DW to celebrate Wagner Bicentennial on Internet, TV and DVD

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 | 11:04:00 pm

Deutsche Welle (DW) is celebrating the upcoming 200th anniversary of German composer Richard Wagner's birth on May 22, 2013 with the TV and DVD production The Colón Ring and with a special multimedia project.

"The 200th anniversary of the artist's birth is one of the defining cultural events of 2013 - and therefore it is also at the center of the German international broadcaster's cultural reporting," said DW Director General Erik Bettermann.

To mark the anniversary, Latin America's biggest opera house, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, is putting together a unique project. A world premiere of Wagner's monumental music drama The Ring of the Nibelung will be staged for the first time in one day, in a seven-hour shortened version - an adaptation by Hamburg musicologist Cord Garben. The production will be directed by Valentina Carrasco from Argentina. In some sequences, she sets the Colón Ring in the 1970s, during the military dictatorship in Argentina. Carrasco took over as director in October of this year. She replaced Katharina Wagner, the great-granddaughter of the composer, who was the original artistic manager and director of this ambitious project. The orchestra of The Colón Ring will be led by the Austrian conductor Roberto Paternostro, who has been musical director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra since 2010.

A 90-minute documentary film and multi-camera recording

The DW production The Colón Ring consists of a multi-camera recording and a documentary film. DW shows the unusual making of the production in a 90-minute documentary film directed by Wagner expert Hans Christoph von Bock, and documents the performance at the Teatro Colón in a multi-camera production.

"This project is the latest in a series of spectacular classical productions we began in 2006," added Bettermann. At that time, the German Symphony Orchestra Berlin, conducted by Kent Nagano, recorded the six-part series Classical Masterpieces. The concert recordings and documentary reports won numerous international prizes, as did The Beethoven Project (2010) and The Promise of Music (2009).

The documentary film The Colón Ring - Wagner in Buenos Aires will be shown on Deutsche Welle's international TV channels in spring 2013. A DVD is also to be released on the C Major label. It will contain the film itself, as well as the multi-camera recording.

The Teatro Colón boasts a Wagner tradition stretching back nearly 100 years. Opened in 1908, it is now Latin America's biggest music theater. Early on, it hosted the annual 'German Season', during which Wagner's work attracted great interest. The first performance of the complete Ring, directed by Felix Weingartner in 1922, has become legendary. And 90 years later the shortened version is having its world premiere in the same venue.

Multimedia special Wagner200

DW's multimedia special Wagner200, available at dw.de, celebrates the anniversary in other ways, as well. Users combing the website for more information about the TV documentary can find workshop reports, background material on the Teatro Colón, biographies of the theater's artists and producers, and much more.

Wagner200 is available in four languages: German, English, Spanish and Russian. The website will be regularly updated until the end of 'Wagner year'. After 2013, it will offer a unique, multilingual online archive on the topic.

"With this project we hope not only to address Wagner fans worldwide, but also to provide all viewers and Internet users who are interested in culture with a state-of-the-art way of accessing Wagner's complete works," commented DW Director General Bettermann.