Scottish Opera; for 50 years the Company has been dedicated to bringing imaginative opera productions to the very doorsteps of the people of Scotland. This anniversary season celebrates our unique position in the world of opera, with a powerful combination of high quality opera, new productions, nationwide touring, world premieres of newly commissioned operas and successful education initiatives.’

In a season of new productions, highlights include director Sir Thomas Allen and designer Simon Higlett returning to the Company to stage Mozart’s The Magic Flute, following their successes with The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville. Massenet’s Werther comes to the Scottish stage for the first time since 1986 with world-renowned Hungarian mezzo Viktoria Vizin and acclaimed American tenor Jonathan Boyd in the lead roles. Marking 200 years since Wagner’s birth, Harry Fehr directs The Flying Dutchman, with baritone Peteris Eglitis as The Dutchman. And Scottish Opera joins with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company – returning to the stage for the first time in over a decade – in a new co-production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, conducted by D’Oyly Carte Music Director John Owen Edwards, with Martin Lloyd-Evans directing.

We’re also delighted to be presenting four new operas, three of which are world premieres, at the Edinburgh International Festival. This is the culmination of a five year programme to develop the skills in Scotland to create new opera, Five:15 – Opera’s Made In Scotland. The Lady from the Sea with music by Craig Armstrong and Zoe Strachan is a co-production with Edinburgh International Festival. Clemency reunites composer James MacMillan and poet Michael Symmons Roberts in a co-production with ROH2 that was first presented in London in 2011. A double bill, co-commissioned and co-produced with Music Theatre Wales, features In the Locked Room which teams composer Huw Watkins and librettist David Harsent, and Ghost Patrol, which sees composer Stuart MacRae and crime-writer Louise Welsh coming together.

Celebrations begin on 5 June 2012 as we mark the anniversary of our first performance with a concert of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at Glasgow’s City Halls. Conducted by Music Director Francesco Corti, and featuring The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and chorus, it stars Italian soprano Antonia Cifrone and tenor Francesco Anile.

It’s a season of anniverseries, as well as commemorating our own 50th and marking the 200 years since Wagner’s birth, we join the celebrations of two other great composers. A new production of La Traviata directed by Annilese Miskimmon marks the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth. Our eighth annual collaboration with The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland marks Britten’s Centenary with a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed by student singers and accompanied by The Orchestra of Scottish Opera. The Orchestra of Scottish Opera take centre stage in their regular St Andrew’s in the Square series of concerts, as well as a special concert at Paisley Abbey celebrating the building’s 850th anniversary in 2013.

Scottish Opera's commitment to building new audiences continues with an extensive programme of free events for 2012/13, including Opera Unwrapped, hour-long tasters of mainstage productions, and A Little Bit of..., lively 20-minute versions of The Magic Flute and The Pirates of Penzance. And three new young singers join the Company’s Emerging Artists programme, mezzo-soprano Katie Grosset, tenor Rónan Busfield and baritone Andrew McTaggart.

The company's education and outreach activities continue. Alongside long-running core activities such as touring to Scotland’s primary schools, there are new initiatives. Last season's successful BabyO is joined by its bigger sibling SensoryO, a new interactive show for toddlers of 18 to 36 months. The autumn sees a further world premiere, in the form of children’s opera The Elephant Angel, by composer-in-residence Gareth Williams, who is working with writer Bernard MacLaverty.

The Flying Dutchman - Cast

Francesco Corti

Harry Fehr

Tom Scutt

James Farncombe

Scott Wilde

Rachel Nicholls

The Dutchman
Peteris Eglitis

Julian Gavin

Sarah Pring

Nicky Spence


Theatre Royal, 282 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 3QA
Thu 4 Apr 7.15pmSat 6 Apr 7.15pmTue 9 Apr 7.15pm

Festival Theatre, 13–29 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9FT

Sat 13 Apr 7.15pmTue 16 Apr 7.15pmFri 19 Apr 7.15pm
Free events
Flying Dutchman Unwrapped Fri 5 Apr 6.00pm
Pre-show talkSat 6 Apr 6.00pm.
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Melbourne Ring Cycle: Tickets now on sale

Opera Australia have begun selling tickets for the Melbourne 2013 Ring Cycle.

Cheapest seat for a full Ring Cycle are (in sterling) £620 and £1200 for the best seats.

Details and booking here
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A video interview with Ben Heppner: WNO's Tristan & Isolde

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday 22 May 2012 | 9:56:00 pm

Ben Heppner talks about his performance of Tristan for WNO - which critics have described  as an "heartening return to form". I have also included, an "audience reaction" video of the production from WNO below. This is probably of interest more for the brief video clips of the production itself than anything else - and the odd snippet of Goodall's Tristan.
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The Flying Dutchman: The Movie - Julie Taymor to direct. What might it be like?

It's not often that the Wagnerian feels fear - you get tough over the years when people find you like Wagner. However, today's announcement that Julie Taymor is to adapt The Dutchman (working title: "Riders On The Storm") as a movie, has left me with a strange sense that there is a potential cloud of doom hanging around a cinema near you at some time in the future - and it might not just be that arising from a rather depressed Dane.

Now oddly, this is not because of Taymor's involvement, for there have been a number of her productions and movie adaptations that I have enjoyed greatly. Look for example to  her movie adaptation of Shakespeare's: Titus Andronicus or the Tempest (see trailers below)- which I enjoyed perhaps more than the average critic. Equally, she is no new-comer to either opera, Wagner or indeed the Dutchman (see further videos below). Finally, she is, in my eyes at least, without-doubt, a director with a masterly sense and eye for interesting, intriguing and intelligent mise en scène - in its broadest meaning.

Indeed, all of the above will allow me to forgive her for "Lion King: The Musical" and even "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark".

No, what concerns me must at present is the outline being distributed as  her Dutchman adaptation -  which makes it sound less like Wagner and more like "Nine to Five" meets the latest Katherine Heigl/Matthew McConaughey "rom-com".

To quote "Broadway Buzz":

"Riders on the Storm sets The Flying Dutchman in the present day, turning the opera into a story about a man who cannot love without dying. He winds up falling for a woman who is tough, hard-headed, a great athlete, but emotionally not all there. (sic)"

One can only hope that Taymor's clear intelligence sees the possible consequences of this story or indeed "Broadway Buzz" is badly informed.
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Read Now: Wagner and His World. Bard Music Festival

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 21 May 2012 | 4:59:00 am

Quiet extraordinary, it seems the Fisher Centre in NY - home of the Bard Music Festival - make available on-line , free of charge, previous years programs. This is the program to the 2009 festival which as it name suggests  concentrated  on Wagner.

What you will find is rather beautifully illustrated series of essays spread over 90 pages  on the life, times and work of Richard Wagner. Highly recommended. can I also sugget you check out other years where they have similar coverage of Sibelius and Liszt.

More details of the Fisher Center can be found by clicking here: Fisher Center For The Performing Arts

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Read Now: Schott The Journal: Wagner - dead or alive? Looking ahead to Wagner's 200th birthday in 2013

Yes, that Schott Music, who's Franz Schott (grandson of the founder) once wrote to Wagner in 1862: 

’Anyway, no music publisher can possibly satisfy your needs, this can only be done by an enormously rich banker or a prince who has got millions ...’

Well, they have published the following Wagner "special" and have made it available online (in English and German) - freely. If it is of interest please find it below.

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Let There Be Leitmotifs!: A video examination of Wagner's use of the leitmotif

I found the following rather old, yet interesting, post over at the blog: Note x Note: Musical Musings & Cultural Observations.

In essence, it is a very concise and lucid attempt to explain Wagner's use of the leitmotif and the manner these were then used by Hollywood film composers - a topic discussed here on a number of occasions.

As the author puts it:

"A rather compelling case is made for the idea that Wagner's leitmotifs are the precursor to modern film scoring which often utilises musical representations of various characters, places, and objects"

Well worth a visit. To read more and watch the video please visit: "Let there be Leitmotifs!
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Die Walküre: The Illustrated flashbook - Arthur Rackham

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 20 May 2012 | 5:30:00 pm

A few people seemed interested in yesterdays Rackham, Rheingold Flashbook and so, as promised, here is the next part. The rest as I get the chance. And why not listen to a little Walkure as you read?
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Das Rheingold: The Illustrated flashbook - Arthur Rackham

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday 19 May 2012 | 7:24:00 pm

I was playing around with electronic flashbooks for something completely different and while testing different services  I made the following  as a sort of tester. It should come as little surprise that it turned out to be Wagner related I suppose.  Anyway, here it is should it be of interest: Arthur Rackham's illustrations for Rheingold. If enough people are interested I might get round do doing the same for his illustrations for the rest of the Ring.

If you happen to be unfamiliar with Rackham, there is a brief biography in the back of the book. Hopefully, his illustrations should  be immediately recognizable as as they tend to be used wherever a discussion of Wagner is found.

And while your reading it, why not listen to a little Rheingold from Furtwangler at the same time?

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Documentary on the of making of Keith Warner's ROH Siegfried

Alas, this is from the previous run in 2007, but as this years ROH Ring is a revival perhaps still valid to some degree.
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Sofia National Opera - to premiere Siegfried - 22/05/2012. Watch their Walkure here

This is one that did nearly escape us. On May 22 the National Opera of Bulgaria will continue Plamen Kartaloff's soon to be completed Ring Cycle with the premiere of Siegfried. An entire Ring Cycle will run in 2013. The national opera have made available the final scene of last years Walkure on their youtube channel and that can be seen below. It will provide some idea of the production. Also included are rehearsal photos for this Siegfried


22 May 2012, 18 h.
25 May 2012 18.00
27 May 2012 16.00
30 May 2012 18.00
1 June 2012 18.00
3 June 2012 16.00


Musical training RICHARD TRIMBORN


Siegfried : Kostadin Andreev/ Martin Iliev

Mime: Krasimir Dinev/ Plamen Papazikov

Alberich: Biser Georgiev/Lyudmil Kunchev

Wotan: Martin Tsonev/Nikolay Petrov

Fafner:Angel Hristov/Petar Buchkov

Erda: Blagovesta Mekki-Tsvetkova/Diana Genova/Rumyana Petrova

Brünnhilde: Bayasgalan Dashnyam/Mariana Tsvetkova

Voice of Forest Bird:Antonia Ivanova/Lyubov Metodieva/Milena Gyurova

More at: Opera Sofia

Opera Sofia: Walkure - 2011

Rehearsal Photos

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Watch Now: Wagner in Venice

Palazzo Vendramin Calergi, Venice 1870, 13 years before Wagner was to die here  

Found on youtube - isn't everything. I know nothing about it and haven't been able to find anything. Unless I am much mistaken, it is Orson Welles (as the voice of Wagner) narrating.

Fascinating stuff. Find it on youtube here

Find it on youtube by clicking this link
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The Richard Wagner Film 2013

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday 18 May 2012 | 8:32:00 pm

The Richard Wagner Film 2013 is a documentary project designed to commemorate Wagner's bicentenary in 2013. It is being produced by the same team that brought us the undeservedly little seen Siegfried Wagner, the Last Romantic. (There is a trailer of this below and which I must admit having not seen myself): Javier Nicolás and Jordi Nin.

Javier Nicolás is president of the Wagner Association Barcelona while Jordi Nin ia, among many other things, directer and host of the radio program L’hora dels immortals for Calafell Ràdio
As a project it has the support of a number of Wagner Societies as well as the Richard-Wagner-Verband International (International Association of the Wagner Societies.

Premiering 21 May 2013 the team has the following to say:

"The film’s main objective is to uncover Wagner’s sensitivity, creative process and innovative spirit.

Music will be the language of the film used to discover Wagner. This documentary will explore the creative process that resulted in his acclaimed “musical dramas”. The result will touch the deepest of emotions."

If you would like more information, or would like to contribute it would seem, then visit:

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Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: 28 May 1925 – 18 May 2012

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau died on Friday, just shortly before his 87th birthday, his wife, Julia Varady, has announced.

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Read: "The Critical Reception of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde in the English-Speaking World"

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday 17 May 2012 | 6:15:00 pm

Salvador Dalí:  Tristan and Isolde
I found the following Master's thesis while looking for something completely different. In it's simplest form it is a hundred page history of Tristan und Isolde and its "progress" though the English speaking world - and critical  responses to  both the work and Wagner.

Concise and a suspiciously easy to  read. Preview below. Clicking the link will open/download the full PDF depending on how you have set your bowser. Although I have only skimmed it at the moment it seems well worth a read - especially if you have no desire to pursue "denser" analysis.

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No we didn't forget: Birgit Nilsson - born 17 May 1918

We hope we can be  forgiven the amount of video, but there may even be something in here you have not seen before 

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Wondering where you can see the Bayreuth Parsifal in cinemas outside of Germany?

Us too oddly enough. As you will be aware, Bayreuth announced earlier, that this years Parsifal would be relayed in cinemas around Europe - and possibly the USA. But it certainly seemed confirmed that the UK would be included. However, while the Festival's dedicated website now includes dates and places for Germany and Switzerland there is nothing about elsewhere in the world.

So, the Wagnerian has spoken to the distribution company (My Screen Event) requesting further information - but alas has yet to receive a response.

Should you wish to try and get a response yourself, My Screen Event can be contacted in a number of different ways:

Via their website

Via their Facebook  Page

Or their twitter account.

In their defense however, they have been rather busy with their recent cinema relays which have included the special one time only cultural event of a joint New Kids On The Block/Back Street Boys reunion  tour (surely members of both bands must be in their forties by now?)

Should we get any further news we will let you know of course.
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Listen to: Fulham Opera's Brunnhilde in concert.

As already noted, London's most ambitious Ring Cycle moves up a gear this month with the premiere of Walkure and a reprise of its Rheingold later this year - with the support of the Wagner Society.

If you are still wondering whether it is worth checking out some of what are no-doubt the worlds future international Wagner performers (at £20 a ticket!). Perhaps a sample of their Brunnhilde, Zoe South,  may help?

Below we find  her performing "Brunnhilde's Immolation scene"

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Melbourne Ring 2013: The Cast, The Dates

That little bird has once again escaped the forest and whispered in my ear the following  - unofficially of course. But if it was correct you can tell everyone you heard it here first, unless you didn't, or it isn't - in which case I know nothing. And if it is, it would be subject to change of course. Alas, no information if it will be relayed to cinemas yet. Oh, and a random Knappertsbusch video or two thrown in - to get you in the mood.
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When Parsifal was the most important thing in the world

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 16 May 2012 | 1:03:00 pm

Over at "The Rest Is Noise" Alex Ross (his book of the same title is worth a look if you haven't done so) has posted the cover of The San Francisco Call from April 1905 which dedicated the entire front page to the MET's production of Parsifal when it arrived at SF's Grand Opera House on Mission Street. To read in detail click here: "Go West, pure fool"

Its hard to imagine now, that once "art" could dominate the front pages over "celebrity gossip" (See a recent front page of the""Sun" from the UK below)

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Watch Glyndebourne's "quintessentially English" "On such a night" free for 10 days

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday 15 May 2012 | 3:31:00 pm

Time to confess a terrible secret, I have a weakness for "classic" British cinema of a certain type. By this I mean not "Carry on" or "Hammer" films (although I have a weakness for those too of course) but British movies that are words to use? "Awfully? "Terribly"? "Beastly"? Films  like, "Brief Encounter", "Doctor In The House". You know  "quintessentially English". Anyway, with that in mind Glyndebourne has made the following available online for the next 6 days. I will let Glyndebourne explain - shall I?

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New Wagner book: The Sorcerer of Bayreuth

It's been a while since the last Wagner book from Barry Millington and they are always interesting and worth the wait. This one seems well illustrated and from the editor of the Wagner Journal we might indeed  find something new. I do note however, that in the overview provided below from OUP it notes: "...the anti-Semitism that is undeniably present in the operas..." There are some that would dispute that claim but it is a recurrent theme throughout Millington's work - if at least not an obsessive one.  But we can't all be perfect I suppose. Due to be published in October 2012

The Sorcerer of Bayreuth

Richard Wagner, his Work and his World

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Editorial: History repeats itself? Why ENO's John Berry is wrong about opera at the cinema

John Berry. Despite appearances this is unlikely to be a cinema
We like, when possible, to keep away from "editorial" statements and instead bring you simply the news as it occurs, but this weeks statement by John Berry, ENO's Artistic Director , whilst having nothing to do with Wagner directly, has forced something of a response. We hope we can be forgiven.

In an interview with the stage (you can read it in its entirety here) Berry stated that he has no interest in broadcasting ENO performances at a cinema. Why? He gave a number of reasons:

"It is of no interest to me. It is not a priority. It doesn’t create new audiences either.”

"My time is consumed with making sure the performance is absolutely as good as it can be, and getting that right on the stage, that is hard enough, and that is my focus, on live work.”

“This company [ENO] spends most of its time making sure its performances are bullet proof. It takes all my time. Get what you know right; choose carefully anything else. But this obsession about putting work out into the cinema can distract from making amazing quality work.”

However, he did admit that the the MET's HD broadcasts had "...caught everyone else with their pants down,” And "...was a result of their high commitment and investment in the process.

As a whole, Berry's statements are simple enough, but for the sake of clarity let us reduce them to their simplest forms and then examine them briefly:

1 Cinema broadcasts by opera houses somehow reduces the quality of the production in its entirety.

This is simply an astounding claim and may be seen as somewhat derogatory of many of the worlds major opera houses that do broadcast performances - some at the same time (occasionally for free) outside of the cinema. Here in the UK Glyndebourne's cinema/internet broadcasts of Meistersinger comes to mind as just one example.

While he somehow excludes the METs performances, is it true that, to give just a few examples, SF Opera's Grand Opera HD relays, Glyndebourne's Meistersinger or the up and coming Bayreuth Parsifal cinema relays have or will in someway "distract from making amazing quality work"? I, and many others, would suggest otherwise. Whether you like a production or not is another matter of course and seems unrelated to the manner in which it is seen. Or does he mean that this is something that either he or ENO feel  unable to achieve?

While I admit that it is impossible to replicate the the experience of the theater in the cinema it still allows those who do not have the opportunity to get to London, New York or Bayreuth for example, to experience a performance - visually. Many of whom might never do so. And this brings us to his second point:

2 Cinema broadcasts do not bring new audiences.

This is clearly a statement without any supporting evidence and may equally depend on what one means by "new audiences". Does he mean new audiences coming to the Colosseum, or new audiences to ENO's productions for the first time - in whatever manner? To address the first point we can go to Sky Arts director James Hunt who in the same article points out that "... broadcasting theatrical productions can actually generate an audience for venues, because viewers are encouraged to see a production live on the back of a broadcast.

But excluding Hunt's assertion for a moment, is a "new audience" defined in its meaning by those attending an opera house or those coming to the production by another means? Would it be logical to suggest that the audience that generated $12 million (profit!) a year from ticket sales to the MET's Opera in HD series did not contain those new to the MET or indeed that it somehow replaced their visit to the MET itself with a cinema visit?

MET's Gatti-Casazza: "Radio? It will never catch on"
The truth is that opera cinema broadcasts may be, outside of DVD and Blueray discs, the only opportunity that a large number of people will have to see certain opera productions. While ENO is a "national opera company" - with associated funding - and its commitment to perform opera in English (whatever your view on that might be) returns one to its original commitment to produce "Opera for the people" it is still based in the centre of London. Ticket prices may indeed be relatively low, but for many people outside of London the chance to see a production may simply be too cost prohibitive. Surely, anything that allows the greater public to see its productions must only be seen as a positive - especially given its proven ability elsewhere to produce yet another substantial "income stream" to a company already struggling with funding cuts?

I am in part reminded of the early days of opera radio broadcasts and the opposition to them by those within the "industry". One can only hope that John Berry's opera legacy is not similar to to that of the MET's Giulio Gatti-Gasazza who opposed the original MET opera radio broadcasts on suspiciously similar grounds, only eventually agreeing when Lee De Forest (the pioneer of opera radio broadcasts) explained that a stage microphone would also allow Gatti-Casazza to hear from his office what was happening on stage.
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Teatro Massimo: first Ring Cycle, in one season, in its history - 2013, dates and cast

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 14 May 2012 | 8:24:00 am

As received:

Teatro Massimo is inaugurating its 2013 season with a new, exciting project: in the celebratory bicentennial year of the birth of richard Wagner, the theatre will stage Der ring des Nibelungen. For the first time in its history, the Teatro Massimo is staging a new production of Wagner’s masterpiece entirely within the same season. This project, begun over two years ago, marks the fulfilment of the theatre management’s ambitious strategy of widening its artistic goals while increasing productive capacities.

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Myth Music & Modernism: How Wagner created the "modern" novel via Virginia Woolf and James Joyce

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 13 May 2012 | 7:47:00 pm

I found this PhD thesis over at the Rhodes University. I think most people are aware of the influence that Wagner has had on literature and there have been many academic studies thereof, however, this one is a little different. It pays especial attention to the manner in which the "....the philosophical content of Wagner's dramas: a revolutionary form of romanticism that calls into question the very nature of the world, its most radical component being Schopenhauer's version of transcendental idealism" and how, in Woolf and Joyce we have, according to the author, "...the "translation" of Wagnerian ideas into novelistic form (demonstrating) how they might be applied in "real life". In Mrs Dalloway, the figure of Septimus can be read as partly modelled on Wagner's heroes Siegfried and Tristan, two outstanding examples of the opposing heroic types found throughout his oeuvre, whose contrasting attributes are fused in Septimus's bipolar personality.".

Perhaps an overly simplistic introduction but it will do. Not that unreadable for a PhD Thesis - although I must admit having only skimmed it at present. 250 pages in total can be read or downloaded in PDF directly from the University by clicking the link below. I also provide the abstract below - it reads a little better than the abstract would suggest so you might want to check out the full document.

McGregor, J. A. (2009) Myth, music and modernism : the Wagnerian dimension in Virginia Woolf's "Mrs Dalloway" and "The Waves" and James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake". PhD thesis, Rhodes University. 

The study of Wagner's influence on the modernist novel is an established field with clear room for further contributions. Very little of the criticism undertaken to date takes full cognizance of the philosophical content of Wagner's dramas: a revolutionary form of romanticism that calls into question the very nature of the world, its most radical component being Schopenhauer's version of transcendental idealism. The compatibility of this doctrine with Wagner's earlier work, with its already marked privileging of myth over history, enabled his later dramas, consciously influenced by Schopenhauer, to crown a body of work greater than the sum of its parts. In works by Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, the "translation" of Wagnerian ideas into novelistic form demonstrates how they might be applied in "real life". In Mrs Dalloway, the figure of Septimus can be read as partly modelled on Wagner's heroes Siegfried and Tristan, two outstanding examples of the opposing heroic types found throughout his oeuvre, whose contrasting attributes are fused in Septimus's bipolar personality. The Wagnerian pattern also throws light on Septimus's transcendental "relationship" with a woman he does not even know, and on the implied noumenal identity of seemingly isolated individuals. In The Waves, the allusions to both Parsifal and the Ring need to be reconsidered in light of the fact that these works' heroes are all but identical (a fact overlooked in previous criticism); as Wagner's solar hero par excellence, Siegfried is central to the novel's cyclical symbolism. The Waves also revisits the question of identity but in a more cosmic context – the metaphysical unity of everything. In Finnegans Wake, the symbolism of the cosmic cycle is again related to the Ring, as are Wagner's two heroic types to the Shem / Shaun opposition (the Joyce / Woolf parallels here have also been overlooked in criticism to date). All three texts reveal a fascination with the two contrasting faces of a Wagnerian hero who embodies the dual nature of reality, mirroring in himself the eternal rise and fall of world history and, beyond them, the timeless stasis of myth.

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Listen to: Kirsten Flagstad & Set Svanholm in a Wagner Concert - SF 1949

Bless, Youtube and public domain recordings!

Kirsten Flagstad, Set Svanholm
Concert, Wagner.

1.Der fliegende Holländer: Trafft ihr das schiff
2.Lohengrin: In fernem land
3.Tristan und Isolde: O sink' hernieder
4.Die meistersinger von Nürnberg: Preislied
5.Tristan und Isolde: Liebestod.

Orchestra of the San Francisco Opera House
Gaetano Merola, conductor
9 October 1949
San Francisco Opera House.

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Watch Now: The Gatti Parsifal - Ventris, Fujimura, Rydl, Gallo, Roth.

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday 12 May 2012 | 3:11:00 am

Apologies, thought that this had already been posted but seems not. Concert performance, made available by the ever wonderful ARTE TV. It is of course, a little like the Bayreuth Parsifal but without Stefan Herheim

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A Grange Park Ring Cycle? Rheingold in 2015, Walkure in 2016

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday 11 May 2012 | 11:54:00 pm

Perhaps. In an interview over at Musical Criticism, Grange Park's founder: Wasfi Kani has announced, while making no firm commitment to a full Grange Park Ring Cycle, that 2015 will see Grange Park stage their first Rheingold with a Walkure to possibly follow.

She told Mike Reynolds: ""One of the revelations to me, of all the productions we have done here, was just how good Wagner sounds in this theatre".

Having attended Grange Park's Tristan in 2011 I would have to agree. Indeed, the intimacy that the audience has with both the orchestra and stage is quiet unique and different to anything else that I have experienced. If only they had revived it this year - see videos below.

But more intriguingly she went on to say:

"Well, I’m not actually planning a Ring Cycle, but we will stage a Rheingold in 2015 and I think we’ll move on to Die Walküre thereafter"

Time will tell what follows but assuming the first two are successful it seems more than likely,, that they might indeed produce a full Cycle. Perhaps something for wagnerians to keep note of.

To read the full interview click here: The irresistible rise of Grange Park Opera

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Riga Opera Festival: Watch the trailer including the final part of LNO's Ring Cycle

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday 10 May 2012 | 5:00:00 am


10, 17 June 2012 (Premiered 2011)
Lars Cleveman
Catherine Foster
Marcus Jupither
Johan Schinkler
Kosma Ranuer
Elisabet Strid
Liubov Sokolova
Liene Kinca
Aira Rurane
Kristine Zadovska
Cornelius Meister
Viesturs Kairiss
Set Designs:
Ieva Jurjane
Ieva Jurjane
Christophe Forey

More Details: LNO

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Flying Dutchman: London December 2012: Terfel, Kampe, Matti Salminen.

Just a week after premiering at Zurich Opera, their Dutchman - in a one off concert performance - will arrive at the Southbank Centre on December 15th 2012. Details below.

Zurich Opera Orchestra
Alain Altinoglu conductor
Bryn Terfel The Dutchman
Anja Kampe Senta
Matti Salminen Daland
Zurich Opera Chorus

Further Information: Southbank Centre

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Bayreuth: Wolfgang Wagner. explains the acoustic properties of the Festspielhaus

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 9 May 2012 | 11:04:00 pm

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Do you love Wagner enough to get naked?

Those little devils over at the Bavarian State Opera's marketing department are at it again it would seem. Should you wish, you also can take part as we believe registration is still open,  although might we suggest taking a flask of your favorite tipple - just to stay warm mind.

The Bavarian State Opera will open the 2012 Munich Opera Festival on the weekend of 23-24 June with, among other things, an installation by the renowned artist Spencer Tunick. Tunick's new work will be entitled The Ring and in it thousands of art lovers will pose nude at several venues in downtown Munich. Tunick's artistic installation is inspired by Richard Wagner's great opus The Ring of the Nibelung and its new production by the producer Andreas Kriegenburg which reaches its culmination on 30 June with the premiere of Götterdämmerung. Those interested and willing to pose naked for Tunick in public are invited to register with the Bavarian State Opera's website!

The artist is known for his temporary installations of hundreds and sometimes even thousands of naked human bodies against impressive backdrops in public. For the 2012 Munich Opera Festival, Tunick is designing his first large scale action in Germany. Several places in downtown Munich will provide the background for his latest art installation: "Andreas Kriegenburg primarily tells his version of The Ring of the Nibelung by means of the performers' stage and gesticulation movements in addition to their singing. This produces an interesting equivalence to Spencer Tunick's human body installations. That is why it was an obvious choice to show these two projects for the Opera Festival", says Nikolaus Bachler, Manager of the Bavarian State Opera.

Tunick's works were done for SITE Santa Fe in New Mexico (2001), the XVI Bienal de Sāo Paulo in Brazil (2002), the Biennale de Lyon (2005) and the Viennese Kunsthalle (2008). Volunteer participants meet at an appointed time and take their clothes off. With the support of his team, Tunick organises and directs the participants according to his ideas and wishes and forms them into a group and captures the moment in photos and video. "I am very happy to have been invited by the Bavarian State Opera to Munich. Wagner's claim to being a total art creator has long fascinated me. With the images of Andreas Kriegenburg's stage production in mind, for this very special installation I intend to adapt motifs from The Ring like dragons, flames and even the ring itself", as Spencer Tunick explained.

All participants can register by 22 June 2012, 11:30 p.m. at the latest on the Bavarian State Opera's website, The participants will be informed a week in advance of the installation by email about details such as the meeting point and the time. All of those contributing will receive a limited edition photo. Participation is open to anyone 18 years or older. On the day of the installation, only participants will be admitted to the venues.

Spencer Tunick was born in Middletown (New York) and lives in the Hudson Valley in New York. Since 1992 he has been engaged in outdoor installations whose main motif has been the human body in the nude. For this purpose, he normally gets thousands of people together. Tunick has done his work throughout the world, including in Belgium, Canada, the United States and Brazil. His temporary installations, which are always captured in photos and video, deal primarily with society's preconceived and often negative connotations of nudity: "I am fascinated by the beauty that is inherent in every human being", says Tunick.

Register now!

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UK tickets for the MET's 2013 HD Parsifal now on sale (full details & video preview)

By popular demand

Sorry, that I am unable to provide details for the rest of the world but full details for USA and Canada can be found at the MET's site by clicking here. However, in the UK, the following cinemas or cinema chains have  confirmed they will playing the MET's new Parsifal on March 2 2013 - starting at 5:00 pm  and that tickets are on sale now (although please check with your local cinema about start times). More cinemas may be added later. Should you know of a cinema not listed please get in touch. I have not included those that have already sold out. And once again, a preview of the production as premiered at Opera de Lyon this year. For full details of the 2013 MET cast Click here

DCA (Dundee) Details click here

Phoenix Cinema  (East Finchley) (will be shown twice: once on Saturday and again on Sunday according to their website) : Details Click Here

Cineworld (various locations across UK Details Click Here

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