Mastodon August 2012 - The Wagnerian

Wagner Journal


Featured Book


Follow TheWagnerian on Twitter


Powered by Blogger.


 Twylah Fan Page

The Waghalter Project:Finding a "lost" composer & friend of Puccini

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday 23 August 2012 | 7:46:00 pm

Left to right: Ignatz Waghalter, Irmina Trynkos, Alexander Walker, Giorgi Latsabidze

As you can no doubt imagine, we receive an ever growing number of press releases - most of which are, unfortunately,  ignored unless we feel they are worth mentioning to a Wagnerian audience. While the following has nothing to do with Wagner we were intrigued enough to investigate further and after having listened to some of the projects music feel that you might be interested. 

Following the release we include a brief biography of Waghalter plus some unique photographs originally provided by his grandson. Also included is a very brief video documentary.  For more information, please follow the links below.

7:46:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

The truth about "The Truth About Wagner": Daniel Carroll

Daniel Carroll critically evaluates and  investigates the background of Hurn and Root's infamous book The Truth About Wagner. A well researched paper of as much interest to the Wagner "newbie" as the Wagner expert.

About the Author

Daniel John Carroll is a graduate student and teaching assistant in the Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Boston University. He has presented scholarly papers at academic conferences on philosophy and music (including the College Music Society and American Musicological Society) throughout the United States and Canada. His academic work has been published in The New Grove Dictionary of American Music and several conference proceedings. Non-academic writings include articles for Pulse, the arts, entertainment, and culture section of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in Moscow, Idaho and The Public Humanist. Upcoming research projects include a stint as Lecturer in Residence for Boston Metro Opera, participation with the Phenomenology Research Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and the global seminar “The Aesthetics of Music and Sound: Cross-Disciplinary Interplay Between the Humanities, Technology, and Musical Practice” with the University of Southern Denmark

6:21:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

The FT selects it's "Best of the Ring" on CD and DVD

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 22 August 2012 | 11:18:00 pm

Andrew Clarke at the FT has selected, what some might consider a rather intriguing if idiosyncratic, list of best recordings of the Ring on CD and DVD. In first place we find Solti's Studio recording -  with the the Keilberth stereo set running close second. With some reservations he asks us to consider, Böhm’s 1967 Bayreuth set, and Wilhelm Furtwängler’s early 1950s Italian Radio Ring. There are also one or two other "also rans". However, he dismisses both the Karajan and Levine's sets.

On DVD he, controversially, considers only two productions (both from Bayreuth) Patrice Chéreau’s centenary staging and the Daniel Barenboim/Harry Kupfer production.

To read his overview in detail - including why he considers each set of value - read the full artical at the FT by clicking here
11:18:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Opera Australia 2013: Wagner, Verdi and Britten

WAGNER and Verdi stand like monoliths on the musical landscape next year, but the demands of staging the grandest of grand opera mean the national company will be presenting fewer mainstage opera productions.

Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini today unveils his 2013 season, with a five-opera Verdi festival in Sydney as a counterweight to the Melbourne Ring cycle.

Next year marks the birth bicentenary of both Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi, giants of 19th-century opera.

A new production of Verdi's Un ballo in maschera from the provocative Spanish theatre company La Fura dels Baus headlines the Sydney season.

OA will also present Carmen on Sydney Harbour and, funding permitting, a television-only opera: Divorce, by composer Elena Kats-Chernin and librettist Joanna Murray-Smith.

"If we do it for television, we'll get about 80,000 people seeing it, and if we did it in the theatre we'd be lucky to get 6000," Terracini says.

The opera year is dominated by OA's first complete cycle of Wagner's four-part Der Ring des Nibelungen, a $15 million production to be directed by Neil Armfield. There is a waiting list for tickets. Three cycles will be presented at the State Theatre in November next year, constituting the entire Melbourne Spring season. Melburnians will see only three other operas next year: Ballo, Aida and Handel's Partenope.

The Sydney season includes new productions of Don Pasquale (directed by Roger Hodgman), Tosca (John Bell) and La forza del destino (Tama Matheson), but there are fewer operas overall: down from 12 last year to 10 next year.

Continue reading at: The Australian
10:31:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Video Lecture:- Wagner: Sublime Beauty with a Sinister Soul

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 19 August 2012 | 1:10:00 pm

A lecture around Richard Wagner and Das Rheingold — "Sublime Beauty with a Sinister Soul? Wagner's Music, his Antisemitism, and his relationship with Nietzsche. Presented on August 9, 2012, by Dr. Scott Stearman for Union Avenue Opera. ©, 2012, Union Avenue Opera -- Dr. Scott Stearman -- O. Dan Smith

1:10:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Andris Nelsons renews contract with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday 16 August 2012 | 7:17:00 pm

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra announced today that Andris Nelsons, one of the world’s most sought after conductors, will be extending his contract with the CBSO on the basis of an annual rolling renewal from the 2014/15 season onwards.

Andris was unanimously invited to be Music Director from 2008 by the CBSO’s players and board of trustees, after just a private concert and recording session. Since his appointment, he and the Orchestra have created many ‘once in a lifetime’ performances such as Wagner’s Lohengrin and the 50th Anniversary performance of Britten’s War Requiem in Coventry Cathedral. The partnership attracts some of the best singers and musicians from across the world, performing to ecstatic audiences at both Symphony Hall, Birmingham and throughout Europe. Award-winning recordings released by the record label Orfeo, including acclaimed series of Tchaikovsky and Strauss, also continue to cement this distinctive relationship.

Stephen Maddock, chief executive of the CBSO, said: “The chemistry between Andris and the musicians and audiences of the CBSO family has always been very special and there have been many electric performances and recordings since his appointment here.

“As we start our Beethoven cycle in Birmingham, visit the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh International Festival, and depart for a major European Summer Tour, including a five day residency at the Lucerne Festival, we are delighted to confirm the extension of this relationship and look forward to sharing our plans for the future in due course.”

Away from Birmingham, Andris has earned himself a distinguished name on both the opera and concert podiums, collaborating with the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston Symphony and New York Philharmonic. He has toured Japan with the Vienna Philharmonic and regularly appears at the Royal Opera House and the Bayreuth Festival.

Andris said: “My colleagues and friends in the CBSO family are very important to me and it is a great pleasure to be continuing our partnership into future seasons. We have shared many wonderful experiences over the last four years and I am looking forward to exploring more thrilling music together. It is a privilege to be working with this fantastic orchestra and to represent Birmingham together across the world. I look forward, in hope, to the continuation of the wonderful support that we have gratefully received from our many audiences and partners!"

Over the summer, Andris and the CBSO will be appearing at some of the most prestigious European festivals, including their residency at the Lucerne Festival with the CBSO Chorus. Highlights in the 2012-13 season include Mahler’s momentous Resurrection Symphony, Wagner’s romantic opera The Flying Dutchman and a Beethoven cycle which features all of the great composer’s symphonies.

For full details on the 2012-13 season or to find out more visit
7:17:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Audio lecture: The Music of Götterdämmerung: Finding an End and Closing the Circle

Audioclip from a lecture by Jeffrey Swann, Pianist and Musicologist, given May 3, 2012. One can listen to the complete 59 minute lecture, free,  on the WAGNER SOCIETY OF NEW YORK website by clicking here. Recommended
7:22:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Audio Interview: Nina Stemme

Plus Mark Delavan - recorded May 22 3012 Youtube excerpt below, full 47 minute interview hosted by the Wagner Society of New York and can be accessed free by clicking here
7:05:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Free Kindle Book: The Case Of Wagner, Nietzsche Contra Wagner, and Selected Aphorisms.- Nietzsche

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 15 August 2012 | 6:53:00 pm

No one does a put down like Nietzsche: Also, in HTML, and EPUB. Click the link to download - or in the case of the HTML file read online.

"Already in the summer of 1876, when the first festival at Bayreuth was at its height, I took leave of Wagner in my soul. I cannot endure anything double-faced. Since Wagner had returned to Germany, he had condescended step by step to everything that I despise—even to anti-Semitism.… As a matter of fact, it was then high time to bid him farewell: but the proof of this came only too soon." How I Got Rid Of Wagner.

"We are witnessing the death agony of the last Art: Bayreuth has convinced me of" this. FN

"He who wakes us always wounds us". FN

For copyright and redistribution notice please see the preface.

6:53:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

What Jonathan Meese's Bayreuth Parsifal might look like.

Perhaps not that well known but Jonathan Meese has already presented a version of Parsifal in 2005. Admittedly not an opera production but one of his "performance" pieces it lasted over 6 hours and consisted of Parsifal in its entirety. Entitled "Mother Parsifal," We present links to two reviews below which may give some indication of what  Bayreuth might expect in 2016 . However, perhaps of more use is an interview that he gave at the time in which he discuses  his ideas about Parsifal in some detail - especially the theme of "redemption".

"Whoever considers Richard Wagner an anathema would best avoid this production. Because to see Jonathan Meese’s performance, one would have to sit through the full length of Parsifal – six hours, plus intermissions. After the first act, the second theater of the Berliner Staatsoper was only half full. Those who remained were either dyed-in-the-wool Meese fans or knew Wagner’s work well enough to recognize through all the monstrosities, the endlessly drawn swords, the bronze penises and skeletons, the many hollow gestures, the well-known Meese arsenal of German myths, cult-of-genius bombast and expressive layers of paint just how intelligently the artist was dealing with the onstage consecration after all." Review: Mother Parsifal

"The degree to which his pathos-laden artistic activity is existential to him could be seen in the exercise in endurance in Berlin to the endless sounds of Wagner. The stage is a wild convocation from Meese’s studio. At its center is a huge, moveable sculpture; Wagner’s face can be made out in its engraved furrows. A second sculpture is made of bronze: a hermaphrodite human-animal-creature with long phalli extending from its body. As the performance begins Meese happily fondles the beast’s main penis."Review: Mother Parsifal

 Majestic in the center stood the enormous stone head from Zardoz, transformed into a Janus-faced portrait of Wagner--on one side Meese's rough version and on the other a souvenir-shop likeness, embellished with a great phallic chin. A blowup of a small sculpture, it bore oversize traces of the artist's thumbprints. On the back wall was a painted caption: DR. SAINT PROPAGANDADDY SPOKE. Homemade Meesiana littered the stage: weapons and helmets; large photos of Klaus Kinski with hand-painted captions like THANK YOU and FRIEND; and, down some stairs. The Propagandist, a bronze humanoid sporting five huge dicks. A rickety ladder led down to a pit, where four blank canvases stood ready. With rows of plastic skeletons flanking a throne at center stage, the set seemed as much goth bar as Valhalla."Review: Mother Parsifal

"I also don’t think Parsifal is finished—first I’m going to rewrite the text. I want to write a new version. It keeps on going!" JM - Interviewed 2005

Mother Parsifal and interview with Jonathan Meese
(1) Recorded by András Siebold on January 16, 2005.
Translated by Erik Smith.

Slavoj Žižek: So what’s going on with the redemption? What’s the meaning of “Our Redeemer redeemed” from the third act of Parsifal?

Jonathan Meese: I think it’s about neutrality. It’s just a matter of symbolizing neutrality, of stating it like this, so that it can be laid to rest. And then comes the next wound that’s inflicted.

S.Z.: That’s problematic. I like the idea of a new wound, but how can I interpret that as someone with a Western point of view without getting caught up in an Eastern logic that contends the universe is a cosmos where everything gets repeated? I prefer this radical assessment: before the revolution and after the revolution. What kind of wound will that be? Will it be the same type of wound? What’s going on with Parsifal at the end, when he changes the rules by saying: “No more shall it be hidden: uncover the Grail”? I’ve always read this as if, with the ritualistic unveiling of the Grail, opium is being given to the people. My notion of the Grail community was always that of an opium community, with Titurel as the opium dealer, who’s tried too much opium himself. Thus the community has landed in a coma. But the question still remains: what kind of wound does Amfortas have?

J.M.: The wound is the cover of innocence. It will be inflicted in order to end the terror of innocence. That’s the worst kind of terror there is: existential terrorism and exposing its innocent face. It’s also not about redeeming the world but about the redemption of a secret society, not about something that affects the outside. The next secret society is targeted. That’s no religion…

S.Z.: No, no, no, I totally agree.

J.M.: It’s also not religious, what’s debated here, it’s about something totally different.

S.Z.: But I still have a simple reading as well. I think the wound just represents eternal life. I always enjoy these parallels—I think the wound is like in Kafka’s tale with the country doctor. A wound that doesn’t heal, a paradoxical wound that makes one immortal, immortal in exactly a Stephen King sense: undead…Wagner’s problem with the wound is always so defined that being freed from the wound means: now I can finally die in peace. What troubles me therefore is not the wound but a horrible eternal life, an obscene, eternal life something like the metaphor in Don Siegel’s horror-classic from 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers: the wound is the object that penetrates me as a parasite.
On this point I also agree with Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s film Parsifal (1982), where the wound is brought out into the open like an object. To say it like Deleuze: not a body without organs, rather an organ without a body. It’s interesting to read Wagner with a Stephen King take on the undead. With Wagner you find precisely this terrible side of the wound.

J.M.: I also don’t think Parsifal is finished—first I’m going to rewrite the text. I want to write a new version. It keeps on going!

S.Z.: How does your version go? It’s interesting, the only active thing that Parsifal does takes place offstage: at the beginning of the second act Parsifal and the knights from Klingsor duel, but you don’t see it! Klingsor only mentions it. Everything that Parsifal does is a negative gesture: he comes, stops and does absolutely nothing!! But my old idea is that the only truly evil figure is Titurel. Klingsor is like a small southern Italian smuggler, he’s nothing compared to Titurel, the true evil, the obscene père jouisseur. Incidentally, Lohengrin is Parsifal’s son and, by deduction, there must also be a woman with whom he conceives Lohengrin! But if you’re dealing with the problem of the Grail, maybe you’ve seen this really awful Ring film by Harald Reinl with Karin Dor from the sixties that was shot in Yugoslavia?

J.M.: Yes, where I really liked the figure of Hagen of Tronje.

S.Z.: Ah, Hagen, have you read this beautiful novel about Hagen by this East German author?

J.M.: By Wolgang Hohlbein! I’ve got it at home.

S.Z.: An extremely interesting novel! It’s a complete rehabilitation of Hagen, who, I think, was always the only good character. He’s the only one who says: there are more than just idiotic private interests! There are state interests etc.

J.M.: Absolutely! We have to talk about this, that’s great! I always hated Siegfried! He only ever bought himself everything! Hagen stands for the defense of the state no matter what! Actually one should have Hagen of Tronje and Parsifal fight to see who wins. And the collateral stories would also have to be told.

S.Z.: I’ve already said, I think the true hero of the opera is the boring party functionary who files the report: Gurnemanz who, like during a communist congress, gives a presentation lasting more than four hours.

J.M.: Yes of course, and Gurnemanz is also Hagen of Tronje.

S.Z.: Yes, Gurnemanz is a nice idea. We’ve got our Hagen in Gurnemanz. But what does Mother Parzival mean?

J.M.: That would be my mother of course. Certainly I have to justify to her what I’m doing. I have to pay off my debts somehow and that’s best done before one’s mother. But not before Parsifal’s mother Herzeloyde, rather in front of my actual mother. I also have to be able to explain everything to her. Just this morning I had another long talk with my mother. We were discussing the year 1944. My mother was born in 1929 and was in Danzig in 1945, which was pretty terrible. Before that my mother went to boarding school in Salem, which, through 1944, was still anti-National Socialist. There’s a school in Scotland, Gordon’s School, where all the princes are now educated. It was founded by Kurt Hahn, who also founded Salem, after he had to leave Germany. The Nazi instructors didn’t make it to Salem until 1944, and before then the boarding school had occupied an outsider role, over which the Nazi’s only had marginal influence. My mother told me about how her classmates used to shoot arrows in the woods at Hitler’s portrait, something that was of course completely dangerous. And then in 1945 the family went from Stuttgart to Danzig where my great-grandmother had come from and still had a family house located there. She thought the family would be safer there, which was of course a big mistake. My mother’s mother then killed herself as the Russians moved in.

S.Z.: Directly killed? Or because of rape?

J.M.: Because of rape too, but she didn’t want to cause my mother any more trouble. She was done with living. And then my mother explained how she packed her mother in a sack and buried her somewhere in the center of Danzig. So my grandmother had made it through everything up to the end of the war, and then it was over for her, and my mother and my aunt had to pack her into a sack. Then my mother took one of the last trains leaving Danzig for the west and went back to boarding school to finish her education. But there are still a lot of questions to ask my mother about the Third Reich.

S.Z.: Speaking of which, there’s also an interesting book on Wagner from the Third Reich, which I read in English, where it’s shown that Wagner was Hitler’s personal obsession but that it just wasn’t popular in the Nazi movement. It’s also an interesting detail that during Nazi rule there were noticeably fewer presentations of Wagner’s operas in the years following 1933. The winners of the Nazi regime were Puccini and Verdi. There were even crazy Nazi musicologists who tried to prove that Verdi was German. His name was even changed to Josef Grün. Nabucco by Joseph Grün! In 1933 there was a huge scandal when, during an obligatory Meistersinger performance, the entire Nazi leadership wasn’t interested in it and choose not to go, and Hitler, for the following year, gave an order that all Nazi functionaries had to attend the premiere. During the premiere they all fell asleep and began to snore. Wagner wasn’t popular in the actual Nazi movement, for them Bayreuth was like a homosexual, decadent art temple, a symbol for a decadent, bourgeois artistic society—totally unpopular. It’s also interesting that Hitler’s favorite opera wasn’t Lohengrin or Meistersinger but Tristan! Even as a boy Hitler had seen in a season almost all the performances of Tristan. When he got out of jail, where he had written Mein Kampf, the first thing he asked once home, was for a friend to act the Liebestod. Parsifal was, by the way, just not performed. There are two theories as to why. The first comes from the influential English thinker and Wagnerian John Deathridge, who says that Parsifal was too pacifist. The second comes from the assumption that Hitler wanted to save Parsifal in reserve for a super-Parsifal after the great victory. I see right now in your books that you use terms from this era…

J.M.: Yes, I use words like ‘erz’ and ‘rune’ (ore and rune) because I behave humbly toward these terms. They should be what they are, not want we want them to be. That’s crucial. It’s not about what I want. It’s about what these terms want. For they want something. Of course a swastika is ideologically loaded, but that’s not in the thing itself. The swastika will tell us itself what it wants. We’ve only lost that. We’ve only forgotten that. That this can also be conceded to these things, to be exactly that, what they want and not what I want—that’s critical.

S.Z.: Very nice, not: what does the woman want, but: what does the swastika want!

J.M.: We just have to listen a little more closely to that.

S.Z.: Aha, so you hear something…

J.M.: I only hear white noise, white noise. I want to hear exactly what it has to say, but here you have to be humble. Here you also just have to leave it alone and just let it be as it is. For me it’s not about an existential orientation that I’d like to speak about. Just leave it alone. And then it will certainly tell us something. You just have to listen more carefully.

S.Z.: Ok. What do you think the Grail is then? It’s a brutal, idiotic question like from an interrogation: what is the objective, communal significance of the Grail?

J.M.: Papa, father.

S.Z.: Father?

J.M.: Propagandadaddy.

S.Z.: You think the Grail is bound up with the father? Not the female?

J.M.: No. But the propaganda from the father too. It’s about the link between the two words: propaganda – daddy. It concerns, self-referentially, the propaganda of propaganda, not the use of propaganda to achieve a goal. The propaganda that propaganda leaves be. We always want to read something into this.

S.Z.: Here’s a totally naïve, idiotic counter question: should one leave such a man as Hitler just be?

J.M.: Yes. One should.

S.Z.: What does this mean in practical terms?

J.M.: One should come up with a counter-Hitler. And it should grow out of the thing itself. It was a failure that no book more radical than Mein Kampf was written. It could have been done then, but certain people would have had to take it over. And that wasn’t done, because people were perhaps too dignified.

S.Z.: Have you read it? I read it: it’s a boring book!

J.M.: Yes, very boring. And a much more radical book could have been written. Something to set it against, but it wasn’t done. People were too dignified, as I see it. Otherwise it could have been done and thereby it could have been canceled out, Adolf Hitler could have been awarded the 1922 Nobel science fiction prize for literature, so that everything would have been done and over.

S.Z.: There’s a science fiction book—an alternative history—that a Danish student gave to me as a gift. It’s about what would have happened, if, in the middle of the twenties, Hitler had made it as a successful science-fiction-space-opera-author who had made enough money for him not to become involved in politics.

J.M.: I’m working on such counter notions and have written almost fifteen thousand pages of text. Wagner is a recurring theme, also Nero, Caligula or Saint Just…

S.Z.: Saint Just! I’m absolutely a Saint Just fan! Saint Just was far more radical than Robespierre. The night after Thermidor, Robespierre felt a tinge of despair, a crisis. Not so with Saint Just, he held it perfectly together to the end with almost super human resolve. Of course Saint Just has been ideologically rehabilitated for a long time already. Interesting with him is this nihilistic gesture: first the king is replaced by parliament and then the parliament is disbanded. Saint Just is already familiar with socialist democracy. Following Lenin’s logic: first give all the power to the Soviet, and when the majority is lost there: disband the Soviet.

J.M.: Saint Just is Richard Wagner and Richard Wagner and Rasputin.

Mother Meese, Mother Parsifal - Review 2005
11:45:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Jonathan Meese goes to Bayreuth, draws some swastikas and why the Wagnerian is saying nothing

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 13 August 2012 | 9:39:00 pm

Update: Added Meese's discussion of the dictatorship of art and the neutrality of the swastika.

People have asked why the Wagnerian has not commented or mentioned Jonathan Meese's appointment as the Director of Bayreuth's new Parsifal in 2016. Well, let us let you in on a secret: having seen some of his work, we are unconvinced that he isn't the latest persona from Sacha Baron Cohen. Well, if Bayreuth aren't taking things seriously...

Anyway, least you missed them, here is Herr Meese at Bayreuth - plus some posters he has done. And Meese with his mum at Bayreuth - warms the cockles doesn't it? Click any image for a full screen view.  Oh, and just to give you an idea of what you might expect in 2016 here is some of his "performance art" from 2006. And in the final video Meese talks about the "Dictatorship" of art and the nutrality of the swastika - with English subs.
9:39:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

The Wagnerian Caption Competition No 2: Bernard Haitink, LSO, Beethoven 9

Finding myself with a few spare credits at emusic that need to be used before the month recycles (don't ask, they use a very odd subscription system that has its disadvantages as well as advantages) I thought I would treat a lucky winner with an entry from one of my favorite Beethoven cycles. And so it is that I find myself sitting here with a spare copy (in this case in MP3 I am afraid) of Bernard Haitink's live recording with the LSO of Beethoven's 9th from 2006 (if you have spotify you can listen to it below). And to win a copy all you need do is provide a witty - or otherwise - caption to Bayreuth's much lauded Parsifal below (I'm never going to get into Bayreuth again am I? But not to worry, I shall be picking on the MET next)

To enter supply your answer using any of the methods below:

1 If replying via twitter use the hash tag freeb9
2 If by email the subject freeb9
3 If by Facebook start your comment freeb9 (and it must be in reply to this post)
7:01:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

And the winner is: The Wagnerian Caption Competition 1 (redux)

Have to say that in the interest of fairness one asked some people not involved in The Wagnerian to judge. Plus, there were far to many entries for just one person to get through. And so it was that I locked them away, with a few cans of Carlsberg Extra and a copy of the worst Tristan ever committed to record (nope, I'm not saying which one - perhaps a future competition?) until they picked one. And the winner is?

From twitter: @:

"Banana peel on deck - works every time, mein Herr Tristan!"

Notable mentions have to include:

@greymagus "I think I forgot to turn off the kettle"
@littlemurphydog (who's Wagner Blog "Sacrifice" is worth checking out) "Uh, what opera are we doing?"
Facebook: David Enos "With Wally and Beaver out for a sleepover, Ward and June Cleaver finally spend an intimate evening together."

A copy of one of the better Tristan's - no not the worse ones - is heading its way to the winner as I type - or at least once I know they have read this.
6:03:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

The Psychopathology of Richard Wagner: Daniel John Carroll

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 12 August 2012 | 7:15:00 pm

Below is the first in a series of papers from Wagner scholar Daniel J Carroll (I include Daniel's brief bio below). In what follows, he continues - and greatly expands upon -  previous work which suggests that Wagner may have suffered from some notable form of psychopathology. Whether you agree with Daniel's  findings or not (and he discusses the difficulties of psychological analysis both by physical distance and the separation of time) there is no-doubt that that his paper is well researched and that he uses a finer tool of analysis than some of his predecessors. Indeed, I strongly recommend that you read his detailed notes as well as the paper itself. More - in a vary different vein - from Daniel soon.

About the author

Daniel John Carroll is a graduate student and teaching assistant in the Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Boston University. He has presented scholarly papers at academic conferences on philosophy and music (including the College Music Society and American Musicological Society) throughout the United States and Canada. His academic work has been published in The New Grove Dictionary of American Music and several conference proceedings. Non-academic writings include articles for Pulse, the arts, entertainment, and culture section of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in Moscow, Idaho and The Public Humanist. Upcoming research projects include a stint as Lecturer in Residence for Boston Metro Opera, participation with the Phenomenology Research Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and the global seminar “The Aesthetics of Music and Sound: Cross-Disciplinary Interplay Between the Humanities, Technology, and Musical Practice” with the University of Southern Denmark

7:15:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

New Issue of Wagner Journal now available: Includes, Hitler, Rienzi, and the Trustworthiness of "The Young Hitler I Knew"

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday 9 August 2012 | 12:38:00 pm

Current issue

The July 2012 issue (vol.6, no.2), now available, contains the following feature articles:

• The New Wagnerian Menagerie: Bayreuth as Social Evolution and Bioethics Laboratory by Edward A. Bortnichak and Paula M. Bortnichak, offering a new interpretative framework for a series of recent Bayreuth productions

• Being German: Richard Wagner and Thomas Mann by Barry Emslie, dissecting the complex relationship between the two great German artists

• ‘In that hour it began’?: Hitler, Rienzi, and the Trustworthiness of August Kubizek’s The Young Hitler I Knew by Jonas Karlsson, with original research proving that the celebrated account of Hitler's Wagnerian epiphany was almost certainly a fabrication

plus reviews of:

Parsifal in Copenhagen, Götterdämmerung at the Met, and Die Meistersinger in Zurich

DVD recordings of the Ring in Lübeck and an early biopic of Wagner

a box set of the complete Barenboim Wagner recordings, plus a new Meistersinger under Marek Janowski, a disc of orchestral rarities and a solo disc by Klaus Florian Vogt

new books by Nila Parly on Wagner’s heroines and by Peter Conrad on Wagner and Verdi

12:38:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

International Wagner Conference 2013: " Richard Wagner’s Impact on His World and Ours"

To mark the 200th anniversary in May 2013 of the birth of Richard Wagner, the School of Music, University of Leeds, in collaboration with Opera North, will host the international conference ‘Richard Wagner’s Impact on His World and Ours’ held on 30 May-2 June 2013, under the auspices of the ground-breaking DARE initiative.

Few aspects of late nineteenth-century and subsequent cultural developments remain untouched by Wagner’s influence. The conference seeks to place this influence in context, embracing the multitude of artistic and non-artistic disciplines that have felt the composer’s impact. The programme committee is currently considering proposals for multi-disciplinary presentations and workshops that deal with many aspects of Wagner studies.

The full programme is under construction and will be announced soon, but many of the following themes will be covered over the course of the conference:

Wagner and Literature
Wagner and the Theatre
Wagner and the New World
Wagner and Eastern Europe
Wagner and Israel
Wagner in Performance
Wagner and Cinema
Wagner and the Future

The keynote lectures will be delivered by Barry Millington, entitled ’200 Not Out: Wagner the Ultimate All-rounder’; Michael Ewans, entitled ‘Vision and Stagecraft in two ground-breaking productions of the Ring, by Patrice Chéreau and Francesca Zambello’; and Heath Lees, entitled ‘Transformation at Tribschen: how a French literary trio became a Wagnerian musical trio’.

Tony Palmer, the director of the feature film ‘The Wagner Family’, will screen his highly controversial film accompanied by a discussion session.

For More Information Follow This Link
11:49:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

St Louis to get first Ring Cycle in over 80 years

Or at lest in the form of  Johnathon Dove's adoption. From Union Avenue Opera - never let it be said that you have to be an opera company with a budget of millions to just to stage Wagner. We reprint the press release below. There is also an interview with UAO's artistic director here

Das Rheingold

Friday, August 17 at 8pm
Saturday, August 18 at 8pm
Friday, August 24 at 8pm
Saturday, August 25 at 8pm
10:42:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Watch free, for 24 hours: Hans Jürgen Syberberg's Parsifal

Syberberg's much lauded, 1982 film of Parsifal is to finally receive its DVD re-release in September (it will also be available to download). Released by Filmgalerie 451, the company is marking its release by making it available free to stream online on the 11/08/2012 - Click this link to view and for more information.

While being classified superficially as, "regitheater" this could be, in my opinion, one of the best Parisifals on film, Even if you don't buy it I highly recommend that you view it for free on the 11th. Included below are a few extracts from youtube

Details from Filmgalerie 451

Syberberg's celebrated version of 'Parsifal' was made on the one hundredth anniversary of the opera's first performance at Bayreuth in 1882 and is staged around the looming presence of a huge replica of Wagner's death mask. Armin Jordan's acclaimed interpretation of Wagner's incomparable music unfolds against a startlingly effective and constantly changing backdrop of images and tableaux vivants, while Syberberg's camera concentrates on the expressive faces of his actors, revealing staggering performances, especially from Edith Clever as Kundry, who many agree has given the definitive interpretation, hair-raising in its intensity.
7:48:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

MET/Lepage Ring Cycle to get DVD/Blu-Ray released 9/9/12 plus much more

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday 7 August 2012 | 12:59:00 am

To be released by Deutsche Grammophon  on 9/9/12 the complete cycle will be available on 8 DVDs and 5 Blu-ray discs. Suggested retail price:  $147.98 on DVD and $159.98 on Blu-ray.

Press release from DG below video.

Surprisingly,  the much praised  documentary,  "Wagner's Dream" will not be provided in the "extras". Instead this is to be released as a separate DVD/Blu-ray. Also, being made available is a 2 CD "highlights" audio set - again to be sold separately.

DG have confirmed this is the start of their Wagner celebrations leading up to 2013

12:59:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Why the Wagners must leave Bayreuth.

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 6 August 2012 | 3:18:00 am

"Oh, look. The locals are greeting us with burning torches"
The following is printed in  the comment section of  yesterdays Guardian - written by Guy Dammann, While it is unusual for me to comment on an article repeated here (the rest can be read by following the link below) I felt that apart from correcting a few glaring inaccuracies,  it was  worth while looking at his thesis - if briefly.

But first, to at least two of those inaccuracies:  Yes while Wagner was certainly antisemitic, he actually called for the full integration of the Jews into German society - to the extent that they would have lost any "Jewishness". Indeed, this is part of his antisemitism. Equally he should have noted that that Yevgeny Nitkin denies that his tattoo is a swastika - it was after all reported in the Guardian just after I reported here. 

But these are simply minor journalistic mistakes - and not uncommon. What perplexes  me most is his argument as to why the Wagner's must leave the  management of the Festival to none Wagners: in essence - at last I think that is the argument being made - he believes  that their presence somehow taints the festival with Winifred, et als very close association and support of the Nazis and their  fascist, racist,  genocidal and eugenic  philosophies. This can only be erased once and for all by the removal of the Wagner's themselves. Now, assuming that I have interpreted Guys argument correctly - and I believe I have -  I find his thesis with very little fact. Does he really believe this to be the case? Where is his evidence?

While it is true there have been calls for the present Wagner family members to step down (or at least there are concerns about their ability to manage the festival) this has not been due to any of the reasons he suggests but instead is concerned with artistic and general management decisions. It is certain, that the present management has bundled certain general, and high profile,  management responsibilities - the recent manner in which the removal of Wagner Societies ticket allocation was handled (or miss-handled some might argue) is a very obvious example, and as a recent meeting of  Der RWVI would suggest an ongoing one. Equally, even within the confines of,  German regietheatre, some productions commissioned by the present administration have been of dubious artistic merit at best. And the hiring of Frank Castorf as director  of the 2013 Ring Cycle - a director with at best what may be described as a weak and "controversial" history with Wagner's works and considered by even some of his former supporters as a "spent force" - does not add much confidence among what seems a growing, and vocal,  number of critics. But none of this has anything to do with former family members ties with Hitler.

There maybe legitimate reasons for looking at the end of the Wagner's "reign" at Bayreuth - as has been suggested for example by Nike Wagner (see here) -  and for those unaware, a Wagner with a proven artistic record.  But not for the reasons argued by Guy. A change in management? Perhaps, although it should be noted that it was under Wieland Wagner (many of whose productions are now, rightly considered works of genius) that booing was first heard at Bayreuth - and the first whispers of an end to Wagner family "rule" of Bayreuth were muttered. Perhaps the times are still not right for the present artistic climate at Bayreuth. But if 2015 should see a call for the end of the present Wagner families artistic management this should not exclude election of other family members with the correct credentials and experience - oddly enough Nike Wagner being a perfect example.

Guy may or may or may not  be right about the possibility of management change - but I would argue not for the reasons that he suggests.

To reclaim Wagner, his family must leave the Bayreuth festival

The family have taken positive steps towards dealing with Wagner's fascist associations, but they should go further

 Guy Dammann

After a life spent chasing fame and other people's fortunes all over Europe, as well as fleeing from creditors and displeased governments, Richard Wagner chose a quiet corner of northern Bavaria in which to spend his autumn years. The house he built there he called Wahnfried, which translates as "peace from madness". Few houses have been worse named. Family feud has followed spat has followed controversy repeatedly for close on a century and a half.

The latest spat is more interesting than most and, though unlikely, could in principle lead to some of the family's hereditary madness finding rest at last. Katharina Wagner, the composer's great-granddaughter, who now runs the Bayreuth festival together with her half-sister Eva Wagner-Pasquier, has announced that the family must end its long and increasingly deafening silence over its historical associations with the Nazi party. Hitler's idolisation of Wagner is, of course, well documented. But the full extent of the composer's descendents' idolisation of Hitler is a somewhat murkier domain, largely because of the family's refusal to open the archives. In the interests of inaugurating a long overdue process of reckoning, Katharina and Eva have opened their share of the family's papers to public scrutiny. More significantly, given that the most sensitive documents all remain locked up and closely guarded by their cousin Amélie Hohmann, the pair are demanding that other branches of the family follow suit, threatening court action if necessary.

As Yevgeny Nitkin's recent withdrawal from the new production of Der Fliegender Holländer (which opened the festival last week) confirmed, his hand most likely forced by Katharina after historic footage revealed the singer sporting a swastika tattoo on his chest (he was in a Russian heavy metal band, which is an excuse, of sorts), the festival is still plagued by its guilty history. This year, though, perhaps as a precursor to her latest demands, Katharina Wagner has welcomed a travelling exhibition to this year's festival commemorating many of the Jewish musicians expelled from the Bayreuth rosters after the composer's daughter-in-law Winifred (an Englishwoman, by the way) moved to align the festival as closely as possible with the politics of her beloved "Uncle Wolf" (the name for Hitler used by her children, among them Wolfgang Wagner who ran the festival from 1951 until his death in 2008). Entitled "Silenced Voices", the exhibition will now remain on permanent display in the opera house foyer.

Continue Reading
3:18:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

The Wagnerian Caption Competition 1 (redux) Knappertsbusch, Tristan und Isolde

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 5 August 2012 | 10:07:00 pm

Ok, I have a little confession to make: The first Caption Competition went a little wrong as I somehow managed to lose most of the entries! But not this time. After careful consideration I have devised a foolproof (hopefully) method of keeping track of them. And even better, I have uploaded a freshly purchased copy of the prize to "DropBox" for the lucky winner to collect (MP3 I am afraid)

But first, the competition: In "celebration" of the the final appearance of Christoph Marthaler's Tristan at Bayreuth one lucky reader will win themselves,  what sounds like, a half decent transfer (well it cost enough considering you can pick this up for peanuts) of Hans Knappertsbusch's, somewhat legendary,  Tristan und Isolde from 1950 - details below

To enter, simply come-up with a witty (hopefully) or failing that any caption for the still from Marthaler's Tristan below. Then send us your answer, either in a tweet, a Facebook comment in reply to this or via email with the following conditions:
10:07:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Watch Now & on demand: Jonas Kaufmann - Ariadne auf Naxos. Salzburg

Exclusive: Kaufmann is a member of the Beth Lynch Fan Club

Well,  in 3 hours time should you have arrived here at BST 14:21 but I would hate you to miss it. After all, how often do you get the chance to watch Kaufmann looking like Bet Lynch (if you are not from the UK you might want to look that one up).

2:31:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Evgeny Nikitin says tattoo "Was not a swastika"

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday 3 August 2012 | 1:34:00 am

In a statement released through the MET (in who's production of Parsifal he will performing next year), Evgeny Nikitin has clarified that the tattoo which lead to him withdrawing from Bayreuth's new Dutchman was in fact not a Swastika.

He said:

"While it is true that I have had a varied artistic life, including an interest in heavy metal music and Scandinavian mythology, which was the inspiration behind the tattoos I have on my body, it is inaccurate to state that I ever had a swastika tattoo. In fact, the tattoo that has been called into question and that was photographed in 2008 was still in progress at the time."

"I have absolutely no affinity for or connection to any neo-Nazi or fascist movement, nor have I ever in the past," he said. "Nazism in particular has been the source of great personal grief and loss. My two grandfathers were both killed by Nazi forces during World War II".

"My main interest and purpose in life is my art as an opera singer, and it is very distressing that a mistaken interpretation of a tattoo has caused the recent cancellations in Bayreuth and raised questions about my integrity as a performing artist,"

1:34:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Solti Ring Cycle has been remastered (again) Special Limited Edition (24 bit)

This looks like an advert and for that I apologize, but should you be interested I present for your attention. Personally, I am always suspicious of "re-mastering" and I would need to listen to it first - but then many of my favourite Wagner recordings are in mono. Mind you, it does contain some nice "extras" if you don't have them already.

The centerpiece of DECCA’s celebrations of Sir Georg Solti’s centenary is a limited-edition [individually numbered], newly- remastered, luxury edition of “The greatest recording of all time!” (BBC Music Magazine, January 2012)

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

The Winifred/Hitler Letters: Katharina Wagner may take her family to court to get access

Winifred & Hitler
It is without doubt true that the Wagner family seem  to take each other to court at the drop of a hat - and it seems they may be at it once more.

In a recent interview, Katharina Wagner said she may take legal action against members of the family who refused to allow open access to presently "sealed" documents dating back to Bayreuth's well publicised and  very close association with the Nazis. 

During  the interview she said: "I myself  have had no problem in making available to the public all my exclusive property and material in its entirety relating to this issue.” But this reckoning with the past – something undertaken by such large German concerns as VW, BMW and several banks – is causing friction within the Wagner clan."

Of especial contention are until now, unpublished letters between Winifred Wagner  and Adolf Hitler held by Amélie Hohmann,Winifred's  granddaughter. Hohmann sees the letters as "explosive" and has refused to release them.

While Katharina says that she wishes to work "cooperatively" with other family members she does not rule out taking legal action. And how serious is she? Enough for her solicitor Michael Brand to say: "Katharina Wagner considers the right to take all legal steps necessary if no progress on this matter is achieved"

Christmas Day family get togethers must be a joy at Bayreuth. 

12:08:00 am | 0 comments | Read More